By Kevin Wilson: FNNM Columnist
I’ll rarely say or write something amusing to friends that won’t result in some type of laughter, even if it’s out of pity.
Sometimes, I’ll get something I didn’t expect — an endorsement.
I wrote something mildly amusing to a friend and she told me, “You should be a standup comedian.”
Don’t put up that microphone just yet. To understand what makes a good standup comedian, you have to be able to break it down into its two parts.
There’s the standup, which I sometimes find awkward because I overthink it. Where should hands go? Should I stand fully erect and appear as if I’m trying to measure up to taller people, or do I slouch so as not to seem condescending to shorter people? I just don’t know.
If I ever get this standing up part, I’ll have to grip the comedian aspect. I think that’s the most important part of being a standup comedian, the comedy. And in that regard, I have no particular style.
Everybody does things a different way when it comes to entertainment. For example, the television series “24” would be different if Bruce Willis was the star instead of Kiefer Sutherland, but I doubt it would be any less entertaining either way.
It’s also true with jokes. You could give the same scenario to 10 comedians, and you would find 10 different ways to exploit what humor resides inside of it.
I imagine what comedians would do in a standup routine if given my experience at a Thursday night fast-food visit.
That’s the package from the bag of cookies I got with my meal. I got three cookies that were apparently freshly baked and made just for me. The best joke I can do is that I’ve never met anybody at this eatery, and it seemed rather conceited to believe they made cookies just for Kevin Wilson, who decided to visit at the last minute.
I imagine in an actual comedian’s hands, it would be quite a different, and funnier, joke. Imagine the following:
Mitch Hedberg: “I went to (name a fast-food place), and they gave me a bag of cookies. The bag said, ‘Fresh baked cookies, made just for you.’ I was amazed that they had the time to make cookies just for me when I had decided to eat there five minutes ago. How in the world did they know? ‘Guys, get some cookies ready. Mitch is comin’.’”
Todd Barry: “I went to a restaurant the other day … (random audience laughter at pause) …. There’s more to that joke. I know there’s something hilarious about me mentioning a restaurant, but I decided I’d give this audience the extended version of the Todd Barry McDer King’s joke.
“I’m at McDer King’s, and I buy some cookies to go with the meal. The package said, ‘Fresh baked cookies, made just for you.’
“Whoa. You mean to tell me you guys made fresh baked cookies for me, Todd Barry, who has never been in this McDer King’s location before? You guys have pulled out all of the stops for a multimillionaire comedian.”
Jerry Seinfeld: “What’s with these cookies? The package says the cookies are, ‘made just for you.’ Isn’t that kind of creepy, making cookies for people before they come in? If you’re that much of a psychic, you might as well change the sign out front. ‘We’re serving 124 million next Tuesday.’ That would be something.”
Dennis Miller: “So I went to my favorite health bastion and they gave me cookies they said were made just for me.
“Yeah, some 23-year-old saving up his money because he thinks spinning rims would be a perfect accent to his ’89 Tercel is gonna tell me I want cookies?
“If they’re that psychic, they should have looked to the future and realized a GED was going to give them about as much chance for future employment as Al Gore applying for upper management at Exxon Mobil.”
Ron White: “I got these cookies at a fast-food restaurant, and the package said the cookies were made fresh just for me. Gee, how lucky. The manager came and talked with me because he saw a show once or something, and he asked how everything was. I told him about the cookie packaging. He said, ‘We like to treat every customer as if they’re our most important.’
“I said, ‘Let me explain something to you. If I had cookies made just for me, there’s no way they’d be presented to me like that. They’d be served to me by a smiling 19-year-old with a flat stomach, with vodka sours on the side. That blond girl over working the kid’s birthday party will do just fine. Get to it, fryboy.’”
I could go on with Dave Chappelle (“only white people like cookies”), Larry the Cable Guy (“Git-R in the Drive Thru”) or others, but I think I’ve made my point. There’s no Kevin Wilson delivery to this joke, so it will never be.
Unless I get that standing up thing down. If that happens, look out fast-food places.
Kevin Wilson writes for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. Contact him at 763-6991 or by e-mail: