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My Name is Joseph


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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DISNEYLAND: Obsessed Ep 72

Writer, producer, and Disney expert Kristen Rutherford (Attack of the Show, The Nerdist on BBC America) is obsessed with Disneyland. Find out the exciting truth of the hidden mickeys, dapper days, how to best defend the park from zombies, why falling in an elevator is relaxing, and how to blue card Mary Poppins for lying to a child.

Thanks as always to Molly Lewis for our theme song!

AWOOGA! Obsessed is now a part of Feral Audio! Go to Feral now to listen to this episode and subscribe for new ones!

Listen, rate, review, and subscribe to OBSESSED on iTunes.

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DEXTER: Obsessed Ep 71

Comedian and writer Brock Wilbur is obsessed with the TV show Dexter. Wrap your home in plastic and thrill to such light fun discussion topics as serial killers, being a jerk on twitter, magic murder amulets, creative swearing, and Florida! Fun! Also, did you know there’s a Dexter rap? I’m sorry, but there is.

Thanks as always to Molly Lewis for our theme song!

AWOOGA! Obsessed is now a part of Feral Audio! Go to Feral now to listen to this episode and subscribe for new ones!

Listen, rate, review, and subscribe to OBSESSED on iTunes.

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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.


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.”


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


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.


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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Top 14 Things I Did in 2014


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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An Open Letter From A Ghost


Dear humans,

I am a ghost and I can prove it. Here goes:


Because all ghosts go BOOOOOOooooOOOOOOooooo, right?

WRONG. Ghosts have no desire to shout weird noises to frighten you. We just want your attention. Like you living humans, we just want to be HEARD. In a way, we’re all going BooooOOOOOoooooo all the time. The internet is nothing but BooooOOOOOOOOOOooooo 24/7.

Besides if we just wanted to scare you, we could say more terrifying things like:


We could also shout terrifying things that are relevant to modern times like:

Not All Ghosts!
Technically, it’s pronounced JIF!

That’s right, ghosts are very well aware of animated gifs. We like comparing Benedict Cumberbatch to otters just as much as living people do.

Everybody thinks ghosts are all old-timie. Like we’re all just cartoons wearing sheets over our heads. Ghosts wear a lot of other things besides sheets. Things like:

Star Trek themed bathrobes.
Google Glass.
Some of us are furries.

And we don’t just haunt creepy places like castles, abandoned amusement parks, or the DMV. We haunt any place we have unfinished business.

I know a ghost who haunts a Chipotle because she could never afford the extra guacamole on her burrito.

Most old Blockbuster Video locations are haunted by people who never got a chance to return the DVD of Hotel Rwanda they rented in 2005.

The most embarrassing place for a ghost to haunt is Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I mean, it’s got all the sheets and the whole “beyond” thing. It’s just too on the nose. It’s like a vampire working at a blood bank. It’s just stupid.

But ghosts can’t choose where they haunt. That’s the main thing to understand about us: Ghosts are just souls who can’t move on. We’re basically souls that are always buffering. Do you how annoying that is? We’re like souls operated by Time Warner Cable. We can’t move on. We’re like your mom talking about how much she likes Anderson Cooper. We just will not let it go. Maybe that’s just my mom. She really likes Anderson Cooper.

The point is ghosts need all kinds of different things before they can go on. Sure, some ghosts need to figure out who killed them, but most just need regular human things. They want to finish that novel they were working on, see their kid graduate from high school, beat the Water Temple in Ocarina of Time, change their twitter handle back to their real name instead of Werewolf MacFartPants or whatever dumb Halloween name they died with. Normal human things!

Personally, my needs are modest. I died in 2006 in a small apartment watching the season six finale of Gilmore Girls. All I need to move on is to see Season Seven of Gilmore Girls. There have been twelve different tenants in my apartment since 2006. NONE OF THEM WILL WATCH GILMORE GIRLS! IT’S ON NETFLIX INSTANT NOW! HELP ME OUT PEOPLE!

So look for us! Pay attention! Unless you’re one of those Ghost Hunting shows. Screw those guys. If a ghost lives in your house and you try to watch one of those stupid shows, we’ll change the channel to a rerun of Project Runway. We will Tim Gunn your asses.

If you ever get the feeling you’re being stared at and judged, there’s probably a ghost in your home. Or maybe you have a cat. If you feel stared at, judged, AND like someone is putting their butt in your face, you are being haunted by a ghost cat. Yes, there are ghost cats. They mostly want their ears scritched, but that’s another story.

Or imagine you live in an apartment. Maybe you have important work to do. But then the lights flicker on and off. You hear a dial-up modem noise for no reason. You feel an overwhelming desire to drop everything and watch Season Seven of Gilmore Girls.


With sincere thanks,
A ghost


If you enjoy my posts, check out Patreon and the kind patrons who make them possible. Also, please don’t worry about me, I have actually seen every episode of Gilmore Girls.

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JIM HENSON: Obsessed Ep 61

Drummer, podcaster, and awesome guy Tony Thaxton joins Joseph to obsess on Jim Henson. Topics include the insanity of the Rainbow Connection, the annoyance of Miss Piggy, the metaphorical size of Mr. Henson’s balls, and much more.

AWOOGA! Obsessed is now a part of Feral Audio! Go to Feral now to listen to this episode and subscribe for new ones!

Listen, rate, review, and subscribe to OBSESSED on iTunes.

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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.


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?


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


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:


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.

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


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.




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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An Open Letter From Aquaman

The following is a message to the entire world from the superhero commonly known as Aquaman. It has not been edited in any way. This should be clear from all the f-bombs.


Dear Everyone–

Fuck you guys. Seriously.

My name is Aquaman. I am a superhero. I am a member of the Justice League. I am the motherfucking KING OF ATLANTIS and I deserve some fucking respect. Seriously.

Do you know how much abuse I take online? People call me the Arby’s of superheroes. The LinkedIn of meta-humans. They say if the Justice League was a rock band I would play bass.

If you’re going to make fun of me at least get some new references. Arby’s, LinkedIn, bass players–they’re easy targets. I can’t even say “J.J. Abrams” without one of you unimaginative shitheads shouting “Lens flare!” and patting yourself on the back for it. THAT’S A REFERENCE, NOT A JOKE, FUCKWADS!

What? Are you shocked I have an opinion about something nuanced like the intersection between omnipresent pop culture and quality joke construction? WELL, THERE’S A LOT YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT AQUAMAN, SON.

Most importantly, I’m not lame. I’m not “the Ocean’s answer to Coldplay.” I’M AWESOME.

Let’s start with my super powers. People say I suck because I’m only valuable if something is happening in the water. THE WATER? YOU MEAN THE THING THAT IS COVERING MOST OF THE PLANET? LIKE 71% OF THE ENTIRE EARTH?

So, ignoring the fact that I’m hella strong on the land anyway, yes, I’m EXTRA STRONG when I’m in the thing that covers 71% of the planet! You got me there, braniac! And I mean braniac as an ironic term for idiot, not the super villain Braniac whose ass I could kick on land or sea or EVEN THE AIR.

Yes, I can fly. I’ve seen dumb-asses on the internet say I can only fly underwater. THAT’S CALLED SWIMMING, DIPSHIT.

I can also telepathically communicate with any living thing in the ocean. I can call up a dolphin for a ride like it was a fucking Lyft car. And it doesn’t cost me shit, because the dolphins know I respect them.

I don’t just use my powers to command the creatures of the sea. I talk and I LISTEN. Sometimes, I’m all telepathically like, “Hey, Sperm Whale, what’s it like to have the LARGEST BRAIN of any creature on the planet?” And the Sperm Whale is like, “Damn, Aquaman, thanks for taking the time TO ASK.”

I’ve also had it with people making fun of my appearance. They say wearing orange and green makes it look like a kitchen from the 1970s threw up on me. You know why I wear bright orange and green? BECAUSE THE OCEAN IS DARK, ASSHOLES. Have you been to the bottom of the ocean? No? Then stick it up your Mariana Trench, you sad fucking James Cameron wannabes!

Back in the ’90s, I also had a giant bushy beard and a hook for hand. You heard me. I was a garishly dressed man with ridiculous facial hair carrying antiquated technology for no reason. I was a hipster before they were popular!



People say I’m lame because of my ORIGIN STORY. They say it’s not ICONIC.

Batman’s parents were murdered. Superman’s parents dumped him in a rocket and shot him into space so he could be adopted by a Norman Rockwell painting. Wolverine is from Canada.

But who am I? What does the general public know about me? Who is Aquaman?

Isn’t he that USELESS TOOL from the Super Friends cartoon? I should have sent a piranha up the sewers to give those jerk-off cartoon writers a toilet surprise 30 years ago!

You want to know what my defining trait is? How about this? ANGER. That’s my character now. You know what my backstory is? I CAN BREATHE UNDERWATER AND I’M SICK OF YOUR BULLSHIT! How’s that?

Or, crazy thought here, you could actually get to know me. My real name is Arthur “Orin” Curry. I’m a half-human, half-Atlantean hybrid. I am a FOUNDING member of the Justice League. I have a fucking certificate that says so and everything. I’m crazy strong. I am a natural blonde. I do not dye. I have an Etsy account and an amazing collection of stand-up comedy albums on the original vinyl. I am an avid Wikipedia editor. My comfort foods are waffles and vodka. I’ve listened to every episode of WTF with Marc Maron. I’m really fucking good at swearing. My favorite Pixar movie is Cars. COME AT ME, HATERS.

I will take any shade you have to throw, but maybe–just maybe–it could be clever or informed for once.

Spend some time with me. Get to know me. Then hate me.

Because, I swear, if one more of you unoriginal shitbrained clichefuckers call me the Jar-Jar Binks of the Justice League, I WILL SHOW YOU A WORLD OF PAIN.




Thank you for your time,

Motherfucking Aquaman, Motherfuckers.

P.S. My favorite song is “I’m on a boat.”

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


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