The would-be joke writer
How a half-assed Twitter reply turned into a job offer
I hope that most of you that read my newsletter regularly think that at I am funny. And if not funny, at least mildly amusing. I’ll settle for occasionally droll. You see, in my mind to not be funny is to be dull. I find myself endlessly dull, and I am constantly trying to entertain others, but really just entertaining myself. Like many American men born into Generation X not possessing Brad Pitt’s looks, I overdeveloped my sense of humor to the detriment of my other strengths.
The ability to make money above subsistence, for instance. To make people laugh has been a load-bearing part of my personality since approximately 1985. Back then I was a fat crybaby nerd who loved computers and hated taking showers.
I remain a fat crybaby nerd who is wary of computers and mildly enjoys taking showers.
The real difference between then and now is that in the years between I have learned how to find the joke in almost any situation.
Even in especially in situations where no joke should be found. This “skill” has earned me tens of dollars over the years. I spent all of my twenties and most of my life being an irl edgelord. I was under the impression that my “nice guy” persona and fatness were what was keeping women from finding me attractive, and I desperately wanted to do a change-up in personae. It turns out that becoming a jagoff provacateur with a caustic wit was not a great choice when tearing up the character sheet and starting over. I gained hit points and got +7 to attack, +5 to performance. I maxed out Cutting Words, but my charisma became -19 to women I wanted to date. Who wouldn’t want to date this chain smoking Half-Orc Wannabe Rogue (School of Edgelordery and Assholeship)/Bard(School of Hack Comedians) who thinks the height of hilarity are jokes that are edgy and controversial—even if the jokes punch down at women and other marginalized communities? It’s all about free speech, right? The dickhead below thought that he was a real warrior for speech.
One time in my late twenties when I was bemoaning my lack of a girlfriend and wondering why my friends never set me up on dates, my best friend Michael told me point blank that it wasn’t because I was too fat or too ugly, or that I was bipolar. I didn’t have a girlfriend because I was a misogynist. No one set me up with their single friends because they wouldn’t want to inflict me on them. I was gobsmacked. My entire view of who I thought I was shattered. He was absolutely right—and I knew it. And it hurt achingly to hear it. Accepting that I was something as vile as a misogynist did not jibe with my view of myself. I considered myself a feminist! I tried to backpedal out of this personality analysis by pointing out that I had a mom and two sisters (at the time, now there are three) that I was close to. That I had close friends that were women. That I was friends with most of the women that I had previously dated. But Michael would not relent.
THIS IS ALL PARAPHRASED FROM MEMORY:
“But not one of your female friends would want to be involved with you romantically. You don’t treat women like they are fully human. Sure, you may worship them and charm them at first, but then you hate them for not wanting you the way that you want them. You try to hide it, and you’re a good actor, but they see through it. Your women friends love you in spite of your misogyny! We all love you in spite of it. But it is a horribly unattractive character trait and you will never be happy in love until you fix it.”
I wish that I could say that that was my road to Damascus moment, and that I went forth and sinned no more. But several years, a move to Chicago, and a lot of therapy happened before I really began to root out the rot that misogyny had left in my mind and personality. Have I done my damnedest to fight against it for the last dozen years or so? Yes. Am I cured? No. Will I have to constantly fight against misogyny in my life? Yes. Am I glad that I met Jennifer after I had already begun to be pretty successful in this work? Emphatically yes.
So, what does all of this have to do with joke writing? On Sunday I came upon this tweet:
And I gave this reply:
Let’s talk about my reply. I’m not Jewish, so is it my joke to tell? It’s mildly funny. Not my best work. It’s a Sunday afternoon tweet. A relaxing in my recliner kind of joke. Also, I try not to reply to anyone that I don’t know in real life or know very well on the internet. Especially women. I do not ever want to be a “reply guy” who harasses and mansplains to women on Twitter. I will reply when the woman, like in this case, invites replies. I made my reply and then closed the app. A while later I opened up Twitter and saw this reply in my notifications:
And for about five minutes I was truly excited at the prospect of being a joke writer. I thought, I better go look at his timeline before interact with him at all, but I got too excited and went to go tell Jennifer about my potential job. She was excited for me, but she said, “You better go check his timeline to make sure he’s not a Nazi or something.” I assured her that I already thought of that, but that I got excited and wanted to tell her. You see, I desperately need a job, but I absolutely must, for mental and physical health, work from home at a job that absolutely does not require a Bachelor’s degree, and joke writers—even for stand ups that are not household names get paid pretty well. Probably ninety percent of joke writers are college dropouts like me. This would be such a sweet gig. Please don’t be a Nazi.
So I look at his timeline and I almost immediately noped out. I see a tweet that I mistakenly think is praising Elon Musk. NOPE! But then I read it more clearly and I see that he does not like Musk after all. Maybe he’s cool? The next tweet I see is a NOPE! NOPE! NOPE! tweet. He may not be a Nazi or an Elon Musk fanboy, but he sure is an anti-vaxxer! NOPE! And it’s not just one or two tweets. His timeline is absolutely rife with Covid disinformation. NOPE!
And I guarantee you his idea of a dark sense of humor is not the same as mine. His is almost certainly like this:
So, I never messaged him or interacted with him in any way. If you know anyone that needs a middle-aged joke writer, hit me up.
Thank you, as always, for reading.
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