Archive | Matt Baker

Jokes that turn a crowd off

The great thing about live theatre is that anything can happen at any given moment. I have had fights break out amongst the guests, audience members so drunk they throw up and even people starting fights after getting thrown up on.  I have had outdoor shows that in the middle it started pouring rain, which I took as God saying, “This is just not a funny bit.”

Once while I was performing in Mexico, I had a woman jump out of her seat screaming at the top of her lungs like she was overacting in some sort of b-grade horror movie. I thought for sure hermetshe was in serious trouble. As it turned out, a small hermit crab had strolled over her foot, which led to the hysterics. However, I think I am going to cast her in my upcoming film, “Hermit crabs, nothing to laugh about.”

Just two weeks later while performing at the same venue, I was attacked on stage by a giant moth. Not Mothera big, but definitely big enough to take down a small, wounded, blind puppy . That’s the beauty of performing “live” in front of an audience. Unusual things can happen at anytime and often do. That’s where great stories come from. If your there, you get to say stuff like, “I was there when Kramer lost his shit.” That’s a story everyone wants to hear. These are the sort of stories that make you think your cooler then everyone else.

As a performer when things arise that are not a planned part of the show, there are two ways to deal with it:

#1 (the not so best way) – ignore it. Keep going on with the show and pretend it never happened.

#2 (which is the best way) – Roll with it. Accept it and use it as part of the show.

The entertainers who use practice #1 are the type of comedians who craft their routine to perfection. Their set is so well refined, one unsuspected event during their performance can derail the whole show. The type of performers who employ technique #2 are the people who are great at improv and welcome any sort of “off script” moments. To me, those are the performers you want to watch. They can take that awkward moment and turn into something magical and unique for an audience. They appreciate your authenticity and willingness to cater your show to their experience.  When you do it well, there is not a lot you can do wrong after that. It’s like the audience gives you a “get out of bad joke free card”.

The opposite can be said too. Sometimes, you just can’t make it entertaining. There are times that you cannot get the audience to focus back on you after they just watched a drunk woman pour a pitcher of beer on her husband’s head because he was texting another woman. Sometimes, it just doesn’t work out. If you can’t make what just happened hilarious, then you loose control of the room and probably will never win them back.

Since I am a self-loathing performer, I am not going to tell you about the hundreds of times I turned weird things that happen during the show into a positive experience. Rather,  I will tell you about several times I dealt with situations poorly. I want to remind you why you are reading this. It’s probably because you are a fan of my work, so please keep that in mind while you continue to read this. For comical purposes, I share this to see how failing can eventually be funny. So don’t get turned off like every girl does when I tell her that my avatar is a fifth degree black belt. Deal? Okay, so enjoy my mistakes.

I was scheduled to follow a very talented Michael Jackson impersonator at an event. He had the voice and swagger of MJ, even though the impersonator was a 7-year-old Asian boy. He did a solid thirty minutes of slick dance moves, moonwalks, crotch grabbing and the audience went 195crazy after his final song. It would have been a standing ovation, but the age of the crowd prohibited them from getting to their feet quickly without at least mild heart pain, but they did cheer loudly.

I came on stage right after him. As a comedian you have to always acknowledge what everyone is thinking about. Wanting to keep the show flowing without a hitch; I decided to make a joke about “Little Michael.” So, I came on stage and said, “How about that Little Michael? I am sure the real Michael would have loved him…. In more ways then one.”

If there were even one person who liked me after that joke, there surely would be none after my second joke. With the lack of laughter at my first joke, I broke the number one rule of comedy, which is to “READ YOUR AUDIENCE”. I thought the first joke would be hilarious and instead of stopping the bit when they failed to laugh and going into my normal routine, I continued on my “Little Michael” diatribe. I went with a joke that I thought would save me and it got big laughs from the test audience in my mind. However, it turned out to be the nail in the coffin of my show. The Joejacksonjoke to end all laughs that would force the crowd to turn on me like I was Kanye West at the MTV Music Awards was as follows. I said, “I would have loved to see the look on Joe Jackson’s face if Michael Jackson was born Asian.”

Yes folks, that would be the start of the show and the end of the audience liking me. They absolutely hated me. At this point in the show, Hitler would have gotten bigger laughs. Forty-five minutes to go and there was no “Remember the Time” when I didn’t say jokes that dug me a hole harder to get out of than the national deficit.

Another one of my favorite stories includes “Jokes I have said that made the crowd not like me,”. For example, during my show I do a joke about, “if I were in a band, the name of my band would be the Jehovah’s Witness Protection Program”. I follow it up with a few other band names that I think would be awesome to have. It generally gets decent laughs, but not on this day. Jehovah

I was performing at an event, and everything in the show was running smoothly. I was getting laughs at all the normal spots and the crowd seemed to really be behind me.  I am in the middle of the band name bit and I do the Jehovah’s Witness joke, which receives the same laugh it always does. Although, once the laughter subsided, a woman jumps out of her seat urgently like she was being chased by Freddy Krueger and yells, “Hey! That’s not funny. I’m a Jehovah’s Witness.”

The crowd fell silent. It was the sort of awkward silence where people are frozen and don’t know what to do. It felt like they all just witnessed a kid get hit by their drunk dad and was so much in shock that they froze.

I could have just moved on, brushed it off and pretended I never even heard her, but I couldn’t. Everyone else heard her and now they were all waiting for my response. This sort of thing happens when someone had just been slapped and everyone who witnessed sat in anticipation to see if there would be a fight.  It felt like I just got served.

What sucks about all of this is that she stopped me from getting through the bit. If only she would have waited. She would have eventually realized that I make fun of all kinds of different groups of people. She would have heard the rest of the jokes instead of cutting me off and probably would not have felt so attacked or alienated. However, she didn’t and now I was forced to deal with it in order to regain the comic momentum that was now lost because of this religious whistleblower.

crowd1Without thinking, I said, “You can’t be a Jehovah’s Witness, because you are watching my show and my show is fun.” Instead of the crowd responding with a huge eruption of laughter that normally follows a good heckler line, they responded the same way you would if you were to watch a handicapped kid fall down the stairs—there was only an audible gasp. The audience just joined all of my ex-girlfriends and friends who have sex with my ex-girlfriends on the “We hate Matt” bandwagon.  Although this bandwagon was no longer a wagon, it became a very wide semi-truck load. The audience suddenly forgot about all the laughs we had together and the times they were awoken at 8:00 am on a Sunday to these proselytizers. It’s as if they were all suddenly converted to be Jehovah Witness’s and were offended along with their religious counterpart.

There was no recovering after that. I did my best to do damage control from there on out. I told them a series of lies in an effort to win them back. I told them how great a crowd they were and that I wished every crowd was like them. However, my pathetic attempt to win them over with affection failed. The damage had been done and they were immune to my attempts to woo them back.

The next story can only be described by this bumper sticker slogan; “same shit, different religion.” Trade one annoying doorknocker for another—the Mormons. I know. Just those words make you turn off your lights, close your blinds, lock your door and drink a big cup of coffee. mormon

It was a cold, misty afternoon (I always wanted to start a story like that.) Okay, it was a sunny Sunday afternoon and I was performing at a county fair. Certainly a clear indication that my life had not turned out the way it was supposed to. My parents would have been more proud if they caught me smoking crystal meth, which is easy to get at county fairs, or so I hear. Performing at a county fair is not an easy thing. It’s one small step above performing comedy at a kindergarten school for the deaf. I say that because it’s hard enough to get people to laugh. And even harder when you throw in a crowd who are stuffing their face with elephant ears and funnel cakes. It becomes nearly impossible.

Usually when no one is laughing during my show, I will start trying new jokes that have not been fully thought out. My theory is, if they are not laughing at my good stuff, why waste it? Why not try out some new jokes and maybe I can get one or two jokes that I can use in the future on people who actually care. That way the show is not a total waste for everyone. At least someone (aka. me) get something out of it.

The timeslot where laughter is scheduled to appear after my jokes was replaced with silence. So, I decided to try a new joke. The new unformed joke I delivered was as follows: “I know my material can be edgy. So much so, I was banned from performing in Utah. They only allowed me to perform when I agreed to wear their magic underwear.” If the silence was not a good enough indicator on what a crappy joke it was, a woman jumped out of her seat with such urgency, like she was about to stop me from killing a puppy and yelled, “That is not funny.”

I am used to people telling me, “That isn’t funny”, but something was a little off in the tone of this woman’s voice. There was more urgency in her tone, like she had to stop me from telling a secret about the Mormon’s that would spoil their plan to take over the world one soda company at a time. She was wearing an apron for a lemonade booth that was to the left of the stage and was standing, staring at me with distain on her face. She yelled at me again, this time saying, “I am Mormon and I don’t appreciate that!”

Trying to learn from my Jehovah’s Witness encounter, I tried to manage this confrontation a little better. I thought that maybe by talking to her directly and finding out about her would endear me to everyone, so I asked her, “Do you work here?” She swiftly replied, “Yes, right over there at the lemonade booth and I don’t appreciate being made fun of.” In attempt to establish some sort of friendly dialogue with her, I asked, “Are you a strict Mormon?” She yelled proudly, “Very.” Without thinking how it would sound, I responded, “If you are a strict Mormon, then what are you doing working on a Sunday?” My attempt to be friendly felt like I was trying to challenge her religious faith. I could see the crowd shifting in their seats from their discomfort, like they were all trying to scratch their ass without using both hands at the same time. The dumb-ass that I am, decided to try and turn my challenging statement into something humorous, In an attempt to save the show that was getting away from me, I said “It’s just a joke. Don’t get your sacred garments in a bunch.”

crowdThe voices in my head said, “Nice one Matt! Great joke.” My inner self was high-fiving with how quick I was to come up with this comedy gold. The voices in the crowd did not share the same thoughts. Their voices simultaneously shouted something that rhymes with “glue.” I tried powering through it and winning them back with my best material, but the proverbial arcade game had no more credits and the bartender was yelling, “Get the hell out or I’ll hit you with this crowbar.” I did what I thought was best, which was to thank them and end the show right there, leaving twenty minutes early.

Looking back, I find it interesting that in a show filled with jokes about deaf people, blind people, narcoleptics, midgets and people with turrets syndrome, this woman chose to get upset at the one joke that is actually a choice, which is to wear long underwear. Ultimately, I hate bad shows but I love stories. By sacrificing my suffering on stage and the audience suffering due to my stupid comments, I hope these stories have done what I was unable to do in the three shows listed—to make you laugh.

Jamie Lee Curtis can’t improv

Often times I perform at events where my performance is scheduled right after a celebrity. I don’t know why I would ever following someone famous, but you would be surprised on how often it happens.  It usually goes like this, “Thanks for those moving words Mr. Obama. You are truly an inspiration to the world, and we are honored you came and shared with us today. Up next, let’s give a loud round of applause, to comedian and stunt man Matt Baker.” There is something mainheadfundamentally wrong with following somebody who is significantly more famous then me. I chalk it up to the old vaudeville days, when they would use an awful act to follow the headliner. The reason they did this is to clear out the theatre to get it ready for the next show. At any rate having a person no one has ever heard of, follow a guy who was the first black president of the United States, has got to be as dumb of a move as the time I ate a hot dog at a Chippendale show.

Being a performer you come across a lot of show producers who really have no idea what is going on. It might be the stress of managing such a large event (or the blow they are doing all through it,) but a lot of the times they just have no idea how to correctly put on a show. The worst comes out when there is a celebrity involved. I once got kicked out of my dressing room because David Hasslehoff had to take a dump in my toilet. When I was allowed back in my own dressing room, it smelled like a person holding on to a mediocre career. It sickens me to watch the show people be bent over by celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio in Basketball diaries. I understand if it is someone who actually makes a difference like the Dali Lama, but making sure Tom Arnold has 250 brown M&M’s and a glass of unicorn tears is going a little to far. They treat it like if they don’t, they can never get a low level D celebrity at their event again.

Following them is one thing I can manage, but sometimes the producer wants me to do some sort of funny interaction with the celebrity to keep the show moving. For some reason this happens a lot! Like Dan Marino’s 16 years of playing football is really going to pay off when he is forced to improvimprov for 5 minutes with a comedian. I can just see the idea going through the producer’s ecstasy riddled head, “Oh, you think Dan Marino is a great football player, just wait until he tries to make you laugh unrehearsed with this unknown comic.” It is stupid to ask someone who has done one thing their whole life and expect them to have success at something totally different. “Oh, your good at quantum mechanics, we are going to have you break-dance.” I mean, sometimes it works, but most of the time it doesn’t. It is unfair to ask a comedian to stray from his act to make people laugh, but imagine someone who has never done any improv in there life doing it; it can go south in a hurry.

There is no more of a perfect example of people not being able to interact then the time I was asked to improv with Jaimie Lee Curtis. She was speaking at an event and I was scheduled to follow her. I Jamie Leethought it would be ok since she is an actress, and backstage she was really funny. So when I got on stage with her, I jokingly said, “Jamie, I don’t know who does your makeup, but they did a great job because I didn’t even notice your adams apple.” Jamie; instead of improving with me, just stormed off stage. Maybe it was what I said, but any person with improv training would have come back with a number of witty retorts like, “The same make up person that made your career invisible.” Or, “you sure noticed it last night when you were rubbing it.” Jamie instead decided to walk off stage and leave me hanging dry on stage. I thought it was funny and so did the crowd, but the show producer didn’t; and that is all that matters. Moral of the story is, if you are ever on stage with Jamie Lee Curtis, don’t bring up that she is a man.

Prank backfiring on me

To this day I still struggle with authority, but not nearly as much as when I was growing up. My friend Marcus, and I would always get in trouble. We were mischievous youth. We would do whatever we could to get in trouble. We were like the real life, non-redneck, bike riding, and English-speaking version of The Dukes of Hazard.  Once we lit a string of fireworks off on a friend’s porch at 2 in the morning. We thought it was hilarious until our friend came to school the next daykidflip telling us the crazy story of what had happened at his house the night before.  He explained that someone lit fireworks off on his porch, and the gunshot sounds the fireworks made, triggered a war flashback for his dad. His father ended up jumping through a window as he dove for cover. His dad was ok, but we never told our friend who had lit the fireworks.

Naturally, like most of the people you grow up with, over time you loose touch. I had not seen Marcus in about 3 years, or one grateful dead guitar solo. Thanks to the addictive powers of Facebook, I knew he still lived in our hometown, and I was shocked to find out that his occupation was a police officer. I nearly shissed myself (shit and piss at the same time,) but thought it might be a joke; so I e-mailed Marcus. As I was sending the message the same thought kept running through my mind, “There is no way Marcus would become a cop.” That is like the Pope coming out and saying, “Ha, Ha suckers, I’m an atheist.” Or Tom Cruise coming out and saying he was straight; it would confuse the masses, as much as the success of Keanu Reaves does. I guess what I am saying is there is no way that he could have become a cop. This is a man who had a conviction for disestablishmentarianism.  This was my accomplice in all of my childhood troubles, and here he was going against everything we hated. He was flip flopping more than a democratic fish out of water.

I waited in anticipation for his response. Sure enough, there sitting in my inbox was his written confession with the title “I am a cop.” It was sad to witness the end to what was truly one of the best masterminds of juvenile delinquency ever. This was the man who provided the bike in the great baseball card heist of 1991. The same man who was the brains behind the stealth operation to rob our school store of all their candy. This was a dark day in the history of mislead youth. He didn’t really say why he became a cop in his e-mail, all he said was that he was trying to right his wrongs and make a difference. I mean, I totally understand. I am not one for breaking the law anymore either. Outside of getting caught masturbating by the Chinese government and having two warrants funny-kid-boy-toy-car-cops-police-pulled-over-stay-in-sir-picsfor my arrest in different states, I haven’t had problems with the law in a long time. I e-mailed him back, wishing him all the best and said to give me a break if he ever had to arrest me. He responded with one sentence that made me smile, “I always got your back.” Note: That statement is the premise for my reasoning of the events below.

It was August of 2008, and I traveled home for a few days to see my new godson. Usually when I am home, I have to borrow a car or have people chauffeur me around like I am Mrs. Daisy. This trip; being in August, I did not want to burden anyone, so I borrowed my friend’s bike to get myself around town. It had been 2 years since my life changing facebook moment with my old friend Marcus. We had not really talked over those 2 years and I had not planned to call him when I was in town. I knew he was doing well from his facebook status updates. He would post stuff like; “Arrested two transients today.” Or, “Man, I love giving tickets to Jaywalkers.”My first night home, I went out drinking with my friends till about two in the morning. I was pretty tipsy and had to ride my bike 25 minutes home. I don’t know if you have ever ridden a bike drunk, but second only to not calling your ex’s, it has got to be the hardest thing to do intoxicated. I am convinced it should be part of the drunk driving test. You get pulled over in your car and instead of running you through a bunch of ridiculous tests, they just hand you a bike and say, “Here try and stay on this.” As I was unintentionally slalom skiing the lanes of the empty roads on my bike, I passed an empty parking lot with two police cars just hanging out in it. Seeing the cops, I decided it was a good time to see if one of them was my old friend Marcus. I didn’t think about calling him or stopping by his house; which is a block from mine, I just decided to ride my drunken ass right up to the cops and see if it was my friend. It was probably the stupidest thing I had done since I paid $50 to see the Barenaked Ladies; not knowing they were a band.

I approached the cars and once I got close to them I gracefully jumped off my bike. I was so graceful; I would make Madonna falling off stage look like a ballerina move in the Nutcracker. I don’t know if you have ever approached a cop car at two in the morning, but they don’t respond so well. They are not used to it. They are used to people bolting at the very site of them, so at the site of me coming, they leaped out of their car. They jumped out of their seats like I was approaching them with a platter of maple bars with bacon on them. I haven’t seen dodging like that since I watched the Republican Presidential Debate. At any rate, I was disappointed to see neither of them were Marcus. I explained to them, the reason I came over and asked if they knew him? They This_05623a_1184833laughed and said that he was a good friend. They told me he was actually working the same shift that night. They asked if I wanted to call him to say hi. It took a good 5 seconds for that information to reach my dehydrated brain, and while I was processing the question the bad idea section of my brain continued to function at levels never seen before. I said, “actually you guys want to play a joke on him?” They lit up like they just won jeopardy and the prize was a lifetime supply of hippies to hassle.  They were excited at the notion of playing a prank on their good friend.

We started brainstorming about different ideas to prank him. They were so into the idea of coming up with an elaborate plan, they completely didn’t notice I was hammered. Anyone in his or her right mind would have known my drunkenness just off of my brainstorming suggestions. One idea was to rob a taco bell drive thru and call it in to Marcus. Another, I wanted to take the cop car for a spin, causing a high speed police chase and when they caught me, I would say, “Ha, ha, Marcus! I got you.” My ideas were so ridiculous; I was shocked when I came up with the one we were eventually going to use. I said we should call Marcus on the radio, and say, “ we just arrested a man named Matt Baker for public indecency (nudity) and he claims he knows you.” The two cops were convinced that it would work.

So the call went in to Marcus’s car, and I listened in on the radio. They told him exactly what we had scripted 3 minutes earlier. All you could hear is silence and then Marcus yelled out, “Alright! I will be right there.” The click of the radio went off and the three of us erupted into a fit of laughter, which quickly subsided because we realized we needed to make the prank even more extreme. 5,6,7 minutes went by, all of which were filled with the three us coming up with ways to dupe Marcus even more. Being more drunk than a frat guy at a football game, I did not hesitate when they proposed to handcuff me and throw me in the back of the car. So there I was, handcuffed, in the back seat, when a cop car; lights blaring, came crashing into the parking lot like every Starsky and Hutch episode I had ever seen. Out jumped Marcus, and I almost lost it right there. Maybe it was the fact I am a performer, or I was so drunk I couldn’t spell my own name right (Matt,) but at the sight of Marcus I took it upon myself to add to the realness of the prank; and started flipping out. I started squirming, kicking the doors and freaking out like I was Michael Richards performing at the Apollo. The two officers could barely keep themselves from laughing. They looked like every fallonJimmy Fallon skit ever on SNL. They were on the verge of loosing it at the panicked look on Marcus’s face. Marcus walks directly up to the door opens it and asks, “Matt, are you alright?” I started to yell at him about the injustice of my arrest and started throwing out words that sober I don’t even know there meanings; let a lone drunk. Things that I thought sounded good at the time. I yelled, “Your friends are egotistical narcissists. They are capitalist Marxist bastards. They are the reason for all the problems in our society.”

Marcus responded, “I am glad you are alright. Let me take care of this.” He walked calmly over to his fellow officers, and asked, “what happened?” The officer (Officer Davis) told him the story about me riding my bike naked and drunk down the street. He started taking artistic liberties, and explained how I was belligerent, and tried head butting him. He had a conviction in his voice that would have made Bill Clinton blush. It was so believable I was almost convinced it was a true story. Marcus was falling for it too. It was like we were professional actors and we had been practicing this moment for months. We were nailing it, even Jesus would say, “now that’s how you nail something.” As they were talking I noticed that Marcus had left the door open. When I saw the door open, my creative juices started flowing. The prank was going so well; I decided to keep it going and kicked the door wide open. I started running, hands still tied behind my back and all I hear behind me is Marcus yelling, “Matt don’t, Matt stop!” I heard the other cops yell, “Tackle him.” I looked back and there was Marcus, right behind me. He grabbed me by the shoulders and stopped me. He looked me in the eye and said, “Matt, you are making this worse for yourself.”He walked me back to the car and I almost forgot this was a prank until the other two cops just burst into man-trumpet-burning-police-carlaughter. They were howling like dogs in heat and Marcus had a look on his face that MasterCard would call, “Priceless.” Once I started laughing, Marcus knew it was a joke and started laughing like he had just done a month load of whippets. I yelled, “We got you” and he pushed me over like he was Elaine from Seinfeld.

Every time the laughter would start to die down, it would just start back up again. We laughed for a good 5 minutes. After our stomachs and throats had settled one of the officers un-cuffed me, while the other was busy radioing the other cops on the force to tell them the story. Marcus threw my bike in the trunk of his car and gave me a ride home. We did some catching up on the drive home and he made me promise I would not do something like that again. We parted ways with a hug and I thought that might be the last time I would see him for a while. I was wrong, because the next night, there was a knock on my parent’s door. I almost shissed myself again, when I saw it was the police chief himself.  I was speechless, while he explained to me that Marcus and the other two officers had been suspended for playing such a prank.  He explained that he needed me to come down to the station and prepare a statement. I obliged and followed him downtown. The whole time I was driving, I was kicking myself for being a drunken idiot. I never intended for those guys to get in trouble. Once I got down to the station, they took me into a little room. They had me write a description of what happened and made me fill out 5 pages of questions pertaining to the “Incident.” After about 90 minutes I finally reached the final question, which read, “Thank you for your time Mr. Baker. It is frustrating when people waste your time for no good reason.  That is why we hope you won’t do it again! Payback rocks. Your friend, Marcus.”

I walked out of the room and saw the police chief, his secretary, the two officers and Marcus just standing there laughing at the look on my face. So, as you read this doesn’t it make you feel good that your tax dollars are going towards such wonderful pranks.

Spooning Bed

 

Like most children born in the south you can trace the beginnings of this Million Dollar Idea to something that happened at an Applebee’s. Everyone loves to spoon in bed. Weather it’s your boyfriend, or girlfriend or some random person you thought was good looking at the bar the night before; spooning is for everyone. The one downfall to spooning is, that there is nowhere to put your cute-cats-spooningarm that is not being utilized in the spoon. For centuries people have been trying to solve the curse to the free arm. I have seen National Geographic specials on the subject. A whole obtuse angle of the pentagon was dedicated to the matter. There are only 4 ways to put your free arm when you are the big spoon.

#1-You can put the arm up over you, but in one hour time you loose all feeling due to lack of blood flow.

#2-Put the arm behind you, but the American Society for Shoulder and Elbow Therapists list it as the #1 cause of shoulder tightness. Also, the National Committee for Sleep Research credits it as the main source for daily fatigue from disturbed sleep.

#3-Put the arm under the other person, however it wakes the person up if you move whatsoever.

#4- Curl it up and rest your head on it like a pillow. Although the using your arm as a pillow is the leading cause to nightmares according to the International Board of Dream Experiments.

So my cure for this growing global epidemic is something I call the Spooning Bed. It is a bed that has a sleeve built into it. The sleeve allows you to slide your free arm into and prevents you from feeling discomfort of the scenarios mentioned above. Not only will this improve your quality of sleep it will also improve the quality of your love life. My imaginary team of scientists, and false fact finders has determined that people using these beds divorce probability percentage will drop from 50% to 49.5%.

spoon1Unlike the sham wow this thing practically sells itself. It’s a bed, it’s a spoon it’s a spooning bed! You love spooning, but you hate losing blood flow in your arm; the spooning bed solves all of that. It works when your sleeping when you are napping you can pretty much spoon your troubles away. People who buy this are yelling spooning bed EVERYTIME.  For only $499, this thing will virtually fly off the shelf. Come on guys you are going to spend $100 a month on flowers every month anyways. You are throwing your money away like Charles Barkley at a strip club.

 

Here is a testimonial from a spooning bed customer, “The spooning bed is better than sex.”

I don’t know what you are waiting for. Ladies, spoon with your partner all night. Movies, books, sleeping will never be the same.

Crappy Kid Names

Recently, I have noticed a trend of really sucky kid names. I will meet kids with unusual names, which make me look at the parents like, “Seriously? You pretentious piece of trash! Out of all the names in the world, you chose the name “Simple” for your child.” People are getting carried away with the fact they get to name something. I find the more liberated we get as a culture; the more the names become absurd. Whatever happened to the classic names; like Ann, Beth, Rick, George, Lawrence, Maureen, and Gwendolyn? They might be old, but they are names that when they introduce themselves, people do not look at them like they are insulting their gullibility.  I mean, who does not want to name something?  I know it’s exciting, but don’t ruin your child’s life in attempt to make other parents think you are cool. Just because you named your kid, “Lennon” does not make you any less douchier then you were before. I am not trying to say you shouldn’t name your kid something unique; just give them a “normal” unique name. One that when your kid has to introduce themselves in front of the class, it does not scream, “My parents are fucking idiots!” I have plenty of friends with kick-ass unique names. Names like Landen, Lara, Daphne, Trillium, and Rex are all names that when you hear them don’t make you want to punch them in the face.

Here is a top 10 of the most horrible names that I have encountered. Note: these are names of people I have actually met. I have left off the notoriously bad names that egotistical celebrities ruin their kid’s lives. Like: Penn Jillette naming his kid “Moxie Crimefighter,” Arthur Ashe naming his kid “Camera,” and the worst David Carradine naming his kid “Free.”

If your name is on the list, I am sorry. Don’t be mad at me; be mad at your parents. If your child’s name is on the list, you brought this upon yourself:

#1 – Abeni (It’s only strange because he is a rich white guy, and “Abeni” is an African name meaning, “we asked for her and we got her.”

#2- Unique (pushing the pretentious boundary)

#3- Amelie (long after the movie, and they aren’t French. Good luck getting the kids at American public schools to pronounce that right. They’ll just pronounce her name “You’ll never have friends.”)

#4- Rammel (This guy was actually related to the Desert Fox, but you don’t want to name your kid after a famous Nazi general)

#5- Ann (When her last name is Teek. 5th graders had a field day with that. Not only is it a bad name, but geez Ann fucking Teek has to wait a century to live up to her name. )

#6- Sari (Pronounced “Sorry.” Can you imagine that conversation in school? The teacher asks, “What is your name?” Girl answers, “Sorry.” Teacher responds, “you didn’t do anything wrong. What is your name?” Girl answers again, “Sorry.” I could go on for hours, but I will spare you.)

#7- Casablanca (From a family who is not Moroccan, nor have they ever been to Morocco. She did eventually shorten it to Casa, which is a little better, but still on my list.)

#8- Sickurous (Sorry if you are reading this, but honestly your name is Sickurous)

#9- Spif (I think his parents were high when they did this, and just couldn’t spell)

#10- Lucky (He was born with one arm. How lucky can he be?)

What sucks about the whole naming thing is, the kid has no say in the matter. The parents just name them something they read on a bathroom wall, and the kid has to deal with it. The only option the kid has in the naming process is to change it when they are old enough. Why would you do that to your kid? I hear parents say “Oh, they can change it when they get older.” Even if they did get to change their name to something they wanted, they still have to start from scratch. It’s extremely difficult for someone who has gone by the same name for 18 years to have to start over. I mean, really? Who wants to have that conversation?

Friend: “Hey Osanka!”

Name Changer: “Umm. My name is not Osanka anymore, its John.”

Friend: “Ha, ha, ha. You are hilarious. Come on Osanka let’s go play halo!”

Name Changer: “My name is John now. I changed it yesterday.”

Friend: “Ha, Ha, and I’m Brad Pitt let’s go!”

Not only is it hard for the person changing their name, it’s even harder for everyone else to get used to calling them a different name. Imagine calling something a different name from the one you have been calling it your whole life. Let’s say McDonalds changed their name. They just come out, and say at a press conference “hey, don’t call us McDonalds anymore. Call us The Burger Temple.” Most likely you would laugh, give them the finger, and never eat there again (I didn’t need the name change for that.) Or maybe, you just might never call them the Burger Temple, because nothing other than the name has changed. They still have the big yellow arches, the creepy clown out front that entices kids to sit on his lap, and food that makes you so fat even the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance say’s, “damn, you are fat.” The name change affects everyone.

Here are some things to think about when naming your kid:

Can kids make fun of it?

Does it sound forced? Like a name you have to swallow out of embarrassment before you say it. “Um, my name is (swallow) Moonswan”

How do people react to it? Do people look blankly at you when you say it? Do they have to say, “is that short for something” or have to ask again “What is it?”

Is it hard to spell? No one says to me, “How do you spell Matt?” However, if they did, I would say, “with a silent x.”

Make sure to spell is right. Don’t spell Jessica, Jezzikkah or Destiny, Dezteeney

What is your last name? If your last name is Lincoln don’t name your kid Abe.

Is it the name of something else like a car (Lexus) or a plant (Sage) or a pizza (Margarita)

To ensure kids don’t get horrible names, I am proposing  that we create a government ran Department of Names (or DON). All children’s names have to be submitted and approved by DON. If there was a department of names, my friend Ann Teek would have been Susy Teek and she would have lived a heckle free life. You would not believe the jokes my friend Tom Cruise has had to go through all his life. People calling him crazy, a closeted homosexual. I could not imagine what people who aren’t famous that have his same name has to go through. The naming department is here to protect your kids from your horrible decisions. However, if you really want a bad name, we will force you to name all your kids equally as bad names. This is our daughter Amelie and her sister The girl with the dragon tattoo.

The moral of this whole rant is; as exciting as it is to name a child, don’t name it something they are going to resent you for the rest of their life. If you are going to name a kid something like Tigger, do us all a favor and don’t reproduce. Get a dog!

Parrots aren’t as cool as they seem.

In theory, parrots rock! When I think of parrots as pets, I imagine them less as a pet and more like a poorly educated drunk buddy. The similarities are uncanny. They both kind of just hang around, piece together funny sentences and constantly eat all your food. For me, I dream about all the cool tricks I could teach them. If I had a parrot, I would teach it amazing card tricks and cool phrases like, “Oh baby, come and pet me” or “liquor before beer never fear.” Parrots can learn all sorts of parrot cool things. I had a friend who taught his bird to play dead when he shot it with an imaginary gun. I saw a guy street performing in San Francisco, who taught his parrot to take $5 bills from people’s hands. Although, when someone would hold a $1 bill out, he would take it and say: “Cheapo, Cheapo.” I even heard a story about a couple, whose parrot would always say, “Oh John, give it to me baby. That’s how I like it.” Finally, the husband figured out “John” was the name of the man his wife was cheating on him with, and the Parrot was just repeating what he heard.

My roommate’s ex-girlfriend has a parrot named Ralphie; that she would bring over to the house. Ralphie was probably the meanest parrot I have ever met. If Oscar the Grouch were a parrot: Ralphie would kill him. At first he was cool, because he was shy about being in a new environment. However, once he felt comfortable in the house, and around us, his true feathers came out. Here is three reasons why someone needs to have a serious talk with this bird.
Shipwreck_RAH#1- He wasn’t one of those parrots that you could just let chill on your shoulder and make you feel like a Pirate or Shipwreck from GI-Joe, Ralphie was a Punk. The reason being, whoever’s shoulder he was on, he would constantly shit all over. If he wasn’t treating them like a star of a German Fetish Film, he usually was trying to maliciously bite their ear off like he’s some sort of well spoken Mike Tyson. I guess Parrots can shit where they eat.

#2 – Any time you are quite, he is quite. Anytime you are trying to have a conversation in his paltrowcry_1824185cpresence, he starts crying like he’s Gwyneth Paltrow listening to Coldplay. It’s a type of cry that makes having a baby on a plane sound like ocean waves.

#3- His wings were clipped, but that did not stop him from flying around the house 10 feet at a time. He looked like a Wright Brothers experiment gone wrong. Often times he would fly right at your face, like he was purposely trying to freak you out. I would be in the kitchen minding my own business, and all of a sudden here comes a bird suicide bombing my face.

His owner, my roommates ex-girlfriend; was so overly protective of him. That made the whole situation worse. She was more concerned about his well being then the well being of the people who lived in the house. I once said to her: “Hey, if I accidentally hit him, while he is flying at my face, with a baseball bat, it’s not my fault.” She flipped out like every person ever on the show Hardcore Pawn.  I mean, I know parrots have gained national attention with their Hollywood Pauliebreakthrough movies. Movies like Paulie, and The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, but that is no reason for Ralphie to be such a ego driven douche. I think it is safe to say, I was not fond of the bird, but that was all about to change.

One night, I came home to my house; which we had only lived in a month, and there was no one home. It was probably midnight, all the lights were off, and I headed up the stairs to my room. As I am walking up the stairs I hear this faint voice that says, “Hello?” The voice was so eerie, and unexpected, it made me jump like I was Dominique Wilkins getting punked. Not only did I jump, but I also let out a little girl shriek that would have made Hitchcock wet himself. I ran out of the house; like my girlfriend’s husband just came home, and stood in the street trying to gather myself, and process what I just heard. After gathering myself, I slowly walked in the door, and heard something upstairs moving around. I walked slowly up the stairs with my only protection being a pen, out of my pocket; because everyone knows, the pen is mightier than the sword. While I was headed upstairs, I thought I was going to see something out of Paranormal Activity, but instead I saw Ralphie: sitting in his cage, at the top of the stairs, laughing hysterically at the spot in the front of my pants. The site of the little green bird, made me burst into laughter, marveling at my own ridiculousness.

Ever since that night, I began to like Ralphie. I made an effort to turn a blind eye to his annoying habits, and selfish activities. I began to like him for who he was: a shitting, ear eating, pompous parrot who has a great sense of humor. So, three cheers for Ralphie; (as long as he doesn’t come over again.)

Donating Sperm

I had just finished a show at a theatre in Canada. As I was loading my gear out, I had asked the stage manager if they could lend me a hand. She said, “I’ll tell the Foster kids to do it.” I was taken back for a moment and said, “you know, you don’t have to call them that. They have names.” The women without missing a beat replied, “You are right. They do have a name. Their last name is Foster.” Oh snap. Drop the mic…. All I could think is would she call them that if their dad’s name was Jerry. Or if their last name had been Stephen and Tiffany Black.

Not more then 2 days later I had a conversation with my buddy about his sperm. You know, normal guy talk. He had just been diagnosed with leukemia and him and his wife had been trying to have a second child for a while. They came to the conclusion that if anything were to happen to him, that she would still have a second kid. So, they ended up freezing some of his sperm. Not in an ice cube tray like most of us would do, but at a sperm freezing lab. They actually paid $75 a month to keep hspermtrayis gooey seed in a cryogenic lab surrounded by other potential future confused kids. I was shocked. Not that they would do that, but that it cost $75 a month. Holy shit. That’s a lot of money. I mean do you even know what sort of community it is living in? Who are the neighbors? I guess for that sort of money I would think it would be in some sort of gated community at the least. I would love to see the price plans for this place. For $75 we will hold your love juice. For an extra $25 a month we will take it out on a walk twice a week. And for a extra $50 a month we will read it a bed time story every night. They say that reading to the kid in the womb makes it smarter, think of how much smarter they would be if you read to them while they were still sperm. That’s why I have friends who read to their balls every night.

At any rate, these two occurrences got me wondering if I ever wanted kids? If so, in what capacity? Foster kids? Adopt? Convince a women to like me long enough to raise a child? It didn’t take long to realize that I did not want kids. I think most people have kids out of fear. Fear there won’t be anyone to take care of them when they are older. Fear, that his or her existence won’t be remembered by anyone. Fear that they won’t be loved. Have a kid and if you are somewhat of a decent parent all three of those things are taken care. Either that or they just really want to name something, so they create an object they have the right to name. Like their little patent.

Bike For me, my fear was the idea of not passing on my families   name. My father is an only child and my two older brothers are far from ever persuading a women to let them put their penis inside of them, so I might be the last great hope of the  Baker name carrying on. After weighing my options, I decided that there was a way to potentially solve the continue lineage/now wanting to have a child and ruin my whole life problem, and that was to donate sperm. What a brilliant idea. There are many people out there who can’t have kids for a myriad of reasons, and maybe we could all win. They could have a mini Matt Baker, my family lineage wouldn’t be lost and I don’t have to ever burden the responsibility of raising a child and go on with my easy care free life.

I was all in. I started doing research on donating sperm and found a place that I can’t say for legal reasons, but let’s just say it rhymes with Meattle perm bank… I found out that they pay you $60 every time you make a deposit. $60! What? They are going to pay me to do something I have paid to do in the past. Is this heaven? I was sitting on the golden ticket (no pun intended). I probably have $900 sitting in my trash right now. Seriously folks, why donate plasma when you can make money for doing a thing you do all day anyway? Donatesperm

On the site you can view other donors profiles that are in your category, AKA the competition. Under white, 5’8, athletic, 30 was quite a few profiles. Things next to their names said, “Neurosurgeon,” “Astro Physicist” and “Chemist.” Those careers sounded just as made up as comedy stunt man. In my life I had never felt like the odds were against me. I felt like the 5th member of the Jamaican bobsled team. When you can have doctors and astronauts as your donor, who would ever want a self employed comedian, who dropped out of high school? I could not let that deter me.. How many of them have been on national TV? How many of them played hackysack professionally? How many of them have 37 youtube followers? Which one of those guys did texasninjathief889 call, “Yo. Mad funny Yo”? Me, that’s who! That’s something right? I know there is someone out there that want’s their kid to be creative, funny and awkward all in a good way. Someone out there is going to want to roll the dice in the mystery gene pool game. So I signed myself up.

I was amazed at how many questions there was about education. Things like, “What was your SAT score?” “What was the highest level of education you completed?” This line of questioning spelled big problems for me. I never graduated high school, instead electing to become a comedian and make more money at the age of 18 in one year then my father. Seemed like the Beattle Firm Tank did not care about success and hard work. They just wanted to make sure your DNA got all the credits necessary to graduate college.

sperm choclateAfter I submitted my online application, It did not take long to get a reply. “Mr. Baker thank you for your interest in becoming a sperm donor. We have set up an appointment for you to visit the clinic and make a deposit on Monday at noon. Please bring photo identification. Please do not consume alcohol for at least 12 hours prior and most importantly please refrain from ejaculation for 2 days before your visit.” Two days? What are we communist? That takes out my whole Saturday? WTF? Now I was seriously regretting this whole thing. Couldn’t we do this as an on-call thing? Like, “Hello. This is Matt Baker. It’s been two days since I have ejaculated and I would like to now. Can I come in?” Seems like you would have a lot more success that way. Who plans their life around “not cumming?” I had to talk myself into it. Ok, Matt. Settle down. You can make this work. If not for you and the $60 you will be rolling in, but for the good of your future and the kid you’ll never know. You can do this.

Monday rolled around and I was really nervous. I had never been to a job interview before and this one was to see if I would get paid to masturbate into a cup. My dream job. I did not want to screw this up. I laid out my finest clothes, I even wore my best hoodie. I only pull that out for the real nice stuff like Craiglist random encounter dates. I typed the directions into my GPS and was on my way. I always tell people, “Buy the expensive GPS”, because I did not and I am constantly being taken to the wrong stop. Usually I know right away that the Safeway is not the New Mexico performing arts Center, but it took me awhile to figure out that the sperm bank was not located where my GPS took me which was a Motel 6. For a second I actually thought, “Oh. They say ‘suite 257,’ but that must mean room 257.” Luckily I double checked the GPS on my phone and found out it was next door. Glad I did, can you imagine me going up and knocking on the door of room 257. “Hello. I am here to give you my sperm.” That might be a little weird, but then again I am not a romantic. spermbank

I finally arrived at the bank and was greeted by nobody. I literally stood at the welcome desk for 10 minutes debating on how to notify someone of my presence. Do I walk around and start looking in the open rooms? There was no ding bell, which is smart. Don’t want guys ringing it furiously, “Someone is waiting to cum here.” I decided on the clearing the throat technique and it worked. Out walked a ridiculously hot women who was also the secretary. Obviously this is by design right? You don’t hire the hottest person you have ever seen to greet people at a Chuck E. Cheese. You hire them to greet dudes who are about to whack it for money. Why would I expect anything else? This is the #1 sperm pimp in the Seattle area. They know what they are doing.

She gave me the rundown of the operation, how it was all going to take place like we were mapping out an elaborate strategy to rob Fort Knox. She handed me a cup and I said stupidly, “Oh man. I have to fill this whole thing?” She sighed and disappointingly said, “Umm. No. Just one donation is enough.” Then we stood there in silence for what felt like 3 years, before she said, “You can go now.” I scurried down the hallway to one of the rooms she directed me to and opened the door.

I was half expecting a glorious sex room with velvet curtains, vibrating beds and pictures of a shirtless 2pac, but instead I found a plastic Ikea chair, a sink and a plasma screen TV. Left a little something to be desired. I would think if you are coercing men to extract their future kin, you might do it with something that resembles more of a sex den instead of a room at a mental hospital. That’s just me though. I had the tough choice of trying to decide where to play the crotch Yahtzee. Do I sit in this chair, where surely a million bare asses have sat on? Or, on the ground, where who knows how many lost souls were waiting to greet my ass on their tiled grave. I laid some paper towels down to protect my butt which is probably the sanitary equivalent of cleaning dirt of your face with spit.

CalmI got naked and started to search through the menu of porn. I had never seen so much porn in my life. This was like the library of congress of porn. They had everything. Trannies, Interacial, Animals, they even had interracial tranny animals. No matter what I decided on, I just couldn’t seem to get in the mental mindset of an arousing experience. I thought about going and asking the nurse for help. Not in the sexual form, just in helping me set the environment of how I normally climax. All I would need her to do is pound on the door and yell, “It sounds like your not doing your homework.” I did not think that was an option, so I did my best to inject myself into a porno featuring two women and a man. I think in French it is pronounced, “Awesome.” It was working, almost too well. I had to pace myself. I did not want to give the girl at the desk the wrong idea. Finally, after 3-4 minutes (not bragging) I could feel it coming. That’s when I had to start thinking about how the hell I was getting it into the cup. I don’t know if you paid attention in 7th grade health class, but most erect penis’s I would venture to say go straight up, pointing towards the heavens. I don’t know if you have ever seen a jar either, but those require you to deposit things into it by pointing down. I am sure the Teattle Squirm Shank is aware of this. Why didn’t they give us a ketchup bottle designed for catching the liquid love. I was at a crossroads of epic proportions. I did the only thing I could think of doing, planking the chair and hope for the best. A lot like Eminem, this was my one shot (no pun intended). I am not sure if I missed, they would ever have me back. The mess it would leave let alone the knowledge that the persons goods you are trying to sell can’t even deposit something into a cup at point blank range. give

Finally the moment came and through my pure bliss, slight shaking and temporary blindness I was able to get it all into the cup. Part of me wished there was a call button that I could ring and someone would come in and hold me. However, there was not. I went to public school, so I did not know if my sexual mustard needed to be rushed to the lab like it was some sort of kidney that only survived on ice for 12 hours. I quickly dressed, dried my tears and walked out. I was half expecting a congratulatory celebration from all the people in the bank with balloons and saying funny things in a helium induced voice like, “Worlds best dad” and “You da man.” Maybe a cookie a biscuit, or to punch my punch card, but there was not a soul to be found. I walked around and found the box I was to deposit my goods into, which I thought was ironic, and went on my way. shirt

After you do something like this, it is a very awkward thing. I enjoy doing things that make people a little uncomfortable when they hear about it. I went for coffee and the woman asked, “So did you do anything fun today?” “Well, I am glad you asked” I responded. “Nothing big. Just finished donating some sperm.” It was weird to tell a total stranger that minutes before meeting them I had just ejaculated into a cup. I figured this might be the only chance I ever get, so why not marvel in it’s gloriousness. People seemed to be creeped out, but fascinated like I was a two headed calf that tap danced. I loved it. I had some fondness for my experience. After a few alcoholic drinks I got a little nostalgic and found myself debating on drunk dialing the Sperm Bank, just to see what they were up to. Luckily I invented this and it saved me from imminent rejection.

I checked my e-mail hourly awaiting a response. I imagined e-mail titles like, “Congratulations! Your sperm is the shit.” Or, “Increase your sperm size by 3 inches.” Or, “Matt Baker, you have the best coolest sperm in the world.” Nothing. Three days went by and I started questioning what was going on. Was this some elaborate identity theft operation? Go ahead. Steal my identity, probably would improve my credit. Finally, the e-mail came in entitled, “Your Sperm Bank Test Results.” I opened it like I was a virgin opening a condom for the first time and it read;

“Thank you for submitting a sperm sample for analysis. Your sample did not meet our strict quality criteria. The sample you provided is below normal sperm quality according to the WHO (World Health Organization) parameters for “Normal Sperm Quality”. The WHO parameters for normal sperm quality indicate that you must have greater than or equal to 20 million cells/ml. Your sperm sample had an average of 12.5 million cells/ml.”

I was stunned. I could see my future kids disappearing in $60 increments. First off, what is “Normal Sperm Quality.” Who wants their sperm to be normal? Of course mine aren’t normal. They are awesome. Second, 20 million cells/ml? That is strong enough to impregnate the microscope alone. Who wants a sample so densely packed with sperm it looks like a clown car? Mine are few and far between so that my sperm can roam. They should be more expensive like some sort of “Free Range Sperm.” Alas, they did not want me. I felt a variety of emotions.

donate-spermI felt rejected, like the girl I really liked rejected my offer to impregnate them. I had quickly become like the Alabama Cavefish seriously endangered. I had never felt so close to a sneezing panda in my life. Although, in the aftermath of this earth shattering news that my sperm would not make it to see themselves grow hands I dealt with the trauma by talking about it with strangers. Barista’s would ask, “Anything interesting going on with you?” Uh, yeah! “I just found out that my sperm count is really low.” The looks on their confused and disgusted faces was enough to help me get through it. All I know is that when life hands you lemons, you make strangers uncomfortable. I hope this can be an inspiration to people out there. In this case I was handed information that my goods don’t swim that well. I could let that hold me back, but I refuse. Maybe it’s just my personality, but folks I am not going to let it stop me. I am going to keep masturbating till the day I die. Take that Lame-attle Germ Bank.

Christmas at the Hospital

I hate christmas. For many reasons, but the main reason is that I am an atheist. The idea of celebrating something I think is not real, is as pointless as shutting down school for something like the moon landing. Christmas to me always seemed so fake. It just seemed like pure pageantry. The point of christmas is to remember who Jesus was.. You know the Jesus who would push another person out of line to get the last video camera. Or the Jesus that would spend hundreds of dollars to spoil his kids with stuff they don’t need while people have nothing to eat.. I love reading the story of when Jesus took the fish and turned it into a ’72 plasma screen for his man cave.

My family is one of those “Good Christian Families.” Celebrating the birth of the cute little “white” baby jesus with their kin probably means something special. I never understood why this period of time was more important than any Santa:jesusother? Why was it so important for our family to be together at christmas, but not really that important any other time of the year?  I mean, we don’t ever talk on the phone.. We don’t ever hang out. The idea that we come together and supposedly love each other for only a few days seems as ridiculous as removing your windshield wipers to avoid getting a parking ticket.

However, for some reason up to the time I was 25 I had only missed one christmas with my parents. Despite the fact I had moved out when I was 17, I had always made the trek back to Oregon to spend christmas with my family. Somehow I was able to muster up some fake enthusiasm so that my family can try and have some sort of an enjoyable holiday.  I tried my best to play the part of the loving, caring, non-drinking son. I felt more fake then Joan Rivers face. That’s what they wanted right? For us to play our role in the dramatization of our functional and happy family? It never worked. We are just to dysfunctional. We make the Jackson’s look like the Brady Bunch. Most of the dysfunction lies in the fact that everybody in my family thinks that they are not the one with the problem. Everyone thinks they are void of any responsibility in keeping the dysfunction train moving. On top of that, we are terrible communicators. The only way we talk about stuff is by being passive aggressive. For example, one christmas as a gift I got my parents couples counseling. Another Christmas, I got my father a mug that said, “worlds most emotionally manipulative father.” In return, he got me a framed picture of all my siblings college degrees.

I never really understood how one family can be completely fine socializing any time of the year, yet throw in the ingredient of Christmas and it somehow ruins the whole thing. Like it’s mayonnaise in Guacamole or Juan Pablo on the Bachelor.

After years of expensive state mandated therapeutic research, my therapist and unknowing colleague and I have finally pinpointed the mathematical equation that causes our family meltdowns to occur.

Day 1- Civil. Catching each other up on the years happenings, funny quips and hot cocoa at the end of the night.

Day 2- Mild irritation at each other differences magnified by being locked in our small childhood home and cocoa at the end of the night.

Day 3- Funny quips turn into passive jabs, hurt feelings and cocoa goes cold due to constant arguing.

Day 4- passive jabs turn into full out haymakers. Going for the knockout and as a result a cataclysmic meltdown of some sort.. No cocoa gets made.

So many meltdowns to remember, but I am proud to announce that on VH1’s ’10 greatest family meltdowns of the lohan20th century’ my family took home two places. At #8 was the great meltdown of ’96. My parents found a High Times magazine in my room that caused me to run away and live in my buddies garage only returning on christmas day for my gifts.

And bringing in the second spot (second to Dina Lohan and company) of course the great meltdown of ‘99 where I counted at least 12 doors slammed, 11 Fuck you’s, 10 don’t yells, 9 praying dads, 8 brothers shoved, 7 long drives, 6 remotes thrown, 5 CRYING MOMS, 4 punched walls, 3 get some air, 2 your adopted and a vacation poorly spent.

Whenever I was home, so many questions would run through my mind about christmas. Like, why is this religious holiday so hard on my family? Is this how jesus would act? Who would jesus argue with? Is christmas latin for kill my family? Is Christianity really a secret ploy by the Illuminatti to ruin families?

After years of holiday cheerlessness, at the age of 25 I finally decided celebrating christmas was not something I valued. I finally realized that ‘not’ being around my family during that time was probably best for the families long term success. So, I told my parents I was not ever coming home again for christmas. I think they had seen the writing on the wall, but I was put in a tough predicament. See, two of my siblings had already beaten me to it by committing to celebrating christmas at their partner’s families house.  Without me, that would leave my parents alone with my brother for christmas. I was stuck with a tough decision. Do I ditch out all together and let my folks fend for themselves? Or, do I stick it out one more year and hope that by subtracting two of the ingredients that make up the depressing fruit cake that it might be a easier to digest. That’s when I came up with the brilliant idea (at the time) to transition out of going home for christmas and to spend the holidays with my remaining family somewhere else.

My parents were open to the idea. I don’t know how they wouldn’t be? They were almost being held hostage. Two of their four kids (granted their least favorite) already gone and the third threatening not to come home, if they wanted to have any semblance of a christmas they were forced to join me. They finally agreed and we had to decide on a place. Where would a well traveled 25 year old, a well traveled 29 year old and two kind of well 60 year olds going to enjoy? I wanted to go somewhere like Madagascar, or Mauritius, but since my parents are not as ambitious as myself we had to find a place that we all agreed upon. We needed a place that was westernized, affordable, sunny and yet still different then the overwhelming whiteness of the Northwest.  Georgia is sunny and affordable, but still in the US. Alabama is kind of westernized and feels like you are in another country, but they don’t speak much english. The place we finally landed on was good ol’ Puerto Rico (air horn blowing.)  puerto

It was certainly not my first choice, but since the three people I was traveling with all wanted to put to use their fluent spanish it was either Puerto Rico or Texas. So I chose Puerto Rico. I don’t speak spanish at all, however I can listen to at least 10 seconds of mariachi music before I turn it off, so kind of.. I have traveled in enough spanish speaking countries to know enough to get by. I know things like “Estas Vaacanado” which means, ‘are you vaccinated.

I was a little nervous about traveling with my parents. I had traveled with my parents a lot when I was a kid. I think the last time I had ever been out of the country with them is when they picked me up from drug rehab in Western Samoa when I was 16. It seemed fine then.. They were the only people who could drive, the only people with money and the only people who could make any sort of informed decision. At 16 my basic thinking process was, let’s get some drugs or some ladies or some drugs that will make me hallucinate some ladies… So 9 years later as an adult I didn’t know what to expect.

The trip could not have started any worse. My parents came up to Seattle to fly out with me and all flights out were delayed for two days. As my brother waited for us in sunny Puerto Rico, I was stuck in a small house with my parents in snowy Seattle. If you have never been stuck in a house for 2 days with my parents, I don’t recommend it. It’s kind of like you are suffocating and just as you are running out of air someone puts a plastic bag over your head and punches you in the throat.

We finally made it to Puerto Rico and I found out very quickly my parent’s and I travel very differently. I travel kind of by the seat of my pants. No real plans, take it day to day and never make any concrete plans. My parents are vastly the opposite. Maybe it’s because they are older.. They are not like Betty White old. They are more like a browning banana that you are sort of on the fence about eating sort of old.. I played by their rules and was happy to let them kind of run the show, until the last night of our trip. We were to fly home at 8:00 am out of San Juan, so my parents pre-booked our hotel. They booked a room at the Howard Johnson at the hospital. As we were trying to find it the sexy british ladies voice on our GPS kept saying, “you have arrived,” but there was no hotel in site, just a hospital. Finally, we all walked into the hospital to ask where the Howard Johnson was and quickly found out the Howard Johnson was located inside the actual hospital. They had 10 rooms for people who had to stay overnight with their loved ones and somehow in someway my parents managed to book on of them. I didn’t blame my parents, I blame Howard Johnson. Shame on howardyou HOJO.. You could be HOJO “In the hospital.” Something a little more clear  that my mom can easily understand.

So, here we were checking into the hospital. The receptionist for the hotel was the same as the receptionist for the hospital. So naturally, two young guys walking in with two older people she assumed we were checking them in. She asked in english, “what are your symptoms? Who is your insurance provider?” When she finally understood that we had prepaid for a room there and were going to stay for the night, she lowered her head and shook it in disbelief just as any foreigner does when they have an interaction with an american does.

So, we checked in and began to bring out stuff in. To people who didn’t know, it looked like the whities were moving in for a back yard barbecue. We were coming in caring a cooler full of food, because if someone is gonna die, it’s not gonna because the did not have enough coleslaw or sprite. Our room was great. The doors were extremely wide so that, wheel chairs could come and go which was great because my parents overpacked and their suitcases were huge. We tried to lay low, as we knew that everyone staying in the other 9 rooms probably weren’t is as good of spirits as us. The key word above is ‘tried.’ Since we had spent so much time trying to find the “Howard Johnson in the Hospital,” it was late and my parents were tired. They did not want to make the trek out to a restaurant, so we decided to eat at the hospital cafeteria.. Let me tell you, if you haven’t already you got to try it, because there is nothing like eating mashed potatoes and soup while doctors and sick people give you the stink eye. I imagined them looking at us as some sort of scam artists.. Like we go and stay at senior homes because the first month is free. Or we are the University of Phoenix. As one of the doctors came in and saw four sunburned gringo’s eating in the cafeteria he laughed and said out loud in english “must have used Expedia.”

The trip really opened my eyes to a lot of things. First, it is so awesome to spend christmas in a sunny place. I would rather be snorkeling in ’70 water on christmas day then drinking cocoa and watching ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ because you are snowed in. I also realized that even though dysfunctional they have quirks that really make me laugh. Somehow I actually missed the bickering. I missed the family meltdowns. On the trip I did manage to make my mom cry and have my dad try an intervene with prayer, but it was just not the same without the whole gang. It is kind of like watching watching the daily show with Craig Kilborn, just not right. kilborn

I noticed that I focused so much on my families differences then the similarities. In my siblings I would only see the different personalities, the different ideas, the different politics and claim that the only thing we had in common is that we all exited the same vagina. I would always point out to people how much different I was then my family. So quick to try and separate myself from them. I realized that those are the things that made my family unique. We aren’t all the same.  That is what really made my family great. Through all the fights, tears and slammed door, there is something to be said about people who know your origins. Something to be said about people who know where you come from, what you have been through and know how to push your buttons. Even though I am an atheist and my the rest of my family are god worshipers, I always knew that my family knew me in a way that no one else could really know me. Even though, I would never go home for Christmas again, Puerto Rico made me appreciate my family in a way I never thought I would. Appreciate them for being weird and dysfunctional. It made me want to be part of the family again.

 

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Flavored Envelopes

There is no doubt that technology today is astounding. Everyday, inventors, scientist and laid-off Microsoft employees create new ways to make our lives easier and more efficient. From mobile phones that are computers, to retail DNA tests that can tell you what type of career you child is most likely to have (mine is a projected Snake Milker,) whatever it is there is no dispute that the fountain of technologic advancement flows endlessly.

Toilet

Although, every time I hear a announcement of a new item that seemingly does everything we ever imagined, I always look around my house and see everyday objects that have not been upgraded since there creation. It seems as if we skim over the necessities and go right for the amenities. I find it a little troublesome that we are so focused on creating and enhancing only specific parts of our life. Mankind can send robots to mars, using only a pong joystick to have them roll around gathering samples, but I have to still wipe my own ass with a piece of tissue.  Come on NASA, why can’t I use a pong joystick to control a robot that will wipe my ass? Every time I look at my phone I am reminded of how our technologic focus is put on the wrong things. How can I watch a soccer game being broadcast live from India, while I am camping 150 miles from the closest town in Montana, but we can’t figure out a new way to cut our fingernails? Where is the phone that also is a fingernail clipper? Why is there no app for that?

coldactivated

The best example of technology not addressing the things that really matter is Coors Light. Coors Light came out with something they call a cold activated can. It is a can that changes color depending on if the beer is cold or not. Coors spent millions of dollars developing the hyper color of cans, because they knew how much time it would save people. Instead of wasting valuable seconds checking the cans temperature with their hand, people can now use that time to focus on things that really matter like watching NASCAR, polishing guns and cutting the sleeves off their flannel shirts. Coors spent millions of dollars developing something that did not need improving instead of spending that money on something that really does need improvement, making there beer not taste like dirty dog piss.

My cousin Alberta Einstein once said, “Sometimes by taking a step back you allow yourself to take two forward.” As a society we have such a desire to just keep moving forward by upgrading things that don’t really need upgrading. We are afraid to take that one step back. When I hear an announcement about a new invention, I don’t want to hear about a faster phone or a computer chip that makes you skinnier, I want to hear about improvements to things like: pencils, dishes, combs, flossing and of course the mother of all things that needs to be brought up to date and the inspiration for today’s million dollar idea; envelopes.

For close to a century people have been forced to expose their tongues to the disgusting taste of bitter dry adhesive just to seal their envelope. This acidy flavor has caused many fictional characters to die and is the second most common phobia related to licking, only behind frozen flagpoles. Everybody loves getting mail, but many factitioners credit the taste of the back of the envelope for the decline in today’s mail correspondence.

Envelope

Some have tried to solve this never-ending problem. Creating things like self-adhesive envelopes and specialty sponges, but fitness experts has found that the tongues of people using these techniques are often malnourished due to being under worked. We also question how sponge worthy envelopes really are.

This social dilemma is what we at Matt Baker Comedy are dedicated to confronting head on. When no other inventors wanted to tackle such a social and terrible problem, we have no fear. We have invented something that is simple, yet needed. Today we bring to you Flavored Envelopes.

Tired of tasting that bland sticky shit on the back of envelopes? Rather play; find the lint in Mama June’s belly button with your tongue? Don’t worry; you don’t have to anymore, not with flavored envelopes. No more gagging when you have to send a bill, no more cringing when you have to send a simple letter. Flavored Envelopes will turn the disgusting process of licking the envelope, into an enjoyable one. With an assortment of flavors that include your favorites like Vanilla, Strawberry, Pina Colada make it so, when you lick you don’t get sick.

A life with delicious flavored envelopes in it; is a life worth licking. With a flavored envelope in your hand you are standing one step closer to a life filled with peace, unicorns and people who don’t say, “dude.” No more expensive self-adhesive envelopes, no more dirty sponges and ozone polluting tape, with Flavored Envelopes just lick it and stick it.

Buy your Flavored envelopes today and be a part of the revolution that will bring down this evil regime called e-mail. If you call in the next 365 days we will throw in a sheet of our LSD flavored stamps. * Be sure to look in stores for our newest flavor, Angelina Jolie; it’s just like kissing Brad Pitt.

* Note: We at Matt Baker Comedy are not responsible for any hallucinations caused by the LSD flavored stamps. This includes, but is not limited to streaking, gnawing on your arm, thinking you are Jimi Hendrix in a past life, fighting imaginary ninja’s and flying.

 

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A teenagers love note (with my commentary)

So, I was performing at a performing arts center in a small town in Arizona. The theatre was located inside a high school. When I was unloading my stuff, I found a love note on the ground. I thought it was very finn, but I wanted to share with you this amazing love note, with some of my commentary. Enjoi!

Letter #1 Gonna be a lot more where this came from

Dear Hayley,

Hey beautiful. Solid start. So we have almost been dating for a week now! I think that is a Tanzanite anniversary. You are a very amazing girl. I know this is very corny, but Jacob and Carry from church do this and they have been together a long time. Two weeks in fact. I think that me and you will last for a long time:) I do too. Well, I hope we can get married! Whoa. Settle down champ. This is only letter #1. Save that for at least #3. You don’t have anywhere to go after that. My parents really like you a lot and so does my sister. And we all know how much of a bitch she is. Yesterday she was telling my mom she liked you more then any of my past relationships. And there have been a lot. My mom said she really likes you and your family so she was happy that we were dating. Damn. One week and the families have already met. This kid moves quick. I really like bracelet you got me “Hers.” Whoa. Red flag #1 dude. She’s a little possessive. It’s awesome. So is her reading your e-mails when your not around. I know you hate when I buy you stuff, but that’s how I show I like you. Well then stop buying her edible underwear. Don’t you know she can’t eat gluten. Not a good sign. Been together a week and she already developed a disliking for your gifts. Although it is A little creepy that buying her stuff is how you show her you like someone. Almost like, the only way I can show you I care is by cutting myself. I have never got any girl anything. Not even an orgasm. Frowny face.  So your kinda special. Because I spend my lunch money on shit you don’t like. I starve for you. Haha 😛 I hope that’s not weird. That’s why I wrote Haha. So the things we talked about that we needed to fix, I’m working on it. Haha 🙂 Red flag #2. Been together a week and she is already giving you stuff to work on. Get out. But I am not promising anything. AKA- I still am going to sleep with hookers. Just kidding. I mean if you thought that was funny then I do too. I am always going to try and make you happy. This kid learns early. I hope you liked your birthday gift 🙂 I thought it was established she didn’t. But I can promise that next time for x-mas will be 1,000 times better. Damn straight girl. I’m gonna get a job, maybe sell my x-box and get you the finest Justin Bieber poster money can buy. I know you like my glasses, but I don’t. Well I guess they are growing on me 🙂 No. They look stupid. I also wanted to tell you that I like your glasses and especially your braces 🙂 That might be the first time that has EVER been said. I like your braces. The way the food get’s caught in them really brings out the color of your eyes. Your gonna have super straight teeth. After braces, they are not going to be attracted to teeth of the same sex. I really want to try a bible challenge with you so we can focus on god because without him we are nothing. Bible challenge? Is that christian dirty talk? I am gonna take you into my room and I am going to whisper john 3:16 in your ear till your body can’t take anymore. We should really go to Africa on a mission. I think we would have fun together. I mean, what a great way to celebrate our love, by converting some natives to Christianity. So, I know this is kinda weird, uh oh if I asked you to marry me after high school would you? Sounds like you just did. And another question, would have stopped before the first one how many kids do you want and what names. Red flag #3. If she knows how many kids she wants and their names, she is bat shit crazy. Get out. Alright, well write me back please 🙂 Umm. Yeah. About that. Your amazing 🙂

 

Sincerely,

Your Boyfriend High five-ing my buddies now.

 

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