I was third, as usual, and pumped. Jack, of course, wasn’t there. And I tried not to feel guilty about getting the opening spot at his expense. Would Roger really have put me up in another month? Was he just throwing me a bone for all of my begging? It didn’t matter. The fact was if he didn’t think I was ready he wouldn’t have given me the spot.
My ten minutes that night went fine. Three-and-a-half stars, maybe three-and-three-quarters, even. I was excited for Saturday, and playing to Roger as much as anyone else. My bits were tight and I was full of energy. He wanted my A-game, and here was ten pure minutes of it. And, of course, all of the New York bits were in there: CETA, DC-10, Make Me a Sandwich, and Plrknib. Now, I needed to be as tight and strong as possible. Ethical or not, it was no time to back off of bits that worked.
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.
You can yell at your mom and throw your dad against a tree, but there are certain things y’just can’t say to your grandparents. “Hey Gramma – pound salt up your ass!” Y’can’t say that.
One time, my father, thinking that my grandmother Alice should’ve minded her business about something, said:
Oh, just tell her to pound salt up her ass