My expectations of the YMCA have been built up over the years by popular lore. These expectations were only magnified by the fact that this was where my stand up comedy class was meant to be. There were ‘many ways to have a good time.’
I liked those odds.
Imagine my joy when I was met by a group of smiling people who then immediately started speaking to me in Spanish and offering me a seat. It was short lived when I discovered it was in fact the Alcoholics Anonymous group for Spanish speakers.
They were disappointed to see me go, and not altogether convinced I didn’t need their help.
The comedy class was in full swing when I arrived, staring at the course leader holding up a gap fill and desperately trying to elicit the ingredients for good stand up.
Hmm. Gap fill may not have been the way to go for that.
It reminded me a little of when Homer goes to Clown school. They run through things that are funny. Oversized man on a tiny bicycle, kill wealthy dowager etc.
And so it began:
“Is a dog funny?”
“Well, what I mean is, is it normally funny on its own?”
“Depends on the dog.”
“No?” I was starting to think maybe dogs aren’t funny…
“No! But a dog driving a car,” finds picture in worn portfolio “is ALWAYS funny.”
Err, hell yeah. There’s no denying the humour behind a driving dog. What would be next? A list of funny sounding places? Maybe a dog who drove all the way from Cucamunga would be twice as funny?
I was learning a fine art.
The next thing we were asked to do was to think of someone we looked like and try to give it a twist to make it funny. One stunning integrant told us she was often taken for Penelope Cruz or Amal Clooney. After a lot of awkward staring and nodding in admiration the course leader realised there wasn’t a punchline and we moved on.
According to an online “Which celebrity do you look like?” test, I look 10% like Morgan Freeman.
Some people’s lives are made for comedy I suppose.
My friend Deepa said that she thinks of me every time she hears Smokey Robinson’s ‘Tracks of my Tears’. Maybe I look a bit like Smokey Robinson too. No one’s life is perfect. My little tragedies have been running gags for most of my life.
Well, you’ve got to keep it true to yourself and what you know.
Something that was actually on the gap fill that he was holding up at the start of the class:
T_ U_ T_ YO_ _ _ E _F A_ D W_AT _ _U _N_W
He got a bit carried away with the ‘make it a challenge’ aspect of a gap fill.
The class culminated with one of the students putting on a pair of underwear over his trousers, and duct taping his routine to his arms, before gurning out a few awkward sex jokes and pretending to have tourettes.
It wasn’t Dave Chappelle, but well done that man.
At the end of it all I decided to find my own dog free comedy stylings and wished the group the best with their showcase. Making a swift exit to avoid the AA group on my way to the pub…