My brain hurts. I don’t mean it to sound like whining ennui. Totalitarianism is such an inconvenience. Sigh. Besides it’s impossible to out-narciss the cis-narcissist-in-chief. In my head I actually say, “My brain hurts” in the barking bray characters used to do in Monty Python’s “Flying Circus” skits.
At least I hope I’ve been using my inside voice.
You can Google the classic Monty Python comedy bit faster, but my efforts at description will be a pleasurable trip down a memory lane crowded by stiffly prancing top-hatted Ministers of Silly Walks, with fly-overs by undead pining pigeons, to a galaxy long ago and far away. On their heads the Pythons wore white handkerchiefs knotted into four corners. They stood in rigidly arched postures, arms tight to the body, fists clenched tightly, and with lots of lower jaw action, they shouted over and over, “My brain hurts!” I once dislocated my jaw doing an imitation during a high school English class. And I was the teacher.
My brain hurts. I realized it the other day, as I was trying to write yet another analogy for Trump: “He’s like. . .” I don’t know what exams colleges use for entrance anymore or if it’s all just legacy admissions, but I loved studying for the Miller Analogy test. I basically still read the world as a multi-colon-ized analogy: “This is to this as that is to that.” Lately it’s been a double-bind binary hell.
In the Trump Y2K17 Singularity, some writers feel a huge pressure to say the one thing that will be the hidden key that hacks open the golden door that will begin the hoped-for disintegration of the Trump Tower of Babel. That can hurt a brain. I worry for example about the wonderful NYT op-ed writer Charles Blow. He might just blow the top of his head off. You can feel the pressure in meme-land as well. Everybody is going for the game-changing, “I Have a Meme” speech. It’s a lot of pressure on the Metaphor Maker area of the brain.
Yes, yes, I must have lots of material these days, as many people remind me every day. But a comedy set can’t be much longer than 90 minutes unless the audience is fully catheterized. Some comedy triage is in order. Should I do the Comey/comedy stuff? The Melania and the Golden Belt stuff? Or the chocolate cake bit: I can’t eat the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake you’ve ever seen without seeing 29 tomahawk missiles dropping on Syria.
It’s not a material problem. I’ve got hundreds of Amazons at my fulfillment warehouse in Hart, Mich., driving forklifts, expertly forking up full palettes of shrink-wrapped material. 24/7. And we offer full medical/dental.
The problem is the comedy delivery system. It can get overwhelmed, like myself. So with a team of volunteers from Lesbians Who Tech, I’ve developed a whole new sophisticated algorithm for comedy delivery. After many attempts, you won’t believe it, but it turns out the most efficient delivery system is the “Knock, Knock” joke! Talk about fulfillment!
Everybody loves knock-knock jokes. It was the first joke we really ‘got’ as kids: “Knock, knock. Who’s there? Boo. Boo who? Why are you crying?” It killed. For some a knock-knock was the first joke they ever told. They’re fun and fast. They don’t dwell. They cause groans. Don’t be judgey. Groaning can be sexy. Since the set up is so non-sensical and the punchline so unpredictable, the joke teller gets to feel a certain amount of agency and competence. And these days, that’s a real nice feeling.
My show this year is thus called: “Knock Knock. Who’s There? Zombie Apocalypse.” I’ve explained the knock-knock part. The Zombie Apocalypse needs no explanation.
But if you’d like an explanation, the fine people at the Washington Blade are bringing me to town to Katesplain!
The show is Friday, June 9 at 7 p.m. at the Studio Theatre. And if you don’t mind my saying it, you look like you could use a laugh. Come to the show — it’s early and we’re fully catheterized! — enjoy some new unforgettable knock-knock classics then go mingle/hook up with all the people in town for Capital Pride.
Knock, knock. Who’s there? I hope you are. For ticket info: washingtonblade.com/Kate.
Kate Clinton is a longtime humorist. She writes regularly for the Blade.
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