Driving Home


LOOKING INTO THE CROWD, it’s dark. I hear laughter, and in the first few rows, I see it. Teeth, tongue, and mouths in a collage of identities, but I recognize no one. In rows five thru infinity, I hear invisible voices; it’s dark. I’m excited and nervous, but the crowd feels good. Don’t ask me how, but I feel their energy, and they like me. Even though I bundled the previous punchline, they still laughed.

My twenty minutes are nearly up. I know this because an illuminated countdown timer positioned above the balcony informs me… 5 minutes remaining. For a moment I’ve forgotten… what city is this? Is this Boston or Baltimore? I know it starts with a ‘B.’

I see a man wearing a Baltimore Orioles ball cap in the third row… Baltimore.

The crowd’s laughter dissipates. I allow it to die further for timing, and I’m imitating calmness. But I’m the opposite of calm. I stroll stage-right, and feel like I’m portraying relaxation and confidence… it’s all about perception.

I have one more bit to tell. But it’s not really a bit; it’s a story. I don’t think I have bits, not like the good comics have. No snappy one-liners, or witty interpretations of reality, not me. I’ve got stories. Maybe all bits are stories, but not the other way around. All I know is, this is the first time I’m trying this story in front of a large crowd.

It’s dead silent, almost uncomfortably so as I position the microphone close to my mouth, and press it against my lips as I speak.

“We talked about a lot of things tonight. But this next story isn’t normal. I think it’s pretty screwed up actually. That’s why I need you to come with me on this one. Because that’s the only way it’ll work.

If you’re with me, say ‘yes.’”

The crowd responds, “Yes.”

“Thank you. When I tell stories, my primary job is to describe as much detail as possible. I do this to keep it interesting. I don’t know if I do that effectively all the time. In fact, I’ll be honest with you folks. Sometimes, I mess it up. I’m only human, same as you.”

Through the theater sound system, I hear my voice and realize… I don’t sound right. My voice should be intimate. Everyone here should feel like I’m speaking directly to them, not to the crowd.

I make visual contact with faces, slowly informing each person via my eyes… it’s just you, and I, we’re alone. Let’s have a conversation.

“And when I’m telling a story, I feel like I’m steering. Like I’m steering our conversation to the funny. To where the funny part is. But sometimes, I don’t know where that is.”

I feel like I’m entering the zone. At least, I think it’s the zone. That place professional basketball players inhabit where they make every shot. Impossible layup... made it. Dazzling dunk… done. No-look three-pointer… crushed.

My speech is calm, and I imagine myself on the court, mesmerizing the crowd with my athletic-skill-set. All the while knowing… I suck at basketball.

“And if I’m steering, then it’s kinda like I’m driving, right? Like I’m driving home the funny. And wherever the funny part is, we’ll find it, because we’re in this together, you and I.”

Some guy’s blabbering in the corner of the front row. A dude, yapping with his girlfriend, or wife, or whoever. They’re too loud. I glide to their position and lean towards them while continuing to speak. I don’t want them to distract from my setup… excuse me, folks. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m on stage because you paid me to be here. Why aren’t you listening?

“And when I think about driving home the funny, I see an image of myself. In this image, I’m driving a car. And sitting next to me is Funny.”

I make eye contact with the disinterested couple.

“Everything okay? You guys with me?”

Their heads nod in unison.

“Good. Basically, what I’m saying is, Funny is a person. And it doesn’t matter what type of person you’re into. If you’re a dude who likes dudes, then Funny is a man. If you’re a lady who likes women, Funny is a woman. And if you’re a lady who likes men, then Funny’s a fella, okay?”

I say ‘okay’ and ‘alright’ too much. At least that’s what my mom and my agent tell me, but I need to be sure the audience is seeing what I see. I need to know they’re onboard. Otherwise, I’m just a rambling whack job on stage… I need them in my brain.

“For me, Funny is a woman. And she’s wearing a full bodysuit. Her face is covered. Hands and legs. The suit covers her entire body, including her hair. And it’s skintight. You can see every hill and valley of her shape.

Plus, she’s chiseled like an Afro-Greek goddess. She’s got firm-balloon breasts swaying above her narrow waist, round hips and strong thighs. She’s lean up top with a bubble in back. A figure eight from every angle. And for some reason she’s much taller than me. Funny stands six-feet-two-inches tall with no heels.

In fact. Here’s how sexy my Funny is.

If your significant other is the most amazing person in the world, I need you to look at them right now. Basically, if you have any feelings for this person, you need to look at them right now. Don’t be a dick.

And if your significant other is out of immediate eyesight, then just imagine their radiant beauty okay? You owe this to them.

Are you doing it?

So hot, right?

Good. Now imagine someone who’s a hundred-thousand times hotter, because that’s the Funny I’m driving. And it doesn’t matter that she’s imaginary, I know what you’re thinking. But we already know I’m crazy so go fuck yourself.

Anyway, everyone’s Funny is different. Your version of Funny has the sexiest body you can think of, and mine has the hottest body I can envision. Close your eyes and use your imagination folks; that’s what it’s for.

The only stipulation is your Funny is wearing the same skintight suit as mine. Exactly the same.”

I glance instinctively towards the disinterested couple again. They’ve been quiet, but I assume they’re not listening. Whether they realize it or not, they’re my control group now.

“Everyone with me?”

Their heads nod.

“Alright, let’s recap. Funny’s sitting next to me. I’m driving a car. Funny has the suit on. For some reason her suit is green, I don’t know why, but it’s lime green and has the word ‘Funny’ written in bold white letters across the chest. All caps,
F U N N Y.”

Another glance at the couple.

“Okay?”

More nodding.

“Excellent. So I’m driving Funny home. You guys are watching me do this. And eventually, we arrive at Funny’s house. But I can tell something’s wrong because Funny’s not saying anything. She’s giving me the silent treatment folks. It happens. Even in my imagination, I get the silent treatment.

That’s how bad it is.

There’s a palpable tension in the air.

You can see it, like a fine mist.

So I turn to Funny and say. ‘Hey, is everything okay?’

And she says. ‘Yeah. Everything’s fine.’

But I know that’s not the truth, so I say. ‘Are you sure? I feel like something’s wrong. What’s wrong Funny?’ And Funny says. ‘Well it’s just… you drive me home all the time, and that’s all we ever do. You keep driving me home. I feel like there should be more to our relationship.’

So I look at Funny with large fawn eyes and say. ‘There is more to it. I care about you a lot.’ And Funny says. ‘Then how come you don’t show it? How come we never hold hands or do things that normal couples do? You just drive me home and tell jokes about it. Is that what I am to you? A joke? A punchline you’re afraid to be seen with, in public?’

Now I feel terrible because she’s right! I’m not putting enough effort into our relationship. It’s my fault.

I gaze deep into Funny’s eyes and say. ‘Listen, I may not say it enough, but I love you Funny. You’re the most amazing individual in my life. Without you I’m incomplete. You make life worth living. I love you more than words can describe. I’m crazy in love with you. I’ll always be in love with you. Forever.’

Then Funny looks at me and says, ‘I’ll always love you too.’ We stare at each other. We’re both smiling. And… well, we’re having a romantic moment, folks.

It’s wonderful, so I lean over and kiss Funny, and she kisses me. It feels great, so we kiss more. It’s amazing. And eventually, we’re making out.

It’s intense because she’s really into it, and I’m really into it. It’s our first time being this intimate, folks. We’ve never taken our relationship to this level.

And pretty soon.

Well, you know.

Funny and I are having sex.

It’s a natural progression, right? Since it’s been building for awhile, we’re both super passionate about it. We’re ripping each other’s clothes off and throwing em out the window and shit.

On-stage, my arms are wrapped around myself. I’m kissing and licking an invisible person’s face, and praying the audience sees what I see… I hope they see Funny… can you see her?

It’s wild. Beyond beautiful. And suddenly I realize… oh my god, I’m f*cking Funny right now. I’m f*cking Funny in front of you. I can’t believe how f*cking Funny I am! It’s weird you guys are watching me do this. That’s super strange because this is a private moment between two people in love. But other than that, it’s great for me. Because I’m f*cking Funny. This is fantastic! And you’re all perverts for watching us. Why are you watching this?”

I’m convulsing like a maniac, pumping my pelvis against an invisible woman. The audience is laughing. They’re bursting at the seams. But I can’t let them go… not yet. I need to remind them… I’m in control. I know exactly where we’re going. But first, let’s slow things down.

“Okay, that’s enough of that. I’m not gonna subject you to more of that weirdness. And yes, I realize that was uncomfortable to watch. I apologize. But there is something really cool about that story.

Do you wanna know what it is?”

Heads nod.

“Great. I’ll tell you.

When you guys go to work or see your friends over the next few days, one of them might ask. ‘Hey, how was that comedy show you went to see?’ And you might say. ‘It was good. There was this one comedian who was… oh, I don’t know how to describe it. But he was f*cking Funny on stage.’ And they’ll say. ‘That’s awesome, what did he say?’ And you’ll be like, ‘No. He was actually “f*cking Funny.” On stage.’

And they’ll say. ‘Yeah, I get that; I’m not stupid. What I’m asking is. How was he so f*cking Funny?’

Then you’ll tell em the whole ‘Driving Home the Funny’ story. And while you’re telling them, you’ll act the scene out, the same way I just did, because you’re amazing.

And while you’re doing that, you’ll be f*cking Funny too.

You’ll be f*cking Funny in front of them.

It’ll be weird they’re watching you be so f*cking Funny. Same as it was when you guys just watched me. I’ll never forget you did that by the way. But they’ll still watch.

Because everyone likes to watch.”

Half the audience is silent.

“Oh, did I cross the line there? Did I go too far? Because spying on people when their having sex is frowned upon?

Well, fuck you and the self-righteous unicycle you ride!

And you’re welcome. Welcome to my brain. I know it’s a pigsty in here folks, but don’t touch anything. All my memories are organized according to the Dewey Decimal system. And if I were you, I wouldn’t put anything in your mouth, not in this place.”

I’m pointing at my forehead, and the audience is laughing. I think they’ll go deeper with me… let’s see.

“Anyway, it goes further folks, my screwed up vision for this story. After this joke spreads around your office, or company long enough, it’s only a matter of time until everybody’s f*cking Funny.

Then, eventually; a new hire starts their first day of work. They’re being led to their workstation, or job space, or whatever you call it. And they see everyone in the company doing the ‘f*cking Funny movement.’

They’re all humping imaginary people.

It’s only air sex though. Don’t worry; it’s safe. But the entire company’s doing it. And it makes no sense. It’s actually insane, folks. But it’s your company. God knows I’d never work there. Your coworkers are crazy. Look at them! What the fuck are they doing? I have no idea what I’m doing, but even I know, what they’re doing… is disturbing!”

I’m standing center stage with a bewildered expression on my face, humping the air like a deranged maniac. The audience is dying, laughing at me; I’m killin em. And I don’t think they realize it, but I told the truth… I don’t know what I’m doing.

“The new hire is absorbing this insanity, and asks. ‘What is everyone doing?’ And the person leading them says. ‘Oh. We’re all f*cking Funny here. Was everyone f*cking Funny at your last company?’

The new hire says. ‘I don’t think so, not like this. This is weird. This is… I don’t know what this is.’

And the person leading them says. ‘Don’t worry, no one at my last company was f*cking Funny either. At first, I thought it was weird too, seeing so many Funny f*ckers in one place. But after a while I got used to it, then I started to be f*cking Funny too. Pretty soon you’ll be f*cking Funny, just like them. Don’t worry, you’ll fit right in.’

The new hire looks confused, and says. ‘Does human resources know about this?’
And the person guiding them says. ‘Of course, they do. They’re the Funniest f*ckers in the office.’”

The audience is laughing, and I’m sweating like a cold beer in the sun. I wipe my brow and want to roll up my sleeves but… I don’t have time for this; there’s only two minutes left. Time to bring this story home.

“That was so wrong. The entire concept of this story is off-kilter folks. I apologize again. I’m sorry.

Okay?

Anyway… all good things come to an end. And all bad things come to end. Just in case you thought that story was bad, I don’t blame you because you’re right. And I hate to admit it.

But after a while of going out with Funny, our chemistry just kind-of-fades away, you know? We got bored with each other. It happens. Sometimes relationships burn out. And I have to break up with Funny.

It’s just time to do it. Gotta rip off the band-aid so we both can heal. You guys know what breakups are like, right?”

More nodding.

“So I invite Funny to my place, and tell her. ‘I think it’s time for us to start seeing other people. I mean… I care about you, but our relationship is going nowhere.’ Of course, I hit her with the classic line. ‘It’s not you baby; it’s me.’

But Funny’s upset. ‘Why do you wanna leave?’ she asks. ‘I think things are going well. Sure, we’re in a rough spot, but we can work it out.’

And I say, ‘No Funny! Listen, I’ll be honest with you. I’ve met someone else, and I wanna start seeing her.’

Funny stares at the floor on the verge of tears. Then I see fire in her eyes as she looks at me and says, ‘Who is it? Who do you wanna see?’ So I tell her. ‘Well, she’s actually here.’ Then I walk into another room, and come back with the-other-woman. And this lady is wearing the same skintight suit as Funny.

Except new-girl’s suit is Aqua Blue.

I have no idea why it’s that color, but she has bold white capital letters pasted on her chest too. And her letters spell the word, ‘Entertaining.’ But besides the different color suit and text, she looks the same as Funny. She has the same sexy body.

Then there’s awkward silence between the three of us.

Funny’s staring at Entertaining, and Entertaining is staring at Funny, and I’m in the middle thinking… this is exciting! Then Funny points at Entertaining and says. ‘You wanna leave me to be f*cking Entertaining?’
And I say, ‘Yes. Unless… well, I never thought about this until right now, but I could still be with you Funny.’

And she says. ‘How?’

‘Well, if you’re into being with me, and Entertaining at the same time, then I think it could work. That way I’d still be with you too.’

Funny rolls her eyes towards the ceiling, she’s thinking about it. Then she says. ‘Are you serious? You wanna be with both of us?’

And I say, ‘Yes. It’s the only way.’

Suddenly, Funny tilts her head down and looks into my eyes. She approaches me with her hips sliding like a cheetah on the prowl. Then she touches her lips against my ear and deposits eight shivering words into my soul.

‘If that’s what you want, I’ll do it.’

The next thing I know… I’m making out with Funny and Entertaining at the same time.

We’re kissing, and just like before it progresses. Until eventually, yeah… we-we’re having sex. All three of us. We’re totally into it. It’s super passionate, there’s so many hands… I don’t even know whose hands are whose; it’s every teenage boy’s fantasy. And while all this is happening, europhia explodes in my brain as I realize… ‘Oh my god. I’m f*cking Funny, and f*cking Entertaining at the same time. I can’t believe it!’

I’m so f*cking Funny and so f*cking Entertaining right now. On-stage. And you guys are watching me do this. It’s still weird you’re doing that by the way. I don’t know why you’re looking at this.

Stop looking.

I’m not gonna stop ménage a trois-ing though. This is my first threesome. I had no idea this was an option for me.”

A roaring train traverses the arena. It’s disguised as rampant laughter that crests the night… maybe next time I’ll be the headliner. A woman in the front row chokes and coughs. She’s gasping for air… maybe she’ll pass out, that would be hilarious; unless she got hurt. Could she sue me?

“It was the best day of my life, folks. Absolutely the best. That’s the end of the story too. I promise. Besides, I’m afraid this lady’s gonna pass out and sue me. I’m broke mama. No tengo dinero. Lo siento, I’m sorry.

I don’t even know why that story ended with me getting busy with two ladies? I mean, I’m not Mormon, so that doesn’t make sense. You know, because Mormon’s used to allow polygamy. But after a while they stopped because men in other religions got insanely Jealous.

How come nobody talks about this?

We all know the seer stones imploded after Joseph Smith rolled over in his…
Uh-oh.
I’m doing it again, aren’t I?
Driving Home the Funny.
That’s how this conversation began.
I’m sorry folks.
I apologize for my behavior.
Please, forgive me.

I’m only human, same as you.”

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