Category Archives: Comedy Real Life

My Name is Joseph

MyNameIsJoseph

The name my parents gave me is Joseph Aaron Scrimshaw. When I got married, I took my wife’s maiden name as a second middle name. My current legal name is Joseph Aaron Stevenson Scrimshaw.

While I was growing up, I pretty much let people call me whatever they wanted: Joe, Joseph, Joey, Scrawny Little Asshole, etc. I never corrected anyone. It felt rude. I figured, “These people are seeing me from the outside. Maybe they’re just picking the name that matches what they see.”

As I got older, my name basically settled into being Joe with the occasional Scrawny Little Asshole.

Once I started a career performing and writing, I consistently used Joseph. After a few years, it started bugging me that despite listing my name as Joseph in every bio, program, press release, interview, etc. people in my professional life would still call me Joe.

I decided, over a decade ago, that if I wanted people to use Joseph, I needed to be consistent. I made a point of telling people that for anything professional, it was Joseph. People and publications still called me Joe.

I decided to start introducing myself to any new people I met as Joseph. I began trying, ever so gently, to correct people if they called me Joe.

At this point in my life, I have a handful of very old friends who know me as Joe. Besides that, my name is Joseph.

Joseph feels right. To me, there is a world of difference between Joe and Joseph.

Joe is a big strong guy who lifts weights and watches football. Joseph collects action figures and is pretty sure he’s a Hufflepuff.

Joe likes America and eating raw steaks cooked on the hood of a big old muscle car. Joseph drives a Toyota Yaris and likes to write comedy essays about Aquaman’s feelings.

I am a motherfucking Joseph.

Still, people call me Joe. These days, the Joe-calling mostly happens on social media. So people are literally calling me Joe while responding to my twitter handle @JOSEPHScrimshaw. I think some people feel shortening names is a way to suggest friendship or intimacy. For other people, maybe two syllables just feels like too much work.

Did you know the beloved actor known as Ben Cum originally went by the ridiculously long name, Benedict Cumberbatch? Think about all the mouth time we would have wasted if he’d insisted BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH was his actual, preferred name? Do you know how many syllables that is? Who has time to even count! Thank God for Ben Cum!

I know people aren’t calling me Joe with malice, but it continues to bother me. And I continue to feel rude correcting people. I feel fussy and uptight saying, “No, no, no, you HAVE to use this version of my name. The longer one. The one that sounds like a guy who has a degree in Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature. Yes, the one who has an Excel Spreadsheet to keep track of which Doctor Who DVDs he doesn’t yet own.”

But why do I feel rude asking people to call me by my preferred name?

I think there is a subtle, yet pervasive idea that we should let our identities be dictated from the outside. That we, as individuals or groups, don’t have the right to determine our identities.

Because that’s what a name is. It’s your identity. It’s one of the ways you tell the world who you are. Why would anyone want that taken away from them?

It’s like if your name was Steve and you started working at a new job, said your name was Steve, and then everyone in the office just decided to call you Shithead.

“But my name is Steve,” Steve might say.

“Yeah,” the boss would respond, “But we prefer Shithead.”

“I actually find Shithead kind of offensive,” Steve would say.

“Come on, loosen up, Shithead,” the boss would cajole. “We actually mean Shithead as a term of RESPECT. In our office, we have a long history of calling the best employee Shithead.”

“Yeah, I don’t really care. It’s my name. Please call me Steve.”

“WHOA! WHOA! Way to overreact and take away my freedom of speech, Shithead!” The boss would yell while stomping around and blowing the office air horn designed to shut down further discussion.

Then, ideally, Steve would flip everyone off and use his jet pack to just blast off and fly away. Sadly, we don’t have jet packs yet so this resolution is just a fantasy.

The point is please call me Joseph. It’s my name. It’s my choice.

I know there will always be people who call me Joe out of habit or laziness or even attempts to be friendly and informal. To those people: I know you mean no disrespect so I will attempt to begrudgingly understand.

And if you hear my preference, understand it, and still, without my permission, choose to call me Joe–that is your right.

Just like it’s my right to start calling you “Shithead” in retaliation.

Anyway, thanks for reading this long, sensitive, wordy essay about how our names are signifiers of our identities.

It’s a real “Joseph” thing to write.

If you enjoy my posts, you can help make more happen by supporting me on Patreon. My next post will be about Adult Underoos and thanks to an unlocked Patreon goal it will include photos of me in my underoos. You’re welcome and I’m sorry.

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Beer, Burgers, and The Future

Beer Burgers and the Future

To me, the Super Bowl commercials are like a cultural state of the union.

My initial reaction to the picture painted of modern America this year was: We are afraid of death and we want to fuck our cars.

I think the subtextual messages of the commercials are important because I think those ideas are more lasting than the actual commercial message. For many of the spots, if you happen to look away at literally the last two seconds of the commercial you will have NO IDEA WHAT WAS BEING ADVERTISED.

You’ll just be awash in a montage of the Grand Canyon, beer, small children, breasts, puppies, Liam Neeson, expensive cars being driven by the ghost of your disappointed father, and if you’re me, a sudden desire to move to Canada.

One theme I was affected by was the desire for kindness and human connection.

Coke’s ad featured a plot of strange soda-based cyber terrorism in which some sugar water infects the internet and instead of corroding the enamel from our teeth through wi-fi signals, Coke sends messages of kindness.

McDonald’s ad showed customers paying for their breakfast burritos with hugs which is apparently a real campaign. I applaud the sentiment, but I’m terrified by the reality. I don’t eat at McDonald’s but if I did I would want a six piece chicken McNugget with honey mustard sauce and a huge helping of emotional distance.

Still, it was an interesting trend. A reflection of forward movement. Coke and McDonald’s, two of the largest corporations in the world, paid millions of dollars to air what was basically a CRY FOR HELP.

We are longing for more human connection and I’m going to do my best to help with that by sitting alone in my home and tweeting about it.

Anyway, the commercials that affected me the most were two commercials that advanced stupid, outdated gender ideas: Carl’s, Jr’s ad for burgers and objectification and Budweiser’s attack on craft beer and the educated wimps who drink it.

The two commercials resonated for me because of our current cultural discussions about feminism. Particularly, the idea that knocking down old, horrible stereotypes about women is also beneficial to men because in the process we’ll also dismantle old, horrible stereotypes about men, too.

The  Carl’s, Jr. spot was the most offensive ad to me.

HERE’S WHERE I DON’T LINK TO IT BECAUSE I DON’T WANT TO GIVE THEM VIEWS.

Basically, a busty woman in a bikini walks around being gawked at by men. You know, to make you want to fuck eat a cheeseburger. In one shot, a tomato is in the foreground to look like it is the woman’s butt. A hand reaches in and squeezes the tomato. In other words, a woman’s body is the same as a tomato–it is something to be evaluated and consumed.

I grew up with these kinds of images and ideas being the norm. I always understood intellectually they were trying to use natural attraction to the human body to sell stuff, but I’ve come to realize it’s so much more insidious than that. Thanks to shitty, sexist campaigns like that, I grew up with the constant message that I, as a man, should treat women like they were a product and if I did not, I was somehow not a man.

More on my lack of manliness, in a moment!

I think it’s important to say these kinds of messages of objectification are not okay. So, the commercial’s message of evaluation and consumption has worked on me. I’ve evaluated my thoughts and I will never consume anything at Carl’s Jr. When I drive by McDonald’s, I will think of a weird, desperate attempt to get me to call my father. When I drive by Carl’s, Jr. I’ll just think, “Hey, fuck you, Carl’s, Jr.”

AND NOW, IN ALL CAPS, MY MANLINESS.

There’s been a lot of excellent dissection of Budweiser’s anti-craft beer commercial.

ALSO NOT LINKED TO HERE.

The ad was very new in its confrontation of the divide between craft beer and traditional “sad dad juice in a bottle” beers like Budweiser. But that ad kicked it old school when it comes to reinforcing stupid gender stereotypes about masculinity.

The ad portrayed people who enjoy craft beer as wimps. According to the words and images in the commercial, here are things that sissy craft beer men do: They fuss, they sip, they dissect, they drink fruity peach beers, they wear glasses, and sometimes they tweet a nice thing to a male friend and don’t even hashtag it #NoHomo.

Okay, that last thing wasn’t in the ad.

Here are the words and images associated with real men who drink Budweiser: Hard, wood, axes, horses, tradition, strong forearms, big pounding horses, throwing a beer to your friend who does not wear glasses and is able to catch the beer without flinching, did I mention horses? Horses being driven by men of authority wearing uniforms?

Seriously, if Budweiser loves horses this much they should just start sponsoring every off-broadway production of Equus.

This commercial, like many other commercials I grew up with, felt like it was mansplaining how I should be a man. The only women seen in this commercial are serving Budweiser, the KING of beers, to men. So not only are the signifiers of HARD, OLD, AXE-WIELDING, FOREARM MUSCLES what I’m supposed to be as a man, they are implicitly not gender neutral attributes.

As much as I reject the casual objectification of women by Carl’s, Jr. I reject the hard-pounding assertion that I am not a man if I don’t drink low ABV canned beer that makes me daydream about riding a big, angry horse.

I grew up letting things like stupid fucking beer and burger commercials tell me what it is to be a man. They are not just commercials. They are reflections of societal norms broadcast to millions of people. Thanks Carl’s Jr. and Budweiser, but I think I’ll decide for myself what makes me a man.

Sometimes, I fuss. Sometimes, I make fast, reckless decisions. Sometimes, I sip. Sometimes, I chug. My forearms are weak and my favorite horse is Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony. I like action movies where Liam Neeson punches ambiguously Eastern-European men and I do push-ups every morning. My weak forearms ache as I type this.

But NONE of these things are gender-specific. Here’s the most important thing about being a man to me right now: I don’t give a damn what it means to be a man. I just want to figure out what attributes matter to being a good human being. The kind of human being who reaches out in friendship and compassion without Coke taking over the internet.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go meet a friend for drinks and pound some Belgian witbier. I have a lot of female friends who can put away craft beer like nobody’s business, so tonight I’ll be drinking #LikeAGirl.

POUNDINGLY,
Joseph

P.S. There was also an ad for Scientology–a massive, well financed, secretive religious organization–that wants you to think for yourself. Thanks, Scientology, I think I will!

If you enjoy my work, you can check out all the comedy words and things I’m making via Patreon.

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One Percent of a Good Idea

OnePercentOfAGoodIdea
I want to see major changes in our society. I don’t want those changes to come because of violence. So how do they come?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this because of something a friend of mine said a few years ago during the Occupy Wall Street protests.

My friend said something along the lines of this:

“Historically, cultures that have a very small group of wealthy people controlling the lives of a very large group of poor people only experience true change when there’s a revolution and the rich people get murdered and their heads are put on spikes and stuff.”

My friend is very knowledgable. Even drunk at 3 am in the morning, he can rattle off facts about the French revolution, quotes from James Joyce’s Ulysses, and the names of character actors from obscure episodes of 1960s era Doctor Who that only exist in audio format.

He not only retains facts, he can also apply them to the world around him. For example, he could probably tell you which classic Doctor Who script editor produced the most Joycean episodes of the show. Would it be Terrance Dicks or Robert Holmes? Who knows? My friend, probably.

The point is his observation that class warfare has historically been an actual WAR startled me, but it also made a lot of sense.

I believe America has a serious economic imbalance. A small percent of the population controls the money. The money influences the politics. We’re fighting for things like a livable minimum wage and stopping giant corporations from destroying equal access to the internet. There is still a possibility that Comcast and Time Warner Cable–two of consumers’ most despised companies–will be allowed to merge into one big monster like some awful SyFy movie come to life.

A lot of us would just dump the horrible MegaSharkBadger that is Comcast/Time Warner Cable if we could, but we don’t have a lot of options.

Besides, those companies deliver us the parts of our culture we enjoy–our access to communication and entertainment. They are the gatekeepers to all our cat pictures, tumblr accounts about shipping Harry and Hermione, and phone service to call our cable providers and make futile complaints about the horrible service.

We’re used to not being able to make a dent in the control of giant rich corporations. As a result, I think we’ve become surprisingly docile. Our recent attempts at protests have been met with, to me, a shocking amount of resistance.

Recently, there was a calm, non-violent act of civil disobedience at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota to protest multiple questionable killings of citizens by police officers. Instead of just allowing the protest to happen, the Mall of America decided to double down on every negative stereotype about both malls and America by reacting with riot gear and Orwellian messages on their big screen.

I shared one of the protesters’ photos in this tweet.

A ton of people, some calm and some seething with outrage, tweeted back to inform me that the Mall of America was PRIVATE PROPERTY and thus the protest was illegal.

I’m aware the Mall of America is private property. I’m also aware that sometimes protests need to be held in a space where they will be disruptive in order for the status quo to be challenged. I think the need to discuss unchecked police brutality is more important than a shopper’s mild inconvenience on their way to The Gap.

Regardless of the politics of this particular protest, I was shocked that so many people took a MALL’S SIDE over humans. We’ve become so pacified–so enamored with business as usual–that the rights of an Orange Julius are more sacrosanct than a protest about people’s rights.

Modern day America is a far cry from France in 1789. If peacefully demonstrating in a mall is considered this shocking, then obviously there isn’t going to be a violent uprising.

So why would the small group of people who hold all the financial power fear the people?

We’re not going to rise up and attack. We’re not going to rush the offices of Wal-Mart executives, the predatory lenders that almost destroyed our entire economy, the MegaSharkBadgers at Comcast, etc.

And I’m happy for that. I don’t want violence. I don’t want to see a head on a pike outside of an episode of Game of Thrones and even then it’s a bummer.

But I do want change.

So here is my horrible idea for the problem of the rich, powerful, and greedy:

What if we threatened to punch them, just once, in the crotch?

I know it sounds ridiculous, but hear me out. Right now, America loves the status quo. We will not see a comedy movie unless there is a crotch shot in the trailer. That is the status quo. We also love stories about tough, leathery old men who play by their own rules. That is the status quo.

Let’s embrace the status quo. Let’s get Liam Neeson to act out a real life socio-political action thriller called CROTCH THREAT.

Here’s the trailer:

Liam Neeson walks slowly toward the camera.

The voiceover kicks in.

“They have taken our money. They have taken our respect. They got us addicted to high fructose corn syrup and we can’t even pay the medical bills. Enough is enough. Now, one man, with a special set of skills (mostly crotch punching) is going to take it all back.”

Liam Neeson talks heatedly into a phone:

“Release just a little bit of control, spread the wealth, get out of the political system, or I will look for you, I will find you, and I will punch your crotches.”

Then there’s a fast-cut montage of crotch punching and a lot of the BWAHHHHHM noise from Inception as the voiceover concludes:

“We really only want to do this once, but if we have to, there will be a sequel. And like all sequels, it will be a little bit worse.”

Liam Neeson walks away from a massive explosion, the shrapnel flies across the screen and hits Donald Trump in the crotch.

BAM. THIS FILM IS NOT YET RATED.

The rating would be S for Stupid. It’s a stupid idea. I know that.

But if this idea were an actual movie, people would probably go see it because we love stories about fighting the status quo almost as much as we have become resistant to fighting the status quo in real life.

I’m a comedian so I react to my frustration by trying to express it in the language of comedy like proposing something called CROTCH THREAT. A lot of people are taking real action. There are protests. There are petitions. There is knowledgable and intelligent activism on many different issues.

And there are angry, ridiculous blog posts like this. There are snarky tweets. There are facebook diatribes. There are politically loaded pictures of Benedict Cumberbatch on instagram. I don’t think those things are “slacktivism.” I think they are using our amazing tools of instant communication to give legitimate voice to people’s thoughts and opinions. We have France in 1789 beat there.

Every once in a while, someone’s politically loaded cat picture on the internet is going to break through the noise and get someone else to think about the status quo, what changes they would like to see, and what non-violent actions they can take to make a difference.

This blog is one tiny ridiculous metaphorical punch to the crotch of injustice.

That’s as violent as I’m willing to get, but it’s a swing I’m happy to take.

If you enjoy my work, you can check out all the comedy words and things I’m making via Patreon.

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Top 14 Things I Did in 2014

MyTop14of2014

For the last few years, I’ve been writing down all the things I did that year to remind myself to stop beating myself up for not working hard enough.

I did work hard and do a lot of things this year and I’m going to reward myself with a much shorter, lazier post. Here are 14 things I’m proud of, happy with, and otherwise feel like giving myself a gold star for. For example, I think I deserve a gold star for not giving two shits about ending a sentence on a preposition. These are also not in any particular order. One of the other things I did this year was EMBRACE CHAOS.

Here we go:

1) I moved to Los Angeles. I love the city, I love the weather, it’s good for my comedy career, and it’s fun to live in a place where I can go to the neighborhood grocery store for ice cream and whiskey and see three different character actors who have been murdered by Jack Bauer on 24. Most importantly, I have yet to burst into flames.

2) I did a lot of stand-up. I’ve done a lot of different types of comedy performance–improv, sketch, children’s theater, working at Kinko’s–but I’m really enjoying saying comedy things into a microphone. This year, I performed at SF SketchFest, the Jonathan Coulton Cruise, headlined at Comedy Corner Underground in Minneapolis, a bunch of different geek conventions, variety shows with my wonderful friends The Doubleclicks, and performing on shows around town in LA. A highlight for me was getting booked on Ron Lynch’s awesome show TOMORROW. I was the first comic up and the last comic of the night was Louis CK. I’ve also been posting a bunch of my stuff to YouTube. Here’s a bit about objectification and soup recorded live at CONvergence.

3) Writing and hosting for WTFark. I did several stints guest hosting this satirical comedy news show. My favorite, by far, is this story about a monkey man which caused Huffington Post to quote me about monkey cults in New Zealand.

4) I shot an episode of TableTop with Wil Wheaton. If you’re not familiar with TableTop, well, hello and welcome to your first day on the internet! I hope you like cats! Seriously, TableTop is an awesome show, Wil’s an awesome host, and it was super fun to shoot. I played the game Concept and my episode should be out in early 2015. Until then, here’s a picture of me from the set!

Joseph Scrimshaw isn’t sure he gets the Concept… #TableTop

A photo posted by Geek & Sundry (@geekandsundry) on

5) I started a Patreon. The kind and generous support of my patrons has given me the freedom and impetus to keep creating comedy stories and essays on my blog, producing my podcast Obsessed, and unlocking fun, weird goals like doing stand-up dressed as a squirrel.

6) I became a Social Justice Warrior. Contrary to my assumptions, there was not a long series of arduous trials. All I had to do was speak up about issues of common human decency and equality! I’m particularly proud of this essay about what a stupid, inefficient insult SJW is.

7) I wrote another episode of Getting On with James Urbaniak. James’ podcast is great. In every episode he plays a different character who happens to be named James Urbaniak. I’ve written two other episodes, but this one was a special spooky episode released on Halloween. It features James playing a man who is both a motivational speaker and a werewolf.

8) I recorded an episode of The Dork Forest with Jackie Kashian. I’ve done a lot of guest bits on great podcasts this year–including Star Wars Minute, Feliz Navipod, Fire Talk With Me, Kneel Before Aud–but Jackie’s was extra special because she gave me a t-shirt. I’m thrilled to have got to know Jackie a little better. She’s an amazing comedian and a great podcast host and she let me defend the Star Wars prequels and didn’t even kick me out of her house.

9) I helped make Thanksgiving Versus Christmas happen. Thanksgiving Versus Christmas was my friend Molly Lewis’ awesome holiday special. Molly wrote all the songs, the awesome Josh Cagan wrote the book, and we performed it as a live show. I directed, played the narrator, and did a little bit of work on the script. Everything came together beautifully (Molly has an excellent wrap-up here) and it was one of those wonderful magic times where the show was even more than the sum of its parts. And the parts were all damn good to begin with. The show is available as an album and you can pre-order the hell out of it right now.

10) I continued being Obsessed. I continue to enjoy doing my comedy podcast Obsessed and to my delight, the listenership continues to increase! One of my favorite episodes this year was both insightful and horrifically funny thanks to my guests Tim Wick and Rebecca Watson. The episode was about CATS. Other favorite episodes included obsessions with Maps, Grease 2, Tiny Things, and Tenacious D. You can find them all on iTunes.

11) I continued to tweet a lot. I don’t know if I’m proud of that, but it’s definitely a thing that happened. Here’s one of my favorite tweets this year.

12) Writing, writing, always writing. I wrote a lot of different things this year. In addition to some of the stuff mentioned above, I’m proud to be a regular contributor to Alice Lee’s awesome essay site Yearbook Office where I write about things like social justice and U2. I also wrote 30,000 words of a novel that I’ll eventually finish and I wrote three drafts of a sit com spec script that I’m currently shopping around. I also wrote this thing about Aquaman and got a thumbs up on twitter from the current writing team on the actual Aquaman comic book. Several of my (already written, thank god) plays were produced this year including Adventures in Mating, An Inconvenient Squirrel, and Stitch, Bitch N Die with more productions to come next year.

13) I started a show in LA called HOT COMEDY DREAM TIME. The concept of the show is that I get guest comedians and actors and they perform something they’ve always wanted to perform. In the show’s three month trial run, we created new sketches and bits with Hal Lublin, John Ross Bowie, Wil Wheaton, Dana Snyder, Mike Phirman, Greg Benson, Kim Evey, and Audrey Kearns. The show will be back in 2015! Details soon right here on the website.

14) I AM STILL ALIVE. Well, that took a sudden and dark turn. 2014 has, in many ways, been a rough year. There’s been a lot of brutal and pointless violence in the world. A lot of sad deaths in the world of comedy. Two friends from the comedy scene in Minnesota passed away suddenly in the last months of the year. Sometimes it feels like it would be easy to succumb to despair given how difficult and unfair life can be. But in doing something like writing this year in review, I look back on all the amazing, kind, funny, brave, gracious people I know–people I work with creatively, people I know in real life, people I only know on social media, people I see in audiences at shows who have done this insane incredible thing called leaving their house–and I feel very refreshed and inspired.

Thanks to everyone who has helped justify my optimism this year.

15) I ADDED ANOTHER ONE BECAUSE CHAOS REIGNS SUPREME. I also watched a lot of Netflix with my wonderful wife, Sara. We like Arrow a lot. Thanks, universe.

If you enjoy my work, you can check out all the comedy words and things I’m making via Patreon.

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GEEK CODE

TheGeekCode

One of the rewards of backing me on Patreon is suggesting a topic for a blog post. The backer who suggested this post wished to remain anonymous.

Anonymous said, “I sometimes feel like a politician the way I wordsmith my partner’s interests and actions when talking to co-workers or family. So my suggestion is a how-to guide for introducing your geeky significant other to your non-geeky friends and family.”

Personally, I think we should all fly our geek flag with pride, but it’s not always easy to do.

So as you jump in your stolen Type 40 TARDIS or illegally modified YT-1300 Corellian Freighter to travel home for the holidays, here are several fun euphemisms for geek pursuits you can use with your family of noobs!

Collecting Star Wars Action Figures = Investing in Plastics

Playing Dungeons & Dragons = Taste Testing New Mountain Dew Flavors

Working at a Ren Fest = Camping with Benefits

Putting Magic Cards in Plastic Sleeves = Canning the Preserves

Playing Legend of Zelda = What if Candy Crush had a story?

Painting Miniatures = Mid-Life Crisis

Buying Comic Books = Participating in a focus group for the movie industry

Editing Wikipedia Articles about Star Trek Novels = Screaming at the Abyss

Shipping Hermione and Harry = Being aware that Tumblr exists

Masturbating to a Picture of Benedict Cumberbatch = Pilates

Okay. Reviewing the above, it’s clear some of my euphemisms are potentially more confusing/disturbing than the truth.

Here’s another tactic. Just get mad and yell at people. Personally, my patience for the non-geeky reacting with confusion and derision to geek stuff has been greatly eroded since, you know, geek stuff is now a massive part of our culture and economy. Here are some cathartic answers. They work best if you have an obnoxious relative named Steve who is also a dentist.

Who is Captain Marvel?

SHE’S A SUPERHERO WHOSE MOVIE IS GOING TO MAKE MORE MONEY ON OPENING WEEKEND THEN YOU WILL EVER MAKE AS A DENTIST, STEVE.

What’s a Doctor Who?

IT’S A BRITISH SHOW THAT HAS BEEN AROUND LONGER THAN YOU’VE BEEN ALIVE, STEVE. AND NO, JUST BECAUSE IT’S BRITISH DOESN’T MEAN THE ACTORS HAVE BAD TEETH. THAT JOKE IS STUPID AND YOU SHOULD FEEL BAD ABOUT YOURSELF, STEVE.

What’s a furry?

THEY’RE PEOPLE WHO ENJOY DRESSING UP LIKE ANIMALS, STEVE. YOU SHOULD UNDERSTAND THAT SINCE YOU’VE BEEN COSPLAYING A HORSE’S ASS ALL NIGHT.

Okay, but what’s cosplay?

DON’T YOU WATCH CRIME PROCEDURALS? THEY’VE ALL DONE A COSPLAY EPISODE. IT’S LIKE THAT, BUT NOT STUPID LIKE THOSE SHOWS MAKE IT SEEM. IT’S AWESOME, STEVE. HAVE YOU EVER SEEN SOMEONE DRESSED UP AS HELLO KITTY DARTH VADER? CAN YOUR PUNY MIND EVEN FATHOM THAT, STEVE?

What’s a Skyrim, though? Is that–

DO YOU KNOW WHAT GOOGLE IS, STEVE? DO YOU KNOW WHAT YEAR IT IS? DO YOU WANT TO BE EVEN REMOTELY CULTURAL RELEVANT? OR DO YOU JUST WANT TO BE A TWITTER EGG PROFILE PIC OF A HUMAN BEING FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, STEVE?

Anyway, that’s not an actual suggestion, more of a fantasy. An angry, cathartic fantasy that was SUPER FUN to type.

Ultimately, I think the best you can do is be wise, calm, and patient like Obi-Wan Kenobi. If your loved ones are curious about your geeky pursuits, just tell them the truth.

Even if that truth is from a certain point of view.

There’s nothing in the geek realm that isn’t as simple as this: It’s a hobby, a game, a television show, a book, a club, or, you know, A DRIVING FORCE OF OUR ECONOMY AND CULTURE.

Because when you get down to it, there is no difference between Pokemon and Fantasy Football.

Okay, Pikachu hasn’t been arrested anywhere near as much as NFL players, but there’s no reason to rub that in at the dinner table.

Happy holidays and Han Shot First.

Your geek pal,
Joseph

If you enjoy my comedy works, you can help make them possible by becoming a patron! Also, if you’re still looking for holiday gifts for the geek in your life, here are some geeky comedy things.

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The Crumbsucker Curse

TheCrumbsuckerCurse

I love swearing.

When I was in 2nd grade, I attended a small Catholic school. Some kids had been swearing at one another on the playground. In response, the nuns came into our classroom and asked us to list all the words we shouldn’t say.

Again, for clarity, when I was in 2nd grade at a catholic school NUNS ASKED ME TO RAISE MY HAND AND SHOUT FILTHY CURSE WORDS AT THEM.

I raised my hand and tried out every combination my little brain could think of. I even tried out a few fun conjugations. I bleep. She bleeps. They bleeped. They have bleeped. They will have bleeped. They will have been bleeping.

Except I didn’t say “bleep” and thus a great fucking love affair with swearing was born.

Not only do I love swearing, I truly think it’s vital to the human civilization. The delicate balance of society depends on our ability to break the rules every once in a while. Some days, the only thing standing between order and chaos is a good “shithead.”

But even though I’m a fan of the f-bomb and all of our linguistic artillery, I’m troubled by more swear words than I used to be. Many of the classics are fundamentally rooted in sexism, phobia, and general assholery.

I have no intention of giving up swearing. But I want to strive to swear BETTER.

I find myself going to asshole a lot. It’s gender neutral. We all have butts. Asshole is the Batman of swear words. Brutal, efficient, and loved by all.

But sometimes even insults with ass don’t work. If I ever did a TED Talk, it would be called “Kiss My Ass and Other Problematic Insults.”

When you say “kiss my ass,” you’re basically saying, “I don’t like you. I find you untrustworthy. Therefore, I want to expose the most vulnerable, sensitive parts of my body and put them close to your teeth. That will show you.

I also have concerns about douchebag.

Because a lot of the douchebags who say douchebag don’t know what a douchebag is. They’re basically yelling, “You know what you are? I think you’re some kind of hygiene device with water and a hose thing and–I’m going to look you up on Wikipedia!”

I really did look up douchebags on Wikipedia and it was a fascinating read. As always happens when you look at Wikipedia when you should be doing something else, I clicked through to related articles.

I spent some quality time with the long article about bidets.

Let me tell you: Bidets are an overlooked fount of swear word potential.

Wikipedia told me “bidet” is a French word that originally meant “pony.”

My mind filled with the possibilities. I pictured myself back in 2nd grade, on the playground, dodging kickballs and screaming at other kids, “You’re a bidet, Chad! You’re a french toilet pony!”

“Son of a bidet” is also a pretty satisfying thing to shout at say, your iPhone, when it autocorrects “sweat pants” to “swear pants.” (I like the idea of special, magic pants you need to put on before you can swear, but that seems like a lot of fucking work.)

But even with bidet, we can get rid of the gender bias of “Son of.”

We can call people a daughter of a bidet, cousin of a toilet, or, my personal favorite, a child of a butt.

It’s ridiculous, but strangely cathartic. If you can, turn to someone near you and call them a child of a butt. It will improve your mood in no time AND you might make a new friend!

Along the fun lines of child of a butt, I think we can be far more creative and abstract in our cursing.

In 7th grade, I kept having a war of four letter words with one particular kid. One day, I strapped on my swear pants and called him something colorful yet stupid like a “big shit-tool.”

And he responded with this sentence:

“Oh yeah? Well, your mom lives in a Doritos bag.”

To this day, I have no idea what that means, but I still remember it.

“Your mom lives in a Doritos bag.”

It’s sad, absurd, and whimsical all at the same time. It’s like being insulted by a Wes Anderson film.

The Doritos bag memory has encouraged me to be more creative in my cursing.

Swear words should be easy to come by. They don’t need to be based on gender, sexuality, or horrible stereotypes to be potent.

You only need two things for a good expletive:

One: It needs to feel visceral coming out of your mouth. Curse words need a good damn mouthfeel.

Two: It needs to feel a little verboten. It needs to feel like something you maybe shouldn’t yell at a nun in 2nd grade.

I don’t have any nuns in my life right now, but I wanted to test out some words with an authority figure who would give me an honest response. So I made a list of visceral yet meaningless words. I called my mother and said them to her.

I worked my way down the list until one of them finally made her go, “Oh, geez.”

And I knew that was one.

The made-up word that made my kind, intelligent, Anderson-Cooper-loving mother go “Oh, geez!” was this:

CRUMBSUCKER.

One who sucks crumbs? Maybe? I have no idea what it means, but it sounds nasty as shit.

If the person you called a child of a butt is still talking to you, try calling them a CRUMBSUCKER right now.

The next time someone cuts you off in traffic, let that crumbsucker know how you feel about it.

When your phone changes “carpe diem” to “carpet denim” seize the moment with a big bellowing crumbsucker.

If you follow me on twitter, feel free to send me a tweet right now calling me a #crumbsucker. I will feel loved and the rest of twitter will be frightened and confused.

Go forth and crumbsuck!

And if in your travels, someone tries to make fun of you for shifting the swearing paradigm, for putting some thought into what you want future generations to shout at nuns in 2nd grade, then just zip up your swear pants and tell that child of a butt:

“Hey, you French toilet pony, your Dad lives in Wes Anderson’s crumbsucking Dorito’s bag!”

And once again, order will be preserved amidst the fucking chaos of being humans.

Thanks, crumbsuckers.

If you enjoy my work, you can check out all the comedy words and things I’m making via Patreon.

P.S. Here’s a video of the stand-up version of this blog post. Multiple platform synergy, crumbsuckers!

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The Worst Insult Ever

TheWorstInsultEver

Dear angry people–

It’s come to my attention many of you believe Social Justice Warrior is an insult.

For all those people, here’s an honest question: Do you know what the words social, justice, and warrior mean?

I am of the opinion they’re all GOOD things. Warrior means someone willing to fight for what matters to them. Social justice, or the concept that all members of our society should have access to the same rights and opportunities, means stuff like:

Big corporations paying people fair wages
Cops not shooting unarmed people for no reason
Movies and TV shows not constantly objectifying women

If you honestly disagree with those things and want to insult people who choose to fight for them, here are some other insults you could try:

Fairness Tool
Equality Jerk
Decent Hole
Big Ol’ Human Rights Head
Mister Thinks Murder Is Wrong Guy

Those examples at least have some negative words in them.

I understand you’re trying to make Social Justice Warrior an insult by saying it sarcastically. It’s meant to be said in quotation marks, dripping with irony, followed by a loud “pffffft” noise, and perhaps a masterful mime impression of masturbation. But really ANY good thing can be an insult if you go “pfffft” after it.

You make a lot of money. Pfffft.
You’re emotionally well-adjusted. Pffft.
Your shoulders look muscular. Pffffft.

I tried to get at this issue in a more succinct way when I tweeted this:

I got a lot of angry responses to that tweet explaining why Social Justice Warrior is a great insult. Those responses included several interesting alternative insults including:

Fascist
Imagination Guy
White Knight
(and my favorite)
Mister Slippery Slope

None of those are particularly effective insults either. Let’s take a look at each of them.

Fascist:

This one is pretty good. At least most of our culture agrees it’s bad to be a fascist. A lot of the people who think Social Justice Warrior is a great insult think their freedom of speech is being threatened. I know this because I’ve read 800 blog posts about them losing their free speech. Please ping me if you don’t understand the irony of that and I will respond with some sort of flowchart.

Basically, it goes like this.

PERSON A: I think Redskins is a racist name and it should be changed.
PERSON B: You’re limiting my free speech!
PERSON A: No, I’m calling you a racist.
PERSON B: Pfffft. (Masturbation gesture.)

That’s a conversation. Not one to be particularly proud of, but no fascist limiting of free speech there.

Imagination Guy:

Yes, I was insulted for being imaginative. This person’s argument was that Social Justice Warriors don’t matter because social justice is just an “imaginary concept.” Surprising news that one can’t fight for a concept. DEMOCRACY and RELIGION will be shocked to hear this.

White Knight:

I get called a White Knight on twitter basically any time I say something remotely decent about gender issues. The claim is that by having and stating a non-hateful opinion about gender issues, I’m riding in like a white knight to save and/or impress women. This is problematic for many reasons. First off, thank you for thinking that I’m strong, reliable, and valiant like a knight! You basically just called me Superman! Unfortunately, my shoulders are not that muscular.

But the Superman analogy only works up to a point. I say things about social justice because they’re issues I believe affect our culture as a whole. White Knight suggests Superman is just rescuing Lois Lane after she fell out of a helicopter. What Social Justice Warriors are doing is trying to stop a meteor from destroying the entire planet. Lois Lane can, and does, rescue herself.

Mister Slippery Slope:

We’re all familiar with the slippery slope. We shout it anytime something we don’t like is about to happen with all of the calm, intelligent, reflection of shouting “shotgun” when we want to ride in the front of a car.

Marriage equality was supposed to be a slippery slope which is why so many cats are getting married now. Cats aren’t getting married now. That was a joke to illustrate the slippery slope thing. Again, flowcharts can be made available. Also, someone please send me a link to all the tumblr posts of cats getting married that are probably out there.

Happy cat marriage tumblr thoughts aside, I think slippery slopes are at the very heart of the Social Justice Warrior debate.

I think they’re causing the fear that motivates the anger.

If you admit some of the video games you like are objectifying women, you might have to stop playing them.

WHERE WILL IT END THEN? WOULD YOU ACTUALLY HAVE TO LEARN TO RESPECT WOMEN? OR PAY THEM EQUALLY? LOOK HOW FAST WE’RE SLIPPING TOWARD TREATING ONE ANOTHER WITH RESPECT AND BASIC HUMAN DECENCY! DAMN YOU, SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIORS!

Maybe no one from the other side of the argument will find this blog. But if you do and it makes you mad, let me try to help. I’m not being a White Knight. I’m not being Superman. I’m just a person who used to be young and angry, too.

If you’re angry because you think equal rights somehow means taking your rights away, I say let the anger go.

Life is like a video game and the hate is a big, bad, pain-in-the-ass Boss Monster. Try defeating it with a hug, some counseling, some empathy, anything. Just get in there and do your best.

If you disagree with me, by all means, use your free speech. Have a discussion.

And if you’re too angry to even manage that, go ahead and call me names. I would suggest jerk, asshole, or shithead. Or maybe get creative and try out something weird and fun like idiotface, weakshoulders, or dunceburger.

Or you can try to insult me by calling me a Social Justice Warrior.

But that will just make me proud. Because it is the worst insult ever.

If you want to know more about social justice issues and the recent attacks on women in the gaming industry, there’s an overview here. If you enjoy my posts, check out Patreon and the kind patrons who make them possible.

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APPLE BASED LIES

AppleBasedLies
Autumn. Kids go back to school. The leaves change. A chill fills the air.

And for seven years of my life, I performed in an incredibly special show.

I’ve done a lot of different kinds of comedy performance.

I used to do a lot of sketch and improv comedy in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In particular, I did a monthly late night variety show called Look Ma, No Pants. It was filthy. Just filthy. The cast regularly polished off an entire jug of Carlo Rossi wine on stage during the show.

One epic show, I was supposed to jump across the stage and land on my knees, but we had spilled so much booze, I hydroplaned and almost slid off the stage. Later in the show, when we were doing some stage combat, one of the other highly trained professional actors accidentally punched me in the face and cut my lip open. Another sketch called for me to tear the white dress shirt I was wearing off my body, which I did. By the end of the show, I was topless, bleeding, and my pants were soaked through with wine.

My friend, who had just bought a theater in Wisconsin, looked at that and said, “Hey, I should ask him to do children’s theater.”

I needed the money so I said yes. I drove out to Wisconsin with some fellow Minneapolis actors and did a nice wholesome show about Johnny Appleseed.

I didn’t even play Johnny Appleseed. I played Johnny Appleseed’s silly friend, Bill. I was made to wear overalls and full body long underwear with the opening in the butt region so I could defecate in an historically accurate manner.

The show itself wasn’t exactly historically accurate.

All of the actors and the director had decided–without any actual discussion–that even though this play was set in 1850s Wisconsin, all the characters should have horrible, vaguely Southern accents.

So I said lines like, “Well, gosh n’ golly, Johnny! You sure done planted a lot of apples today! What you going to do with all of them apples, Johnny?”

None of us knew why we were talking like that. But we all kept doing it FOR SEVEN YEARS.

The cast used to have a joke that if you forgot your line you could just say the word “apple” or “Johnny” and you would probably be right. Because here was the plot:

Johnny Appleseed has a dream to walk the Midwest and share apples with everyone he meets. And he does. The end.

He thinks apples can solve everything. There was a scene where his silly friend Bill was attacked by a bee.

I would say, “AHHHH! It’s a bee! Get it off me!” and dance around like an idiot.

Johnny would say, “Calm down and have an apple.”

Nothing in this show was true. I described the show to my friends as a collection of apple-based lies.

Here’s the true story of Johnny Appleseed:

He did walk the land helping people plant apple trees. But the trees bore bitter, inedible apples that could only be used to make hard, alcoholic cider.

The only reason Johnny planted the trees was so he could give strangers pamphlets about his weird religion. He was a Swedeborgian. Johnny believed that if he never had sex on earth he would be gifted with as many wives as he wanted in heaven.

That didn’t make it into the show. Bill never got to say, “Hey kids, it’s time to talk about our favorite alcoholic religious zealot, Johnny Appleseed! How many wives you gonna have up there in heaven, Johnny?”

Also, did I mention the show was a musical?

In the course of this hour long show, we sang seven songs about apples. In Southern Wisconsin accents.

I can’t sing. I’ve starred in three musicals. Acting is a weird profession.

Here’s a sample of one of the lyrically complex numbers:

Pick an apple, put it in the basket
Pick an apple, put in the basket
Fill that basket – HIIIIIIIGH!

We’re gonna make an apple
We’re gonna make an apple
We’re gonna make an apple – PIIIIIIIIIE!

And of course these songs featured show stopping, Broadway level choreography. All performed at 9 AM by exhausted, hungover actors from a different city.

We would end the songs on our knees. Hands out! Panting! Our sweat reeking of alcohol, having given everything we had to selling our fifth song in a row about apples!

And the audience of 200 second graders would just stare at us as if to say, “What are you doing with your life?”

No applause or anything. And we would fight our way to our feet and continue with our conflict-free apple narrative.

The thing that really made me mad about the kids not applauding is we had told them to do it. At the top of every performance, we did a pre-show speech telling the children exactly how to react to the show.

First, we would do fun little warm-ups. We would ask them if they liked apples like it was a rock concert.

DO YOU LIKE APPLES???!!!???

And they would lose their little minds. Except that one poor kid who would shout out, “Actually, I’m allergic to apples!” No one listened or cared. Because it’s Fall in Wisconsin and you’re going to like apples or GTFO.

Then we’d ask the kids a bunch of leading questions like: What do you do when an actor says something funny?

And the kids would yell out answers like: REPEAT IT!

And what do you when the actors are on stage talking?

THINK ABOUT OTHER THINGS!

And when the actors are done singing and dancing, what do you do?

LEAVE!

These are all real answers shouted at me by children.

After that, we would practice applauding and laughing and listening. Then, no matter how horribly the children had behaved during the warm-up, we always said, “Wow. I think this is the best audience we’ve ever had. Even the kid in the front row who’s flipping me off right now.”

We didn’t say the second sentence out loud.

But all of the absurdity, the lies, the warm-ups, and the hangovers were worth it because I discovered I loved performing for kids.

There were many parts of the show where Johnny Appleseed’s silly friend Bill would fall down or shake his butt at the audience. The children would die with laughter.

Kids are the most honest audience in the world. If they liked it, they laughed. If they were bored, they would let you know in some subtle way like screaming, “I’m bored!”

We would often get cards sent to the theater by kids. The children’s notes scrawled in big crayon letters said things like:

I liked it when Bill fell down and hurt himself!
I enjoyed some of the show!
I have a cat!
My mother is praying for you!

Again, all real examples.

Every day at the end of the show, we would stand outside and greet the kids as they left the theater and got on the bus. They would yell, “It’s Johnny Appleseed and that other guy!”

I would say goodbye to them in my dumb southern accent. “Bye! Bye! Thanks for coming!”

About 90% of the children had a picture of Spider-Man somewhere on their clothing so I would compliment them on their Spider-Man paraphernalia:

Bye! I like your spider-man t-shirt!
Bye! I like your spider-man shoes!
Bye! I like the spider-man stickers on your cast!

And then one day, I was enjoying myself just a little too much.

A child walked by wearing a truly great Spider-Man watch. It was really cool. Not just “for a kid” cool. I wanted it for myself as a mature adult. It was dark red and the actual watch part was like a big spider and the hands of the watch were webbing and I lost myself in the moment and I said:

“WOW-EEE! THAT’S ONE [BLEEP] OF A SPIDER-MAN WATCH!”

But I didn’t say [BLEEP]. I looked around quickly. Luckily, no adults had heard me. But the kid did. He stopped in his tracks. He looked at his watch. He stared up at me.

He looked deep into my eyes and said, “I like it when you fall down.”

I know he meant my literal, physical falling down in the show, but it felt like he was saying, “I know something’s gone wrong in your life that you’re standing on a public sidewalk wearing long johns with a hole in the butt, speaking in a Southern accent, swearing at children about their Spider-Man watches, but you know what? It’s okay, because you made me laugh when you fell down. So maybe it was worth it.”

And maybe it was.

Maybe it [BLEEPING] was.

If you enjoyed this please APPLAUD, DAMMIT and consider backing me on Patreon. Thanks!

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You’re Going to Live on the F’ing Moon

YoureGoingToLiveOnTheMoon

The moon! People once believed it was made of cheese! Sadly, this is not true. Thanks a lot, science.

Recently, I’ve been giving the moon a lot of thought. When I launched the Patreon campaign to support these blog posts, one of the rewards for backers was suggesting a topic for a post. Annie Lynsen suggested, “How about something you learned in school, one of those things they REALLY drilled into you, that has ended up being completely useless information in adulthood?”

There are a lot a options. In fifth grade, an entire hour of my education was devoted to square dancing. My senior year in high school, I took a class called Wood Technology and learned how to freak out when a pothead accidentally sticks their finger in a router. In sixth grade, I was thrilled to hear we were going to do art projects based on the Vikings! Annoyingly, we had to draw pictures of the actual football team, The Minnesota Vikings.

I tried to take a fencing class in college, but I literally couldn’t find the door to the gym so I dropped it. That one is probably my fault.

Also, a big thanks to cursive handwriting which has never done a goddamn thing for me.

But the main thing that popped into my mind wasn’t actual curriculum. It was just the obsession of one strange human. My fourth grade teacher was named Mr. File. He was very kind but prone to sudden outbursts of screaming. (At least he yelled at us in class unlike my fifth grade teacher who used to go out to her car and wail at the heavens which was somehow more disturbing.)

Mr. File yelled at us about a lot of things–being kind, pencils are for writing not stabbing, and more. He once caught a kid drawing a swastika on his homework and launched into an impassioned speech about the true horrors of the Nazis. It was the first time I heard about the realities of the Holocaust. And it was in gruesome detail.

But the main thing Mr. File screamed about was the moon. He was convinced that he would not live on the moon in his lifetime, but his young students would.

Even then, as a scrawny young nerdling, I got the sense that Mr. File would really like to live on the moon and envied us. He was amazed by the advances in technology in his life, but also horrified by the atrocities of humanity. He was, in retrospect, a pretty old school geek with utopian views of a Federation of Planets type future full of spacesuits, reason, and peace among the stars.

In the middle of classes, Mr. File would suddenly shout, “IN YOUR LIFETIME–YOU ARE GOING TO LIVE ON THE MOON!”

It was very aggressive and sometimes sounded like an actual threat.

He would even use the moon as emotional leverage when we screwed up in class.

“YOU CAN’T MULTIPLY FRACTIONS? WELL, YOU MIGHT NEED TO–WHEN YOU LIVE ON THE MOON!”

“YOU DON’T KNOW WHY THE MAGINOT LINE WAS A BAD IDEA? WELL, YOU MIGHT NEED TO–WHEN YOU LIVE ON THE MOON!”

“YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO CONJUGATE VERBS? WELL YOU MIGHT NEED TO–WHEN YOU WILL HAVE BEEN LIVING ON THE MOON!”

So I always assumed, of course, humans will live on the moon.

But now it just seems like why? What is the point of living on the moon? What would be different? We’d just put a bunch of crappy strip malls up there. The moon would just be a very remote suburb. If we were lucky, there would be fancy malls and casinos. It would be like sad Las Vegas in space.

Everything would be the same but we’d stick the word “moon” in front of everything.

“Yeah, I drove my Moon Car to Moon Ikea and bought a Moon Desk and some Swedish MoonBalls.”

The main difference of living on the moon is that it would take us twice as long to say anything.

And we would physically move slower. The moon would be heaven for potheads. They could just bounce around eating Swedish MoonBalls and trying to avoid routers in shop class.

But I feel bad letting Mr. File’s dream die. So I gave some thought to a practical use of the moon.

Here’s my idea: If we actually did have the technology to live on the moon, I would want it to be a prison. I would want the moon to be a penal colony for people who are assholes on the internet.

Like the minute you respond to a tweet or a YouTube video or an article with something awful, you would teleported to the moon.

This brings up the thorny question of how you determine what a bad internet comment is? This is very easy. Do not begin any comment with the words actually, technically, or a picture of a penis.

Basically, if you imagine saying your comment to a real live person and their immediate response would be to punch you in the throat, then you’re going to the moon.

Soon the moon would be full of trolls and the only thing the moon trolls would be allowed to do is write Yelp reviews of the moon itself.

All the reviews would be things like: “This moon sucks dicks.” And somehow the words moon, sucks, and dicks would all be misspelled.

The great hope of technology is that it will actually make us better. That faster communication will allow us to exchange ideas and understanding and empathy, not just be a supersonic rocket to Asshole Town.

Given that argument, I suppose Mr. File would not be thrilled with my idea of making the moon a prison planet for jerks. I also don’t think Mr. File really wanted to live on the moon so he could wear a cool spacesuit and slowly bounce over to Moon Arby’s for some Moon Curly Fries.

I think Mr. File probably wanted to live on the moon to get a little closer to making the fantasy of a better world a reality. He probably wanted us to be a little proactive. Instead of just saying “Haters gonna hate,” he probably wanted us to learn and say something like “Haters gonna get exposed to thoughtful critiques that systematically break down damaging social norms.”

So I guess I did learn something from Mr. File screaming at me about the moon. I’ll do my part by trying to say something kind and intelligent to someone on social media today.

I’ll enjoy my memories of a kind, wistful old man yelling, “YOU’RE GOING TO LIVE ON THE MOON!”

I’ll put the memories through emotional autocorrect and it will come out, “YOU’RE GOING TO LIVE ON THE MOON! PLEASE DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE UP THERE!”

Thanks, Mr. File.

This comedy blog post was made possible by the kind support of all my Patreon backers. Thanks, backers!

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Harry Potter, Tequila, and Comedy

PatreonThankYou

Last February, I joined Patreon. Patreon is a funny sounding word. It sounds like the spell Harry Potter would use to summon tequila.

I like the idea of magically summoning liquor, but I like the reality of Patreon even more.

If you’re not familiar with it, Patreon is a crowdfunding site that fully embraces the idea of artists surviving on their art. Patrons pledge a specified dollar amount (anywhere from $1 to a gajillion, but $1 is great) per thing the artist creates. I’ve been writing comedy blog posts. I’ve been writing two a month so if you pledge $1 per post, $2 quietly slips out of your bank account every month. Accio Living Funds!

I love Kickstarter. It’s made it possible for me to publish a book and a comedy album, but Kickstarter’s project based model makes it difficult to get to that next step. Patreon is old school patronage that directly helps artist pay for food, rent, and sometimes even tequila for your revisionist Harry Potter parody film.

Patreon and the kind support of my patrons have been a huge help to me as I made the transition from Minneapolis to Los Angeles–both financially and artistically.

I decided to produce comedy blogs on Patreon to encourage myself to do more writing. I’ve been using a lot of the blogs as starting points for my live comedy shows. And I’ve been making money while doing it. One stone. SO MANY DEAD BIRDS. Sorry, metaphorical birds.

Patrons also get rewards like custom poems, suggesting blog topics, and even pint glasses with my coat of arms designed by the very talented Natalie Metzger.

scrimshaw-coat-of-arms-whitebg

The downside is that since Patreon is ongoing, you don’t have the last minute rush of a campaign ending like you do with Kickstarter. Instead you can set up goals. I’ve unlocked a few. This month, I’m going to write a two part story and readers will get to vote on the conclusion. I’m going to perform some stand-up dressed as a squirrel and release it on YouTube. (Most likely I’ll be doing that at this show in Los Angeles.)

My next goal is to record a holiday comedy album. I’ve got a lot of holiday themed pieces I’d love to record with a live audience–Batman’s Jingle Bells issues, the Super Aggressive Holiday Letter, and new stuff. I’ve always wanted to do a holiday album, but I’m not a musician. Then I said out loud to myself, “Why should they have all the fun?”

We’re about $50 in pledges away from unlocking the holiday album. I have a lot of really generous patrons. I would love to find 50 more people to pledge $1 per blog post to get to the holiday album! All patrons will get a free download of the album. If you’re interested and want to help out, you can check out my Patreon here.

Every patron also gets an LOLScrimshaw. I’ve been having great fun with these so I’ll leave you with a few of my favorites. Thanks for reading and for all your support!

LOLScrimshawCumberbatch

LOLScrimshawRaptor

LOLScrimshawAxe

LOLScrimshawKitty

LOLScrimshawMeth

LOLScrimshawPirate

LOLScrimshawWhisky

LOLScrimshawFlight

LOLScrimshawVaderPants

LOLScrimshawSquirrel

LOLScrimshawDoctor

LOLScrimshawCap

Thanks again! For full info, you can check out my Patreon page here!

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