Mitch Hedberg Was A Genius

Mitch Hedberg

Horrible news today. Mitch Hedberg has passed away. Many of you probably have no idea who Mitch Hedberg is, so I’ll tell you. He was a comic genius. And I don’t say that lightly.

I first saw Mitch perform on a late night Comedy Central one-man stand-up show. He was so funny that I told myself to remember his name. One of his jokes had me laughing so hard that I had no choice but to memorize it as well. Fast-forward two or three years and MR and I are in Washington D.C. walking past the Improv and I see that Mitch Hedberg is performing that weekend! I immediately wet myself and set upon convincing MR that we must, at all costs, make it to the show to see Mitch live. My interest, of course, unfailingly means that MR must dash to the nearest phone booth to assume his alter-ego Uncle Fuddyduddy. He starts pissing and moaning about how going to the show will throw our itinerary/spreadsheet off by a few hours. I tell him that he and his money belt can count me out of anything on the agenda anyway as I will go to the show with or without him. With the gauntlet having been thrown down, MR concedes to go to the show but promises “on the record” that I will endure nothing but elbows in the sternum for the rest of the trip if Mitch Hedberg doesn’t deliver.

We sat in the front row of the comedy club at a table with a lone Mitch fan from the Baltimore area. After the three of us suffered through some talentless openers (and I endured MR’s hackneyed routine of blaming me for their incompetence), Mitch took to the stage. He blazed through an hour of one-liners, quirky observational humor, and a half-dozen whisky sours. When he’s on stage, Mitch hides behind sunglasses, never looks up at the audience, but instead times every joke off the level of laughter in the audience. He is the only comedian I’ve ever seen that you had to see in person to really get the joke. His voice, his delivery, his absurdity completely overtook me and I laughed so hard at things I never could have thought up. I became a true Mitch Hedberg fan that night, but even more shocking, so did MR.

I’ve since had the pleasure of seeing Mitch perform three other times. I could hear the same jokes and laugh just as hard. That is an unheard of rarity for me. But what made me an even bigger fan was that I could take anyone to see Mitch and I knew they would laugh themselves hoarse. His sense of humor was completely unique but didn’t rely on shocking, offending, or belittling anyone or anything. He took comedy to it’s most basic and genuine level. I honor that and aspire to it.

So, to you Mitch, I say thank you. I wish I’d been able to tell you this stuff in person one day. But maybe somebody will read this and search out your humor and be inspired like I was.

I’ll leave you with a few of the many hilarious jokes written by Mitch Hedberg:

I was in Downtown Boise, Idaho, and I saw a duck, and I knew the duck was lost, ‘cuz ducks ain’t s’posed to be downtown. There’s nothin’ for ’em there. So I went to a Subway sandwich shop, I said, “Let me have a bun.” But she wouldn’t sell me just the bun, she said that I had to have something on it. She told me it’s against regulations for Subway to sell just the bun. I guess the two halves ain’t supposed to touch. So I said, “Alright, well, put some lettuce on it,” which she did. She said, “That’ll be $1.75.” I said, “It’s for a duck.” And they said, “Alright, well, that is free.” See, I did not know that. Ducks eat for free at Subway! Had I known that, I would have ordered a much larger sandwich. “Let me have the Steak Fajita Sub – but don’t bother ringing it up, it’s for a duck!

I had a bag of Fritos, they were Texas grilled Fritos. These Fritos had grill marks on them. Hell yeah, reminds me of summer time, when we used to fire up the barbeque and throw down some Fritos. I can still see my dad with the apron on, better flip that Frito, dad, you know how I like mine.

The depressing thing about tennis is that no matter how much I play, I’ll never be as good as a wall. I played a wall once. They’re fucking relentless.

Read more jokes by Mitch Hedberg…

or listen to a few clips here.

I’m a Black Man Now

Guess who’s in the hiznouse? J. Solo abouts to drop bombs on ya’ll. After reading Krusty’s last comment it got me thinking about what’s happened to me in the last 5 years. Yes, I am a black man with a chain now, and yes, I know most of you need a translator to understand me. Check gizoogle.com, or contact DA. But seriously though, it made me wonder what it is about areas of the country and how everybody’s saying the same thing, but in a different way.

Contrary to what most of my friends on the west coast think (especially Seattle), I do not hang around gangster rappers with gold chains and plated teeth. Nor do I feel any different inside. Matter of fact, I mainly work with music producers in the industry who are…NOT black. Most hip-hop producers I work with are white, or Jewish. My main producing partner and native New Yorker, Probe DMS is actually like me… quarter Chinese, quarter white, and half black. All mixed up. I’d have to say the majority of native New Yorkers are mixed, but everybody speaks the same lingo. Race has nothing to do with it.

When I lived in Seattle, everybody used to say, “yeah man, that’s tight,” meaning, “I like that.” Out here the main word is “hot,” or, “dope.” Nobody says “cool” like you might hear on the west coast. And “dude” can be heard from every kid in California. Except to New Yorkers, it sounds like “dee-ude.” Kids from Brooklyn might replace it with, “dukes.” For example:

Brooklynite: What up dukes, what’s poppin’?
Solo: Mad chillin’.
Brooklynite: Dope.

Translation:

Brooklynite: Hello, how are you feeling?
Solo: Very good
Brooklynite: Good.

Now I don’t want anyone to feel offended. These are only observations I’ve made. And I do know that my speaking patterns and dialect have changed; my mother can’t even understand me on the phone anymore. It’s not forced either, in fact, while xboxing, I try to tone it down. Let me elaborate some more.

Solo: Yo, I just mercked that dude (slight mixture of west and east coast lingo).
Krusty: Did you say mercked?

“Mercked” is a Queens-based word meaning murder. Check NAS and you’ll hear it in his rhymes. If I was playing with kids from New York I might say:

Solo: Yo dun, that kid just got mercked (notice the non-usage of “dude.”)
New Yorker: Aight, true.

Translation:

Solo: Hey, I just killed that guy.
New Yorker: Alright, good job.

I added another Queen’s based word, “dun,” pronounced, “done,” a play off the word “son.” I never use this one online cause it’s not as known to the world unlike “son.” Let’s keep this rolling (moving). This might be a typical phone call:

Solo: Yo, What’s good?
New Yorker: Parlayin’.
Solo: My man hit me up with that cheddar he’d been sittin’ on.
New Yorker: Bout time, it’s been a minute.

Translation:

Solo: Hello, how are you doing?
New Yorker: Nothing.
Solo: My friend gave me the money he’d owed me.
New Yorker: Finally, it’s been a long time.

Now in this conversation you have usage of slang that could be heard all over New York from BK to Queens, to the BX. Believe me, I’m barely scratching the surface here. Onward.

Solo: Dag, my peeps be hatin on me these days.

Translation:

Solo: Damn, my friends are talking about me behind my back.

A few years back, I came out to Seattle to vacation and relax. I ran into a few of my old friends. I was happy to see them and catch up. But I felt like they were judging me for the way I talked. I really thought I wasn’t speaking slang either. It got back to me that some musicians in Seattle are saying that I think I’m black now. I wish! Just kidding, first of all, I’m neither white nor black. Half Korean, half white is the term. And second, I find it very stereotypical to think that because I might use the word “mad” it has anything to do with race. People are people, and we all speak different languages, even in America. Although I did pull up flossin’ 22’s on my whip ballin’ like crazy.

Once again, please don’t take any offense to this. I love all my friends from the west coast and east coast. In fact, I know kids out here poke fun at my west coast slang too (I use both). In fact, you might say I have a funny accent to New Yorker’s ears, sort of like my mother’s Korean accent. If anyone has a question about any terminology I used in this post, I’d be happy to clarify (or ask DA). I ask people who read this to try and come up with slang they use in everyday use and realize where it’s coming from. Race or demographics?

Wit’ dat said, I’m about to floss my piece for a while. My jump off’s at work stackin’ chedda’ while I’m polying wit all ya’ll. I’m startin to cake up nicely, hope ya’ll doin the same. Stop frontin’, keep it real. Peace everybody. One love.

Remote Controls, Part I

My wife and I celebrated our nine-month anniversary last night. And by “celebrated,” I mean I spent all night playing Xbox with DA and Solo while my wife… hmm… actually, I have no idea what she did last night. I’m pretty sure she was upstairs watching TV during the Xboxfest. I do remember eating dinner together. I kind of lost track of her after that. She probably just cried herself to sleep. Good times.

Sadly, this was actually one of our better anniversaries. This is just a textbook example of “clueless male syndrome,” the main issue women deal with during the newlywed phase. Surprisingly, her morale is still relatively high. She has high hopes that she can fix this genetic defect with a steady regimen of nagging and browbeating. Time will tell.

Of course, there’s another side to this coin. I too face obstacles as a contestant in this newlywed game. Here’s my top three:

3. The Xbox: My wife and my Xbox have never really gotten along, but lately it’s become pretty bitter. The problem here is that they view each other as a source of competition for my love and attention. It wasn’t always this way. They coexisted happily during our engagement, but things disintegrated shortly after the marriage ceremony. My Xbox was truly hurt at being left behind while my wife and I went on our honeymoon. I didn’t want to exclude the Xbox, buy my wife insisted. To this day, my Xbox has never really forgiven her for that.

At this point, they can barely stand to be in the same room with each other. They exchange dirty looks. They backstab one another. They spread vicious rumors. The tension between them is palpable, and I’m caught in the middle. I try not to play favorites, and I generally do my best to make it clear that I love them both equally. They like to “keep score” though. Whenever I spend a quite evening alone with one, the other demands equal time the following night. While I try desperately to make them both happy, the fact is neither is ever satisfied. You can imagine the strain it puts on our marriage.

2. Pizza: You’d think my wife and I would be able to order a pizza every once in awhile without it tearing apart our marriage. You’d think. Unfortunately, our pizza preferences couldn’t be more opposite. We can’t even settle for the typical half and half compromise, as that would entail us reaching a consensus on a sauce or crust type. That’s right. We can’t even decide between hand-tossed, pan, cheese-stuffed, or thin crust without having protracted negotiations between teams of lawyers. And then there’s the sauce. My wife will vacillate between pesto and Alfredo sauce, and I’m stuck throwing my hands in the air over why we can’t just have “regular pizza sauce” on our pizza? I won’t even go into the difficulties we have in agreeing on toppings, mainly because we’ve never actually gotten to that point.

The worst part of this is that my wife only eats a few slices to begin with. Because of this, we can’t even use a pizza buffet as a means to sidestep these issues. While I view the pizza buffet as a personal challenge to bankrupt the establishment with pizza consumption, my wife continually sabotages my efforts by filling up on salad and breadsticks, and whatever other non-pizza items happen to be featured in the buffet.

The only solution is to order two pizzas, one for each of us. Of course, this too has a price. My pizza and any leftovers will be polished off in a 24-hour period. Unfortunately, my wife’s leftovers (of which there are plenty) linger in the fridge like a science experiment. I’ve even seen her toss out stale leftover pizza, which, as we all know, is in stark violation of the 11th Commandment. It’s not uncommon for me to openly weep at the sight of wasted pizza. Honestly, she could have lit my paycheck on fire in front of me and received a more subdued reaction.

The point is, we simply don’t share the same love of pizza. For instance, I’ve never heard her refer to pizza as “sweet, sweet nectar” like I do from time to time. That really sums it up right there.

1. Remote Controls: This pertains mainly to usage and etiquette. All I’m going to say here is that we’ve been married about nine months now, and roughly, if I had to ballpark it, I’d guess that I’ve spent 80% of that time searching for the remote control.

Don’t think for an instant that I’m going to leave it at that. This is merely the introduction… the first part in an ongoing series dissecting my thoughts on remote controls. By breaking this topic into segments, I’m hoping that I can continually bring this issue to the forefront with each update and discuss each aspect in appropriate length. Whereas, if I were to combine all my thoughts on remote controls into one massive post, some of these thoughts would get lost in the shuffle, and their societal and cultural impact would be lessened.

Finally, I will delineate the parts with Roman numerals, as generally, the most important aspects of our society are numbered in this fashion: Super bowls, Rocky movies, Star Wars prequels, etc.

And with that said, be on the lookout for Part II

My So-Called Email Life

Ninety-six percent of my life is virtual. I’ve timed it and I’m always about thirteen seconds away from the Internet. You all know this. For goodness sake, I’m taking more technical support calls than Microsoft these days. Granted, I sat down at MR’s computer over Christmas break and in about five minutes turned it from a stinking pile of crap into a shiny red Ferrari. Needless to say, this doctor doesn’t mind making house calls when a trip to the Zillionaire’s Lounge is involved. So in this virtual life, new social customs are arising. In the interest of science, I feel obliged to share some of the details of my so-called email life.

First off, we are all at very different “virtual lives.” This must be taken into account when writing an email. Am I going to get a response back next week or is it going to be in two minutes? Is this going to be more of a conversation or single-spaced autobiography? For example, I will break this down by analyzing my email habits with some of the commenters on this site. If your results are different with these folks, don’t take offense. These values are not constant and change frequently.

  1. MR: Currently, the forecast for MR is pretty sunny. Right now, I have solid expectations that I will hear back from an email within the hour. The email will also be of notable length. Frequency, due to these factors, is greatly inhibited and average email count is one a day. Some visitors might be surprised to read that these are almost never funny but instead are usually somewhat serious discussions of different facets of our lives.
  2. CK: Forecast on this guy is freezing cold with an occasional absolute blizzard. We’ll go months between emails then one day five or six back and forth. They are always of high quality so perhaps that is the root cause of the dry spells. No fluff. Just straight freestyle, off-the-cuff comedy.
  3. Solo: Little cloudy here. We don’t get into the riffs that we once did on email. I think most of it stems from the fact that last year we both overdosed on virtuality. We were ichatting, isighting, xboxing, and emailing. It was out of control. It was like watching a television show of his life and, let me tell you, that ain’t reality tv. That is like watching the Discovery channel. He is the whole circus people, not just the dancing bears. I kid, I joke… :)
  4. Etc.. (See, I didn’t leave you out. You know who you are. Yeah, this is for you. I shouted you out on the website. Yes, you! You reading this.)

Another facet of this conversation is about quality not quantity. I can’t always bring my “A” game. In fact, I rarely do. I’m ok with that. Sometimes, I’m just conducting business. Sometimes I’m catching up. Sometimes I’m trying to get you to respond with some witty banter so we go back and forth. Be thankful when you receive these emails as it’s kinda like the behind the scenes look at Zillionaire. The E! True Hollywood Emails of the site, if you will.

In conclusion, I eagerly await converting my existence to a 100% online lifestyle. It was my New Year’s resolution after all. I hope to see you all on the other side.

Sweet One, Syracuse

Wow, thanks to Vermont upsetting Syracuse, I am now mathematically eliminated from winning my office pool on the second day of the tournament. The second day! I think I actually did worse than the girl in Payroll that picks teams based solely on the color of their uniforms. Sadly, she even warned me that Syracuse’s orange uniforms were really more of a fall color. Damn. I now face the daunting task of going into work on Monday and trying to convince people that my wife actually filled out my bracket.

While Vermont played an outstanding game, they couldn’t have pulled out the win without some magnificent point shaving by Syracuse’s Gerry McNamara. Kudos on a truly first-rate performance. I’m sure there’s a bookie having his thumbs broken as we speak. Seriously, it was like watching the movie “Blue Chips” with Jim Boeheim starring in Nick Nolte’s role (and regrettably, without Shaq as a supporting actor.)

Truthfully though, I like seeing a smattering of upsets this time of year. It’s just that I’m usually on the “Called it!!!” side of these games, smugly gloating to coworkers like the outcome was obvious. “Well, Southwest Missouri Tech has won their last 11 non-conference games on the road… And Kansas tends to shoot under 50% when the opposing coach has a mustache. It was really a no-brainer.”

There’s more to this story though. With their win tonight, Vermont has unwittingly created a second major upset within our office pool. With me out of the tourney in the early rounds, my coworkers (all of which are #16 seeds to my lone #1 seed) now have a legitimate chance to win it all. Let me say right now, I can’t wait to use that analogy on Monday…

And so there it is. Let the madness begin… I can honestly say that my happiness in life over the next three weeks will depend almost entirely on how far Gonzaga goes in the tourney… (By declaring that, I almost assuredly have jinxed my way into another upset. Standard.)

Go Zags!