“Jeremiah was a bullfrog! Was a good friend of mine!” – a genius.

Can I call this a humor column yet? Whenever someone asks me about it (this has happened twice), I want to say, “I write humor, nyah!” but I’m afraid they’ll stab me in the eye with a copy of the New Yorker. Or vomit. Ah well. Living is the worst part about life. Also, genocide, rape and death. Also, socks with holes in ‘em.

So I like comedy. I laugh at my own jokes: What did the entomologist’s mother say when her son’s Drosophila melanogaster was depressed? “Your fly is down.” Hilarious. Important. Italics.

I did stand-up comedy for the first time last Saturday. Here’s the story. It’s a tearjerker so get your Kleenex™ (“Kleenex: Ah. Now that’s good wipin’.”).

Sunday (one week before the show)

I lay face down on my floor and thought about failing and depression and loneliness. Then I wondered who played the Inspector in Young Frankenstein … Kenneth Mars! I thought about failing again.

In a fit of sweaty determination, I resolved to write something every day, revolutionize comedy, subvert the medium, invent a medium, look up the definition of “medium,” call my Mommy. And stuff!


I did nothing.


Finally, I wrote:

“Hey! If phenomena is the plural of phenomenon, is cinema the plural of cinnamon?” I got heckled by my Waluigi doll. I sighed, tried to cry and put my pants back on.

I’ve always wanted to do comedy — if you don’t count the 19 years I wanted to be a baseball player, photographer, journalist, politician, therapist, psychiatrist, actor, judge, prosecutor, priest or happy.

I stopped writing at 2:00 a.m., stared into the mirror for two hours, went to bed at 4:00.


I woke at 8:00, sleep-deprived, nauseous, like floating in a block of lead. (Honestly, does anyone even edit this shit?)

I stood on my (cool, red) couch, held my microphone (the TV remote) to my lips and practiced my opening:

“Wow. Hey guys. Wow.”

I didn’t sleep that night.


I did things, did things, did things.

I ate a bagel, wondered what a push-up would feel like and ate another bagel.

I walked home at 2:00 a.m., hands stuffed in pockets, breath materializing in front of me, floating off into dead nothingness just like Grandpa!

Sorry. Life is a snowball effect. Socks with holes in ‘em.

“What’s funny?” I asked God. “What’s the formula for funny? Also: The hell, Man?”

On the way home, a big, drunk fella pointed at me and yelled something. I removed my headphones.

Me: “What?”

He: “I masturbate to you at night!”  

I think about him a lot.


You’re bombing tomorrow, monkey! You’re bombing tomorrow! (And you have a doctor’s appointment on Tuesday. Don’t forget.)

I felt like vomiting. Or running. But then, not running because running sucks.

At 2:30 a.m., I smoked weed for the first time.

(Sorry, Mom, Dad, and dead grandparents. Editor says I can’t devote whole, big paragraph to explanation of life choices, so I’ll just say this: How’s the dog?)

That night, in bed, I didn’t think about my set. (Or you … Sharon.)

Saturday (Show Night)

The night was cold and wet, like refrigerated ham or a dead body in an aboveground pool or my hands, always. I paced up and down the street, muttering my set and little affirmations:

“You’re taller than most. You’re taller than most. You have neat hair. Your sense of humor totally distracts from your psychological problems, handsome.”

At 9:20 p.m., in a Kerrytown backyard, I took the stage. Tree branches hung over the stands, tickling the microphones, wishing me, “OK luck.” Trees can be such dicks sometimes.

My heart beat hard, fast, to a rhythm. It felt like, “Jeremiah was a bullfrog!

One hundred and fifty people stared at me. They were all cold, all standing, all better than me in their own oh-so-special ways.

Was a good friend of mine!

“Hey guys,” I said, peeing a little.

I felt their eyes, their blinks, the spots in their brains that light up when something’s funny. A little voice in my head shouted something racist, but I couldn’t hear it over the deafening nothing. I had to turn my head to see everyone. They didn’t have to turn their heads to see me.

I held in a fart.

You are a bullfrog, Alex … No. You are The bullfrog.

I said the most honest thing I could think of:

“I’m a 21 year-old, white, tall, straight, Catholic college guy. And I tell it like it is … That’s right. I’m everyone’s favorite kind of person.”

A moment. A blank, inescapable moment. Then. Then. Then. Those 150 somebodies laughed. And I – I went on. Into that irreversible, unachievable It.

And It was good.

If you think Alex is funny, e-mail him at adbnard@umich.edu. He needs every sliver of validation you can give him.


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