October 17th, 2006


(Warning: morbidity ahead.)

Lately, when I shave, I find myself thinking about a section in the book Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (you might recall I read it recently). One chapter detailed the author’s visit to a funeral home where she watched the process of preparing a body for a memorial service. One of the steps was to shave the recently departed male’s face, a tricky process because, as the funeral director said, “Nicks and cuts won’t heal.” They always use a new blade and the blade is thrown away immediately after. I shave in the shower (too much information, I know) and haven’t cut myself shaving in years as a result (there’s something about the steam and moisture in the air that helps). But still, every morning when I shave now, I think about that last shave I’ll ever have. Weird.

This past Friday we ended our improv show with Rapid-Fire Joke Cavalcade. As The Voice calls off each person, the person steps up to the microphone and tells a fast joke before leaving the stage. Since it was Friday the 13th, before the show I suggested we have monster-themed jokes ready. But, really, there aren’t that many monster-themed jokes. I remembered a couple from an old joke book I had read as a kid:

Q: What do monsters eat?
A: Things.
Q: What do monsters drink?
A: Coke. Because things go better with Coke!

Q: How does a monster count to 13?
A: On his fingers!

But neither of those was going to cut it. We brainstormed a little to see if we could come up with new (and better) monster jokes, but didn’t really come up with any. I particularly wanted to do an updated one if I could, themed off a modern movie monster – Jason, Freddy, Michael Myers, one of those guys. But I couldn’t think of anything. For some reason, I thought of Psycho, and I came up with this one:

Q: What does Norman Bates do for Mother’s Day?
A: He shaves!

A couple of my fellow troupe members really liked it. The audience? Not so much.

July 16th, 2004

An Old Joke

This fellow graduates from college with all the top musical honors they have.

At graduation, he is approached by a man who invites him to join their conservatory – a music “think-tank” if you will.

The young man agrees and is soon at the conservatory.

As he is getting the tour, the guide says, “Now, be very quiet” as he opens a door. Behind the door is a tropical setting, with a three-toed sloth hanging from a branch in the middle of the room. The young man is very confused.

When the door is closed, the young man asks about the sloth and the guide says, “Well, this is going to sound crazy, but every time we compose a new piece of music, we run it by the sloth. If he likes it, we know it’s going to be good. If he doesn’t, we destroy it because we know it will be bad.”

The young man thinks this is odd, but accepts it – what’s he going to do about it, after all?

A few weeks go by, and things are going great. He’s feeling creative and challenged and at the top of his musical game. He’s learning things he never dreamed of before – and every composition gets run by the sloth. Some he liked, some he didn’t.

One morning, the young man rushes in to the group – his hair is disheveled, his eyes are red –

“I’ve been up all night, but this is the greatest thing I’ve ever written!!”

He shows it to them – it’s got 13 treble staffs and 14 bass staffs – lots and lots of staffs.

Immediately they react negatively – “No, I’m sorry.” “No.” “Uh uh.”

“What???” he says. “This is genius! I’m taking it to the sloth!”

“NO!” they yell in unison. “Don’t do it!”

“I’m doing it!” he says and heads off to the sloth’s room.

They try to stop him, but they are too late – the young man runs into the room. A few seconds later, horrible screams are heard and the young man is never seen again.

The moral?

Too many clefs roil the sloth.