Editorial: Running Amok for Fun and No Profit
By Rob Reuter
Editor, Denture Wearer
"I have learned that being a comedian is similar to being a child pornographer; you wind up pandering to society's lowest common denominator the same way, only kiddie porn producers get far more respect."
I love the Internet. I love the instant e-mail, I love the open exchange of opinions, I love the grainy black-and-white pictures of midgets with their heads inserted into the bodily orifices of complete strangers.
The Internet is the first tool ever created where everyone who uses it is truly equal (Wait! Hear that? Thats Bill Gates laughing himself into a pants-shitting stroke over that one!). It allows people who would generally be socially mute, with just a few words, to make their worldviews known to millions. This is a compulsion Charlie Manson could probably get behind, except I hear he still maintains its easier to write stuff like "Death to pigs" in blood than in HTML.
We have turned the most powerful information engine ever created by humankind into a way for depraved halfwits to internationally publish foul manifestos like we used to only hear jabbered out of cockpit windows on parked, commando-surrounded planes.
The American Jerk is our manifesto.
Please allow me to introduce myself: my names Rob and Im an alcoholic Sorry; wrong meeting.
My names Rob. I studied journalism for four years at St. Michaels College in Winooski, VT. I studied journalism because I was enthralled with the image of the old-time, hard-boiled reporter of the thirties and the forties on the beat, whacking at a typewriter, getting the story. During my junior year, they finally told me that the time-honored journalistic practice of getting shithouse bombed and phoning in dirty rumors you heard at Foleys Bar isnt acceptable anymore. Fucking USA Today Body Nazis .By my senior year I had all my core journalism requirements out of the way. I realized there was no way anyone could prevent me from graduating short of finding a human torso in my freezer with the Brownie sash still on it. So I decided to burn every bridge I could get my filthy hands on and write humor for the St. Michaels Defender.
Writing humor was cathartic; cathartic from the Latin word meaning: "The only kind of quasi-journalistic writing one can do for credit while completely hammered." I learned that humor is a powerful tool. When I was publishing objective, attributed stories accusing school officials of specific corrupt acts, I never got much attention from anyone. However, I got noticed when, in my humor column, for no reason at all, I would call the same official a goatfucker.
I also learned, or thought I learned, that I was ready to become a stand up comedian.
My concept of stand up comedy was somewhat skewed at that time. I thought that being a comedian was to be akin to Lears fool; I would be a lone figure standing under a spotlight with a microphone, skewering societys conventions with a lightning wit while various people threw money at me. I have since learned that being a comedian is more similar to being a child pornographer; you wind up pandering to societys lowest common denominator the same way, only kiddie porn producers get far more respect.
I have been a comedian for five years, and I now understand that the reason I was able to get away with what I did back on The Defender was because it was subsidized and not for profit. As a stand up comedian, my only purpose is to make someone else money, and if I cause any trouble, next week Ill find Ive been replaced by a karaoke machine, or worse, Carrottop.
So I have learned to subdue my own bent sense of humor in order to keep getting stand up work and enjoy limited success. By limited success, I, of course, mean: "One nighters in the back rooms of suburban Chinese restaurants for five bucks and ten percent off eggrolls."
However, writing for stand up is totally different than writing for publication. When you write for the stage, you have to figure youre only allowed to say about five words before you get to the punchline. For most audience members, a comedy show is like an Irish wake: an excuse to get drunk in a public place and shriek. Forcing many of these people to think too hard may cause aneurysms, or worse in their minds, a loss of buzz. You cant ask these people to follow a train of thought; most of them got confused trying to follow Money Train.
So in a nutshell, stand up comedy is fun, but it doesnt have that rush you get when you do something you know is going to aggravate people, but you know that no one can stop you. And once in a while, when you write something, its nice to know that its for people who at least can read.
So thats the purpose of The American Jerk: a place where Im allowed to run amok without fear of reprisal, and yet without the confining feelings of straitjackets and Thorazine that you get with other forms of voluntary commitment.
The plan is to do this once a month. At various times Ive also planned to get in shape, drive across America and learn how to replace my carburetor. These plans were thwarted, as this one might be, by the fact that my first and greatest love is drinking beer and watching television, at the same time if possible.
I figure itll be helpful if some of you guys submit stuff for publication: (Editor's Note, 2006: No, it wouldn't.) free publication for you, more drunk-time for me. The submission guidelines are off the Table of Contents. (Editor's Note, 2006: No, they're not.) I dont care what it is as long as we can identify it as funny: opinion, parody, stories, whatever (Editor's Note, 2006: I have a gun; just keep on walking, funny boy).
Just leave the manifestos to me. I am a professional; dont try this at home.
By the way, I do know how to spell "Volkswagen." I also know how to spell "Lawsuit."
Main Archive Table of Contents
April, 1999 Issue Table of Contents
Running Amok Do We Really Need a Title? Start Your Own Business Breaking Up... For Corporate Stiffs
Moon Over Easter Bunny
Rich, Arrogant and Horny The Final Word Warning: Hazardous to Idiots Reservoir Rats
The American Jerkô and all contents © 1999 - 2005 by Rob Reuter and Paul Marino, © 2006 by Rob Reuter.