A Joke a Day...
I love to laugh. I would much rather watch a mindless Sitcom that makes me laugh versus a serious drama that makes me anxious. I was recently at fellow Louper Tom C.'s for lunch and was confronted with a vexing question, what is your go to joke ... blank stare! I had nothing. Not a single joke. I find that I can be funny in the context of what I am experiencing, or telling a story, but I don't have a single joke with a punch line. The next question that came my way was if I could choose one superpower what would it be? I immediately said invisibility. Then Louper Alan R. came in with the following zinger ...
Superman's horny as hell and he's flying around Metropolis when he spots Wonder Woman sunbathing on the roof of the Justice League of America. He figures that he can swoop down and have his way with Wonder Woman because he's Superman, right? He's faster than a speeding bullet. So he swoops down, does his business, and he's gone in a flash! Wonder Woman gets up and says 'what the hell was that?' And the invisible man says, 'I don't know, but my ass kills!'
I was amazed, the perfect joke for my chosen Superpower! The right joke at the right time! In this week's Loupe, I will make sure you are prepared for your next dinner (or lunch) party with your joke. Please submit your best jokes, and I will compile a list of go-to jokes to the contributors!
Book of Humor
Sick in the Head by Judd Apatow
Before you can go about telling a joke, you need to understand the people that are professionally funny. This book is by Judd Apatow (writer of Knocked Up, This is Forty to name a couple) which is a series of interviews with comedians you love: Mel Brooks, Jerry Seinfeld, Jon Stewart, Roseanne Barr, Harold Ramis, Louis C.K., Chris Rock, Lena Dunham, and more. It seems that Judd Apatow was fascinated with comedy at an early age (15) and began interviewing famous comedians (Jerry Seinfeld for example) for his high school radio station. Little did they know that the radio station barely broadcasted outside the school parking lot! Nonetheless, you get a deep and real look at the comedians, their history, and their approach to comedy, as well as their journey. You will have a new appreciation for comedy after reading this upfront commentary.
Truly Tasteless Jokes Book One by Blanche Knott
I grew up on this series of books. Contained in these pages are some of the best and most famous jokes ever told. At camp, it was precious contraband, akin to a porn collection, for a bunch of 13-year olds. I would read the same jokes over and over. We would skip from page to page, subject to subject, and laugh our asses off. This is the book to buy if you don't have a go-to joke. Pick a joke, any joke, and practice. Ideally, you will have this joke perfected so that when you are put on the spot, you can deliver it. It can't be too dirty or too clean, or maybe you can remember a bunch of them.
David Chapelle at Radio City Music Hall
David Chapelle may be the best working comedian in the business. Comedy Central named him the #5 stand-up comedian of all time in 2009 ... wow! I would tend to agree. This is compared to legends such as Richard Pryor, Lenny Bruce, and George Carlin to name a few. His humor cuts deep. He deftly puts salt in the wounds of race relations in novel ways that will make you laugh and cry at the same time. After the latest election, he appeared on SNL and did a bit that cut to the heart of the reality that Trump was elected to office. He is doing a limited run at the famed Radio City Music Hall where he is partnering with other comedic greats and rising stars. Many friends went to the weekend show with Chris Rock and raved ... bummed I missed it! Either way, get your tickets before the prices are driven up too high and are only available at a premium on StubHub or via your scalper.
Sweet at the Slipper Room by Seth Herzog
There are plenty of comedy options in NYC. However, Seth Herzog's weekly comedy show Sweet at the Slipper Room hits close to (my) home as it is MC’d by a Jew who is hilarious, brings his mom to shows, likes to dress up in ill fitting costumes, is on the Lower East side, and only costs $5! Let me repeat, $5!!!
The Slipper Room venue is nothing if not intimate. It has a main level that seats about 40, a mezzanine if you want to avoid attracting attention, and most importantly a bar area. It seems like the comedians are performing just for you, especially if you are seated up front. In fact, the audience is typically part of the show.
Seth Herzog, as you may know, is the warm-up comic for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. He has incredible comedic timing, not to mention is wickedly smart and exceedingly quick minded. This show is most definitely Seth’s, but there is a significant amount of riffing with his supporting cast which varies but often includes famous guests.
Freaks & Geeks
You will learn from the book Sick in the Head that the first lead writing gig for Judd Apatow was the show Freaks and Geeks. This is a groundbreaking show in so far that it features teenagers being teenagers, rather than beautiful people acting like adults. This was considered revolutionary at the time. Unfortunately, the show only lasted one season. However, that has its advantages because you can burn through the 16 episodes on Netflix without committing weeks to the venture. It is the show that largely launched the careers of James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segal, and more. This show is hilarious, as it deals with real high school problems in a very authentic way. While this show is a little dated, it will make you laugh hysterically if you ever attended high school (which I'm sure most of you did).
A joke a day will keep the doctor away. As crazy as that sounds, it may because laughter is proven to have countless health benefits (including better abs). So, keep laughing and consider Sick in the Head, Truly Tasteless Jokes, Dave Chapelle at Radio City, Sweet at the Slipper Room and Freaks and Geeks Found!