Issue #80 – “Year in Review” – December 12th, 2005

-Like many twentysomethings, I get a little depressed around the end of the year.  I look back and think, shit, what the hell have I been doing with myself for the past twelve months?  I feel like I sat down to watch the Super Bowl, drank fifteen beers, and next thing I knew it was July 4th.  The fireworks were sub-par, I drank another fifteen beers, and woke up on Thanksgiving.  I think that the best way to combat my depression (besides another fifteen beers) is to take a light-hearted look back at 2005.  This is my Year in Review.

-The year started ominously enough with a gig at the Ft. Lauderdale Improv in which a guy in the first row walked out right in the middle.  Actually, he didn’t walk out.  He rolled out.  In a motorized wheelchair.  Because he was eighty years old.  Apparently he was offended by my joke about experimenting with progressively thinner condoms until finding a brand so thin it carried the warning label: “Not for use with cock.”

-I did notice one particularly salient trend in my travels – people tend to get blindingly drunk at my shows.  For example, the guy in the audience at Emory who, when I asked him what his zodiac sign was, responded, “I don’t even know what’s going on right now.”  But that doesn’t compare to the chick who got so housed at my show at the New York Improv that, after being asked to leave by the club manager, turned around and clocked the manager in the face.  Four cops arrived on the scene, arrested her, cuffed her, and took her away in a police car as the crowd cheered her removal.  Only one word could describe my reaction to someone getting that fucked up: Impressed.

-One of my favorite parts about writing this column is hearing funny stories from the friends I frequently mention in it.  Like in Ruminations #70 when I wrote that my buddy Triplet #1 prefers hooking up with younger girls.  The Triplets’ dad read the column, called up one of his sons and asked accusingly, “Are you Triplet #1?”  And his son responded, “Dad, I’m Triplet #2, have you not realized it’s in birth order?”

-I also love hearing from fans about the spread of “gourmet,” the slang expression meaning “cool” or “dope” that I have been popularizing since Ruminations #49.  Now that gourmet is out there (which is pretty damn gourmet if you ask me), I’m going to introduce another term into the twentysomething lexicon: “bloodbath.”  I’ve actually been using it for quite a while to mean “an event of epic drunken debauchery.”  As in, “New Year’s Eve is gonna be a fucking bloodbath,” or “Karo’s show tonight is gonna be a bloodbath.  I hope we don’t get arrested.”

-In the end, I really hope the people who read my columns and books and came to my shows this year realized that I love to laugh at myself.  And I think everyone should laugh at themselves now and again, too.  That’s what keeps us young at heart.  At a show in Cornell, I jokingly ripped into people taking the LSATs who never before in their life have expressed any interest whatsoever in studying law.  Lo and behold, a girl who was studying for the LSATs got upset and walked out, thereby proving my point.  Ironically, at that very show, some guy brought his four-year-old daughter with him.  Once I noticed her, I did a 90-second bit about Elmo then warned her dad, “Listen, at the 37-minute mark, this set is gonna get ugly really fast.”  But they stayed.  And though I’m pretty sure my condom material was over her head, that little girl giggled the whole damn time.  She was probably my best audience member the entire year.  Let that be a lesson for us all.  And when I’m eighty years old and tooling around in a motorized wheelchair, not getting any of the jokes either, I hope I can still laugh too.

-As always, here are some random things I’ve been ruminating about lately…

-I enjoy realizing that people have just given up.  Like the other day I saw a bag of Doritos emblazoned with the words “Now Better Tasting!”  Now better tasting?  That’s it?  That’s all they could come up with?  You know your marketing department needs work when it’s all downhill from “Nacho Cheesier.”

-It always amuses me when people quote a dollar amount by only using the first digit and nobody has any clue what they’re talking about.  Like if I ask a friend how much a recent purchase cost and he’s like “Oh, around eight.”  I don’t know if he means $8, $800, or $8,000!  And whichever one I guess, the response is always a chortle accompanied by a sarcastic repetition of the number.  I’m like, “Wow, $800?” and they’re like, “Psh, yeah, it cost $800.  What are you crazy?”  Actually, I still don’t know if I’m high or low.

-When I recently picked up my first batch of clothes at a new dry cleaner, I asked them how they kept track of everything without stapling a little paper tag with a number on it to the bottom of my shirts.  The dry cleaner was taken aback I even suggested that.  “We would never staple anything to your shirts!” she said, vehemently, “We write your name in permanent marker on the inside of the collar.”  Oh, great.  That’s much better.

-You know what’s really weird about living in Los Angeles?  Thinking you know someone from real life when they’re actually an actor.  I was at LAX a few weeks ago and I just felt compelled to say something to the girl standing next to me.  I was like, “I’m sorry, do I know you?  From Penn maybe?”  And she was like, “Oh, no, but I get that a lot because I had a small part in Clueless.”  I mean, where else in the world could that happen?  Imagine I was back in New York and met a guy at a party and was like, “Hey, you look really familiar.  Didn’t we use to work on Wall Street together?” and the guy was like, “I don’t think so, but I am Matthew McConaughey.”

-This New Year’s Eve, I’m stepping it up a notch and heading to Australia with Triplet #2.  Needless to say, it’s gonna be a bloodbath.  The only thing I’m concerned about is that Trip 2 only shits about once every five days.  He’s like a freakin’ bear.  Meanwhile, I need to be within 200 meters of a proper restroom at all times.  Personally, I prefer to travel with someone less interested in spotting kangaroos and more interested in trying to find Charmin ultra rolls in the middle of the outback.

-And, finally, when I truly look back on 2005, I can’t help but feel, well, exhausted.  After all, I moved from an apartment in Manhattan to my parents’ house on Long Island, then from my parents’ house on Long Island back to Manhattan, and finally from Manhattan all the way to Los Angeles.  I broke up with the most serious girlfriend I’ve ever had.  I published my second book.  My first book reached its ninth printing.  I wrote a sitcom pilot.  I wrote my 4,000th joke.  I appeared on two television shows.  I crisscrossed the country about a dozen times on my stand-up tour.  It was truly a wild year.  You guys all helped make it wilder – for that, I say THANK YOU!!  And trust me, I’ve got plenty more in store for you next year.  There is, however, one goal I have for 2006 that I would like to share: I really want to sign a tit.  I’ve signed my share of autographs and books, and even a fat kid’s stomach at Ohio State once, but I’ve never signed a naked breast.  If I can accomplish that in the next twelve months, I’ll be a banner year.  What can I say?  I aim high.  And ladies, if you care to lift your shirt and indulge me but can’t find a Sharpie, don’t worry.  Just ask my dry cleaner, they’ve got plenty.  Fuck me!