I had finished my act and was in the back playing Missile Command. (I couldn’t touch Mike’s high score – but could beat just about anyone else’s.) Roger had introduced Jack as the weekend’s opener. But now the room was quiet – like when Durst had the audience entranced – but different. I could hear murmurs, an angry shout followed by broken, awkward laughs. Drew, near the bar, waved me over. Jack, on stage, was shouting at the audience.
What were we talking about? Shit – I forgot the – forgot the punchline – oh yeah – C’mon, everybody! C’mon – heard the fucker so many times – you could do the joke better’n me! C’mon! What do y’want? New shit? New shit? Buy me a fuckin’ jokebook, motherfucker. Was that rude? Fuck. Excuse me.
The comics looked on, eyes wide. Jack was loaded, as drunk as I’d ever seen him.
Plrknib wasn’t the only joke I’d kidnapped from New York. If I was going to risk doing one, well what the hell – why not a few? After picking through my notes, I pulled other bits that seemed like they’d fit in my act: another Mittleman bit about dating, Mark Schiff’s Make me a sandwich, a joke about the DC-10 plane crash, and a one-liner that I used just once to open my act:
I got this job through the CETA program.
The line worked, but honestly, I didn’t really know what CETA was. I had thought it was like RIF (“Reading Is Fundamental!”) – but getting a stand-up job through RIF didn’t make even slight comedic sense to me. So, when I discovered CETA was a minority jobs assistance program, I thought – hmm – maybe I shouldn’t be doing this bit in my act. And that was it for that one.