Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Funniest Words

By themselves, the words – Fuck You – are really not that funny. It is only after those roaming street guys have lured you into a second rate comedy club promising you a big discount and a wonderful time and you are sitting there counting on someone to be funny that those words become, well, hilarious. I know this because the last time I was in such a club those words were used many times in many contexts and every time they were uttered they elicited a big laugh. In fact, I heard those words in a comedy club for the very last time when I used them myself as I exited the club with a surprisingly public flourish. It all came to pass innocently enough.

There I was sitting in this comedy club, having been lured there only hours before, actually laughing, as I had off and on for seventy minutes during the course of four half-way decent stand up acts. But when the fifth and last comic got up, you could tell almost immediately he was going to be the worst. The number of expletives increased alarmingly and the amount of humorous material declined precipitously. I’m not quite sure how it happened, but during a pause in his tedious routine, I happened to say out loud how great it would be to hear something that was actually funny.

Needless to say, this unfunny fellow took great offense at my remark and retorted angrily and predictably: “The fucking old fart sits there through everybody’s else’s act and never says a fucking word and now suddenly he’s got a fucking problem with my fucking jokes.” As you might expect, this tirade did get him some hearty laughs, so he kept returning to it, particularly trying to taunt me with the phrase “the old fart,” invariably preceded by some variation on the ‘F’ word.

Finally, I decided I had heard enough. I stretched and yawned elaborately indicating how monotonous this had all become and then got up to leave. As I made my way out, he insisted on asking me where I was going, that nobody walks out on his act. I didn’t say anything but just keep moving when he inquired quite suddenly if I had anything to say for myself. With that kind of opening, how could I resist? I paused for a moment, looked over at him, peered at the audience and then back at him. I carefully formed the letters in my mouth, preparing to respond with sincerity but also with great deliberateness so that it was almost as if I was spelling out those ugly but inevitable words: “F-u-c-k Y-o-u!” Blowing him a kiss, I quickly departed the club with the surprisingly raucous laughter of the audience following me out the door.

I could say those two words tomorrow and nobody would laugh. But at that time and in that place, I guess judging from the reaction of the audience, they were the funniest words I’ve ever said.


  1. How come I'm never there when you go off your fucking rocker?

  2. Two reasons: 1. You're so sane; 2. New York changes a person.