March 07, 2004
Confessions of a Hurtful, Unfunny Comedian

comedian copy.jpg

This guy - named Nick-can't-remember-his-last-name - is all about being so unfunnily unfunny that he's unfunny. Rightly - if somewhat obviously - I suspected he was doing it on purpose, a sort of Andy Kauffman sans the originality-and-wit part. Get it?

Backstage, a voice pleaded: "Someone go help that guy, he's getting raped."

I know: If he's soo lame, why am I writing about him?

I have a reason.


After I caught his act, I was telling my friend about how remarkable it was - considering the tension Nick generated - there was not even a temporary foray into the remotely humorous. The Cape Fear episode of The Simpsons where Side-Show Bob steps on the rake and by the sixth time you've stopped laughing and by the 15th you're laughing again? He was the sixth rake the whole time. I was so agitated I feared I might be hit by something unexpected, and forced to give up a laugh, and was somehow relieved when the obviousness of his wit and the lameness of his targets carried through to the end. To Toronto's credit, he generated no booing, hissing, cheering, jeering, heckling, moaning, groaning or airy silence either-- just blank, if tired, indifference. (Although there were 3 Avril Lavigne fans who tittered a few times. [I'm not kidding.])

Straining to recall his jokes for my pal, I remembered one single line involving Joan Rivers having AIDS. He said - and I might be paraphrasing a little but - "I always thought Joan Rivers had AIDS until I found out you could be extremely ugly and not have AIDS" and the thing about this was, as I relayed it to my friend, I started laughing. To be sure, I was not laughing at his joke, which only made me want to give him pain/substance/pause-for-something-approximating-reflection in the form of a bowl of peanuts to the head, (were it not so blatantly apparent this was what he wanted most); nor was I laughing at how bad his joke was, as he seemed to anticipate the heppers of our cool-guy downtown-scene might. No, I was laughing at exactly how I felt giving voice to his sentiment some 3 days after the fact.

Why did I even do this? And why am I writing about him a week later?

Partially, it's a testament to his obfuscated genius, I'm sure. The layers of reflexivity in the re-telling alone were fascinatingly manifold. As the giggles took hold, in spite of my better effort to suppress the grossenating power of their taboo, I thought again of how one too many layers of irony destroys the potency of a joke that another layer recovers. I wondered - briefly - if I'd have to give it to this Nick guy after all, before deducing I didn't. At least, I don't think I do - yet. But I don't know: I'm constantly stunned by blogging. I learn the same lesson over and over, which is, if you don't have anything radiant to say, don't say anything at all. The ego of the self-googler - like the ego of the interweeb itself - is as fragile as a deer that's been shot in the stomach. It's all manly-man bravado tempered with peculiarly insecure attempts at jabbery, and I include myself in this, of course. Still, if there's someone out there who doesn't have anything nice to say wishing AIDS upon people, should I really be worried he's capable of googling his self, sans last-name, and posting fragile, disheartened, guilt-inducing remarks in my comments?

Somehow, I don't think so.

So, in summary, I'd like to apologize to The Organ and Glass Tiger once again. I spelled it "Glass Tigger" out of respect for you, guys, cause I really didn't want you to find it. I am sorry about my negativity - and I don't know where it comes from, though I suspect it has something to do with how I breathe and see and hear and stuff.

As for you, Nick, I have it on good word you're actually a really sweet guy, so you're not about to bait me into telling you to put some nasty phrase (like "your act needs work") in your pipe and shove it up your over-sized unexplored, much as I'd like to. Whether this is ultimately to your credit or mine is, of course, an open question.

Like I said to my pal, it's confusing as hell.

Posted by at March 07, 2004 03:04 PM

I'll say it for you guy, Nick, oh.... Nafaglan, your act needs work for serious. You aren't especially funny, even in a not-so-funny-you're-sort-of-funny unespecially funny way. Who are you trying to be? The Jean-Luc Godard of stand-up comedy? Like the audience is supposed to go, "Wow, that AIDS and Joan Rivers joke was really offensive.... Hey wait a minute... I suddenly feel self-aware in relation to this spectacle before me... All of a sudden I want to assess and critique the relation between my notion of humour and my notion of morality.... Awwww FUCK! My notion of morality is dictated by the Dominant Capitalist Ideology for which I am a puppet in spite of the fact that this Dominant Capitalist Ideology symbolically castrates and sodomizes me!!! Thank you Nick Nafaglan, you're disruption of the Fourth Comedic Wall has granted me agency to revolt against my oppressors and the "morals" they dictate!!!"

Is that what he's trying to do? Even if it is, he's still not funny.

Plus, The Organ are a horribly dull band. The fact that one or more of their members dismisses blogging on the basis of writing merit leads me to further believe what I've suspected since I saw them play in Toronto a year ago; they're so self interested that they couldn't give a shit what actual fans, listeners or unimpressed audience members think of their highschool drama pouts and histrionics and are only interested in having the guys from MOJO magazine give their record a 3 star+ rating.

For chrissake, any performative act or gesture is only interesting or engaging if there is a dual risk being taken; a spectator can only be impressed or appreciative if the potential for disappointment has been acknowledged and, inversely, a "performer" has to perform with the understanding that every single spectator could find their performance disappointing. So people "who shouldn't be allowed to write" (you fucking fascist) are saying negative things about you and your band; acknowledge it or ignore it but don't dismiss it with such a transparent display of your throttled insecurity.

Posted by: NoRecourse on March 8, 2004 07:40 PM .

Jeeze Recourser: I don't know if anyone else would find your comment funny, but I just laughed so hard that milk came out of my nose. And I haven't had any milk to drink in over 5 years!

Your riots are riotously riotful, and thaz exactly what I'm talking bout.

Posted by: on March 9, 2004 11:31 AM .

"The Jean-Luc Godard of stand-up comedy"!!

Posted by: on March 9, 2004 11:34 AM .

What are you guys talking about? Who's this guy now? The organs?

Posted by: D on March 9, 2004 02:23 PM .

I need a setting shot!

Posted by: D on March 9, 2004 02:23 PM .

NAGANALF KCIN. He wrote about GGOD YGGOD POONS for WON magazine a while back. It's on-line somewhere if you care to go a hunting.

Posted by: on March 9, 2004 02:40 PM .

He's also a "comedian" at rock shows.

He's rude.

Posted by: on March 9, 2004 05:42 PM .

Oh so it was your guy Blaine who said that people who write blogs aren't qualified to write. I should have checked that before calling anyone a fascist. Checkmate!

That new Goddy God Poons record is so hott!

Posted by: TheDiscourse on March 9, 2004 08:57 PM .

It'd be an issue for me if I thought Blaine read my blog, but I don't think he does: He hates weblogs, as he was saying. And even if he did: He's a rock star. And can fucking take it.

Posted by: on March 10, 2004 09:21 AM .

Fucking A. I'm glad we're talking special talk about Goddy Godd Poons, I'd hate to hurt his feelings.

Posted by: D on March 10, 2004 07:01 PM .

Yes. That would indeed be a frightening thing.

Posted by: on March 11, 2004 10:28 AM .


If you read your copy of Broken Pencil, issue 23 - came out last fall, with the cover "Future Now"...well, on the last page there is a thing by Nick, all about Nick. I think if you read it it provides some kind of information about him as a person and all that. I didn't read it though, but i saw the headline. i think he writes music reviews for Now too.

I was at a party once, maybe summer 2002, somewhere north of Queen, south of scadding court, and this Nick fellow was there with a scrap book and he was writing out his jokes for his fledgling act and i remember jokes about gay people and jewish people. then some white kids in trucker caps came into the room and got all excited about playing an Onyx cd and it seemed like they were trying to kickstart some kind of kraft dinner and volvo rap movement - then i realized these are the people who read Vice magazine so we left, because we didn't and don't want anything to do with those sorts of people.

Posted by: Spancan on March 15, 2004 12:37 AM .

I saw him going into a bagel shop in the Annex. I didn't feel bad. I thought I might for a second, as I realized why his face was familiar. But then I didn't.

Posted by: on March 15, 2004 02:09 PM .

He looks a bit like Canadian auteur genius Moat Oangey in that photo, I just realized.

Also, I thought that post from Seomoe Ele a while back was totally flakey.

Posted by: TheDiscourse on March 16, 2004 09:16 AM .

Semoe Ele? Ele Eomes? Pig satin? I'm lost. I don't doubt it was flakey if it appeared on my blog tho, whatever it was.

Posted by: on March 16, 2004 12:12 PM .
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