Thursday, March 1, 2012

funny girl.

last week i got to open for baratunde thurston. if you aren't sure who that is, or why my stomach almost fell out of my butt at the fucking prospect, let me introduce you to him. okay, so i'm not one of these assholes who's always talking about some shit they just heard about on NPR. i hate those fucking people. i'm not referring to your casual, this shit was on in the cab i took home from the bar and i managed to absorb ten minutes of fruity liberal news between dry heaves in the back seat kind of asshole, i'm talking about that asshole in your life who is either 1 always interrupting your goddamned story trying to supplement the shit you're quoting from us weekly with real motherfucking facts they heard that morning on fresh air or 2 turning every stupid conversation into a bonerkilling news report or minimally-factual history lesson.

don't you hate that shit? there's always some jagoff in the room acting like goddamned morning edition trying to update a bunch of drunk bitches at a housewarming or baby shower on current events in darfur. WAY TO BRING THE PARTY DOWN, MAN. shut the fuck up with that shit. or there's that other asshole, you know the one, the one who condescendingly inquires as to whether or not you've heard of that new band of upstarts the black keys. "they were just featured on all songs considered, which i'm sure you didn't know, you ignorant swine." yes, genius, i've heard of them. FIVE YEARS AGO WHEN THEY WERE STILL FUCKING COOL, GAH. now listen, i don't hate public radio, but i do hate shit that is boring. i can't spend more than twenty minutes listening to white people whisper breathlessly in their inside voices. i just can't. but i did donate money to that shit so i could get a free i-Go membership. and so i could walk around thoroughly impressed with myself like these haughty fucking assholes.

despite my hatred for the dull, i did, however, tune in to hear my precious baratunde talk to terry gross. he'd been on my radar for a long time: i'd seen some of his stand up, sat with my nose pressed hawkishly to the television screen when he would turn up on some news show or another, and followed all of his work in the onion. i'm not sure how many soulmates one is allowed, mostly because i think that shit is a cruel fucking joke on those of us who have to bang dudes who work at foot locker and shit, but if you can have a soulmate whom you've never met in the flesh i was convinced that this dude is one of mine. he's hot, he's smart, and he writes jokes. i mean, come on. so i think terry gross sounds like a talking corpse and i feel like i give better interviews to helen keller when i ask her, "who's my evil little girl?" while rationing out her food in the morning, but that shit is beside the point. i had to fuck around for half an hour trying to make the antenna on my RADIO THAT STILL HAS A CASSETTE PLAYER pick up a clear signal in what is apparently the titanium-insulated cave in which i reside. it was worth it, though. he was fucking brilliant.

i read his book, "how to be black," in a weekend. it's satirical self-help, which is the only kind i can stomach. GO BUY, PLEASE. you'll die laughing. also, you will better understand how to deal with black people. i kind of want to buy one for every white person in my life, but then that would be undoing several generations of carefully-crafted economic oppression or some shit. so you assholes need to go get it for yourselves.

anyway, i found out he was doing a show at the hideout in chicago on his book tour and, after hyperventilating into a brown paper bag for ten minutes, decided i was going to go there and calmly introduce myself and coolly congratulate him on the success of his book. NO I DID NOT. i decided i was going to buy new pants and construct some sort of pulley system that would allow me to rest my tits on my fucking clavicle and write, "if you want, i'd stick my finger in your asshole" on the business card i was going to forcefully shove into his (front pants) pocket. seriously, i had a fucking plan. it even involved lipstick.

the day of the show i was swooning fangirl nerd shit all over facebook when my lovely friend diana in minnesota sent me an email that said this: "so if you want to meet baratunde, i can probably help you out. let me email him." my first thought was, "i love her and everything, but this bitch is totally pulling my dick." i responded politely despite my doubts and told her that yes, i would be ever so pleased if she could make our virtual acquaintance. then i went back to memorizing passages i could quote at him because THAT'S TOTALLY SMOOTH AND THE BEST WAY TO LURE HIM BACK TO MY DIRTY APARTMENT. an hour later she was texting and calling me with this life-altering message: "he read a bunch of your writing and wants to know if you'd open the show for him." AND THEN I DROPPED DEAD.

i'm going to blow through the boring shit: 1 i left work early and almost cried on the train 2 i was wearing the worst fucking thing to perform in ever and was so mad at myself 3 i went to starbucks because i haven't been sleeping well and decided that ravaging colon upset > dozing off in front of my goddamned nerd crush 4 i couldn't get a cab to save my fucking life and it was raining and gross and by the time i got one i looked like something that had been caught in a drain 5 COFFEE ALL OVER BACK OF CAB AND PANTS. of course.

i've never performed at an all-black show except for one i hosted a couple years ago. so i didn't know that not only did i NOT have to leave work early, i could've gone the fuck home and taken a nap beforehand without worry that i was going to ruin the show. colored people time is a real fucking thing, dude. the hideout was a ghost town when i got there, which i've never seen before ever. every white literary thing is teeming with scruffy hipsters half an hour before the show even starts, yet there were tumbleweeds blowing through the bar ten minutes prior to this black shit. i walked into the main room and watched a slide show of baratunde on a screen onstage. no one was in there save for me and these two black dudes, one of whom looked like...no, wait a minute, IT CAN'T BE...eep!

 
i squinted at the screen, then looked at this dude across the room who was wearing a red hoodie. back at the screen, back at the dude. screen, dude. SCREEN, DUDE. and i decided that he must be my one true love, mister baratunde thurston. i finished the dregs of my espresso (GAH, BUTTHOLE) and walked confidently over to him with my hand extended. taken aback, he shook my hand tentatively. "i'm samantha," i said, expectantly. why had he not fallen weeping into my open embrace? what was this look of confusion? seriously, HOW COME HE ISN'T OPEN-MOUTH KISSING ME RIGHT NOW?! after another few seconds of blinking something finally registered behind his eyes. "oh yeah, you're opening, right? i'm the host! nice to meet you. we're still waiting for baratunde to get here!"

is this what it feels like to be a white person?! to confuse all these similar-looking black people on a regular basis and have to hop around with one foot in your mouth all the fucking time? how do you guys do it?! i flushed hot and red and heaved a relieved sigh that i hadn't gushed, "OH MY GOSH, I LOVE YOUR BOOK!" to the wrong motherfucking dude. what kind of simple shit is this? i obviously need my black card revoked. i had just watched 732 projected pictures of this dude crawl across a gigantic screen in a well-li room and still confused him for someone else. i returned to my table and hung my head in shame, waiting for the NAACP to kick the doors in and sentence me to read the autobiography of malcom x. AGAIN. finally the real baratunde arrived, and i held my breath and tucked two handfuls of bar napkins into my bra to soak up my nervousness. i swear to god, next time you see me you should touch my tits. it's like a goddamned charmin commercial up in there.

i tried my best to press against his penis during our introductory hug, but those tend to be short and brisk. stupid manners and etiquette, grumble grumble. anyway, he's fucking hot in person. and has a really nice smile. and was surrounded by groupies. what kind of assholes sweat book-writing comedy dudes?! i mean, other than this asshole? baratunde was polite and incredibly complimentary, and charming in the way that makes you want to punch a hole through his throat because you know that you could never make that kind of first impression on a person. especially when you're wearing a sweat bra and espresso jeans and a cheese shirt. when it was my turn i read my love letter* to white people, which is fucking fantastic. i brought the house down, and that was pretty excellent. there were a lot of fucking people there. i imagined that some of them might want to bang me, especially since i'd referenced K2 in a fucking comedy bit.

when baratunde finished and the lights came up there was a mad rush of people swarming to congratulate him (and shove business cards into his pockets, i bet) and i couldn't get anywhere near. so i sat with caitlin and drank a coke and waited to see if anyone wanted to have sex with me. a couple retired secretaries (i'm judging solely based on their party clothes) came over to tell me how adorable and funny i am, but they were both married and wearing shoes too pointy to belong to a real middle-aged lesbian. some young black women came over and shook my hand and promised to "tweet me," and that made me laugh because my twitter is such fucking bullshit. then this white dude came over. baratunde had twatted about me earlier, and this gentleman had seen the tweet and decided to do some research prior to shelling out eight whole dollars to see some dumb bitch he'd never fucking heard of.

"i'm really surprised that WHITE GUY you blog with has you as a partner," he said, in all seriousness. "that letter was kind of offensive." i waited for the punchline. "i've followed ian's work for a while now, and i've been to a lot of his shows. and his choice of you as a contributor was puzzling to me. he lets you say all this stuff?" first of all, that letter was heartfelt and magical. second, HE LETS ME MOTHERFUCKING DO WHAT? i tried to remain calm and figure out what to say that wouldn't result in my having to wrestle this dude to the floor with a broken beer bottle. "he didn't purchase me," i said slowly. "we write shit on the fucking internet. he doesn't let me do shit." this asshole then went on to explain the power dynamic between black and white people especially in a comedic context. you know, the things we can and cannot joke about, culturally. mucho boring.

if you aren't reading my other blog, irbyandian.com, you fucking should be. it's ridiculous and hilarious and you wouldn't want this fine gentleman to be having all the fun, would you? no, you would not. comedy dudes are so fucking weird and terrible, especially when it comes to comedy ladies. rarely do you find one who isn't pulling his dick out all the goddamned time trying to prove how he's so much funnier than you are. and if not that, he's pointing to your ass and saying that's the only reason anyone is listening to you. it's so gross. YOU AREN'T FUNNY, HOMIE. NOT MY FUCKING FAULT. also not my fault that you're not progressive enough to deal with the sassy black sidekick you've dreamed of ever since you saw your first episode of "gimme a break." that dude talked at me for another two minutes, which is a long fucking time in real fucking life. about his failed comedy career, the inappropriate jokes he wasn't allowed to make, the women who rose to stardom when it really should've been him. finally, when my eye-rolling had reached a thundering crescendo, he said, "so why isn't he here tonight?"

"he's at a klan rally," i lied, then went to hug baratunde again. here's hoping he finds that card i slipped him. and that i don't spend our first date fawning all over somebody else.

*click here to read the letter. feel free to write me one in return.