Do you understand that I collected ALL the stickers? (Starbucks)
Cat falling in love with me
These are just a few of the hundreds of objectively nonsensical phrases I have written in the Notes app of my iPhone. While they mean absolutely nothing to you, these words trigger in my brain a good deal of significance. For as long as I can remember, I've had this habit of writing things down. After experiencing something funny or interesting, I've always felt this sudden urge to catalog it as quickly as possible by writing a word or phrase that will jog my memory in the future. These "trigger words" are shorthand ways of describing all of those humorous things in life that I just need to hold onto.
And I never really had any plans for them. Many of these words have sat for years in my iPhone, notebooks, and stray gum wrappers, completely useless -- wasted words that only I understand, and sometimes even I have forgotten their meaning.
But now I tell jokes. I mean, I've always told jokes. Everyone tells jokes, but now I tell jokes with a microphone in my hand.
|That's me. Note the microphone.|
And maybe that makes me a comedian. Maybe it doesn't. Maybe I'm not really a comedian until I have a viral video or until an audience member hurls some kind of rotten fruit at my face. But regardless, this is something I do now, and I don't remember what really made me start. One day I just got up and I did it and then I did it again another day and then again on another day.
Maybe it has something to do with that one time I ran into Jerry Seinfeld on accident when I was working as a temp Production Assistant on a show called "The Marriage Ref." Perhaps in that interaction, I got bit by some kind of radioactive comedy spider.
Who knows. But one thing is for sure, this whole joke-telling thing has given a whole new life to all of the trigger words that have been waiting patiently in my iPhone. It's a good feeling. Suddenly, "peas pregnant" becomes a bit about how my sisters convinced me that eating peas would make pregnant. "Rap anxiety" becomes a character who gets flustered when he freestyles. Sometimes the trigger words spread wings and become their own three minutes of material. Other times, I find that they are completely unusable. Other times still, they turn into jokes that an audience just doesn't want to hear. It doesn't matter. It's just good to set them free.
|This is what it looks like when I write my set. Thanks, trigger words.|
But while I may have sleepwalked up to the mic those first few times, my life has always been inspired, almost exclusively so, by comedians. The cast of characters who made me laugh on Saturday nights were my superheroes. The late night talk show with the tall, self-deprecating host was my ritual. The woman who was working on her night cheese and wanted to have it all -- she was my role model.
If you have no idea what I'm talking about, no worries. I'm about to introduce you to all of these people. These are my comedy inspirations, the people who blew my mind with their quick wit and their varied expressions of confidence. You've almost definitely heard of all of them, and you'll maybe even feel pissed that I didn't include some other notable ones. Trust me, there are plenty of others who could make this list, but these are the ones who just reached out and grabbed me with their ingenuity and brilliance.
Instead of gushing about them for you, I'll let their work speak for itself. Here they are...
1. Tina Fey
Bitch is the New Black-Tina Fey by ecacn6
2. Conan O'Brien
3. Amy Poehler
4. Kristen Wiig
5. Mike Birbiglia
6. Tig Notaro
So those are my favorites. Tell me some of yours!