Stand Up and Let that Sh*t Out!

Winters in Maine are famous for being long and brutal. When I was growing up, we lived a few blocks away from my junior high and high schools, so I never took the bus; I was always a ‘Walker’. Fine in warm weather, pure hell during the frozen tundra months.

One early morning, I started out on my trek across thirty acres of school athletic fields to reach my classes. The fields were covered in thick sheets of ice so I didn’t walk so much as slid across like a drunk Bambi on a frozen pond. I fell dozens of times, but it didn’t phase me as I was resigned to face the day suffering through another Chemistry class with a soggy, frostbitten ass. Several times I tried to put my trusty L.L. Bean backpack to good use, being careful to land on top of it and not my ass, instead sacrificing my mom’s greasy tunafish sandwich bomb.  But in one particular spectacular fall,  I missed and landed hard on my side. The ache in my hip already pulsing, I laid there on the ice for a moment, breathing hard in the minus 10 degree temps. Just long enough for my still damp hair to freeze right to the ground. (Back then we didn’t bother with such frivolous things like a blow dryer. Hell, we didn’t even have a shower. I had to wash my hair in the kitchen sink.) When I heaved myself off the ice, a huge chunk of hair was ripped right out of my head. I remember looking down at the tuft of hair still stuck to the ice, fluttering in the wind, and I did what Mainers do best: I laughed. Then I dragged my frozen ass and patchy ice-crusted freakshow of a hairdo to Chemistry.

Yeah, growing up in Maine in the ’70s certainly built a kid’s character. I had character coming out my frosty eyeballs. I would venture to say this is what shaped my sense of humor all my life: Life sucks sometimes. Okay…actually, it sucks most of the time. So what.  Deal with it. Might as well make fun of it. Between the eternal soul-killing winters and the fact that most days I would find myself underneath a pig pile of five brothers all trying to fart on my head in unison–I developed my sense of funny real friggin quick. It was a survival mechanism.  What other choice did I have? It’s almost like God is saying to you, “Uh…yeah…sorry about your shitty life. But now you can find just about ANYthing funny! Isn’t it great? You’re welcome!” I think most humor is the ability to find the comedic silver lining in the shitcloud of your life.

Most stand-up comedians I admire have made it their mission to bring to audiences their special take on life’s crap and the general absurdities of things. And they’re not afraid. They’re in your face. They take chances. Some of my favorites are: George Carlin (still sad about his passing), Chris Rock, Wanda Sykes, Denis Leary and recently, I’ve discovered Louis C.K. (brilliant, somewhat depressing, but always truthful)

When I first saw Eddie Murphy’s Raw back in the early ’80s, I was sitting on the floor with my brothers and we were dying laughing about his childhood stories–like growing up with a mom who made him these nasty hamburgers with peppers hanging out the sides and trying to pass them off as McDonald’s. I remember watching Eddie in that skin-tight leather suit and thinking: This is freakin amazing! He’s telling it like it is! He’s telling us the truth! He doesn’t care! He’s just coming right out and saying these crazy things that are true! How in the hell is he able to walk around stage in that leather suit?! Isn’t he chafing?

George Carlin was a genius at cutting through all the extraneous bullshit in life and giving it to you straight. Hey, I see the same bullshit you do! He’d point out the ridiculousness in human behavior, always with masterful timing and brilliant words.

To me, that’s what comedy is in a nutshell–serving up the bleak truth and still making you laugh at it. I love a stand-up who can not only push the envelope, but can rip it to shreds and swallow it. I could listen to Wanda Sykes read her grocery list, because she comes off as so real; she cuts through the BS. And she makes me laugh so hard I hyperventilate and weep.

Sometimes this sense of humor isn’t appreciated. Sometimes people find it offensive. We all have our own personal line we don’t like to cross. But in general, I’ve always found it to be simply exposing the truth. Growing up, I was a quiet, shy child; always observing, taking in the finer details of human behavior. Then I’d inevitably blurt something out at the dinner table, sometimes just to see the reaction. I called these gems, ‘Fork-Droppers’ because one or both of my parents would always drop their fork to their plate in shock. Normally, my brothers would laugh, but my mom? My mom would narrow her eyes and give me the ‘I’m Disappointed in You’ look and say, “Darla Jo!” using my middle name to let me know that I had really crossed some line.

Who could blame me? I was living with five brothers who teased me relentlessly in a frozen landscape of hell. Stepping over the line was all I had.

And besides, I think most things are funny. (Sorry, Mom) It’s gotten me pretty far in life. Like most people, I’ve had my share of tragedies, but laughter has this magical ability to heal wounds. Humor has saved me during some of the darkest times. I will always be grateful for my (sometimes warped) sense of humor.

Who are some of your favorite comedians? What is your sense of humor like? Do you find me funny? Funny like a f****ing clown? What…am I here to amuse you? Is that what I am to you?!


 

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156 thoughts on “Stand Up and Let that Sh*t Out!

  1. Ok, I cannot watch those videos at work (for obvious reasons) but have already seen both the Eddie Murphy and George Carlin ones (RIP. . . sniff). And you are so right. Some of the funniest stuff is that which is real and raw and painful. If you can find the funny in it, you can deal with it better. Most of the really funny comedians I know have gone through one shitstorm or another in their lives and come out the other side stronger and funnier because of the defense mechanism of laughing at the pain. I think laughter and humor actually cures most ills. It has brought me out of deep funks before and I’m sure it has done the same for others. Your childhood sounds hysterical, by the way. And now I see why you are the funny and irreverent gal that you are today. Love it!

    1. George Carlin is my all-time favorite. In my eyes, no one compares to him. I had tickets to see him in New Hampshire at a hotel and got very ill right before the show and didn’t make it. I kick myself for that now!

      I honestly don’t know how I would have survived certain times in my life without my ability to find the humor in the worst possible moments. Some people don’t get my humor…I think it comes from growing up in Maine and having tough-love parents and ruthless brothers.

  2. This is an outstanding bit of writing and a great story. I was sliding across the ice with you, and damn my butt is cold!! And I get the humor bit. I always warn people that my humor is dark and weird, just so they don’t think I’m mean. Or weird. Well. I am weird. Anyway.

    This is a great way to start my morning–listening to clips from some new and old comedians. Cheers!

    1. Thank you, El, that means a lot coming from a writer like you!

      Yes, I would say my humor is dark. Blunt. Very in-your-face sometimes. I forget there are others who would be offended by my humor. Now that I’m older, I tone it down quite a bit. Hell, I tone it down plenty for this blog! And you say that you are weird? Yeah, I’d say I am a very strange person overall. haha!! Definitely makes things interesting!

      Enjoy your morning!

      1. I tone mine down too–in fact, I don’t do humor in my blog. I’ve offended one too many people (when I first started, I mostly wrote about my kids and their terrorism) but I write a lot of caustic, weird I think hilarious stuff on my FB Page.

        And strange is beautiful!!

      1. That burger skit absolutely killed me growing up. I could totally relate. My mom would try and make us these burgers at home that were like 10 inches thick with nasty peppers and onions and the white wonder bread and say, “Eat it, it’s just like McD’s!” I thought she was the only mom to do that!

  3. Ouch, I feel your scalp pain.

    You are so right aswell, we shouldn’t take things too seriously and to laugh at things (and especially ourselves) is of prime importance. There is a line somewhere way off in the distance I suppose, I’m short sighted so I can’t see it anyway

  4. Hi Darla! You have started my day with a few good laughs, so thank you. 🙂 I loved reading about your life in Maine in the ’70s. It made me think a little of my last two years of high school, which I spent in back-of-beyond North Dakota (Why not Minot? Freezin’s the reason!). George Carlin is one of my husband’s favorites, too. I like his earlier stuff–to me, he seemed kind of bitter in the later years, but still it was a sad day when he was gone.

    1. Jeannette, I would have to say living in N. Dakota was probably just a notch above Maine on the misery scale. You poor woman.

      George did tend to cross over the line a bit much in his later years. I almost posted his clip about Earth Day. How us humans have the audacity to think the planet needs saving, when it’s been here billions of years before us and will be here long after we are gone. Absolutey true and hilarious!

  5. Tar-Buns

    Lovely, just lovely! Cracked me up reading about your daily escapades.
    I do believe that humor keeps us from going insane. Note to self – consume more humor and less depressing daily news. Especially avoid political junk.
    So good to have you back! I loves ya!

    1. Tar, I do not watch the news anymore. I haven’t watched the news in years. Might be why I’m a bit cheerier now. I do watch the weather. Even the weather is getting too depressing and scary. I am a realist, I do realize life is hard and there’s crime out there, I just don’t need to be reminded of human’s ability to be evil on a daily basis, y’know? Really crushes the spirit and I’d rather spend my time being positive. Oh and I hate hate hate politics, always have.

      It is good to be back. I’ve had this post brewing for awhile now and all these other posts, too and I have been on break long enough I think.

  6. Tar-Buns

    OMG – didn’t check the homepage this morning, went to Peg’s post, scrolled down and saw your comment notifying me of her FP’d-ness. Whoo hoo!!! I called her on the phone and she JUST found out at the same time as me! So, thanks for the heads up! I’m so proud of her!!!
    We both know what she will be doing today! 🙂

    1. No, I’m right here! With my Bayer aspirin bottle in hand, heating pad wrapped around my neck, no make-up and wild hair I’m the very picture of the powerful corporate insurance agent – not.

    2. Yes! Freshly Pressed it coming out early in the morning now and I love it. You used to have to wait until 2 pm (not that I check it obsessively or anything…ahem…)

      I saw Peg’s fab post up there and did a moonwalk/cabbage patch dance just for her.

  7. I LOVE this! I grew up in Wisconsin and didn’t move to Colorado until I was 29 so I can relate to the frozen tundra story! I fell a lot, but never lost a clump of hair. OUCH! Too funny.
    Maybe it does makes sense that so many people from the north develop a dry sense of humor. Sarcasm ruled when I was growing up!
    Very funny post and LCK is hilarious!

    1. I bet Wisconsin was just as brutal. I don’t know why I was walking to school with wet hair in minus 10 degree temps. Crazy life of a teenager!
      Dry sense of humor is right. My humor is drier than burnt toast with no butter. Some people don’t have the taste for it. It’s helped me deal with life’s crap though.
      I had no clue who LCK was until last week. I saw the Conan clip. (love Conan) I didn’t know he used to write for Conan and just recently started to get famous and he has his own sitcom on cable. At first I didn’t like him, he came off as a sad sack. But then I realize sad sack guys are funny.

      1. I think I may have seen him on last comic standing. He is funny! I am dry too and people out in the West don’t always get my sense of humor. They become my own inside jokes! Hahaha!
        I’ve been in the audience for Conan a couple times. Love him too.
        Love the dry toast metaphor!

      2. Oh! You saw Conan! I am jealous. He’s one of my favorites. I’ve watched him since day one back twenty years ago. Huge fan of his. I remember you did a post on your sarcastic humor, Susie, it was hilarious and I knew you’d get my humor.

  8. I think you’re hysterical, Darleeta, with just the right amount of real vulnerability underlying the funny to make it something we can really relate to.

      1. My sister called at the exact moment I logged in to my blog and said to myself, “Self, why do you have 15 comments awaiting moderation? Hang on a sec here…”

  9. George Carlin was a great – for certain! Eddie Murphy’ Raw is still one of my all time favorite stand-up routines. I also like Steven Wright. I keep seeing C.K.’s name, but I haven’t heard any of his comedy. I can’t watch the clip you included right now – but I will come back to it.
    I have a confession – while I enjoyed the show Seinfeld, I’ve never been a big fan of the man himself.
    Oh and Bob Newhart? Darla, he’s a hoot. Yeah, I’m aging myself, but Bob is fantastic.

    1. Oh yeah, Steven Wright! We used to listen to his stand up routine on my English teacher’s little turntable in class back in high school (turntable! yep, I’m really that old)

      LCK’s clip does have a few mild swears in it. Don’t let the kiddos see it.

      I loved Seinfeld but can’t watch it now because I’ve seen every episode too many times over the years. Jerry comes up to Portland Maine all the time to do stand-up, he likes to try new material out on the smaller crowds here. I’m not sure if I’d go to see him, though.

      Bob Newhart is my soul brother. Born on the same day. We both have the same facial expressions when we are trying to be funny. Very deadpan. As a matter of fact, my face is always very still, like a frying pan. Really helps with the dry humor.

  10. I just discovered Louis CK and think he’s ridiculously hilarious! It’s like he says the thinks you observe and think, but says them out loud and is so dead on. I guess I am revealing a lot of myself right there, but….

    I cannot believe your high school story – I wondered if it was actually true and then realized that it’s too good not to be 🙂 My husband tries to coax me into doing things now that are out of my comfort zone, but I remind him that I’ve already gone through at least three decades of building character that I feel I’ve earned the right to hang back right now!

    1. Yes! This is why I love Louis CK! And he is my age, so I can relate to everything he talks about. I just saw this bit he did about waking up in the morning. How at first you don’t know who you are…or where you are. Then when you remember you’re like, “Oh shit. I’m ‘me’ still! And I’m still here and alive? I’m gonna have to just go with being ‘me’, again? Damn it!” I’ve always thought the same thing but never could articulate it like he does.

      Oh that story is/was painfully true. I had super long hair and it was dripping wet (and covered in icicles) I ripped it out just getting up off the ice. This stuff can only happen to me. I have a knack for weird crap happening.

  11. Hmmm… I think once upon a time resilience was an expected trait. Laugh, dust yourself off, and move on. (I’m pretty sure humor, persistence, and perspective are all on the seven traits of resilience, but I haven’t looked at it in awhile.) Adapt or die, literally, because life was a lot less cushy.

    Money, lots of leisure time, and a fairly high amount of everyday luxury make for a totally different life for many people. I recently explained to one friend that “Actually, in many parts of the country, people grow up without alarm systems.” (Imagine that!) I didn’t tell her that in other areas, people might not even lock their doors as that might have broken her brain. The alarm system thing was shocking enough all by itself…

    1. So true. I grew up in my grandmother’s old drafty house. Like most people in the ’70s, money was tight. We didn’t have many of the luxuries my kids take for granted today. And my parents were of the generation where the kids were basically on their own most of the day to fend for themselves. I certainly had it better than lots of other people though. But I also had my five brothers to make my life miserable.

      People around here still don’t lock their doors at night. I always do. But no one has alarm system that I know of. The place you grow up has such a big impact on how you view life, doesn’t it?

      1. Yeah, absolutely. I grew up in Michigan so I still see everything through that Midwestern lense. Moving to NY was a huge culture shock, especially Long Island where pampered is far more normal than anyone cares to admit!

      2. I bet it was a huge shock to your system. My husband’s family is from Dearborn Heights and they certainly have a completely different humor than I do. My younger brother lived on Long Island and when I’d visit it took some time to get used to the in-your-face type of humor they have down there. And I’m from Maine, where being blunt is an artform.

      3. You’re so right! I’m not sure about in Maine, but here being brutally blunt is just the norm…

        And I’m from Dearborn originally too. So, I had to respond just to say that. If you’d like, you can respond by simply posting a video of you singing, “It’s A Small World”… I bet all your readers were secretly hoping for exactly such a video anyway. 🙂

  12. So that’s what accounts for my perverse sense of humor: living thru lake-effect winters with temps dipping well below zero in Central New York.
    Thanks for the chuckles this morning. Loved your descriptions of walking across the frozen tundra. I can definitely relate.
    Thanks for the introduction to Louis C.K.
    George Carlin and Eddie Murphy are favorites of mine. I often think of Eddie Murphy’s routine about “Ice cream” and about “why do folks return to haunted houses after they’ve heard: “Get out. Get out now.” Hysterical.

    1. Hmm…maybe living in cold weather does shape a person’s sense of humor. I thought it was just me. Mainers in general are blunt, gruff and sarcastic. I imagine New Yorkers are, too? ha!

      And yes, I remember Murphy’s routine about that. Hilarious! For me Louis C.K. was an acquired taste thing…he started to grow on me a little the more I saw his sitcom. He can be pretty blatant about things, and offensive (to some people) But like I said, it takes a lot to offend me. I do actually have a line I won’t cross, much further away than some people.

  13. John Erickson

    Oh jeez, the middle name was ALWAYS the kiss of death. “John” was bad enough, “John Erickson” was ALWAYS worse (though I always wondered why my Mom said that when it was just her and I – how the heck many OTHER of me were running around?!?), but all three names (and yes, I’m gonna make you guess! :p ) was the worst. That one only got used VERY infrequently, but probably far more than I should have triggered it.
    And humour does one other thing. When the other kids pick on you, it’s amazing how fast you can disarm a bully by getting to the inevitable insult first. Hence my bizarre and totally twisted sense of humour. (Oh, and you forgot that hike to school was uphill, both ways. We old farts gotta keep our stories consistent! 😀 )

    1. Holy crap, it’s you, John! Sooo good to see you around these parts!

      My mom had the curse of naming all six of us kids with D names: David, Danny, Dale, Darrin, Darla and Daryl. So when she was super pissed, she’d try to yell out the name and get all flustered, “Stop that RIGHT NOW! Dav-Dale-Darrin-Dar—whatever the hell your name is!!”

      And wait a sec here…you have a twisted sense of humor?! Get out! I totally agree, disarming bullies with humor was key. Course, sometimes they found my humor to be not funny and I’d get socked in the stomach even harder….

      1. John Erickson

        Good to be back. The last two weeks, my whole area of Ohio had no power, including the wi-fi towers that provide Net access. (We kept our power, along with four other houses, thanks to a recently-installed sewerage pumping plant – I’ll let you make whatever of “gold from poop”! 😉 )
        I actually know a bit of your mother’s plight. My wife’s parents named all the kids with “T” – Terry, Tim, Tracy, Tamy (my wife), and Tony (a girl). Tamy’s mom would just bellow out all the names and assign blame as needed. Seems there was always enough blame to go around! 😀

      2. Gasp! Two weeks with no internet?! Sure, it probably sucked not to have TV or a coffee pot or working lights…but no internet?? How did you survive, John? I’ve been trying to be ‘unplugged’ voluntarily for a month and I failed miserably.

        1. John Erickson

          Well, like I said, we DID have TV (satellite) and power, thanks to the sewerage pumping station. So when the crap hit the fan, it was cause the crap was RUNNING the fan! (We happened to be on the same electrical circuit as the station, plus three other houses. We lost power a few times for several hours, but thankfully not TOO long.) The lack of Net was driving me nuts, though, because I also get a lot of my news (especially military stuff) via Email and websites. And the whole outage thing followed a week of our wi-fi router forgetting the “wi” part, and having to share one cable between the wife and I. I am SERIOUSLY info-deprived! 😀
          Just wish me luck if I disappear after it rains here, cause that means the lawn overgrew me post-drought. Well, send me luck AND a machete! 😉

      3. haha! Whew. Well thank god it was only a few hours. I must have glossed over the part where you said you still did have power, straight to the part where you wrote “gold from poop”.

  14. Darla, if you can’t laugh when sh*t happens, what can you do? Life is too short not to find humor in the darkest of times. Frozen tundra…yeah, that would rock my world, being a deep south Texas girl where “cold” is 70 degrees.

    Love them all! The raunchier the better, as far as I’m concerned. Crossing the line appeals to my intellect. Louis C.K. speaks to me like he was one of my friends growing up. A while ago, he was on Fresh Air (NPR) and had me laughing so hysterically I had to pull off the road for other’s safety. I couldn’t wait to get home and replay the whole thing on my computer before the kids got home from school. If you have time…and it’s national radio, so it’s kinda G-rated (right).
    http://www.npr.org/2012/06/22/155371241/louis-c-k-on-comedy-love-life-and-loss

    Your timing with B-man’s is right on!

    1. Exactly, there is just too much in life to make fun of. And y’know what they say, “if you can’t laugh, you’ll jump in front of a bus”.

      I will have to check out your link later. I am halfway through LCK’s first season of Louis. I watched one episode on netflix late at night next to my sleeping husband and I was laughing so hard I was crying. It is hard to laugh quietly.

      A few days ago, I told Angie Z. that I had a stand up comedian post all ready to go just in case B-man posts something similar, she would be able to verify that I had the idea at the same time. And then, B-man’s post comes out today. I swear us bloggers are spending WAY too much time together.

      1. Yes, that was fortuitous! I saw your comment in his post and knew this was coming. As usual, I waited for my inbox delivery (only a handful of blogs I follow get that luxury).

        I have to say, it would be very fun to see a post with the 4-5 of you all together, in a silly group photo. B-man could even hide half his face behind someone else. It would be like St. Elmo’s Fire’s brat pack, except with WordPress FP-ers. That would be more awesomer than the Reese’s coup, I think.

      2. I think if I’m in any photo with B-man, he would have to be dressed in drag. Do you read Go Jules Go’s blog?(You probably do. I can’t keep track, everyone seems to be in the same blogging circles…) Anyway, she has an amazing photo of B-man all dolled up, you should go check it out. I think it was a few posts ago.

        And St. Elmo’s Fire? God, that brings back the memories. All of them bad. I could drag out my Mare Winningham pearls and B-man could wear a Rob Lowe mullet, it’ll be the most awful photo ever!

  15. Peg being FP’d and Darla back amongst us…it’s a grand day in the blogosphere.

    I loved George Carlin. Still in mourning. Steven Wright…funny stuff. I have a dark and strange sense of humor myself. I always say it comes from a brutal childhood, but my mom was seriously the funniest person I ever knew. She even cracked jokes about her terminal illness before her death.

    1. You’re right, you can probably have a great childhood and still be hilarious. My childhood was overall good, but I had a severely mentally ill parent to deal with…

      Your mom sounds like someone I’d love to hang out with. I’m sorry you lost her, Katy. I would like to think I’d joke around on my deathbed. My brothers and I told jokes at my dad’s funeral. One was right when we were standing in front of his open casket. We had to–to break the unbelievable tension and pain we were feeling. It’s just something you do to survive.

  16. Of course, you’re hilarious, Darla! And laughter is the only way to get through life and remain even semi-sane. Life is just too weird and wonderful and awful all at once. And poor you with the frozen hair! Yikes!
    Hugs,
    Kathy

  17. Darla, the fact that you survived five brothers trying to fart on your head gives you the right to laugh at whatever the hell you want to laugh at. Anybody crosses you, send them to me.

    Big families produce funny people — in our family you had to be funny to defend yourself. And having bowel disease refined my sense of humor too. Who doesn’t laugh at poop?

    1. I would be more than happy to send them to you, Elyse. By the way, when you come up here again, maybe you can do me a few favors? Maybe swing by a few of my brothers’ houses and fart on their heads while telling poop jokes?

    2. Elyse, you are so right. There were seven of us – all a year apart. Four girls, three boys. You had to be funny or you got chewed up and spit out. We all were together in 2008 at my mom’s bedside when she had a stroke. We laughed so hard, we cried. Yeah, we’re a little twisted that way.

      1. Laughter is the best survival technique around. Sure beats stockpiles of food in a bunker.

        And I bet your mother would have been more worried if you weren’t joking around. She would have thought the bunch of you belonged to someone else. Or maybe wished that!

          1. That depends entirely on the expiration date of that stuff. I have stockpiles of canned goods that expired in the 1970s. But I am PREPARED!

      2. This is good information, Elyse. When the apocalypse comes, I’m bunkin’ with you. Do you have any Spagettio’s? I hear those things have a shelf life of 2,000 years. Just don’t forget to pack a can opener or I’ll be forced to crack all my canned goods on MJ’s head.

        1. Yes, my dear friend, I am spitting out coffee over the cracked on MJ’s head line. My dog thinks I’m crazy – he’s wondering why I’m laughing and wondering if it’s something he said. Okay, I’m a little crazy!

          1. You do know I was only half-kidding, right, MJ? Huh? Buddy, ol’ pal??? 😉

            Oh and I don’t believe that about your dog for a second–I’m sure he thinks you’re crazy all the time.

      3. Heh heh! Elyse, I have got to send you over to my brother’s house right now. You could just pop in and slam him with zingers left and right.

        Are you sure you needed that winky just-kiddin’ smiley face though? I think I know you’re not kidding.

        Oh, hey! MJ! Didn’t see you there! How the hell you’ve been? Care for more coffee?

        1. You thought that winky smiley thing meant that I didn’t mean it? No, no, no. It means that I am quite sure that MJ cannot reach me to hit me from where he is.

          And I think that everyone has had plenty of coffee. It’s after noon. Bring on the wine.

  18. I love this post, Darla! The introduction was so perfect. (I’m still laughing. “Like a drunk Bambi on a frozen pond.”)

    No wonder we get along so well. I find most things funny, too, and it is such a great coping mechanism. I really do feel sorry for people who take themselves seriously. Just before this I was reading a post about how a woman got offended at a Daniel Tosh (Tosh.0) joke about rape. Okay, touchy subject, but, I compared it to going to a strip joint and getting offended when they take off their clothes. You know what you’re in for!

    LOVE all of the comedians you named here (I have the “Louis CK” theme song stuck in my head now!), also: Mitch Hedberg, Mitch Fatel, Brian Regan, Kathy Griffin, and Jim Gaffigan. And probably a million others that I’ll be kicking myself for not mentioning in a minute!

    1. I love the Louis theme song, too! I sing it at the top of my lungs when I do dishes.

      Yes, I heard about the Tosh. O offensive rape joke incident.(I honestly don’t have a clue who this guy is though!) And the Chris Rock twitter incident that happened recently where he tweeted about the fourth of July. I know comedians (like LCK) defend these jokes because of freedom of speech. (I agree) I might not like the rape joke Tosh. O told, but I don’t have to listen to him either. That’s my choice when I walk into a comedy club.

      Oh my god. Jim Gaffigan. I LOVE him! Have you seen his recent special? Where he talks about McDonald’s and Subway? I have watched that a handful of times already on netflix and I cry laughing every time. He also talks about swimming in hotel pools (thinking of Peg’s FP post today…)

      1. I just watched the McDonald’s bit on YouTube last night! (Thanks for lookin’ out!) Hysterical. He’s so great. He was like one of the first people I followed on Twitter, LOL I think I Tweeted him once, too! A joke about food! For some strange reason, he never responded…

      2. I love it when he says how people get all uppity when it comes to McDonald’s “Oh! I would NEVER go there!” Then who is buying the 20 billion burgers they serve a day?? I also had to laugh when he says how embarrassed you get if you run into a friend there, you just want to hide. “Oh, hey! I’m not here buying a Big Mac. Oh, god no! I’m just here to use the restroom!”

  19. 30 acres…HA!. You weren’t allowed to take the bus when i was a kid unless you lived more than two miles from school. Otherwise it was the shoe-leather express. even in the snow, rain and roaming wild dog packs. well, that last one is an exxageration.
    As for Eddie Murphy, I was in the audience when they filmed RAW at the old Felt Forum in NY. Sat right next to one of the Paramount cameras. The show was actually and hour longer than what made it to the final film. Never laughed so hard….

    1. The shoe-leather express?! Well, at least you had shoes! My mom made ours out of used kleenex boxes.

      I cannot believe you were in the audience during Raw! Holy crap! God, that must have been amazing! I wonder where that missing hour of footage is today…hmmm….

        1. P.S. Just curious, did you do the Flashdance thing where you ran really fast in one place and turned in a circle, flipping your hair? If we all did that at once, would it throw the planet out of orbit? Would we notice?

          Now I REALLY like your name, Maineiac– are you one on the dance floor? THAT would be an awesome video!

      1. Peg? [putting on my glasses and squinting]

        Is it really you? Shouldn’t you be taking a nap right now after being up all night last night sifting through comments?

        I can’t believe you take a week off…I’m all worried you’ve met some horrible fate inbetween the fries and Frosty’s…. Then you come back, spit out a brilliant post and get FP. Ok, I can believe it.

      2. Eh, the comments have pretty much dried up. That FP is yesterday’s news, and the fickle, humor-consuming public has moved on to newer, freshlier-pressed material. Grumble, grumble (Boy, this whining is unattractive even to ME and I have really low standards for that sort of thing.)

        1. John Erickson

          Well, you know, Peg, I haven’t seen ANY of these “professional” whiners come up with the fact that the walk was uphill both ways, or that frozen ground was too easy – you should try mud year round, or any REAL creativity. Kids these days! 😀

          But then again, nobody asked me. Nobody EVER asks me. Nobody calls, nobody writes, nobody pays attention to me, I just sit here, all by myself, not that anyone really cares….

          Sorry about that. My big stuffed Eeyore got his paws on the keyboard! 😉

    2. Hey, John. I noticed I could click on your name and I got all excited thinking you finally had a blog of your own and it linked me to Mark’s blog. ?? Unless you guys are the same person, what gives?

  20. Ha! Great post – when I was a junior in high school we got cable TV and I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. I watched hours upon hours of comedy central (when they still actually had some stand-up on there.) I was amazed by Ellen DeGeneres and Paula Poundstone. Have always loved that image of George Carlin’s about the house just being a pile of stuff with cover on it! Ha! Thanks for sharing these clips, etc 🙂

  21. Fellow New Englander – girl you need a microphone on open mike night anywhere! Pay no attention to people who do not appreciate your humor. The overly sincere people can’t seem to laugh at anything! Let it rip….

    1. I’m with you…laughing can only be a good thing. As much as I’d love to have a microphone and tell jokes, I don’t think I could ever stand up in front of an audience in a million years. Sometimes I get nervous just posting on my blog. What those stand-ups do is brave

  22. Your hair…actually FROZE to the ground. Now that’s a story we mid-westerners need to hear when we’re whining about having 3 inches of snow. As far as my sense of humor – well, I’ve always been known as the one in my circle of friends who was born without a filter. I either get hearty laughs or cricket sounds and offended glances. I think you and I are kindred spirits when it comes to the concept of speaking what’s on our minds.

    1. I can’t wait to check out your blog. I do believe you have the best avatar picture I have ever seen.

      My jokes are pretty hit or miss, too. Plenty of times I’ll get blank stares. Usually when I am trying to be funny for my in-laws . My kids think I’m funny most of the time, but once in awhile my 5 year old will frown and say, “Mommy, stop trying to be funny because you are. Not. FUNNY!” Really puts me in my place.

  23. Check out Bill Hicks. Leary is widely considered to have stolen Hicks’ style and type of content. I’m not knocking Leary, but if you like him you might love Hicks. Fair warning: he’s brutal. He’s brilliant and hilarious and changed stand-up in many ways (he’s probably as important to stand-up as Carlin, and Bruce, and Pryor), but he will – I promise you, he will – make you uncomfortable at some point. “Rant In E-Minor” is a great album of his. Just a suggestion.

  24. Great post Darla. You’re bang on the money, comedy is there to help you get through life and appreciate every experience for what it is. My wife and I actually spent our 10th wedding anniversary at the Melbourne international comedy festival watching a tonne of stand-up and I think it was the most appropriate event for us to celebrate 10 years of laughing our way though life’s little challenges. Also, the kids stayed at the grandparents so this may have helped a little too 🙂

    1. That sounds like the best anniversary gift ever (and with no kids?!) I’ve been married 12 years and I know for a fact our shared sense of humor is what keeps it solid and going strong. He is like a male version of me (the poor guy). We are both these two goofballs who like bathroom humor. God help our kids.

    1. This is the kind of comment that I want to stitch onto a pillow. Thank you so much for saying that. If you’d follow me even after I kicked a kitten, that is loyalty you can’t buy!

      What’s funny is I can be very serious, too. I am an extremely sensitive and emotional person, I cry at the drop of a hat. Especially if it’s a beer can hat. (oh, god, that was just a terrible, terrible joke)

  25. D-Woww, so good to see you pop up on my reader.

    I’m quoting you: “… but laughter has this magical ability to heal wounds.” And I might add, or rip the scab right off!!

    I can’t even count how many times MLB has said, “EVERYTHING isn’t a joke!!”
    Really?? Seriously?? Most things really are funny. I just can’t help myself. hehehe

    Lovin’ this post.

    1. Sweet Cheeks often says to me “Can you just be serious for 5 minutes?” Usually, I cannot.

      I use my classroom as my stand-up routine. I am sure my students think I am a nut case, but they remember a lot of what I say…

    2. I know what MLB means by that, I suppose I’m guilty of being serious, too. I am just overall very emotional about most things. But I still can make fun of most anything. I do have my line I won’t cross.

      1. Oh, yeah. I know that guy! Jim loves him. I haven’t actually watched his stand-up before so I’ll check out those clips once the kiddos give me two minutes in a row uninterrupted (might not be until September…)

  26. Okay, I don’t know the last comedian you named, C.K. Whoever, but I’ll make sure and look him or her up. (I’d say “him” but initials are sometimes related to women, huh hum)

    Yes. In growing up I had a similar situation, but ours was due to NO boys until I was ten. I had two older sisters and two younger sisters, and a father who wanted boys. Since it was so long waiting, he treated us as sons and we sure acted like it. Needless to say, some of the antics in school did not serve well in the community. I was one of the “hot” girls later in class, but I didn’t know it until later when I saw photos and thought, “Wow, I was quite a knock-out!” I was the girl that sat in the back of the class surrounded by boys. I thought it was because I was cool and could relate, not being aware of the birds and the bees until High School. I suppose that’s because neither of my parents knew how to explain them to the boy-girls they’d raised.

    In high school, I finally got contacts (and headrests for slow dances), and loved to dance. But with all of the help I’d been giving in the garage to my father, fixing cars and the like, I was not a sitting priss toddling tea and eating crumpets. I was also a “sit on the head and fart” girl, but we did it to each other.

    My parents were NOT surprised when I announced to them one of my classes in high school was welding. Why? The auto mechanics class was full and Jennifer Beals was a welder, hot and HOT! Needless to say, as in the movie, I wound up being an exotic dancer and now she is a lesbian in a sexual sitcom. Funny how life turns out. But hey, I can weld!

    My parents would always ask me if I thought I was funny. But I always knew the right answer was “no,” unless I wanted to be backhanded. Subconsciously I believe this redundant and rhetorical question followed by, “Answer me when I ask you a question; I can’t hear your brains rattle!” put a damper on my humor-ridden future. But my kids think I’m funny and WOW! are THEY a hoot! The other day I poured my daughter’s Marshmallow Mateys into a bowl to find no colorful, hard and crunchy mallows. When I peeked into the bag, I found a spoon. (I don’t believe the bag came with a prize inside.)

    1. Louis C.K. is most definitely a man, unless I have really missed something from his past. He changed his last name to initials because people had a hard time pronouncing it. I do know that much. He is hilarious, you won’t be disappointed.

      It may surprise you to know I was a tomboy growing up. I climbed trees, wore toughskins….I could wrestle, hold my younger bro in a pretty solid headlock…I was skinny but wiry and strong. But I wore glasses and Care Bears shirts, played with Barbies and had a pink canopy bed. I was such an enigma!

      But I don’t think I’ve ever welded anything, you’ve got me there. But my blog name is a partial rip-off for Jennifer Beal’s Flashdance movie.

      My kids are very good at leaving odd things in odd places. I was actually considering doing a series of photos for this blog. I found a Lalaloopsy doll’s head inside my coffee filters one morning. That’s a fine way to wake up, huh.

      1. Yeah, kids do the weirdest things! I think everyone would appreciate your series of photos. Hey, it might even give ideas for more input.

        My 5-yr-old daughter took “before” photos of me today for a weightloss program. Note to self: NEVER have “before” pictures taken from that perspective unless you plan on doing the starvation diet immediately!

  27. Yeah, Darla, I find you really funny. So funny I had time to go get a coffee and come back to the computer while all your thousands of freakin’ comments loaded. There’s nothing I can add here except I hope your frozen hair grew back, and as you age you’ll find getting gray hilarious. And I hope you cooked a latte out of that Lalaoopsy whatever head. Zombie coffee. That would be funny.

    1. haha! I do find gray hair funny. Especially how it always has to grow right front and center of your head so everyone can get a good look. And it has the consistency of a brillo pad so it sticks out at crazy angles, just to make sure people can’t miss it. Then I end up plucking it out and it hurts more than the time my hair was ripped out of my head when I froze on the ground.

          1. I do not understand twitter – and what he said was so true – instead of paying attention to really important events at hand, people are concentrating on sending messages, and looking at a 3 inch screen

  28. This was really well done! You named some of my own favorites but I go further back than you;

    Richard Pryor remains one of my all time favorite stand up comedians. His early work was fall on the floor funny. He talked about his life, hard to hear sometimes but always dead on.

    Sam Kinison is another one of my favorites, I know many women didn’t love poor Sam but I always thought he was hysterical.

    Whoopi Goldberg in the early stand up days, her characters were amazing.

    Wanda Sykes is another one I find really funny.

    1. How did I forget Sam Kinison?? He was one of my favorites! I remember his bit about Richard Simmons “Sweatin’ to the F***ing Oldies!” He had some jokes that would make me hyperventilate. My husband has a lot of Sam’s stuff on CDs and we listen to his stand-up in the car (when the kids aren’t around of course) I loved how he used to scream “OH OH OHHHH!” Oh he was awesome.

      Yes, Whoopi used to crack me up all the time way back in the early days.

      Wanda Sykes I just love. She has this stand-up about women jogging at night that makes me weep (don’t want to say more because this is supposed to be a ‘family-friendly’ blog).

  29. Darla, you said it so true that, we all have our share of tragedy and pain. But believe me you have the god gifted talent to see fun in everything. Thanks for healing not only yours but all of ours wounds, with your humor and with your writing. I know how difficult it is to make someone smile as I am really not good at that. So you are really good at the toughest job in this world that is to spread the laughter.

  30. Can I just throw my 2 cents in to say that I *heart* George Carlin? I love the “stuff” clip. It really never gets old. I also love the “7 words” sketch, but I think you can now say most of those words. 😛
    Do you like Chris Rock?
    Thanks for the cool blast from the past!

    1. The ‘7 words’ sketch is my husband’s favorite. I was always in awe at how George could memorize his stand-up routines…he was lightning quick and always brilliant. One of the greats for sure.
      I love Chris Rock, too.

  31. Richard Pryor was good, but Dennis Miller and George Carlin are (were) my favorites to watch. If you took all the swear words out of their routines it would only lose a few minutes, not half the show. Plus, I love comedy that is conducive to the thinking glands that some might not get, or will not admit they get. Political jokes are awesome, with the right postman, and these are two of the greatest ever!

    Who thought to put the words “on” and “off” on a light switch?

    1. I agree, sometimes comedians can rely too much on just swears or trying too hard to be outrageous, without any point. Carlin was a genius. He didn’t go for the easy laughs. His humor was complicated, brilliant–showing the ridiculous things about human nature.

  32. I love love love stand-up comedy. I like George Carlin, Jerry Seinfeld, Louis CK, Bill Maher etc., but my favorite is Chris Rock. No one else can make me literally ROFL.
    But it’s not just that. I love going to comedy clubs and watching upcoming comedians. I go so regularly, the emcees at a couple of NYC clubs recognize me!
    To me, all jokes are kosher. All topics are kosher. I even ask to get seated right up under the comedian’s nose, and enjoy getting ribbed a little. It’s fun.

    1. Chris Rock is one of my favorites, too. Living in New York, you must get a chance to check out tons of comedians, you’re very lucky. Up here, we might get Jerry Seinfeld once in a blue moon.

      I’ve only been to a comedy club once in Portland but I wasn’t sitting up front. I think I’d be fine with someone making fun of me, I think most things about me are ridiculous and funny.

  33. I totally missed this post and am late to the party. I want to insert a joke here to make it all better but now I’m thrown off by Louis C.K.’s funny twitter bit. I loved a bit he did about taking his daughters to see these wild ponies in Europe.

    “…I would find myself underneath a pig pile of five brothers all trying to fart on my head in unison…” This is why you’re awesome.

    I loved the Eddie Murphy bit about “Just like McDonald’s?” It’s funny because I heard this kind of “I can’t make it just like…” crap all the time as a kid. My husband and I just rewatched Raw a few months back. Two observations: I would never watch it with my gay friends. And that leather did have to chafe. I don’t think his clothes were intentionally supposed to be funny but, wow, did not stand the test of time, did they?

    1. P.S. Best stand-up show I saw in person was Jerry Seinfeld about two years ago. Truly amazing and worth every penny. Best stand-up show on television was hands-down Jon Stewart on HBO in 1996. They reran it on Comedy Central a couple years later and I had it on VHS tape for the longest time until my crazy old roommate stole it from me. I’ve never gotten over it because that thing is nowhere. Nowhere! I’ve searched everywhere online and the best I can find is small 8-minute clips of the show on YouTube.

      1. I love Jon Stewart! (who doesn’t, right?) But yeah, he makes me laugh so hard I weep. Too bad your roommate stole it. Probably accidently taped an episode of Guiding Light or Capitol over it and didn’t want you to know. (yes, Capitol was an actual soap)

        1. It was a “he” roommate and he probably taped over it with porn. Not kidding.

          The best line was his saying that we didn’t need a leader just like us. “C’mon! Don’t be like us! Be better than us! We’re idiots! Look at us, we just got swept away by the Macarena!” And then he goes into the Macarena dance. Man, I’d take a bullet for that guy. I love him so much.

      2. I know. I want to have his love child.

        I saw him interviewing someone, another comedian…and he had me laughing so hard, I thought I might actually have a stroke right there on the couch. Good way to go, I guess.

    2. I just laughed so hard at your comment, I work up Jim who is snoring like a buzzsaw. Serves him right I guess…Ooh, I haven’t watched Raw in its entirety in probably 20 years. All I remember is the hamburgers and the leather suit.

      1. I recall he also did a brilliant bit about pooping in the bathtub with his brother. I don’t know if it was on Raw or his follow-up show. (The name escapes me…) The follow-up show also included leather of course.

      2. Y’know…I was gonna bring up the poop thing, but then I wondered if it was a real joke Eddie did, or if I just made it up in my own head…

        But yeah! He did a whole series of poop jokes. One was about the toilet water splash. Oh, he killed me! Because it’s true! Oh, lord have mercy it’s all true…My brothers and I were entranced with Raw. Who doesn’t like a good poop joke?

  34. These videos were hilarious, Darla! I must be living under a rock, because it was the first time I had seen any of those clips, and I had never heard of any of the comedians except Eddie Murphy. Oh, dear….

    Can’t wait until Jesus comes back! Then I can use my 2000-era flip phone and painfully write a text message with one thumb. By the time I finish tapping each number on the keypad multiple times to make all of my letters, Jesus will be long gone again. At least I have a “cellular telephone”, though. (Actually, it’s not even mine. I borrow it from Marty.) 😉

    1. Don’t feel bad, I didn’t know who Louis C.K. was until recently and apparently he’s been around forever.

      I had to laugh at your ‘cellular telephone’ comment. I have a flip phone, too. I refuse to get a smart phone. I refuse to text. I refuse to even speak on the phone at all unless it’s an emergency. God, technology! I hate it. Well, except for the internet… of course.

      1. Yeah. Our only criteria for getting a cell phone were: 1. Can it dial out? and 2. Can it accept incoming phone calls? 😉

        God love the internet, though. Can’t live without it!

  35. That ice story reminded me, one day at Colby, Kim and I were walking down this treacherous ice covered pathway. She was walking all gingerly and careful, taking these short little steps, so I started imitating and teasing her about the way she was walking… ended up flat on my back! I’ll never live that down!

  36. cassiebehle

    I would love to visit Maine someday – thank you for reminding me to visit in SUMMER! 🙂 When you’re down on your luck and all else fails, a sense of humor will get you through life, that’s for sure! Keep smiling!

      1. cassiebehle

        Noted! Spring and fall are really the only good seasons in Nebraska. Summer’s been 100 degrees every day, and winter is in the negatives.

  37. Good lord all those comments. Are you FP?
    I cannot imagine one’s hair freezing. I’m sure you didn’t laugh at the time having to walk into class with a bald patch, but I’m glad you can laugh now.
    I like Seinfeld, Lilly Tomlin and Robin Williams. And all the English guys from Monty Python especially John Cleese. He’s hysterical in Faulty Towers.

    1. I didn’t have a huge bald patch, just a chunk of hair came out, you couldn’t really tell. I had tons of hair to spare back then, it was just this thick frizzy rat’s nest mass.

      John Cleese kills me. One of my fave movies is A Fish Called Wanda.

  38. EPIC! I can’t believe your frozen hair was pulled right out of your head. Wait. I can believe it because you were in Maine. I would have laughed too. And then blogged about it twenty years later. YOU ROCK.

    Also, Mitch Hedberg is one of my favorites, God rest his soul.

  39. Pingback: Firsts and Lasts in Maine | Rachel's Table

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