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Fuck you, Gordon Ramsay!

Half the words that come out of Gordon Ramsay’s wrinkled mouth are absolute bullshit.

It's completely pink!

It’s completely pink!

As far as I’m concerned, Gordon Ramsay is the Jack Bauer/Carrie Mathison/Simon Cowell of cooking. The dude is always right. When he says you’re a shit cook, these scallops are fucking raw, you’ll kill somebody with them, piss off you stupid donkey, he’s absolutely correct.

You can’t cook scallops to save your life and you should quit before you take someone else’s.

I trust Gordo more than I trust myself. If Gordon Ramsay told me to jump off a bridge, I’d say “Yes, Chef!” And I am well aware of his past indiscretions.

Thus, it has recently pained me to notice that Gordo has a proclivity for using meaningless words. Here are some of my favorites:

Nice, as in, “I would make a nice Caesar salad.”
Stunning, as in, “These tom-ah-toes are absolutely stunning.”
Fresh, as in, “I would make a fresh Caesar salad.”
Beautiful, as in, “The tom-ah-toes in this beautiful Caesar salad are beautiful.”
Gorgeous, as in, “This John Dory’s asshole is gorgeous.”
Delicious, as in, “In my dream last night, I defecated a delicious beef wellington.”
Perfect, as in, “What a perfect asshole this John Dory has.”

Just see how many times this motherfucker says “nice” in this video.

In many contexts, these words are filled with meaning, but when wielded by Gordo, they turn from words into a linguistic gelatinous blob, the equivalent of an “’umm,” or a “fucking,” or a “you know what I mean?”

You know what I mean?

For instance, when Gordon calls tom-ah-toes, or past-ah, or John Dory (which wikipedia tells me is a fish) nice or fresh or stunning, etc. Your first reaction is, “Yes, Chef.”

One of these animals is a John Dory.

One of these animals is a John Dory.

But upon closer inspection, you must wonder what he means. Any food that Gordo will allow his show to use will obviously be fresh. Only a suicidal person would give Gordo a rotten batch of tom-ah-toes. Moreover, there’s no reason to believe the tom-ah-toes he does use are particularly interesting. He never spends time describing where the tom-ah-toes are grown or what makes them any “nicer” than the ones you buy.

No, when Gordo says “nice tom-ah-toes” what he really means is “tom-ah-toes.”

And this goes beyond ingredients; it often extends to hypotheticals, for instance, when Joe or the fat guy (Graham) ask Gordon what he would do in a certain situation.

“I would make a stunning riz-ah-to and a fresh summer salad with a perfect dressing.”

Right, Gordo, of course you would. And I know why this dish will be stunning, fresh, and perfect: you’re fucking Gordon Ramsay! And for that reason, you don’t need to qualify your own food with its specific level of tastiness. Nobody thinks you’re going to make a shitty riz-ah-to and a wilted, inedible summer salad. That would make you, as you would put it, a crap cook.

When Gordo says these words in a sentence, ask yourself if the sentence would be any different if those words had been removed.

More often than not (and by “more often than not,” I mean “always”), the sentences will be completely unharmed and if anything, better off because they had been spared the excess words.

We use adjectives to describe nouns and give us more information about those nouns. What kind of ball? The red ball. What kind of asshole? The semen-filled asshole. “Red” and “semen-filled” provide us with information we wouldn’t have had otherwise.

But when Ramsay uses adjectives, they provide us with nothing.

Thus, I say to Gordon Ramsay, one of my favorite people, until you stop using meaningless adjectives, fuck you!

This is what I look like when I take a crap.

This is what I look like when I take a crap.

I am not a movie reviewer, or even a smart person. This is just a list for the fanboys of four reasons why this movie sucks so, so bad.

1.    As Funny as George Zimmerman’s Lawyer

That’s not fair. Zimmerman’s lawyer was way funnier than this movie. As far as I can tell, this movie has three real jokes in it, one of which I forget, but here are the two I do remember: The first is when Lois and Soops kiss for first time.

You had me at "It's not an S, it's the symbol for hope on my home planet blah blah blah."

You had me at “It’s not an S, it’s the symbol for hope on my home planet blah blah blah.”

Lois Lane: They say it’s all downhill after the first kiss.

Clark Kent/Kal-El: Only if you’re kissing a human.

Uh, okay. Was that a joke? I’m sorry, I was too busy vomiting at the awkwardness between Cavill and Adams.  Do I have to explain why that’s not funny?

Okay, I will.

I did stand-up comedy for eight years. Not successfully, but I know what a goddamn joke is. Jokes are surprises. No matter what kind of joke it is, from knock-knock to prat-fall, jokes are surprises.

Lois’s expression of doubt is just not surprising. In fact, it’s typical. It’s the neurotic vulnerability of a smitten new love. And Soops’s response is not surprising also. It’s confusing. Who said only if one is human? Do Kryptonian’s have infinite romance? Are they known for that? I could go on, but you get the idea. Besides, you didn’t laugh at the joke in the movie. Why? It wasn’t funny!

The second joke I can remember is when Soops talks to this general at the end, and the lady Major is giggling next to him.

General Swanwick: What are you smiling about, Captain?

Major Carrie Farris: Nothing Sir, It’s just I think he’s kinda hot.

Right. The female Major just can’t control her hormones in the face of Soops’s alien magnetism. She is powerless in the face of a big superdick and pectorals rivaling the most siliconed breasts. She is a screaming schoolgirl and Soops is her Justin Bieber.

Yeah, he’s hot. Even I think so. But you know what else? This woman is a major in front of her general. She would maintain herself and not have desire hold dominion over her. As I said before, this joke is not surprising. It’s also not funny. It’s fucking stupid.

Moreover, it’s sexist. The movie reduces a strong female character into a blathering idiot when a big strong man is nearby.

"Oh my pussy! I'm a woman and I can't control my pussy! Help me Superman! Help me and my pussy! I need a big man to help my stupid little pussy!"

“Oh my pussy! I’m a woman and I can’t control my pussy! Help me Superman! Help me and my pussy! I need a big man to help my stupid little pussy!”

You might argue that because Nolan and Goyer wrote this movie, it’s a Superman version of Nolan’s Batman movies. Well, Batman Begins had no jokes. Heath Ledger made up for all of it in The Dark Knight (and arguably, Tom Hardy’s wacky voice in The Dark Knight Rises). Superman ain’t got no Heath Ledger.

You might argue that this is an action movie, not a comedy. I cite the concept of a “comic relief.” Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet are tragedies, but they have Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and Mercutio. Star Wars had Han Solo (and C3PO and Yoda and ugh Jar Jar). They all have comic reliefs. Because serious films need comedy to lessen the tension and, let’s face it, the boredom.

2.    Action Scenes Are Meaningless

Zack Snyder knows action. He did 300. He also did the suicide-inducing “movie” Sucker Punch, whose title has an extraneous “er punch” in it.

Man of Steel falls somewhere in between those films. The action is cool. It looks good. It’s easy to follow and fun. But, it’s totally fucking worthless.

Superman punches people a bunch of times. They punch him a bunch of times. He throws them into buildings. They throw him into buildings. Superman wrestles with weird nanobots.

Two-hundred-thirty-seventh time's a charm!

Two-hundred-thirty-seventh time’s the charm!

Good action is meaningful action. In a good action scene, you want to feel each punch. Every movement should be important. Each punch should have consequences. Or, if it’s a large choreographed fight, it should escalate, change, etc.

Superman did none of that. The fight he has mid-movie is very similar to the fight at the end, in terms of worthless fighting and forgetableness.

Worse, several times in the movie Superman saves some jerk at the very last second. Like, this happens at least three times. Someone’s about to be killed and then there’s Superman, flying in faster than a speeding bullet, knocking the person over like a locomotive.

And it’s great the first time. And by “great,” I mean “totally expected.” By the third time you see it, when Lois is falling at the very end, you know it’s going to happen and are not surprised at all that it happens. What if he just let her die? That would be interesting and different.

You've crushed my bones!

You’ve crushed my bones!

I’m all for good action, but it has to mean something.

For instance, take The Matrix. In that movie, there’s a ton of Kung Fu, most of which is meaningless, except that it’s visually spectacular and the choreographed fights evolve. Superman could have benefited for the delicate ballet that is Kung Fu. Instead, it was much more MMA style, monotonous.

Superman is a fan of right hooks, because it’s basically the only thing he does when he’s not throwing somebody into a building filled with innocent souls.

The question is, how many times do I need to see Superman hit Zod in the face? The answer is somewhere between zero and three.

Zack Snyder thinks the answer is seven hundred.

This is annoying at the very least because the punches do nothing. They don’t hurt Zod. They don’t hurt Superman’s hands. They’re just a waste of time.

“Hey, he’s slowing wearing down Zod’s defenses!”

Fuck you.

The action scenes weren’t like The Matrix, or the beautiful action of the first Ironman, where you feel every single blow. No, they were more like Power Rangers. And at least Power Rangers was limited to 22 minutes.

3. Doesn’t Make Any Sense.

One of the biggest mistakes of Man of Steel is it suffers from logical errors. Let’s look at a few.

I'm the only person I've ever known to wear a cape, Dracula! Dracula away!

I’m the only person I’ve ever known to wear a cape: Dracula! Dracula away!

  1. Cape scene at end. So at the end of the movie, there’s a flashback to Clark wearing a red towel as a cape as his parents look on with the knowledge that he will be great one day. So poignant. So poetic. One problem: Who the fuck is he pretending to be if not Superman? This is a world without superheroes until he shows up. What person is there with a red cape? It doesn’t make any fucking sense for a kid to put a cape on and play Superman when that kid had never heard of Superman. It’s like if young Bruce Wayne painted a Batman logo on his shirt.
  2. Gravity is low on Earth = Superman can fly. That’s the explanation they give. If Superman keeps jumping higher and higher, suddenly he’ll be able to fly. Obviously Zack Snyder failed to consult a single person with even a moron’s familiarity with physics.
  3. Superman can save people by catching them in mid air. I hate to be the one who says this, but at the speed he catches Lois, in reality he would have broken her spine.
  4. Dozens of tall office buildings can be evacuated in minutes. The movie seems to think that if you don’t see people die, that means nobody died. See my next section for a longer discussion of this.
  5. Superman isn’t allowed to kill people. Soops is all boo-hoo when he snaps Zod’s neck at the end, saving a family (who could have easily DUCKED under the heat ray), but the audience is never told that Superman is against killing. Snyder assumes you know this. But the movie starts with Zod murdering a bunch of people including Soops’s dad! So what the fuck?
  6. Atmosphere from Krypton makes Superman weaker the closer he is to it. So they sub the atmosphere of krypton for kryptonite in this movie. Which is fine. But they don’t even follow their own fucking rules. When Superman is fighting the tripod nanobot monster in India, he seems to not get weaker whatsoever. I mean, not in any tangible way. He stops flying for a second. But then he uses the power of his heart to destroy the thing. Yay meaningless plot points!

4.    Inappropriate 9/11 Imagery.

I’ve had this argument with a few people, and some disagree with me. They are wrong. The climax of this movie involves a huge fight in Metropolis where scores of buildings are knocked down.

And I’ve gotta say, much of the destruction looks exactly like 9/11 footage. Now you say, just because buildings in a city are being knocked down doesn’t make it commentary on 9/11.

Man of Steel...

Man of Steel…

... and 9/11.

… and 9/11.

That’s true. But the scenes were from a street level perspective of people running away from a large dust and debris cloud as it spread down the street. It looked like 9/11 videos. And this is a world where 9/11 happened. If you want skyscrapers to collapse in a city and you don’t want people to think of 9/11, you’re going to have to change what you want.

Furthermore, as I said before, there’s no way all those buildings could have been empty, or all those streets could have been empty.  Buzzfeed did a calculation of the damage that was incurred, both in lives and in money, and you can check it out here. Another website talked about how this level of destruction didn’t mesh with Superman as a character.

You can save her, 24601.

You can save her, 24601.

What did Russell Crowe, the man who ruined Javert for me forever, say to Superman in that ship?

“You can save her, Kal. You can save them all.”

Right. Except for the couple hundred thousand you kill.

Personally, I don’t give a shit either way. What I’m more concerned about is how quickly our country has forgotten about the horrors of 9/11 in such a way that it’s okay to feature buildings being destroyed like this and nobody mentions anything. I mean, sure, people have mentioned the similarity in some of the visuals, and others have talked about this being a post-9/11 Superman, but nobody has ventured to give a theory about what it all means. So, I will:

Fear of terrorism has melded itself to America’s DNA such that, like many victims of molestation, America now gets off on terrorism on the big screen, the more destructive the better. We are abuse victims who later buy whips and chains and role play abuse with loved ones. (I’m not saying all abuse victims do this or that all people who do this are abuse victims, okay?!)

It’s just a theory. Probably wrong.

So that’s it. That’s why Man of Steel really wasn’t that good. I mean, sure, there are other reasons. The acting is wooden. The writing is subpar. The premise is overly complicated. The message is muddled. The movie is too long. The chemistry is all wrong. There are no subplots. Etc. Etc.

The movie is, as I have said, Okay. But seriously, fanboys, this is not one for the books.

Preamble: The following is one of many accounts of dating from June 2010, when I broke up with my girlfriend of four years, to March 2011, when I met my new girlfriend. For most of this time I had no soul, abused various substances, and only sought sex. This one is about being “on.”

Still living with my ex-girlfriend, fresh from the break-up, I first stalkedOkCupid searching for girls based on how quickly I could get sex.

Soon, I had a target. Her picture was non-standard. She was in weird Halloweenesque goblin makeup. Now, I don’t know why someone on OkCupid would do this unless either 1) they were mentally unstable, 2) they had no self-esteem and thus sought safety behind a persona, or 3) they’re a hipster. Whatever her reason, her other pictures were make-up free. When we talked, I learned she was deeply misanthropic. Combining this with her comfort with first-date sex, I was sold.

So, I met her at a bar. She was cute enough, though slightly resembled ET. She spoke in an overly mannish sardonic fashion barely moving her jaw, much in the way an overweight Goth highschool lesbian might speak. Either way, it’s better than the creaky talk/glottal fry of the current female zeitgeist. More troublesome was the foam of saliva perpetually persisting at the corners of her mouth. I forged on. Seduction was my end-game, for after all, she had vagina and she was someone other than my ex-girlfriend.

We spoke and had drinks. My shoddy and self-serving memory retrieves this exchange:

“Are you ‘on’ all the time?”

Embarrassment. Mortification. Being “on” is a common accusation to a comic, which I still was at time. It confirms every comic’s fear: people find you annoying, not funny.

“I’m just trying to be interesting.”

Now this might have been my fault. At the time I was experimenting with illicit drugs which may have changed my behavior into the suspicious. Who knows? I do not yet have the confidence in my career to me any more frank than this, but I’m sure you can figure out what was going on. No, it wasn’t peyote.

• OkCupid Chronicles: No, a Dominatrix Won’t Have Sex With You

I was able to steamroll ahead and finagled her into going back to her place to partake in some illicit drugs, and she agreed. I was golden, right?

Well, apparently, apartment time does not equate sex time. At her apartment, I looked up music on YouTube while she lay in her bed. She offered me nothing and seemed downright annoyed by me. I guess Iwas “on.” At some point I called it a night.

“Well, I guess I should probably leave.”

“Yeah, you should.”

Even now this response pisses me off. She could have rejected my self-invite. Maybe she just wanted to use me for illicit substances. I didn’t know whether to feel like a piece of meat or a rapist. I got home that night and crawled into bed with my ex-girlfriend who was sound asleep. The couch wasn’t comfortable enough and it wasn’t like she could force me out of the bed.

The next first was the first time I would have sex since my relationship with my ex.

A month after that first date, I had moved into a new apartment, and found a girl on OkCupid who was a fellow comedian. She kind of had this Alanis Morrisette / Jillian Michaels / Jew look to her which, based on the pictures on OkCupid, made her seem kind of cute. She was thick like a porterhouse, but not flabby, short and stout like a roller-derby athlete.

I met her at a bar near my apartment and we hit it off immediately. She was a little “thicker” than her photos. But I was still imagining Shawn Johnson beneath her clothes. Besides, she probably had a great personality. I felt more attractive than her, so I didn’t have to worry about being “on” or coming on too strong. I even told her about my first date with the spit-mouth girl.

We drank until I took her back to my place to–you guessed it–engage in illegal substance abuse. (I have never done drugs, okay prospective employers?)  When I made a move, she damn near tackled me. She removed her shirt.

My friend Ray can be the most offensive insulting person in the universe. He admonished me for characterizing her body with such crass misogyny. Thus, this caveat: my evaluation doesn’t come from hate, it comes from sheer surprise, and the urge to be “on.” That said, this is what I told Ray.

“There was… extra skin. Like she used to be morbidly obese but suddenly lost all the weight. Like a Biggest Loser winner. She resembled a Shar-pei or a folded up parachute.”

I hate having to express disdain for someone else’s body. I myself am a little overweight and very body conscious. According to Wii Fit my BMI is 27.55. I’m not saying this girl has no worth. She was a terrific person who deserves love as much as anyone else. Still, she had a shitload of extra skin which I found to be shocking, and frankly, repulsive.

So, I fucked her.

I laid her on the bed and laid myself on top of her and proceeded to get laid as she trembled beneath me, her legs up around my back looking as if she had fallen into a vat of dough. When I ejaculated (spoiler alert), I looked down on her, panting, dripping sweat onto her, and said the first thing that popped into my dumb head.

“You’re the first girl I’ve had sex with since my girlfriend.”

Right. “Girlfriend.” Not “ex-girlfriend.” Not “that was fun.” Not “that sucked.” Not “where did you get all that beautiful skin?” Just the lamest, most pathetic admission of inadequacy I could muster.

I felt like I had cheated on my ex-girlfriend. I had broken our ex-trust–again. I was somewhere between scum and nothing.

I re-robed and asked the girl to come to the stoop with me to have a cigarette. (Besides the illicit substances that I may or may not have been doing with plausible deniability, I had also re-taken up smoking). She smoked too. We talked about my feelings. How I missed my ex, how I was a mess, a shell of a man, a monster, a pseudo-rapist, etc. Of course she was tremendously sympathetic. She assured me she was just casually dating as well and had also just left a long term relationship.

After a few minutes — and by the way, this is why I am a hideous monster — I was able to convince her to leave, not sleep over — kind of a Wham-bam-I-am-an-empty-shell-of-a-hu-man. Maybe I’m not a monster, maybe I’m just a man doing his best to be happy. I made a vow to raise my personal standards, have a higher opinion of myself, not just throw myself at any willing participant. So, never contacted this girl again, except about a month later, on a random night. But I had a valid reason: I was horny.

“Want to hang out?”

“Sure, guy I had a one-night-stand with a month ago. Let’s do that same thing again! You’re a real winner and definitely not a monster.”

In truth, she didn’t return my text. Good for her.

Evan Jacobs is a 31-year-old schlub who used to do stand-up comedy, excel academically and slay the ladies. These days, between the time he spends trying to publish his novel and teaching at a for-profit Manhattan college, he complains incessantly about nearly everything.

Reprinted from Hypervocal

jeremy brooks

Preamble: The following is one of many accounts of dating from June 2010, when I broke up with my girlfriend of four years, to March 2011, when I met my new girlfriend.  For most of this time I had no soul, abused various substances, and only sought sex. OKCupid conversations will be included with the stories, when available.

Though it hadn’t occurred to me during the relationship, at some point I realized I was sexually repressed. Sure, I had had many partners already — mostly because I had channeled high school frustrations into a never-ending search for validation — but I hadn’t really done that much sexually. I knew about stuff — I had the internet — but knowing isn’t doing.

The girl wasn’t exactly beautiful, but she posted very suggestive pictures, and responded to my message.  She was a dominatrix. I had never tried being dominated. I guess it couldn’t hurt.

I called her one Saturday night around 11 and asked to meet. When she agreed, I figured the deal was done. It was a booty call, right?

NEXT STORY: How I Learned to Stop Being a Hater and Love OKCupid

We were to meet at 2:00 a.m. on Ditmars in Astoria. She walked from her apartment, I from mine; we would meet halfway. There were very few people out except for bar hoppers and a homeless woman rooting through garbage.

“Evan?” The homeless woman said to me.

Oh.

“Jody?” I said. I took a closer look at her. She was overweight, more so than her pictures led me to believe (standard OKCupid etiquette), Indian (I could have sworn she was a Latina by the pictures), wearing taut jeans and a T-shirt with “PORN” written across her breasts. She displayed a sundress.

“What do you think?” she asked.

“Is it from the garbage?”

“It’s free!”

“It’s garbage.”

In Jody’s defense, this particular garbage bag was filled only with old clothes. However, this was not the most auspicious start.

Strange formalities ensued. She hadn’t realized I was her OKCupid date. She thought I was there to sell her drugs. Apparently, the drug dealer was named Evan as well. She sent some texts and made some calls, deliberating until I eventually convinced her to hang out with em. After all, there we were.

“Sorry, I’m on Ambien,” she apologized.

Jerry Maguire flashed through my head. You had me at “I’m on Ambien.”

I took her back to my apartment. We drank. She turned out to be quite, clever, fun, and grew more attractive to me as the minutes passed. At some point, she broached the unspoken.

“So, you’re the kid who wanted to try domination.”

I stammered like Hugh Grant before confirming it. I had just suggested it to get her attention. I wasn’t against it, but it wasn’t like being dominated was a life’s dream of mine. She took it in stride, the got down to business.

“I know it’s your first time. Most of my clients like it when —”

“Clients? You’re like a professional dominatrix?” This had not been explicit online. Many women say they are dominatrices. Doesn’t mean they have fucking clients. What kind of date did she think this was?

“You said you wanted to try it.”

“Not for money! I wasn’t trying to hire you. I just wanted to hang out. Like a date. Like OKCupid.”

She was silent for a second, obviously caught off guard. It was as if I had told her I was high on Ambien.

“Well, I have a boyfriend,” she said. I wanted to slap my forehead. “You’re pretty cute, though, so I’ll do it for free.”

“Okay,” I said, wondering how her boyfriend would end up killing me.

She said she would keep it light. Start off by calling me names. Pig. Dog. Stuff like that. I was already smiling, finding the whole situation ridiculous. Degrading names couldn’t hold a candle to my own (lack of) self-worth.

She told me to take of my shirt. She pinched my nipples for a little bit, and slapped me. I can now say with certainty I do not derive sexual pleasure from having my nipples pinched.

“Maybe I’ll step on your chest,” she said.

“Okay,” I said, keeping my perpetual smirk.

As she started, I tried to prepare myself for death. She wasn’t too overweight, hovering around one hundred and sixty pounds. Still, every time she took a step on my chest all I could think about was how easy it would be for my ribs to give way, break, and puncture my heart, killing me instantly. Instead of killing me, however, she interrogated me.

“What do you want?” she barked at me.

Interesting. People don’t usually ask me that question, as people very rarely care about what I want. So I didn’t know what to tell her, except that I didn’t know.

“I don’t know.”

“What do you want?” I could tell she was looking for an answer, but I wasn’t sure what it was, so I told her the truth.

“To fuck you?”

It wasn’t what she was looking for and it took the wind from her sails. She sighed heavily and stepped off of me.

Thinking back to it, I’m pretty sure the right answer would have been “More, Mistress. I want more.” Or, conversely, an okay answer would have been “Stop, Mistress. I want you to stop.” Either way, it was something she could have worked with. She stepped off me.

“I could hit you with your belt.”

“Uh,” I said while still laying shirtless on my back, “why don’t we call it quits and just hang out for a little bit.”

We actually had some good conversation after that. Most guys who liked domination were men who in regular life always had power over women. This is probably why I didn’t like domination. I don’t think there’s a woman alive who doesn’t have power over me. Be cute and I’ll murder for you.

Jody and I agreed to hang out again. And hey, if I ever wanted drugs, I could buy them from her.

Of course, I never saw her again.

The biggest lesson I took from this is one that I will carry to my grave: A dominatrix doesn’t have sex with you.

SEE MORE:
• Even Stand-up Comics Hate Stand-up Comics

Evan Jacobs is a 31-year-old schlub who used to do stand-up comedy, excel academically and slay the ladies. These days, between the time he spends trying to publish his novel and teaching at a for-profit Manhattan college, he complains incessantly about nearly everything.

Reprinted from Hypervocal

Everything has a purpose. Everything happens for a reason. Your life has meaning.

But seriously, folks. Your life matters as much as the last Olympics. I should know. I was meant to be a stand-up comic. And for seven years, I was. Then it turned out I was meant to quit comedy. Why? I’ll tell you. If you’re thinking about being a comic, first read this list of reasons you shouldn’t.

1. You don’t really want to be a comic.

Out of college with a worthless degree in math and years of loving comedy, I knew it was my time to share my voice with the world. I left for New York to spend eight months and $8,000 at a comedy school, my first of many mistakes.

Many comics claim to want to share their voice. They’re lying. Like me, they want to be famous. I wanted immortality in memory, assuaging my fear of mediocrity and death simultaneously. But even that’s not accurate. In hindsight, I realize I wanted validation, which is much easier to get on OKCupid.

2. Comedy costs money.

The $8,000 comedy school was pretty worthless. I came out with nothing but a certificate on nice paper. I ended up learning everything at open mics.

Open mics (hereinafter “mics”) are “comedy” shows where anyone can perform. They usually cost five dollars and/or a drink, not to mention the travel cost and the cost of drinks to gain courage before performing and to wash away the hurt after. Multiply that by five times a week for five years and I have that CPA course I could have taken.

3. Amateur comedy feeds on happiness.

One of the monsters in Harry Potter is the Dementor, a creature that feeds on hope, happiness and souls. In comedy, we call this monster an open mic. On any given Wednesday night, I’d go to a mic, pay, then sit at a darkened table, working on my material until my name was called. The paradox is everyone else at the mic did the same. I was preparing jokes for an audience of only comics who were’t going to laugh at them even if they had listened to them. After all, I didn’t laugh at their jokes. New comics suck, and when they don’t, you’re too jealous to laugh.

4. Comics are bad people.

I’m friends with comedians because I’ve met hundreds. I was bound to get along with a couple. Most are incredibly awkward and worse, not interesting. Comics are either on — funny at every opportunity, constantly jostling for social position — or they’re off (depressed). So social interactions with comics tend to oscillate between battles of one-upmanship and suicide prevention.

a. “On” comics are intolerable.

Surely a funny friend is a good thing. He’ll be just like Donkey in Shrek! But there’s a reason Donkey isn’t in every scene in Shrek, and a reasonShrek only lasts two hours. People who are trying to be funny don’t listen, they simply wait until it’s their turn to talk, which means you can’t form a meaningful relationship.

b. “Off” comics are intolerable.

Comics are not happy people. There’s nothing funny about being happy. And when a comic lets down his defense mechanisms (joking), all that’s left is anger, bitterness and depression. It’s necessary, though. All good stand-up comes from sadness. Just ask me: I’ve been taking anti-depressants for 14 years now.

c. Comics form impenetrable cliques.

Instead of being helpful to everyone, comics like to exclude people, because they were excluded in high school. Worse, most of the people in cliques are those who book shows, the next step up from mics. Thus, you must break into the cliques. But, I might as well tell you to join the Illuminati while you’re at it. Acceptance rates are higher.

d. Comics judge.

Many of us use personal constructs for evaluating people. Is this person kind or cruel? Compassionate or selfish?

Comics, however, use one construct: funny or not funny? As soon as a comic gets his first few laughs, comics forget “funny” is subjective and learnable. Thus, if they don’t find you funny, they’ll never find you funny: they don’t want your association holding them back and they definitely don’t want to give you a second chance. It’s really an evil practice; I should know, I did it too.

e. Fuck comics.

All this adds up to bitter envy. I hated comics who started after I did, worked harder and got on better shows. I despised comics who aren’t as funny as me and were on TV (read: Anjela Johnson). It works both ways, though. I once got into a comedy festival and briefly felt happy until I realized some of my friends were jealous.

5. You won’t make money.

After five years in comedy, I thought it was time to make money. But how to make money was and remains somewhat of a mystery. There are several requirements: a half hour of incredible material (which I didn’t have), a car (which I didn’t have), self-promotion (which I didn’t have), work ethic (which I didn’t have) and luck (which I didn’t have). Even if I had all those things, I wouldn’t know what to do with them. Most of the people I know who have been paid did it by being selected to open for a friend who was already established. If everyone is getting money through people who already make money, who was the first guy to make money?

6. Even if you do get famous, the best-case scenario is suicide.

I spent years afraid to sell myself; I did comedy out of self-hatred. However, what would money and fame get me? Not happiness.

A working comedian can’t be happy. With the amount of work going into being a professional, you have no time to have close relationships or have a family that’s not dysfunctional. Are you really going to skip out on Kimmel to see your kid’s baseball game? Your kid ain’t putting hollandaise on the biscuits. The only thing to bring happiness is validation, but comics are forgettable. Once you’ve left the stage, people are already laughing at the next guy. And besides, at that point, anyone who laughs at your jokes is an idiot.

7. You’ll never be funny enough.

No matter how well I performed, it was never funny enough. It’s a paradox. I performed to gain validation and thus self-esteem. But, if I had self-esteem, I wouldn’t need the validation, so I wouldn’t perform. Now take this paradox and multiply it by hating your own jokes. Even your funniest jokes aren’t funny once you’ve told them eleven hundred times. And by the way, nobody laughs when coming up with their own jokes; you can’t surprise yourself and jokes are about surprise.

8. You hate comedy.

I used to watch and listen to comedy all the time, but now I can’t watch an episode of Alf without being jealous of whoever the fuck it was who played Alf (Paul Fusco). I should be the one trying to eat those cats! And it’s not just Alf. I wanted everything comedy related to suck so when I came along, I was good by comparison. I was the contra-positive of Mohammad Ali. Instead of “I am the greatest,” my mantra was “everyone else is the worst.”

Worse, when something was funny, I hated it out of jealously. Comedy was pain, a constant reminder of my limitations.

9. You hate yourself.

Why wasn’t I spending every waking moment writing jokes or performing? I knew the only way to get good was to do an unbelievable amount of comedy. I needed to forget my social life. Only do comedy. Only hang out with comedians. Then I realized that only doing comedy and only hanging out with comedians sounded fucking awful. My dream had become a nightmare. I was going to have to try half-heartedly forever or quit and cut my losses.

And that’s what I did. I quit comedy and cut my losses. Without the constant pressure on myself and trying to fill my need for validation, I’ve actually never been happier. No, not the HGTV/Mormon type of happy, but at least not wanting to slit my wrists. I don’t need to worry about comedy anymore. Besides, with enough articles, I’ll be a famous writer soon.
Evan Jacobs is a 30-year-old schlub who used to do stand-up comedy, excel academically and slay the ladies. These days, between the time he spends trying to publish his novel and teaching at a for-profit Manhattan college, he complains incessantly about nearly everything.

Image via Flickr/CC.

Reprinted from Hypervocal

 

Evan Jacobs recalls the one that got away, and how he let her go.

To me, she was Becky. To anyone else: Rebecca. I met her my on first day of college. I turned down a dorm hallway, and there she was, standing at her door, about to enter for the first time. She had black hair with telephone-cord curls, a face as round as a Peanuts character, and a nose upturned like a blunted checkmark. She stood off my shoulder in a cute, gangly body consisting of rectangles. In her lilting Chicagoan accent, she spoke as if we were old friends.

“I think this is my room.”

“Are you Emma Lam from Hong Kong?”

“I think that’s my roommate. I’m Rebecca.”

“Rebecca? I’m Evan. I think I’ll call you Becky. Can I call you Becky?”

“Uh. I guess.”

Now, Becky was resoundingly cute, and I was resoundingly attracted to her, but I had only ever had sex with one person—and I was still with that person. Thus, I befriended Becky in the way I befriend anyone—methodically and psychotically.

We shared two classes, Biology and Calculus, and lived a couple hundred feet from each other, so I always had an excuse to talk to her. Besides, Emma, her bite-sized roommate shipped from China, existed solely to giggle at my antics.

♦◊♦

My doomed long-distance relationship persisted the first few months of college, so any romantic moment Becky and I shared (if there were any) was lost. Still, our friendship grew. We learned about each other. Becky was the oldest of four sisters and a baby brother. Her parents were kind and caring. Her mother once witnessed me hugging her and said, “Take your hands off my daughter.” It was a joke, but she must have seen the glassy sheen of my eyes when I ogled Becky.

Eventually, I gave my girlfriend the ol’ fashioned “Hey, remember when I said we’d be together forever? Yeah, about that…” Then, I had a decision to make. As I’ve brusquely spewed before, I have eternally believed happiness directly increased with the amount of women I bedded. I knew if Becky and I explored a romance, it would go well. I couldn’t foresee a break-up with Becky. So I would wait. Like a horror-film ghost, I had unfinished work.

I told myself it was a good idea. Becky had never had a boyfriend. First relationships are highly caustic and usually terminal. If Becky were to get a boyfriend, she could catch up to my level of maturity, then break up. I would pick up the pieces and live happily with Becky without her worrying about other men.

The plan was perfect.

The plan was also stupid and self-sabotaging. I had sex with one girl that year, in October. Meanwhile, Becky and I got dinner, dyed each other’s hair green (actually, she just dyed mine), smoked weed (actually, the one time Becky smoked, she almost went into a coma), and got piercings (I got two and she got zero).

Over the next year, mostly because I had colored hair, women noticed me more, and before you could say “unprotected sex,” I had had a slew of girlfriends and was rarely single. See: the Kathy story. But as I fornicated and flirted, Becky remained.

♦◊♦

When the world went from pre- to post-9/11 and my third year began, I figured I had waited long enough. Becky would be mine. As soon as she got back from Paris, that is. Becky was taking a semester abroad. In Paris, le café runs hot and les hormones run hotter. She met someone, of course.

“His name’s Jerome.”

“Is he black?”

The second most painful experience is learning the person you love has a significant other. The most painful experience is meeting and genuinely liking that significant other. I met Jerome. I’d date him, too. He wasn’t black. He was tall, skinny, pockmarked, incredibly nice, and a fellow University of Chicago student on the trip with her.

Still, it was part of my plan. I just had to wait. Jerome was the captain of the cross-country team and a likely Rhode’s Scholar. Plenty of girls would tell him he ran like a gazelle and present their heaving breasts to him for suckling. Maybe Becky would grow tired of his skinny frame and yearn for a meaty substitute in the form of me.

They would break up. All first relationships break up. But they didn’t.

We finished our last year. We graduated. I stayed in Hyde Park for a year after college. It was early June 2004, and I was moving to New York City in days. Though I tried to forget it, I couldn’t leave without knowing what could have been.

♦◊♦

Becky and I had dinner together. It was just another time out of dozens. After all, Becky didn’t smoke weed or drink, and I only smoked weed and drank. So, our shared realm was that of meals. Of course, this time, my dinner suggestion was shorthand for “Let me ambush you with a confession of love.” I could see it in my head as we drove to the restaurant together.

“Becky, I love you. Always have,” I’d say.

“I wish I knew how to quit you!” she’d say back.

“I know,” I’d say.

Okay, so that was BraveheartBrokeback Mountain, and The Empire Strikes Back, respectively, but you get the idea.

Dinner progressed normally. Perhaps I pried more than usual. “Does he treat you well?” “Ever wonder if there are better matches for you?” “Ever worry he cheats on you?” “He’s probably cheating on you, right?” “He told me he was cheating. You should cheat on him.” But no, he treated her better than I had the capacity to, it seemed. Still, selfish asshole that I was, I had to say something. After all, I had been there first!

I remember it as if it were in present tense:

We’re parked in the driveway of my apartment building. Becky’s in the driver’s seat.

“Becky, I have something to tell you.”

“OK.”

“I love you. I’ve always loved you. I loved you the day we met. I’m sorry, I know you’re happy with Jerome. But I had to tell you.”

She twists up her face and sobs.

“Evan… why didn’t you tell me?”

“I don’t know.”

“I can’t. Part of me wants to. But I can’t.”

“I know.”

I lean in and kiss her. It’s a soft, five-second, tongue-less kiss and though I don’t realize it, one of the most romantic moments of my life. She’s still crying. I apologize again and say goodbye.

The next time I see Becky, it’s at her wedding to Jerome, three years later.

Becky and I are still friends. We speak once every three to six months. Though I’ve moved on, I know if I had said something earlier, I’d probably be with her now. Of course, that would mean never experiencing any subsequent girlfriends, and, based on the girl I love now, perhaps I made the right choices after all. For now, and forever, the kiss she gave me was enough. Because at least it told me I was brave, I was worthy, and at some point, she had loved me too.

—Photo Samantha Louise Knott/Flickr

Reprinted from The Good Men Project

You are about to read the most entertaining story you’ve ever read about hemorrhoids.

“This is my finger,” says Dr. Brandeis.

I ask him, giggling, if he’s at least going to take me to dinner first. And then, abruptly, I stop laughing. This isn’t funny at all. My life as a comic feels like a separate reality.

His finger is in my ass.

But let me start from the beginning.

Reading the entire Harry Potter series on the toilet—twice—was probably not entirely responsible. After all, I have always taken my time on the toilet. The seat is comfortable; no one can talk to me; I can relieve stress in multiple ways; I can concentrate. In fact, sitting on the toilet for long lengths has probably made me the person I am today. And the person I am today is a person with hemorrhoids.

But in fact, experts don’t know where hemorrhoids come from. Some say it’s from sitting on the toilet too long (guilty). Others say it’s from straining too much (guilty). Others say it’s from not eating enough fiber (guilty). Others say it’s just hereditary (guilty). Also, there’s obesity (guilty), heavy lifting (guilty—remember when my balls twisted together?), and pregnancy (I’ll get back to you).

I’m not exactly sure when I first noticed, but at some point, during wiping (another thing, I am a notorious hyper wiper—perhaps another cause), I realized I had a little buddy. A friend. A friend who wanted to poke his head out and see what was going on.

This was about three and a half years ago. I Googled the symptoms: something in my butt. I found hemorrhoids.

♦◊♦

♦◊♦

Hemorrhoids are inflamed bits of vein that fill with blood, bleed, and are very painful and sensitive. There are two types. External hemorrhoids loiter on the exterior. You can see them in a mirror. They’re conspicuous, but, in the end, easy to take care of. That’s not what I had. I had internal hemorrhoids. They form inside the rectum and tend to hang down and peek out until they’re physically, unceremoniously, forced back in.

Gross, I know.

I called my dad and asked, “Have you ever had hemorrhoids?”

“Oh yeah,” he said.

I asked how old he was when he first got them. He guessed he was about my age. “Goddammit,” I said. He just laughed.

And that was it. But I figured I had just one hemorrhoid. It often occurred to me to go to a doctor, but by the time I would get off the toilet, the urgency had subsided. That’s why I waited three and a half years.

Well, there was this other thing: anal leakage.

Anal leakage isn’t poop. It’s the anal mucosal lining that seeps out when a hemorrhoid has ventured out into the wild. I started sleeping with folded-up toilet paper against my butthole. I was dating at the time, and because there was no chance in hell that I was going to explain to my dates what was going on, I would surreptitiously remove the paper seconds before sex.

One time a girl spotted it on the floor. “Ew, gross,” she said. “What’s that?”

Poker face. “Oh, nothing. I don’t know.”

What I didn’t say: “That’s a tissue covered in anal mucus and blood. Want to sniff?”

♦◊♦

After the leakage, I started to get itchy as well. I can’t tell you how relieving it is to scratch one’s asshole. Still, this was not the way I wanted to live my life. I had to go to a colorectal surgeon, and I had to go now.

I found a colorectal surgeon, a Jew (which is how I pick my doctors in a city that has too many) named Stephen Brandeis.

So I get to the office on E. 33rd Street. There is a downstairs check-in area and an upstairs waiting room. I go to the check-in area and have a half-hour argument with the woman behind the desk about whether I have a referral. At a place like that, you shouldn’t have to go through that kind of trouble. It should be, “You’re with friends now. Have a seat on this heavily cushioned chair. We know what you’ve been through.”

I finally make it to the waiting room. There is no waiting room like the  one for a colorectal surgeon. In other doctors’ offices, you aren’t sure what condition each person is suffering from. In the waiting room for a colorectal surgeon, that remains the case. However, no matter what condition each person has, you know it’s in their ass.

I’m surprised the waiting room isn’t filled with empty chairs and people standing, looking forlornly at the seats. Mostly, people are sitting with no visible discomfort except that which comes with being elderly. I am by far the youngest person there.

Brandeis calls me in. We talk in his office for a little bit. I tell him my symptoms. Apparently my self-diagnosis was absolutely correct. This news strengthens my hypothesis that I am right about 95 percent of the time.

♦◊♦

We go into the actual room where the magic happens. Inside, there seems to be a standard bench, but this one has a outcropping to place your knees on. I was told to drop my pants, put my knees on the outcropping, and lean over the bench and relax. The doctor fiddles with something and with several mechanical whirrs, the bench rises about a foot and dips forward. I had not expected that Transformers would play a role in my butt-health crisis.

So I make some jokes, and the doctor puts his finger in me, and I stop making jokes. He feels around. I realize that I haven’t gone to the bathroom yet that day, and begin to worry that he may effectively be destroying a dam. He brings out the finger and, instead, uses an instrument called an anal scope. I need not describe the instrument. Let’s just say it is as horrible as you can imagine. It also has a light on it, because, obviously, my ass is poorly illuminated.

“You have three or four in there.”

This is bad news to me. I go from thinking that I have a one-time hemorrhoid and that was it, to realizing that this is a chronic problem I might have for the rest of my life. Just what I needed, regular visits to the sodomy doctor.

I clean up and go back to his office and we talk about options. It’s funny, because he says “options,” but when we discuss the “options,” there are two. The first is doing the one thing he suggests. The second is going to a different colorectal surgeon. Option one is a banding procedure, which, thankfully, is exactly what I want.

A banding procedure is placing a strangling rubber band around the base of a hemorrhoid. Within six to 12 hours, it sloughs off.

“Let’s do it,” I say. “Let’s do all of them. I want to get it over with.”

Brandeis immediately tells me that we should start with one and see how that feels, harboring an expression on his face that lets me realize how painful this procedure would be.

We go back to the room. The magic happens.

♦◊♦

I’m still worried about going to the bathroom, but here we are—que sera sera. Brandeis shows me the instruments he will use to do the banding procedure. One long metal device is like a tube that goes around the hemorrhoid. It has a rubber band ready at the end to be fired onto the hemorrhoid’s base. The other tool is a long, metal, toothed clamp that pulls the hemorrhoid into the tube. He’ll use the two like he’s picking a lock.

Gross, I know.

I bend over the bench.

“Oh, let me get my assistant in here.” When he says this, I get a feeling that the assistant’s a girl, and I am right. He pokes his head out the door. “Hey, Karen, can you come in here?” Karen is obese, an unattractive 20-something, but she’s a girl.

“OK, this is going to feel uncomfortable,” Brandeis says, as if it weren’t already.

He slides the instrument in. The room disappears. Karen disappears. All that exists is me and my asshole. I immediately understand why most girls aren’t into anal sex. And people who talk about prostate massaging have obviously never had a hemorrhoid removed.

He moves around a lot.

“Relax.”

“I’m trying.”

“Stop clenching.”

“That’s easy for you to say.”

“Just relax your muscles.”

“I have a guy sticking metal instruments up my ass—what am I supposed to do?”

At some point he changes positions from one side to the other and I feel like I’m being opened up like a bag of potato chips.

“Jesus fucking Christ!”

“Hey, if cursing makes you feel better, go for it.”

It doesn’t make me feel better. The only thing that makes me feel better is when he pulls that goddamn instrument out of my ass.

♦◊♦

We set up follow up appointments. I walk slowly—very slowly—to the train. There is a rubber band in my ass and I feel it with every step. Interestingly enough, it’s not just my ass that hurts, it’s my entire body, as if I’ve been hit by a car or just had a boxing match.

Over the next two weeks, every time I go to the bathroom it is an adventure. What’s going to happen? How’s it going to feel? What’s going to come out? Will it be normal, or will it look like chicken entrails? Will there be blood or will there be a shitload of blood? Am I going to see veins?

I get through it and go back to the office for two more appointments. I’m used to things now, even though it just seems to get worse. I greet Karen by name when she comes in the room and tell her, afterward, that I feel very close to her. I am back to my old jokey self, though again, when objects are actually inside my anus, it is hard to maintain humor.

Now, as I sit writing this, I am hemorrhoid free—but I know that this will not last forever. I like sitting on the toilet too much. I eat too poorly. Of course, the most practical, applicable, and scientific reason that I will continue to get hemorrhoids is that the universe insists on punishing me. I can’t just be successful, content, and healthy like many people.

If that were to happen, I might be able to meet a girl I like, get married, and pass on my DNA. I might be able to live a long, rich life with little tragedy and lots of accomplishments. I might be able to be normal. And nobody wants that.

Nobody wants me to be a happy person, because then they would feel bad about themselves. My life, shitty in every single aspect of it (documented here), gives others hope. No matter how bad things could be for them, they could have all those things and five hemorrhoids. Five. Five distended growths in their assholes. Thus, in order for the universe to have some semblance of order, I have to be miserable.

At least the misery will give me something to write about.

In the meantime, I have to go throw up.

♦◊♦

More stories by Evan Jacobs:

—Photo dlisbona/Flickr

–Reprinted from The Good Men Project

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