Friday, January 29, 2010

They always come in threes

First off, here's the best JD Salinger obit out there, period.
I had a joke in my act when I first started out, it was a closer.
"Do you like impressions?" (crowd typically yells yeah, I pretend they do regardless)
"Here's my impression of JD Salinger"
Then I'd walk off the stage.

It was OK. Its biggest weakness was the only way it works is a closer, and if you don't get it, I walk off leaving the audience that doesn't get it sort of stunned and awkward.
Which isn't the feeling you want them to leave with. You want to close on a high. Pete Holmes appeared on John Oliver's new Comedy Central show recently, and at the end of his set he says, "you know what? I'm gonna audible" and says good night. He'd just gotten an applause break, and said "fuck it, I have a closer but look how much they love me RIGHT NOW."*
It's the 100% right move and the crux of why the JD Salinger bit stunk; it limited your options and didn't leave the crowd feeling good. Maybe some of them feel clever but it's a world of difference.

Sign of a comedian: somebody dies and he figures out a way to talk about his self-centered ass**.

Anyhow. Salinger was effectively dead to me for the last three decades; he touched my heart but he didn't want to meet me or the people who loved his writing. For him, he just had to get it on paper. It's really beautiful, in a way; my antithesis. I hope my creative output is beautiful, but I think deep down I want the recognition more than creating the art.
He was the opposite.
We could use more like him.

We also lost Howard Zinn. Initially I thought I'd write a piece comparing him to Salinger, but it eventually felt ghoulish and forced. Zinn was/is inspiring in his perspective.
It's all said better by people who knew more, so I'll tip my hat to his insight and let you read obits that have something to say.

Finally, the little midget lady from Poltergeist died. Zelda Rubinstein died this week. I'm not sure which of the three creeped me out the most; I think I'd go with Zinn.

Valhalla awaits!

* all speculation but I do practice the craft that is comedy.
** or just some sort of egotist. I could have just as easily gone into acting

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