Saturday, September 27, 2008

No blog today!

Because I wrote one professionally.

Thursdays I blog for and soon I'll be blogging for a brand new venture (that cannot be named in public until Oct. 1). When I write for these sites, instead of giving y'all a semi-effort, I'll redirect you to those articles.

Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A new Manifest Destiny

If you'll remember from high school history class, Manifest Destiny was essentially an excuse to kill Native Americans (and then steal their land). See, 19th century folk figured that God (or God using one of his cool nicknames, like "Providence") _wanted_ the United States to be a bi-coastal country.

Of course that's ridiculous. Any being worthy of an adjective like "supreme" would no be worried about how many oceans a newly formed country bordered.

Manifest Destiny was a clever name for a hard reality: The US was going to become a bi-coastal country either way, so we might as well acknowledge it (and do what we always do: claim that God is behind the whole thing). Arguments against western expansion were silly because anyone looking at a map -- or a population survey of the Native Americans living in the west -- could see that the US was going to expand, violently if necessary. Once that expansion was given rock 'em sock 'em name like MD, any lingering arguments -- moral or political -- dried up.

"Listen," the proponents of MD were saying, "it's going to happen no matter what and further, God wants it to happen! So, stop your whining, grab a gun, and go start killing indians! I'll be in the van."

I think it's time that we took Manifest Destiny out of the slogan closet, dusted it off, and brought it back into popular usage. There are some things that we all know are going to happen eventually and that anybody resisting those things are going to be proved wrong. Bringing them under the MD umbrella seems, to me, a wise move; doing so will hasten their acceptance and, more importantly, when people of the future look back on the early 21st century, they'll credit this blog as being the starting point for the revolution. It's a slam-dunk that somebody builds a statue of me, which, as you know, would be awesome.

Here is my proposal for the new Manifest Destiny:

1. Gay people are people. There is nothing different about them except where they like to put their private parts. The linguistic dancing people are doing now ("Civil Union!") is about as retarded as the last time tried this ("Separate but Equal!").

2. The Scientific Method isn't a "theory". It's a way of looking at the world that has led to things like the toilet, the computer, and the Mangroomer back-hair shaver. If the Scientific Method should happen to contradict your religious beliefs it's not because the Method is flawed; stop attacking it and use this crisis of faith to win some more brownie points with whatever God you're afraid you're pissing off.

3. There is no such thing as Race. In fact, in the entire classification system you'll remember from sophomore Bio, the only hard and fast rule is for species (if you can bang it and it produces a child, it's part of your species). Race and Subspecies (and indeed, the larger groupings like Family and Phylum) are all pretty much guesses based on how you look. You'll of course notice that people look different (and there should be no harm in pointing that out), but trying to classify what those differences "mean" is silly.

4. Men and women are biologically different. The most negative lasting element of 60s Feminism is the belief that men and women are completely equal in all ways. Instead of focusing all of their efforts on political equality, there was an unfathomable push to make people believe in biological equality as well. We all know this is false from the time we're two years old. We need to accept the biological differences between us (while maintaining the political equality!) and restructure our post-feminist world to best suit the needs of both men and women.

So now that I have three (count 'em THREE!) readers, I can ask for comments and not look like a crazy person. What would you add to the new Manifest Destiny? What are things that we know, in our hearts, is true (and that will no doubt be accepted by everyone in the coming decades) but that there are pockets of silly resistance to presently?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"All I want is a guy with a sense of humor"

I often say in my act that the biggest lie a woman tells in her lifetime is that she thinks a sense of humor is a sexy thing for a man to have. I say this because if that were true my being a professional comedian should have led me to being neck deep in a poontang avalanche by now.

It gets a laugh because there's a central truth to it: I am _very_ funny and yet _very_ few of the women in the room are attracted to me. Since I'm not a hunchback, the only reasonable conclusion is that women are lying when they talk about how hot the ha-has make them.

Of course, like a lot of "truths" in my act, I'm simplifying the situation.

It occurred to me today that the problem is that there are two types of funny: the kind that turns women on, and the kind that makes me money.

I think it's fair to say that heterosexual women want from their man one thing above all else: comfort. If you talk to a hundred women and ask them the best feeling in the world, 99 of them will say it's being wrapped, snug and secure in the arms of the man she loves (the other one will say "penis... rock hard penis"). I think when women talk about "funny", what they're really talking about is "comfort".

The average dude can do comfort funny pretty easy. All you have to do is take an uncomfortable situation and make the dumbest, most obvious joke about it. "Don't worry about Sarah at the office... she's a bitch!" To which the woman giggles and says, "you're so bad!" before they fall into sloppy unprotected sex on the kitchen floor.

There's nothing original there but it makes her feel better. That's the sense of humor women want when they talk about their turn ons.

Comedians do the opposite of comfort humor. Usually what a comic does is take an uncomfortable truth, paint some happy shiny colors on it, then present it to the world. It's funny -- indeed, funny enough that if you're good at it, you can make a living doing it -- but it's not _sexy_, because it's _not comforting_.

That, I think, is why, after I have a particularly good set, I'm not mobbed by a line of willing females each more hopeful than the next that I might bestow on them a sexual experience that has come to be known as "The Jay Black 24 Second Special."

Of course, this could all be bunk. Maybe I'm just hunchback ugly and no one has had the guts to tell me...

Now I have two readers!/Clay Aiken/My economic bailout plan

So, on Monday I had one reader. By Tuesday I had two readers. I've done some conservative readership estimates based on the current trends and I think I can predict with some degree of confidence that I'll have 549,755,813,888 readers by Halloween. I'm excited because that's 100x the number of people currently living on the earth, so, you know, I'll be pretty popular. I think it might behoove me at that point to get some google ads.


Clay Aiken is gay! And... the world shrugs. I personally think the bigger news is that Clay Aiken thought that there were people who didn't know that he was gay. Seriously, you tell me which is the more surprising headline:

1. Clay Aiken gay.

2. Clay Aiken hardcore heterosexual sex tape found! Sex-crazed maniac Aiken the new Charlie Sheen says Hollywood madam who supplied Aiken with his never-ending supply of barely-legal girls!

Yeah, I thought so.


If you've been reading my other posts, you're aware that I've been keeping a wary eye on Wall Street for the last few weeks. See, for whatever reason, I've been worried since i was a kid that there might one day be another Great Depression (my other worries as a kid: nuclear war, the dying of our sun, and/or a highly contagious fast spreading super-virus killing everyone -- incidentally, I was not a very happy kid). As the world economy teeters and our leaders try to decide the best course of action by letting a monkey point randomly at 1930s economics textbook, I find myself as worried as I've ever been. For all my joking about it, I'm legitimately afraid of what the next few years might bring.

It's starting to get ridiculous. I've got a life to lead; it's stupid for me to worry about decisions that I can't control and whose impact on my daily life is hard to parse even with an economics degree. It's like worrying what Scarlett Johansen will think of my penis.

This, then, is how I plan to cope with my worry: I'm going to stop paying attention to it.

That's right, I'm taking an "ignorance is bliss" policy regarding all the world's problems. I figure, shit, if it works for our president, it's good enough for me.

From now on, no more stock ticker, no more CNBC, no more Drudge report. Further, you won't be getting any more updates from me via this blog about our impending economic disaster. So far as my brain is concerned, the only thing in this world is talking about is Clay Aiken's sexuality.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go find me a fiddle to play.

Monday, September 22, 2008

To Megan, quite possibly my only reader

Just got your comment on my God is Pro-life? post and figured I'd write you a thank you. Originally, I was going to reply to just the comment on that particular post, but I figured that would be kind of like pulling someone aside to tell them a secret in a giant, empty auditorium. It's not like anyone else is listening, right?

Thanks much for the encouragement. I've been trying to be semi-regular in updating this thing and it's nice to know that there's at least one person out there reading this stuff. For a while writing for it felt like masturbation in the truest, saddest sense of the word.

So, for you, Megan, quite possibly my only reader, I will continue this half-dead dog of a blog!

Friday, September 19, 2008

"God is Pro-Life"

I've been seeing a lot of this slogan lately. The anti-abortion crowd seems to think that just because they're more religious than the average pro-choicer, God is on their side in the abortion debate.

I'm not a religious person, so I can't claim to have any special insight into the mind of God. Just judging from His track record, however, I don't think you can say that God is pro-life. In fact, I think you'd have to say that God is pro-death.

Think about it: every living thing on this planet will soon die. In order for we humans to even live the brief time that we _do_ get on this planet, we have to engage in at least a little killing (even vegetarians need pesticide!) And, finally, if you believe George Bush Jr., the war in Iraq was God's idea in the first place.

No, God likes death. A lot of it.

Even if you make the argument that God is also responsible for life (you know, by creating it, if you're so inclined to believe that sort of thing), you can only convince me that God is neutral on the subject of life and death. If He was so in favor of keeping things alive, He never would have invented arsenic or lightening or forest fires or cancer or winchester rifles or turbulence or any other way in which people die.

So, might I humbly suggest anti-abortionists to cut it out with the whole God thing? I mean, until He communicates to me directly (through an image on a piece of toast) precisely what His feelings are with regards to abortion, I can't take your opinions on the subject seriously.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Live from the dungeons below Boston

Sometimes I'm not sure the how and the why of where I wind up in stand-up comedy.

My schedule this week looks like this:

Monday: Wooster, OH
Tuesday: Greensburg, PA (morning); Edinboro, PA (evening)
Wednesday: Sharon, PA (morning); Boston, MA (evening)
Thursday: Altoona, PA
Friday: Erie, PA

Anything look out of place?

Yeah, so, this is what happened: my agent got me into the Boston comedy festival. I agreed to it because, hey, I've always wanted to be in the Boston Comedy festival and it's a good credit feather to put in your hat. It screwed up my fairly beautiful routing, but I'm a mountain man, so I toughed it out.

Now it's after my showcase and I'm at the airport. Why? Because I have a 6 AM flight, which would necessitate a 4:30 AM arrival at the airport. That means that if I were to get a room at 10 PM, I'd be paying $200 for what amounts to 6 hours of sleep (assuming that I fall asleep instantly upon arrival in the room). I'm not paying $35 an hour for anything that doesn't end in a handjob. So, douchebag (me) decided the best course of action would be to stay in the airport for 8 hours and just "hang out." I'm currently seated across from the US Air baggage claim in Terminal B wondering if now would be a good time to start a crystal meth addiction.

I had a good time in Boston and met a lot of good guys. I plan to come back next year... unless of course, Wall Street keeps sliding towards oblivion. If things keep going in _that_ direction, I and the rest of the comics at tonight's show will be scavenging the wilderness for carrion meat. If the internet's infrastructure isn't pulled from the ground during the coming food riots, please stop by this blog next year and see how everything turned out.

The Express/AIG

I've been seeing commercials for "The Express" about Ernie Davis. It looks okay, I guess, but is anyone else having period-piece-sports-movies-with-heavy-racial-overtones burnout? I mean, I'm _against_ the Confederate Flag, _for_ black athletes getting along with white athletes, and very much in favor of kickass 60s soundtracks. This movie should be right up my alley, but I just can't help feeling like I've seen this movie a thousand times before.


The world financial markets did _not_ crash completely last night, which means that the world did _not_ collapse into a post-apocalyptic doomsday scenario. This is good news for me as I spent the night in Ohio and would not have liked to kicked off Armageddon there. You want to be home for that kind of thing.

I'm not sure what to think about the AIG bailout. Is it good? Is it just a stop-gap? I'm beginning to get the feeling that the people at the Fed don't know either. I think they've never seen anything like this market and are approaching it like I used to approach text adventures back in the 80s... random guesses. If you see Bernanke trying to spray the CEO of AIG with Grue repellant, head for ze hills.

Hopefully things will get better from here. If not, I suggest you pick up Cormack McCarthy's _The Road_. Not for entertainment purposes, but for a practical guide in how to get along in the years to come.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Apples anyone?

Just practicing for the inevitable. "Apples! Get your apples here! Tasty tasty apples."

You know how annoyed I am that I spent a night following a good show in Wooster reading thousands of words about AIG, liquidity and something called "counterparties"? Apparently the entire financial world is going straight down to shitsville and there are approximately four people in the entire world that even know why.

That's the disturbing thing about this: that people are going to lose their homes and have their lives ruined for reasons that no person on the planet can actually articulate. At least on 12/07/41 and 09/11/01 there was an enemy we could point at. This crisis might affect the day to day lives of the average American just as much as 9/11 did, but for mysterious voodoo economic reasons.

I mean, if you're gonna punch me, punch me. Don't ruin my life with financial magic.

I wrote earlier (like months earlier, but I reread the whole blog today, so it feels fresh to me) that having a kid makes you more connected to the universe and thus more scared about its outcome. God is that true. I feel it today. I was born with the idea that one day I could grow up to be anything I wanted (like professional dick joke teller or Extra pop culture correspondent), but will I be able to tell my son the same thing?

It's starting to look less likely, huh?

That's why I'm rooting for Obama this year. The Republicans dismiss him as a Hope Peddler and nothing more. Well, you know what? That's all I want right now.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Jay Black: Extra Pop Culture Commentator

So, today I started side-career #41 and had my first ever pop culture comment on Extra television. I haven't seen myself on TV yet because in Cleveland (where I'm kinda-sorta at tonight), Extra doesn't air until the wee hours of the morning.

Some highlights of the experience so far:

1. Setting up a full blown digital camera in my hotel room. Because my wife destroyed our MacBook with nothing more than a spilled glass of water (*sigh*), I was forced to film the piece using a tripod, mini-DV camera, and computer. After I did the piece, I looked at the set-up, with the camera pointed at the bed, and I realized that it looked like I had filmed a snuff film in my hotel room. I'm glad housekeeping didn't walk in by accident and start demanding where the dead hitchhiker was.

2. I got to talk to Mario Lopez (Slater) because he was hosting the segment. Do you know what this means? It means that I've gotten to appear on TV with _both_ Slater and Screech. I'm 1/3rd of the way to completing Saved by the Bell bingo.

3. With my ascension into the ranks of television pop-culture commentators, I've officially tipped the US Economy to being almost entirely run by a) the creation of pop culture and b) the commenting on said pop culture. You were wondering what followed the Information Economy? The Pop Culture Commentary Economy, that's what.

4. I got to work with my good friend, Producer Steve Sunshine. He's a great guy and I hope to do a million more of these things for him. It was a lot of fun.

If Extra hasn't aired in your neck of the woods yet and, for some strange reason you decided to check a blog that hasn't been updated in three months today, I urge you to go and watch the episode. If not, let's hope there'll be more of these for me to write about.