Monthly Archives: March 2009

Click to Make My Ears Burn

When I was on Guy MacPhereson’s “What’s So Funny?” radio show, off air he mentioned to me that he had a short discussion with Irwin Barker about one of my jokes on air in a prior episode. Well, Guy emailed me last week to tell me that the episode was going to re-air, so I listened to it.

Here’s the excerpt (2 minutes, 32 seconds):

(Click here if you don’t see any way to play the audio above or if for some crazy reason, you want to download it.)

Here’s the joke he’s talking about, from the night he saw me (70 seconds):


I continue to maintain, the only thing worse than being talked about… is not being talked about.

Adding Ten Pounds

I’ve had a video camera pointed at me a fair bit in the past week.

My comedy friends Chris Schiacappasse (she-ack-uh-PASS-ee) and Vahé Hovak have a recurring YouTube show called “Hanging Out” where they come over and for some unscripted hang out. A genuine reality show.

In our episode, after seeing a TV commercial for some 99¢ fast food hamburger, we decided we would hit a handful of fast food joints, buy one burger-thing that costs a dollar from each, then take them home to sample and compare them.

We hit McDonald’s, KFC/Taco Bell (two purchases from each substore there), Wendy’s, Jack-in-the-Box and Burger King. We also stopped at Arby’s and Carl’s Junior, but neither of those snooty establishments had any burgers that met our thrift constraints.

My surprise favourite was Jack-in-the-Box’s Junior Cheeseburger, which despite looking like it had been run over by a truck and not really tasting like actual food, had a wonderful salty delicious flavour of chemical that made me crave more.

Unfortunately, various technical problems (a low battery, then we ran out of tape) means that large portions of this part of the taste test were not taped, so this info probably doesn’t qualify as a spoiler.

This episode will be probably be available on YouTube eventually. In the future.

Then, last night I went to the monthly taping of “Paint with Lynn”, a show on public access cable TV channel 26 in Pacifica, California, where host Lynn Ruth Miller, a near-octogenarian comedian, painter and ne’er-do-well comes up with an art project.

I haven’t done an art project since elementary school. We worked on our projects separately while trading quips. It was a blast and I’m simultaneously curious about and dreading the final cut. If you have access to Pacifica cable, “check your local listings”. I’ll be getting a DVD (also in the future) which maybe I can post on the internet.

Free! Samples!

I used to work next door to a Trader Joe’s grocery store, and although not as famous as Costco’s, they have a pretty great free sample table. For months, every day around 2 or 3 in the afternoon, I would head over (often with coworkers in tow) to see what the sampler table whiz kids were up to.

The people who worked the sample table always worked the sample table, so it didn’t long before they began to recognize us. You might think that they would be annoyed by the same freeloaders grabbing snacks daily, never buying anything. I thought so. But no. They were always happy to see us, and we even sort of became friends. We kept each other update with gossip and mundane details of each others’ lives like you do with people you see every day. The Trader Joe’s snack run became one of the best parts of the day. Make sense, I guess… it’s not like they were shareholders.

I went grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s today (a different location). It brought back memories. I even recognized Emily, a gal who used to work at my old store. Even though it had a different layout than the one I worked by, when I saw the snack table, nostalgia came rushing back, so I walked up and grabbed a sample of Southwestern salad. It was in a tiny paper cup, like the kind you’d get at the dentist with that gritty tooth polish.

I didn’t know the woman minding the booth. She was painstakingly cutting up lettuce with scissors, which at first I thought rather odd. This seemed to make preparing the prepackaged salad much less convenient. Then I realized that she was doing it just so the large leafs would fit nicely into the into the tiny sample-size cups.

The pleasure of free food brought me back to the days of TJs camaraderie. I pushed my luck. “Does the salad come with the scissors?” I said jokingly. I wanted her to laugh, to chat, to bond.

You know how sometimes people have a talent for just sucking all the funny out of the room? This women had it in spades. She looks up at me and says “These are kitchen scissors.”

That barely had anything to do with my comment. But the follow up was the killer.

“For cutting.”

I considered several possible rejoinders or explanations of the intent of my original comment, but couldn’t see it going anywhere. So I finished my salad and left without another word.

I don’t know what she could have thought I said, but she must have thought me quite the moron to feel the need to explain to me that “scissors are for cutting”. It was an amazingly paralyzing response. Genius.

I guess they’re right: you can’t go home again. Or, in this case, to the grocery store.