Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The Poor and the Weak, The Sick and the Lame


KHUK KHAK, Thailand - Finally found the smaller venue I was seeking, but had to re-work all my out-dated material, constructing a whole new presentation designed primarily for an intoxicated audience, replacing old worn-out and dilapidated jokes with new, sanitized, top-shelf gags, laced heavily with helplessness and paranoia. It's been getting sold-out performances and scary laughs.

Mostly stuff about people losing it, going off the deep end.

You see it everywhere, so it's not just your neighborhood or hometown or house or Pakistan or Gaza; people flipping out, tripping out; too much of something.

Maybe too much of the 21st century. Just yesterday, relatively of course, all we had to worry about was fire in a cave.

Thematically speaking, it's great material for mass audiences, like the thousands of red shirts we waded through on Rachadamnoen Avenue in Bangkok, the perfect setting for testing new material, shaking a raised fist and screaming along with everyone else, "YEAH!", which we got on digital recording, along with a short comedy routine before being hustled off stage by Red Shirt Security. There to bring down the Thai government, the red shirt protesters weren't in the mood for funny business.

So, I've worked 'Rabid Protester' into my act, silent and slo-mo. Red headband. Takes up about three minutes on-stage. Got some other silent stuff too, like the 'Awards Banquet Guy' who suddenly doesn't know what to do with his hands while the coach talks about him. Same guy who performs each Saturday before thousands in a stadium, is paralyzed by fear, frozen in an agonized eternity as the coach's muffled praise buzzes in his ears.

I guess you'd have to see it.

Chinese Monkey in Space. Really funny.

Had to drop the Farakhan skit ('Take a Look Arouuuuuund') because nobody knows who Farakhan is, or cares, and...same same Jesse Jackson. They had their day, everybody knows, trolling in the wake of Malcolm X, REVDRMLKJR, and real bruthas of influence, inasmuch as they (Minister Louis and JJ) were frightfully comedic in their own time.

Got some other silent stuff, like 'Cocky Criminal', smoking a cigarette with a smirk on his face that slowly fades to drained recognition of the looming prospect of incarceration, then cut-a-deal desperation, during the proceedings of a silent interview. Takes about a minute. It's been done dozens of time in film, but not in slo-mo, not on stage. About a minute's worth.

Stage time. It's kind of like court time. Basketball court; not civil, municipal, State or federal.


There are a lot of reasons for a writer not to write; no idea, no time, too lazy, too inept, scared, doing life, had company...HolyMarymotherofChrist...could go on forever...what's your excuse? Not for not writing, but for not doing the work you need to do.

"Awwwwww. That can wait."

So I decided to wait out this computer. Decides on its own when it wants to operate, so I set it aside and checked it every day or so, then suddenly, it works! I've found the solution, ha ha, thinking it just might be the moisture in the air, I set the computer in the sun for oh, about ten minutes, maybe fifteen.

Comes back in hotter than hell, scorching to the touch. But, VOILA! It works! It ain't the muthaboard, after all. Go figure, right? Except nobody says that anymore.

Which reminds me; I coined some new terms. Let me find my notes. Yeah, here. Check it out.

'Flat Earth'

Huhmmmmmm? Like it?

"No doubt." Watch this one. It's catching on, used as an affirmation, in any setting.

Also, you may not have known that I was the first person to come up with:

"Duuuuude." Caught on out west and went east, like everything else, first California, then New York, then Chicago and finally, Des Moines and Alabama. You want to know what's coming? Look west.

"BRICK!" I shouted this out during a quiet moment at a Celtic/Lakers game just as 'Wilt the Stilt' was shooting his famous girl scout underhand free throw.

'Letters to the Editor'. This one went big, now institutionalized across the board nowadays in all forms of media.

I didn't miss the Super Bowl (as in, who won?), but I did miss a backwards (back to the basket), blind, two-handed underhand shot from half court (you've seen or tried it), otherwise known as a 'heave', and although the shot was attempted in everybody's gym class, I was the first to use it in collegiate tournament play, a panic attack heave against a full-court press.* I got benched, despite hitting the rim and eliciting a gasp from the crowd.

'Effects Man'

- That's the guy who does anything from political events or a motion picture set design of NYC in the 1920s, to the lighting and pyrotechnic display at an AC/DC concert; different than 'special effects', the Pope's press people, psychiatry, or cosmetic surgery or anything like that.


It's so hot here on the Isthmus of Kra that on some days, those days when your shirt sticks to your back, those five-showers-a-day days, the only relief you can find mid-day is to stand stark naked, dripping wet in front of a fan, set on three. And even then, the relief is only temporary, lasting only until your skin dries. As soon as you step away from the fan, your skin is wet again, but now, from the dissipation of internal heat. Sweat.

Cat's lying stretched out and panting in a grimace, tongue hanging out of its mouth.

Timeless as the river, life on the upper Mekong hasn't changed much in a thousand years, give or take a few invasions by the Burmese and later, the Thai. In Luang Prabang, they were having the annual water festival, Songkran, the Laotian New Year, a three-day event; the first day of saying goodbye to the previous year, then a day of rest and contemplation and recovering from a hangover, then a final day of welcoming in the new year.

The city was bursting at its seams as hill tribe families of more than fifty ethnic groups from the northern provinces descended upon the ancient imperial capital to bring their children to the on-going carnival and participate in the crazed water tossing celebration to welcome the year of the dragon.

Color, color everywhere, a time for renewal and making merit, of washing, cleaning and sweeping out the past, taking a respite, then embracing the future. A heartbeat, a breath, exhaling and inhaling.


*'79 NCIAC Championship. Against a full-court press with less than a minute in the game. The coach quickly achieved an advanced state of agitation (livid), and used up his last time out to yank my ass out of the game.