For almost a year now, I have been performing in a comedy troupe with my friend Todd Hubb who is a famous motivational speaker. Todd has been following me around the country, thinking I’m his pet project and that he must “fix” me. He thinks that there’s something wrong with me since I ran away from my wife after fooling her into maxing out all our credit, quitting her high-paying job and getting pregnant. It’s been eighteen months since I last saw my wife; I wonder how the baby’s doing.
For the record, I don’t think there’s anything “wrong” with me. I’m not that great with responsibility. So what? That doesn’t make me a “bad” dad. How can anyone say I’m a “no good” parent when no one’s ever even seen me be a parent, not even my own baby. I don’t even know this baby, and this kid’s probably thinking their dad abandoned them - so they don’t know if their dad is good or bad. How could they when their dad wanted nothing to do with them and bolted so he wouldn’t have to do things like pay bills, change diapers or tell people to be quiet because the baby’s sleeping? Being a dad is hard, man; I don’t want that, but don’t judge me until I’m actually given a chance to be a dad. And I’ve never been given that chance. I ran, okay? I didn’t stick around. Get your facts straight, people.
Anyway, back in January, Todd and I formed a comedy troupe called Silly Putty. Todd and I go from bar to bar, making a living performing topical sketches. We don’t make a lot and sleep in alleyways (Todd is also broke, having lost control of all his assets to his wife). After about our third sketch, we usually get booed off stage (mostly for not making sense, not being topical, and not performing comedy). This is why we always ask to be paid in advance. When we hear that first collective, unanimous boo, we take our money and race for the nearest exit to an alleyway where we sleep for the night. We then spend the next day bouncing ideas off one another, writing new sketches and procuring costumes and props from the alleyway’s garbage bins.
We now have five, large garbage bags stretched to the limit with props and costumes which we lug to every show. These bags contain all manner of clothing, pipes, an abandoned porcelain toilet, etc. – all for our five-minute set.
Last night, we tried this topical sketch for the first time. Here’s how it went:
I entered the stage as an elderly lady, with white wig, tight blouse and see-through pantyhose.
ME (as elderly lady): The economy is bad news.
Todd, wearing a bonnet, wheeled onto the stage, his six-foot frame spilling out of a rusted pram.
TODD (as a small infant): Well, you know what they say: no news is good news.
ME (as elderly lady): I need a drink.
TODD (as the baby): I’m placing you under arrest.
ONE AUDIENCE MEMBER: Boo!
SEVERAL AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Boo! Boo!
ME (as elderly lady): Knock. Knock.
The audience kept booing.
TODD (as baby): Who’s there?
ME (as elderly lady): Bad news.
ANOTHER AUDIENCE MEMBER: Get off the stage, you losers!
I gripped the pram’s handle, lobbed our five full garbage bags and toilet atop Todd and launched the pram off the stage, into the audience. I then jumped off myself, and pushed Todd, the props, and the pram through the audience sitting at tables.
TODD (to me): Run! Run!
We needed to make a break for it. We had already been paid, and the audience was getting aggressive. All the tables and people, however, were in our way, so we were moving at a snail’s pace.
ME: Everyone, please move out of our way!
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Where are you going?
ME: Bathroom break! We need a bathroom break! Please let us through!