New Form Proposed for Entry Into United States

- – – Washington, D.C.

In response to the recent discovery of a man in Dallas with a confirmed case of the deadly Ebola virus, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) has proposed a new form and protocol to be followed for individuals entering the United States.

The form states:

1. Have you come from a county where there’s been any Ebola or been in a country with Ebola in the past three weeks?
2. If no, off you go!
3. If yes, go sit in that comfy room for the next three weeks. We’ll give you free cable, wi-fi access, a phone, and tasty food and what not. But you can not leave for three weeks.
4. During that time did you show signs of Ebola?
5. If no, off you go!
6. If yes, well, then it’s to an appropriate hospital with you!

“I think this beats our current policy of looking at people as they enter the country to see if they look like they are all Ebolaey,” said DHS spokesperson Ellen Rice-Piaff. “And, no, I don’t even know if that’s a real word.”

Anti-Hipster Movement Underway

— Dallas, TX

Members of a growing group of so-called “anti-hipsters” met this week for their first convention in Dallas.

“We considered Austin, but really like the vibe of a big, corporate heavy city,” Anti-Hipster Association (AHA) president Cheryl Barnes said. “They’ve got lots of great chain restaurants here that we can enjoy unironically.”

Members of AHA strive to be “annoying like conventional hipsters, only in the complete opposite way,” Barnes said, as she switched her Pandora station to a Green Day station. “I love these guys. American Idiot is really great.”

AHA members take part in various activities and panels at their convention. Hank Sinke spoke at the panel titled “All The Great Stuff On Television”. “We were talking about the Game of Thrones series when someone asked me if I’d read the books. Well, I told him in no uncertain terms that I don’t have any books in my house. That put him in his place,” Sinke said.

Convention goers met for a late night “Games and Beers” session, during which they played some UNO.

“These late night sessions are great, but tiring,” said AHA member Raymond Garza. “I always feel like I ought to shave before going to bed just to avoid having too much facial hair.”

The AHA convention continues today with panels including “Traditional Media Is Ok By Me!”, “I Don’t Get It: An Explanation of Irony”, and “Bicycles: Who Needs Them When Our Cars Work Just Fine? (Answer: No One).”

“I’m not sure if this is a growing movement that represents a shift in social paradigms, or if it’s just a bunch of dopes,” said Dr. Evelyn Norman, University of Texas Sociology Professor. “But it seems like it’s just a bunch of dopes.”

Robin Williams, RIP

I hope you’ll indulge me for a bit here.

Robin Williams is dead, and all our lives will be a little poorer for it. Particularly those of us in the comedy community.

I am a child of the 70’s . There are three comics who set me on a path to doing standup and improv comedy. Bill Murray’s film critic on SNL was an early influence in my writing style and my understanding of the mechanics of character based comedy. Steve Martin taught me the syntax of standup, and showed me that comedy can be stupid and brilliant at the same time.

Robin Williams 2011a (2)And then there was Robin Williams. His frantic energy and rapid fire brain showed the pure adrenalin fueled side of performance and improv that few have ever or could ever match.

Martin’s 1977 Let’s Get Small and Williams’ Reality…What a Concept a couple of years later were among the first albums I ever owned. And I listened to both endlessly.

And, though I didn’t realize it at the time, all three of these guys proved to be so much more than comedians. All proved themselves to be brilliant actors – serious and comedic- and all showed great depth in their various work.

Sure, I’d later come to appreciate the brilliance of George Carlin and the importance of Richard Pryor. But in the mid to late 70’s Bill, Steve and Robin planted the seeds in my head that would eventually lead me to perform.

I can’t even guess how many times I saw Robin Williams’ various stand up specials on HBO. The man was a force of nature. The jokes and characters and voices were rapid fire (maybe fueled by a little more than brain power at times). And the act was more than jokes. It had heart and soul.

He proved himself to have the capacity to truly act. Not just be silly on camera, but to open himself up and serve raw emotion, humor and wit. No, not all his movies were good. But when they were, they were amazing.

Robin Williams faced his demons over the years. Sometimes he’d beat them down for a while. Ultimately, they won.

The shameful question here is could Robin Williams have been Robin Williams if he hadn’t had that darkness within him? Could he have bared his soul on stage and screen without that thing inside him that ultimately killed him?

I don’t know.

Comedians are often damaged people. It’s a cliché to say it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. Performers in general, and comedians specifically, all to varying degrees have some demon they are trying to feed or keep at bay. Performance as therapy is pretty common. Unfortunately, a lot of performers also choose to medicate themselves to stave off whatever it is that eats at them. Drugs and alcohol are the all too common medications of choice. And they take their toll.

Society, and even comics themselves, forget how important their work is. Those of us who can get up on stage and make people really, truly laugh are working magic of a sort. I have had many people over the years personally thank me after an improv show because they had gotten through a terrible day and “just needed to laugh”.   It’s not a rare message.

Do you comics understand how important that is? Do you understand that you really are honest to goodness HELPING people when you perform. The ability to ease peoples’ burdens, even if it’s for a few minutes is a gift. Take it seriously and own the fact that you are doing some good out there.

There’s a wonderful thing about comedy. Stand ups and improvisers are part of extended families of fellow performers. Dysfunctional families at times, to be sure. We fight. We talk bad about each other. We take vicious shots at each other constantly. We all think we are better than the next performer.

But, when it comes down to it , we actually do tend to care about each other.

Comics, use your family to help deal with the monsters. Watch each others’ backs. Turn to each other just to freaking talk when you need to. You probably aren’t going to slay anyone’s dragons, but maybe you can help them do it.

Comics, just know that there’s a real good chance that you have a group of fellow performers who actually give a damn about you. Use that to help yourselves tread water.

Robin Williams was a giant. A flawed giant, to be sure, but he gave a lot to all of us.   Comics who grew up in the 70’s-90’s would cite him as an important influence. Even if the sadness behind the comedy was obviously intense.

Comics, keep the magic and your fellow performers alive. You are all too important to this world to do otherwise.