My girlfriend, Lisa, says I overanalyze my assignments. I suspect she's right. I guess I bore easily or I'm just a lousy show-off, but whenever I get an assignment I want to mess around with it, often to the point where it becomes almost a detriment to me.
For Christmas I wanted to design my own holiday cards. I'd done this in the past, but it had been a while and I felt I'd lost touch with so many people over the last few years—–the needle and the damage done etc.——it would be a nice way for me to re-establish contact with some old friends and past co-workers. Plus, it had been a while since I'd sat down to draw——when I put the spike into my vein etc.——so I thought it would be the perfect way to blow off my many other potentially profitable creative projects——Freeze! Rock! Freeze! Rock! Freeze! Rock! Freeze! Rock! Blow! Etc!
I based the illustration on "Footprints in the Sand", that popular Christian-themed poem that graces many composite board plaques proudly hanging over coffee makers at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings all across the country. In my drawing, two sets of footprints in the snow gradually become one, and Santa Claus is seen from the back, carrying someone in his fat arms. To my understanding, this was awesome.
I mailed them out and in the days that followed I received several calls and emails from people thanking me for the card, and wondering if Santa Claus had killed someone. In response I found myself emailing those people the text of "Footprints…" and eventually realized I was one sarcastic eyeroll away from being a man who sincerely emails his friends and family religious themed poetry regardless of how uncomfortable it might make them feel.
I still attest (against all evidence from friends this past holiday season) that "Footprints…" is a pretty popular piece of poetry, but I was so wrapped up in my special little project that I didn't take a moment to consider that no one else lives in my head and my holiday cards could easily have proven anywhere from unclear to baffling to a large number of recipients.
More recently, I participated in a comedy show where comedians were asked to tell the first joke they'd ever written or performed in front of an audience. It was a potentially grueling premise that actually turned out to be really entertaining and, in a couple of instances, sort of endearing. (Craig Balderson, I AM TALKING TO YOUR GUITAR!)
Then there was me…I failed to remember or locate my first joke, which was something Lisa absolutely couldn't understand. Her memory is very well organized. If she'd been asked to tell her first joke, she would have had no problem remembering it. She would also remember exactly what she was wearing when she told the joke, what she was wearing each of the next dozen times she told that joke, and would have made certain that her outfit was different with every single repetition of the joke. I don't have that kind of mind, so I over-analyzed my assignment instead.
I came up with the idea of pretending I'd written a bunch of jokes when I was a baby. Secretly, I'd always wanted to write an entire set of hacky jokes from a baby's perspective, anyway——"What's the deal with poopie pants, everyone??"——and thought it would be more fun if I wrote and delivered the baby jokes as if I were a Def Jam comedian since that would be such a big diversion from my traditional style of comedy. (Fidgety Jew™)
Here's how it went down, from four unique perspectives I gleaned from the crowd's reaction:
PEOPLE WHO HAVE NEVER SEEN ME PERFORM BEFORE:
Are these real jokes? Is he calling women "hoze?" And why is he yelling so much?
PEOPLE WHO HAVE SEEN ME PERFORM BEFORE AND WERE ALSO SCHEDULED TO PERFORM ON THE SHOW:
When is it my turn to perform on the show? / I am done performing on the show and I think it went pretty well.
This was a terrible idea that I am now forced to commit to, at least 68%.
A little racy for my taste, but I gotta admit he's speaking the truth. What is the deal with poopie diapers indeed!
As soon as I walked offstage, I already started wishing I'd searched a bit harder for my first joke. Even though I don't usually enjoy art that comes from demonstrating how misguided yet precious we all were when we were younger, I was honestly most impressed with the comedians who took the assignment literally and sincerely, and slightly less impressed with anyone who pretended this was all supposed to be an exercise in "Hey, Comedy, please enjoy my exercise in post-modern Gofuckyourself-ism!" (Present and accounted for.)
But why am I being so introspective about it all when the obvious silver lining to this whole story is that I've got a whole mess of excellent Def Jam Baby jokes? If you don't know, now you know:
So I was chillin' the other day in my onesie, just sucking on my mommy's titty. Just suckin' and suckin' and suckin' when suddenly she whips it out of my mouth and says, "Damn, baby! That's enough! What do you think I am? Dairy Queen?" And I said, "You GOD DAMN RIGHT, WOMAN!" And then I grabbed her titty and SHOOK IT and said, "Now make me a milkshake, bitch!" CAUSE I'M A BAY-BEEEE.
That's right, fellas, because you got to KEEP YOUR HOZE IN LINE. Check this out. The other day my mommy was like, "This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home. This little piggy had roast beef, and this little baby had none." And I'm like, "Well, this little piggy's diaper is filled with fifteen pounds of hot dookie, so how about you stop fucking with my toes and change my motherfuckin' diaper, bitch!" CAUSE I'M A BAY-BEE!!!
Yo, you ever notice how your voice changes when you're talking to a fine baby bitch? Like, when you're talkin' to your homiez you're like [high-pitched voice] "waaa!" But when a bitch crawls up, you're like [very deep voice] "waaa, baby. waa." Know what I'm saying? We are trippin' around the ladies, y'all.
You ever start suckin' on someone's finger because you thought it was a titty? Like, when you're buggin' from hunger you get that TittyVision. Fellas, you know what I'm talkin' about. Oh, that shit ain't funny to you? Is your daddy the CEO of Similac or some shit?
Yo, who here knows what sound a cow makes? Yeah, I'm looking at a lot of you motherfuckers and you're all like, [white guy voice] "Helen, what is this fine young fellow talking about?" Because you don't know. See, a lot of you motherfuckers act like you know but you don't. I see you trying to hide but don't think I don't see you, neither. "Moo." A cow goes moo and a kitty kat goes "meow meow." Ain't that some shit?
Let me hear you——which one of you motherfuckers up in this piece loves Cheerios?