9 Scary Secrets I Learned in Russia that Every American Should Know

So I took a secret trip to Russia last month, and I know, how is it a secret when I posted it all over my Instagram?  Well, I just assume nobody pays attention to me, so everything I do publicly is a secret, like my last blog post that basically predicted the death of Gene Wilder, but oh well, when World War III happens and you look back to see that I predicted it in this post…JK you can’t look back when you are dead.

On the 10th day of the 9th month (that’s how they do dates in Russia) I flew to Moscow to perform comedy for the Russian people (because they ‘get’ me, also I was scared to say no).  The Russians, in confidence, showed me some SUPER CRAY shit that I was hesitant to post for fear of them coming after me, but I already emailed the whole story to a friend, so I’m copying and pasting to my blog before I see it on Wikileaks without proper shout out to my Twitter handle (@SammyObeid)

I know some comedians are reading this to find out how to get booked in Russia, so you can stop reading after this line: THEY FOUND ME ON FACEBOOK.  Just sign up for Facebook, it’s free for the first few weeks and then costs you half of your time.

It was a hot August night (actually cold but I was doing something that kept me warm hehe), I’m on my computer at 3 am (if you didn’t understand how time zones work you’d think that Russians are vampires because they only contact you when it’s night in California) and I get a message from a name with letters that look like they’ve been reflected through a mirror and are yelling at me for not understanding them.  I stop my zumba workout to examine the stranger’s profile.  Despite the language barrier I am still able to understand that he has a face and eyes, also he holds a microphone in all of his profile pics, which reminds me of….omg, ME.  I  instantly start to cry.

“Would you like to perform in Moscow?” the message reads, but with the thick Russian accent in my head all I could hear was: “Kidnap. You.”

So I respond, “Yes, just tell me when and please do not hurt my family!  Except my sister, she owes me money.”

He says, “Ok, don’t forget the date.  September 11.”

I gulp in fear, “Never.”

What could go wrong?  Russia and America are head to head in Syria, Russians are hacking Americans online, and a mysterious Russian facebook account invites a part-Syrian American comedian to Moscow on 9/11.  My thoughts: I better get a drink ticket!

He replies, “Hurray!  You will be the first American comedian to headline in Russia,” which I hear as “American makes headlines after being MURDERED AND ABUSED WITH STEEL ROD”

Looking at my Snapchat numbers, I remind myself that any publicity is good right now, so I grab some lube and say goodbye to all six of my family and friends, except my sister.

It’s very easy to get a Russian Visa, all you need is a severed chickens’s head, two pictures of Putin (one shirtless, one reg), and an invitation signed by 20 Russians who all agree they don’t like you but you put in a good effort.

I flew on Aeroflot, the airline which requires you to know Russian if you want to hear the pilot’s jokes.  He makes a 5 minute announcement in Russian, laughs for a minute, then translates to English, “We are landing soon.”

From JFK to Moscow, it’s 9 hours so I watched Revenant three times, intermittently falling asleep and dreaming of being mauled by Putin in a bear costume.  I am greeted at the airport by three of Russia’s sweetest KGB members (they insisted they were not KGB…apparently its called the FSB now, but I don’t care because I’m USA and DTF)

But after one sweet cheese pastry I am instantly DTF Russia, and now the Syrian in me feels just like the Syrian conflict…sure America nurtures the rebel in me, but Russia reminds me of my natural affinity towards the efficiency of a dictatorship.  If only the girls on Tinder here spoke English.

The KGB then showed me 9 things that that tickled my pickle:

1.  I encountered a strange, tasty fruit I had never seen before.  They refer to it as ‘obliblikha’…pronounced ‘sea buckthorn’ in American, yet it is not grown in USA.  Which led me to ask, if Russians can grow a fruit that we can’t, what’s stopping them from BOMBING US?

Which leads me to…

2.  In Russia, when you say someone is “bombing” it means they are doing really well.  Like if a comedian goes on stage and the place erupts in laughter, you could say (in Russian) they are bombing…so I proudly told the Russians that I bomb at a lot open mics in the US.  Russia recently unveiled the ‘Satan 2’ nuclear misslile, which is clearly the name someone who loves bombing gives to a bomb.

3.  I saw one black guy.  It was at 9 am on a Sunday morning on the streets of Moscow, after walking in a sea of vanilla cream for a few hours, and ironically I was craving chocolate, but before I could even say something outloud, a Russian guy walked up to the black guy and said something in Russian then gave him a big hug.  Adorable, but it pretty much looked like he said, “You’re black!  I love black people”, which made it more like microagression, also I think he touched his hair.  And the black guy just nodded his head and smiled like this happens all the time.

4.  Every woman in Russia is named Anastasia.  Ok well, I only have two data points here.  But two gals named Anastasia, c’mon.  Either I misheard them say they give patients anesthesia OR, more likely, EVERY WOMAN IN RUSSIA IS STILL CLAIMING TO BE THE GRAND DUCHESS ANASTASIA WHO SECRETLY SURVIVED THE BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION.  Women…

5. Speaking of golddiggers, Russians know more about Kanye West than Donald Trump.  On stage I talked about the two presidential candidates, of 2016 and 2020 respectively, and the Kanye stuff seemed to resonate more.  Which makes sense if all Russians are like the “I love black people!” guy.

6.  They don’t just drink vodka.  I made an easy ‘Russians like vodka’ joke (that was the joke), and some guy in the crowd shouts, “We like wheesky too.”  I shut up.

7.  Most Russians don’t speak much English.  I had a translator on stage, who did a great job, because the crowd laughed at everything he said.  Though he may have just been making fun of my shirt.

8.  Every Russian is smart enough to hack our emails, so just be thankful yours are not important.  Before the show, the promoter warned me, “I know you do math jokes.  But the math you do in college in the USA is the math we do in elementary school.  Your jokes will come off as childish.”  Good to know my math jokes don’t work in 2 countries.

9.  Two of America’s greatest comedians are living in Russia right now, Edward Snowden and Bill Cosby.  Both are waiting on pardons from Obama, but there are turkeys ahead of them in line, none of which whistleblew or assaulted other turkeys.  Neither of them came to my show, despite my facebook invites.

Ok so, why are these secrets ‘scary’?  Duh, because it’s Halooween time!  Everything is a little spooky right now, boo.

But honestly, the Russians will fucking kill us.  We’re about to elect the Scorpio, Hillary—sorry, the first half woman, half scorpion President—who proudly mocks Putin and threatens Russia like THEY DON’T HAVE A BOMB NAMED SATAN 2…maybe each of us should facebook friend a person in Russia and tell them we like wheesky too.

Meanwhile, Putin is a Libra, which we all know has the dark side of being dramatic, controlling, condescending, and repressed.  He’s more compatible with another air sign: Trump, a deceptive Gemini, just like my sister (really banking on my sister not reading this).

Point is, I got a two-row standing ovation in Moscow, mostly because I pandered, saying that I’ll ask Louis CK to peform for them.  Does that make me a traitor like Snowden—a Snowbeid?  Maybe.  I just want to be in a country that takes my conspiracy theories seriously but also understands they are a joke.  Is Tinder the only place where women are fluent in sarcasm?

Ugh, hopefully there’s no war, because I don’t want to have to make a choice for which troops I’m peforming for.  Team USA or Russia?  Oh well, either way I’m bombing.

The REAL Explanation Behind the Recent Celebrity Deaths

It began with Greg Giraldo’s passing in 2010 that I noticed something. I figured I was just high and overanalyzing, but then in 2011, when Nate Dogg, Heavy D, and Amy Winehouse passed, I noticed it again. My mind began to race, I pulled up my pants, cleared my web history of porn, and began googling celebrity deaths in the recent years to see if the pattern held up…what the…Dennis Hopper, Gary Coleman, Lena Horne, Patrick Swayze, AND Farrah Fawcett? Seriously…the legend George Carlin too? Wait..the king Michael Jackson!! Oh my god, no, no…sex symbol BEA ARTHUR! Pants back down.

How could this be possible and nobody has noticed it? I decided to keep the theory to myself, for fear that I’d be crucified like Jesus (who this theory also applies to), but lately I’ve been feeling ready to die like Biggie Smalls (who this theory does not apply to but I will explain why later). And, no I’m not anticipating my own death because my career has sunken to writing conspiracy theory blog posts, but rather because…eerie drumroll….it’s a Mercury Retrograde Shadow!

Now before you tune me out from my use of millenial buzz words, listen carefully as I define what a Mercury Retrograde Shadow is. A Shadow is NOT a retrograde itself…the Shadow is the roughly 2-week period before and after a retrograde. And to be clear, this is science, not just hippy dippy tarot reading bullshit. EVERY planet goes into retrograde motion with respect to the Earth (FACT), it just so happens that Mercury does it about three times a year (FACT), which is why valley girls blame their recent break ups on it (FACT). In the period of time right before and after it’s retrograde, a planet appears to move super slow…this is called ‘the Shadow’, and it is precisely when (most) people die.

Now, you can check all these facts online yourself, please don’t take my word for it, but I’ll help you out with a simple display…I went through the last 3 years of retrograde, listed Shadow periods and the notable celebrities who died during them. Take a look:

2013
March 16-April 6: Roger Ebert

June 9-26: James Gandolfini

October 1- 21: Tom Clancy

Nov 10-30: Paul Walker

2014
Jan 22-Feb 10: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Shirley Temple (en retro)

May 24-June 7: Maya Angelou, Casey Casem (en retro)

Sep 4-Oct 1: Joan Rivers

Oct 25-Nov 10: Bill Cosby’s Career

2015
Jan 5-18: Taylor Negron

Feb 11-Mar 3: Harris Wittels, Leonard Nimoy

May 4-18: BB King

Aug 28-Sep 17: Wes Craven

2016
Jan 1 – 5: Natalie Cole, David Bowie (en retro), Alan Rickman (en retro)

Jan 25-Feb 14: Abe Vigoda, Maurice White

April 14-28: Prince, Chyna, Doris Roberts, Michelle McNamara

Next Shadow to come:
May 22-June 7: YOU (oh wait, you’re not famous, so no one will notice)

A couple important things to point out:

1) On this list I noted “en retro” for people who started to die during the pre-retrograde Shadow, then finally croaked when retrograde came a few days later. It can also happen like this in the post-retro Shadow, where a person starts dying and then finally passes a few days after Mercury goes direct (eg Michael Jackson in 2009).

2) Yes, Shadow periods are fairly frequent. They occupy about 25% of the year but about 90% of notable celebrities die during them, which is statistically significant. And not just celebrities…real, normal, boring people like us..and our boring pets. My last 3 pet deaths were all in a shadow. RIP Lulu, Hudson, and Queenie, pour out some murky dog bowl water.

3) In every Shadow period, there is what is called a “Storm”, near the end of the pre-retro shadow, and beginning of a post-retro shadow. There tends to be a higher volume of deaths during this specific period. The Storm also carries into the retrograde itself, in which people in history have died some surprise tragic deaths (eg 2pac, Princess Diana, Jimi Hendrix). We are currently in a Storm at the moment, so avoid Suge Knight, paparazzi, and choking on your own vomit.

4) The most horrific deaths happen right at the junction of a Shadow and a Retograde, also known as the “Station”
(eg Nicole Simpson June 12, 1994 and the atom bomb on Hiroshima August 6, 1945). Yup, look this shit up and call me a crazy hippy to my face. Next “Station” is this week, April 28th…anyone wanna go on a date?

5) Of course, there are exceptions to this theory. People who did not follow the die in a Shadow rule include Robin Williams (known for his spontaneity), Whitney Houston (crack addict, but died just a few days before shadow…crack speeds things up), Gary Shandling (had an aversion towards formulaic comedy, which we can project onto how he felt about death timing), Biggie Smalls (still alive), and John Lennon (but his relationship with Yoko began in a shadow).

6) And yes, September 11, 2001 was absolutely inside a Mercury Shadow. Talk about an inside job.

Again, don’t take my word; do your own research. Think about the loved ones you lost in the past, write down their death dates and then google “Mercury Retrograde calendar” for that year, and tally how many died in a Shadow and how many did not. I guarantee you will see a strong correlation, and if you don’t, it’s probably becuase you aren’t doing it right, or you don’t know enough dead people.

So then, the question people are asking right now is why so many have died this year…Bowie, Rickman, ___ (the last name of Prince). The baby boomer theory is a good one (for an amatuer theorist), but the more scientific explanation is that 2016 started in a pre-retrograde Shadow, meaning there’s been more Shadow per amount of time so far this year than there are in most normal years. And also probably because of chem trails (RIP Prince), which maybe I’ll adress in my next live video blog (which will only be available on Tidal).

Make what you want of this, I am just a messenger. And if you want to kill me for it, just know that if you do it within the next month or so you are only proving me right. Your best bet is to wait until early June, when Mercury goes direct.

-Sammy Obeid
Pants-Down Online Astrologer

Donald Trump Supporter Heckles Stand Up Comedian

By Jasper P. Gold

March 16, 2016

Yet another Donald Trump supporter has attacked a frail ethnic person, albeit this time, an emotional attack.  And unlike the settings of the previous incidences —Trump rallies and anti-Trump protests— this was actually somewhere fun (in theory): a stand up comedy show.

Known worldwide for his eight-second appearance on the Food Network in 2010 (I personally don’t eat food; also checked out a few of Obeid’s clips online, he’s not that funny), LA-based comedian ‘Sammy Obeid’ was headlining The Comedy Bar in Chicago last weekend, and I mistakenly bought tickets thinking it was David Blaine.

Wearing a v-neck (speaking of mistakes), Obeid begins his set with jokes about ‘Israel/Palestine’, a popular topic amongst elite buzz-killers.   But just when you’d think Obeid’s choice of subject matter can’t get any more stupid, he scurries into math jokes, displaying his mastery of dividing a room.

While a handful of tables feed Obeid sympathy laughs, a particularly wealthy/conservative/‘Bush was right’ looking table in the stage-left wing (ironically not stage right-wing, you like that writing?), doesn’t seem to be laughing or even smiling at Obeid’s better-suited-for-a-Monday-night-poetry-open-mic material.

After twenty more minutes of the sad clown’s audible garbage, one of the laughing tables applauds, and a positive (so he thinks) heckler  exclaims, “We love you, Sammy!”   To which the overly-excited Lebanese-Palestinian American (which he insisted on letting us know early in his set.  Why do ethnic comics always announce their culture as if we are taking a census?), asks, “Wait, is that sincere?”

Before the heckler can answer, he is interrupted by a second heckle, coming from the conservative table.  A man in a festive orange Cosby-esque sweater utters a perfectly sincere “No.”

A perplexed Obeid (my new stage name for him), trying to determine if the two heckling tables are there together, asks the second heckler, “Wait, you don’t like me?” (LOL as if he doesn’t know that people like us exist).

The orange-sweatered heckler, instead of confirming his dislike, fires back with an even more cryptic,  “I don’t know you”, sending a chill through the room that welcomes the v-necked LA boy’s nipples to a Chicago winter.

We see the wheels turn inside Obeid’s oversized head, as he tries to rationalize out loud, “Well yea, that’d be weird if you did  know me.  Like if my uncle came to my show to heckle me, he’d be an asshole, am I right?” (I may have added the ‘am I right?’, it just sounds like something this hack would say)

The heckler finally speaks the truth, “You’re an asshole.”

And the Cosby sweater holds up to it’s name in assault, as the room breaks into “Oo’s” and “Oh, no he dih-in’t”s.

It’s at this point where our prayers are answered and Obeid is given the 5 minute light to get off the stage (and also where I begin to wonder, as someone who’s been killing it in internet journalism for at least 2 years, how does a comic of 9 years not have a good comeback?   Like I would have at least told the guy to suck my dick or pointed to my dick and thrusted or something clever like that).

As the math-major, turned comedian struggles to calculate the wreckage, the original positive-heckler, yells, “We love you man, don’t mind that asshole, keep telling your jokes!”   A traumatized Obeid (even better stage name!) still can’t even tell if that’s sincere, but the remainder of the crowd — even the other people at orange sweater’s table— cheer for for more comedy (I cheered too because I didn’t want to look weird, but I silently hated it).

Obeid, realizing he’s only got a few minutes left, abandons the hecklers and finishes his set, which he does, in a surprising second wind of absolute mediocrity.

Even as the crowd empathetically cheers his final joke as they would a nine year old learning to ride a tricycle, Obeid is still clearly affected by the seemingly random act of verbal abuse just moments before.  He leaves the stage, teary-eyed, with what seems like a well rehearsed (probably in the bedroom), “Sorry about that, guys”.

Moments after walking off stage with his head down, a server at the club reveals to Obeid that the orange sweatered man had been loudly boasting his support for Trump before the show.  No coincidence, right before the attack, Obeid had told two Trump ‘jokes’ (I use parentheses because none of them even compared Trump to Hitler, like a real joke does).

In the first ‘bit’ Obeid says, “I’m going to go to a Donald Trump Rally. I think I’d get a lot of face time on the camera.  Just make crazy poses and wear a shirt that says ‘Muslims for Trump’”, followed by a lame act out of him dancing.

Even less amusing, the next bit: “I hope Trump makes it all the way in the race, does really well to where he’s about to win, but then doesn’t.  Just so a lot of people get scared shitless for a moment, and then realize how much we appreciate each other and our sublte differences.” (Ugh, I feel embarassed even covering this story)

After the show I was able interview the crying lil bitch Obeid and ask him the real question that matters: are Trump and Hitler the same person?  He answers, “Well, Trump is a Gemini, and Hitler was a Taurus, which shows you that..” I cut Obeid off right there, because I was tired of hearing his bullshit.

“Why are people so mean?”  he cries, the saline rolling down his naive, unfunny cheeks.  I wasn’t sure if he was still talking about the heckle or a just general remark on how today’s world gets off on mean humor.

He wipes his tears, crawls out of fetal, and continues, “The bright side is, the rest of the audience felt sorry for me, so I sold 20 of my Abearica T-shirts after the show, which is a record high!” (I don’t know what  ‘Abearica’ is or didn’t bother to look up the reference to his stand up, but it sounds like stupid pun).

He chuckles (and only he chuckles),  “I made so much money off of merch tonight, I think I’m just gonna make crying my new closer haha.  I mean, yea it’s not the moral choice, but it will be good for me financially.   WHOA, maybe, I’m the Trump supporter?!”

Yikes.  Leave the irony to the journalists, Sammy.

 

Follow Jasper P. Gold on Twitter: @SammyObeid

Meet my Intern in Israel: Uri Ish-Shalom

“Sammy, what are your goals for 2016?” they ask (“they” being my parents, after a long talk about cutting me off their Sprint plan).  I’m a millennial, and thus better than them, so I can respond calmly with a deeper, spiritual question: “Mom, dad…why must we always focus on goals, i.e. what we could have in the future, when we can focus on what we have right now, which for me is… 2k in savings and my recent investment in a WORLD CLASS JEWISH INTERN WORKING FOR ME IN ISRAEL RIGHT NOW AND HIS NAME IS URI ISH-SHALOM!”

The door slams in my face, as my parents kick me out, noting that what I said was not spiritual, nor a question.  Do they think I’m joking, or can they not see my sincerity like my trusted blog readers (who look very sexy today, might I add?) can.  Okay, so we all know the hacky joke that having a Jewish manager/agent is the key success in Hollywood.  Sure, it’s true, and I have one (I don’t even think there are any non-Jewish ones, and if there were I wouldn’t trust them with my assets), but again, let me ask another more important, spiritual question: I AM THE FIRST ARAB AMERICAN COMEDIAN TO HIRE AN ISRAELI INTERN AND HIS NAME IS URI ISH-SHALOM! HASHTAG PROGRESS.

Sorry for ALL CAPS, but the point I illustrate is that in 2016, I’m capitalizing.  Not like in the money sense, because I haven’t made money on this investment yet, but in the sense of bridging a very important cultural gap that I am associated with by blood and dietary preferences (I love falafel!).  Unlike a lot of (most) Arabs (actually all but me), I love the Jews, in fact…Jewish is my most favorite religion, since it’s the only religion that never tries to recruit me.  The Jehovas knock on my door, Mormons bike up to my porch all smug and perfect, Scientologists chase me down the street (with their eyes), while the Jews are just like “Umm yea, we’re the chosen ones, we’re not taking applications right now.  Maybe cut off part of your dick and get in line?”

Now, I’m aware that I could lose some of my Arab following from this news.  In fact, this might be my most controversial blog ever, and I have written about possibly having AIDS.  I’m not asking you to rehash over my history of masterpieces, but two years ago when my Jewish roommate and I posted our sketch about the Israeli Palestinian situation, I got pages of trolling comments on my Youtube channel, Jews and Arabs cursing at each other, and people from all over the world taking a side and using the appropriate racial slurs.  For the last 5 decades, Israel/Palestine has been the world’s most divisive issue, undeniably the worst dinner conversation topic, leading your family to a fist fight before desert is served (though blood on ice cream is actually delicious, it looks like strawberry sauce but adds a savory kick!).  You’ll have better luck keeping your family intact while discussing gun control’s effects on reproductive rights of transgenders who’ve been sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby.  Side note, I still might have AIDS, I’m not sure.

But, ironically, Isreal/Palestine is the thing we NEED to talk about the most.  The ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been responsible for tens of thousands of deaths, and has in some way influenced numerous acts of terror (including 9/11), the rise of terrorist groups like ISIS, and the overall turmoil in the Middle East (ya, shit just got isREAL).  It’s the reason Iran is scary right now, and the reason the US shakes its taxpayers for $10 million a day in military aid to Israel (make that $10 million and 1 dollars a day because my soldier of an intern is gettin’ paid boy!).  I often joke in my act that the ‘IP’ in ‘IP address’ stands for Israel Palestine, buecause all of the world’s problems are routed to it.  About 5 people get it.  But I still tell the joke, as it’s my Intellectual Property (IP).

And yea, that’s the problem, comedy audiences in the US don’t really care about this stuff (or do you?  Wow, look at those gorgeous eyes you’ve got).  So here’s my solution, take this movement overseas and hire a world class Israeli intern to promote my comedy in the holy land!  “I don’t see the connection…what does your comedy have to do with making peace?” my skeptical American reader chimes in, as we can see his/her chiseled abs and perfect jawline.  To whom, I say, stop worrying that pretty head of yours and SAY SHALOM TO MY MOST PRIZED INTERN URI ISH-SHALOM!

First of all, what a great guy.  He’s spent 7 years of his life in Israel, but still an American citizen (I only support domestic; Trump 2016), so when he’s not working for me or earning his PR degree (yea I read resumes ;p), you might find him at the McDonald’s drive through, listening to all the Maroon 5 classics on repeat.  Yes, Uri’s got the moves like Jagger, when it comes to helping me with online marketing, designing flyers, and exposing my Conan set to thousands of Israelis.  Good thing I didn’t bomb, right?! (That joke never gets old. But it bombs).

Speaking of bombing, that’s actually how Uri and I met… he saw me eat shit at a college cafeteria in Milwaukee.  I mean, their food was shit…I did ok, but I followed 3 rappers, who all the kids followed out of the room right before my set (ironically, it was Follow Friday).  Only Uri and a few exchange students had the decency to watch what I had flown and driven 9 hours in the snow for.  After the show, Uri complimented my puns, and I instantly realized he was one of ‘the good ones’.  By ‘ones’, I mean aspiring comedians, because Uri is a budding, young funny man himself (no sane person would work for me).  When he let me know he was moving to Israel, we quickly drew the mission statement to “combat racism and ignorance in the Middle East”.  Fun fact, Uri’s last name ‘Ish-Shalom’ is Yiddish for ‘man of peace”.  And mine, ‘Obeid’ is Arabic for ‘slave’, which is why I love interns!  Match made in heaven (since Jews don’t believe in Hell).  So far Uri has increased my Israeli fanbase from -7 to 986, and he’s put me on the radar of one of Israel’s most prominent comedians, Yohay Sponder, who was nice enough to provide a quote for the blog, in an authentic Israeli accent:

“As a comedian i see what Sammy doing, the way he speaks about he’s culture, about the conflict, it inspires me, and its smell like a better future, comedy is the best way of bring people together, and people like Sammy Obeid are always needed, the more the better, especially in the middle east”

SEE?!  DO YOU SEE WHAT WE ARE DOING HERE, MOM AND DAD?  Making the smells of peace for Israelis and Palestinians.  And that smell is hummus.

So I guess do have goals for 2016…I want to be the first Lebanese/Palestinian American comedian to perform in Israel, also the first comedian to perform in North Korea (details coming soon), the first comedian to be happy (deferred goal for the last 8 years)…I want my blogs to have layers…I want peace in the Middle East, my Arab and Jewish fans to get along, and everyone in the world to follow Uri on IG: Ushymayne

And if that’s too much to ask, I just want to get back on my family’s Sprint plan.

I’m Gonna Blog Again

A few weeks ago I’m talking to a beautiful girl at a bar in LA (I won’t name names but let’s just say the girl’s name is Sassafras and the bar’s name is Jessica.)  We just met, but we’re hitting it off, she seems to be strangely in tune with my comedic sensibilities (I’m getting butterflies just telling you about this), and she suddenly stops, looks me deep in the eyes and genuinely laughs (I don’t want to spoil this story, but I’m in love, and she’s the one)…she says, “This is weird, but you look so familiar…”

!!  As dreamy and awesome as it is to hear this, I have been on TV, and thus know how to handle this situation.  Take a deep breath. Even though the ego wants to rejoice, you must maintain a humble tone, and say something low-key, so I say “Ahh…well, you must have seen me on one of my various national TV appearances, including Cona-“  She interrupts, “No, I mean you look like my boyfriend.”

Record scratch.  Awkward silence.  F#ck.  Ok, not a problem, I’m also experienced with life’s cruel misdirection, so I just roll with it, “Ahah ohh cool!  That’s so Cray cray!!”  But really, inside I’m so cry cry 🙁

A sad beat.  She asks, “Are you a comedian?”

Yes!!  Finally, here we go!  Forget that boy at home, you’ve got a funny man here!  Wanna see this funny bone?? UHHH wha whaaat— I MUST BE TRIPPIN RIGHT NOW, CUZ IM FALLING IN LOVE WIT U JESSICA…I MEAN SASSAFRAS!  Alright, chill out, act natural.  ”That is correct, my dear.  I AM a comedian… You must have seen one of my historic TV sets, including network appearances, broadcast to millions, such as Last Comic St-”

“No, I’m asking because my boyfriend is a comedian, and you remind me of him.”

Jesus f#@cking…ugh! How many bf-bombs is she going to drop before my shrapnelled heart dies from the radiation of other people’s love and happiness.   But wait, more importantly, is EVERY dude out there doing comedy now??  Goddam, wasn’t there a time when what I was doing was rare and special? (The 60’s)  Now, a kid makes a few twitter memes and locks down a hottie without even having to make an eight-second appearance on America’s Got Talent (Episode 4, Season 7, scroll to 12:33 and look in the bottom left corner).  UGH!   Ok ok, maintain composure.  “Neat!  Maybe I know him?  Does he also perform at Flappers?”

She pulls out her phone, “I’ll text him.  What’s your last name?  How do you spell that?  O-b-e-i-d.  Stage name I’m assuming?  Sounds fake, you should take a class on branding. K, asked him if he knows you.  He might not, he doesn’t really do open mics. ”

Um— Nice, wow, ok, maybe you should just invite him over so I can find out it’s Kevin Hart, and the universe’s kick to Sammy’s balls will be complete.  Why does this happen to ME?  Of all people?  Did Carrot Top have to go through stuff like this?  Is this paying dues? Sure I’m just a thirsty boy, inconsiderate of other people, living in my own delusions of grandeur, but does fate think it can change me by hurting my feelings like this?  Seriously, either let me get the girl or just kill me already! Why is being a comedian such a sexual obstacle course!  I’m feeling the same sadness I felt the day I gained 100 Twitter followers, then a few hours later I lost 2,000 IG followers because it was the day Instagram cleared out all the spam accounts.  The whole time I didn’t even know I had all that love in the bot community?  And I didn’t even pay for those follows!  Well, I guess love can’t be bot ☹

Before my mind can even continue this downward cycle of self pity, her phone lights up.  “Oh!  He says he knows you!  He says you’re really funny, and he reads your blogs.”

I feel a tear dangling in the corner of my eye.  Sensing activity in heart region…Systems..processing.   My brain flickers.  Instead of relishing this precious moment, my thoughts go to, “Holy shit …Am I still blogging?!”  I haven’t blogged in nine months.  Did someone hack my account?  Or, shit…do people out there actually think I might blog AGAIN?   I figured that’s something you can just stop doing and no one will notice.  I don’t even think I can write another blog, I have zero inspiration.  I mean things happen to me, but does anyone care?  Like if I blogged about this girl, would anyone even read this far?

And in this moment I realize that the reason I can’t be happy is that comedy has wired my brain to always complain.  Maybe that’s why the bots left.   And why I met this girl.  It’s a sign!  Shoot, I need to turn this around and become Mr. Positive!  I’m probably funnier than this guy anyway!  She catches me spacing out, “Hey, you should be happy, my boo’s not easy to impress.  I mean..he’s Kevin Hart.”

“WhAAA??”  Fate’s right leg to my nuts.  *fainting*

“Jk, his name is Chester.  He’s only been doing it a year.”

WHEW, yes!  My eight-year comedic ego suddenly returns, feeling eight-fold funny over my competition, like a spider fighting a… One legged, something…ugh, metaphors are harder than an octo-cock.  I relax and recline, “Ahh, well he has a ways to go.  I can teach him.  But enough about him, wanna get out of he-“

“Nope, like I said, I’m taken.  And he’s got a huge dick.  Unlike you.”

Cut to me, revealing my pants have been down this whole time, micropenis exposed… or, even worse, eight of them…like the tentacles of a tiny octopus, which shrieks “You’Re stUcK with mE, MaTeY!  AhaHahA!”   The screechy violins play as I scream in terror, bursting out of sheets into my dark, empty bedroom.  A nightmare, except the curtains make it feel like night, it’s actually 10 a.m.

“Shit, I need to blog again.”

I’m Sick and Tired of All This White Bullshit

The snow!!  Oops, I meant to post a pic of a snowflake.  Eh, too lazy to change it.  I swear I’m not racist, I’d hate snow if it were any color (except whatever color my skin is).  It’s just that I’m sitting out here in New England, where, historically, olivey-brownish guys like me get held down by the Man… That’s right, Frosty the Snow Man!  I’m begging him to give me the D… The vitamin, but he keeps making it snow to the point where it’s seeping into my ears and brain and now I can’t even focus on writing my revolutionary submission piece for Buzzfeed called “19 Things I Hate About White People, Because 19 Is Where I Ran Out Of Ideas.”  So this post will just have to be about snow. :/ But I pulled some strings and got my own blog to publish it!

Last Tuesday I was supposed to fly into Boston for a week of college shows on the friendly Eastern seaboard, but apparently God (who I hate in any color) had Tuesday set aside for what the Weather Channel called THE MOST HISTORIC BLIZZARD SINCE 2013!  Yes, two years of history!  Just like every relationship I’ve been in, haha!  Ugh, I just got really sad.

So Monday night I finish packing my suitcase full of the snuggliest stuff I have, scarves, warm kittens, etc., and then *buzz* I get the text that my Southwest flight to Boston is cancelled.  Dammit.  Okay, no worries, I booked a contingency flight to Queens!  That’s the beauty of Southwest, you can book as many flights as you want and cancel at any time for a full credit refund.  It’s like they don’t even care you stood them up.  I’ve been doing this for years and have a system to beat the syst– *buzz* Flight to Queens cancelled too.  DAMMIT!  Okay, all good, I still got one to Jersey too! *buzz*  MOTHERF– No wait, that’s just my sister texting me!  She says “Hey Sam, wanna get lunch?  Also, I work for Southwest now and this is a courtesy text letting you know Jersey is cancelled too.  Give up.”  AARGH!

This storm must be the worst ever, and you can’t even call out global warming, because it’s cold, so you just have to say “climate change” which sounds like a pussy-ass PC euphemism.  Like “Global warming?  What are you living in the 50’s?  The climate has the right to go both ways now.  And P.S., women can vote now, you chauvinist pig.”  I call my East Coast friend, Tom, to make sure he’s okay, expecting to hear fierce winds blowing into the phone and shrieking fire alarms (I just assume they use those for snow too), but Tom answers with a cheery “Hey!!  What’s up?”

… What’s up??  Are you alive?  “Eh, it’s not so bad over here, we’re just drinking hot cocoa hehe.”  Hot cocoa??! In a time like this??  During a storm that Fox News calls “LIFE THREATENING.  YOU WILL DIE, ALL OF YOU WILL F@#KING DIE (but don’t worry, climate change is not real).”  Tom, you better save some hot cocoa to splash on your gangrened hands after you’re pounced on by a roving avalanche!  I’m not coming out there, no way.  You can’t trust a storm that forecasters named “Juno,” the pleasant month of June’s evil ethnic twin brother.  Ooh, ethnic storm names, that could be reason #20!

So a day passes, and I’m still sitting half naked in one of California’s hottest summer-winters next to a suitcase of screaming kitties, trying to decide if I should cancel this trip completely and lose a year of eating or fly to the East coast to salvage the rest of my lunch money at shows in Maine, New Hampshire, and upstate New York; a.k.a. the area that the weather updates show with a skull and crossbones over it (but the skull has a cute snow cap). To make things trickier, forecasts say the area could get as much 2 feet of snow to as little as negative 2 feet because the sun could come out and everyone might go swimming in the snowmelt instead.  Damn your freedom of choice, climate change!  I ask my agent if she thinks the colleges will reschedule and she tells me that chances are slim, ranging from 2 feet of Probably Not to a record-setting They’ve Already Forgotten About You.  Oh hell no, I refuse to be forgotten so fast!  It usually takes my exes 2 years hahahaha! Ugh, sad again.

I throw some extra cats into the suitcase and fly to Manchester where I meet my comic buddy Lyall, who’s gonna open for me on this run.  You’d think I’d be using him to help with the 30 hours of driving, but he actually doesn’t have a driver’s license, which just proves that I’m a better person than you thought.  So with me behind the wheel and Lyall as our car’s designated ice-scraper, we embark on a four state Juno tour, occasionally stopping to let the kitties get some cocoa as we frolick in the NY snow (#blizzardboyfriends). But Lyall is black, so no snowball fights for us.  Hey, reason #21!

Don’t get me wrong, I love our law enforcement just as much as I love our founding fathers (about 3/5ths of a full love), but I can see now why the Declaration of Independence was signed in July…  If they’d waited until winter, they would’ve had second thoughts.  “I mean, what’s so bad about dependence anyway??  Could we get that hot tea back out of the harbor??”  *scraping ice from their horses*

Long story still pretty long, God hates me (or the Patriots for the ball deflating fiasco), I hate the snow, climate change is real, and I’m not capable of loving anyone for more than two years.  But who can I blame?  Of course, the only possible suspect, as usual: white people.

The Chooser

Several weeks ago, I was walking down the street and I passed a homeless man panhandling. I took in his pitiful situation and thought to myself “what if I…. Helped him?”

Anyway, here’s the result of that one-off thought experiment: a sketch starring and put together by some of my comic friends. It’s the season of giving, so give it your undivided attention. Bring the family. Merry winter.

When Someone Tells You “You Suck” :/

I’ve been doing comedy for seven heart-wrenching years, but been doing the human being thing for a soul-crowbarring 30.  And yet, I still have no clever response to a meanie dropping a “you suck” bomb on me.  And I hear it all the time, whether it’s an attack on my comedy while on stage or an ex telling me off for not picking up her calls.  Unfortunately, I can’t just delete every “you suck” from my voicemail; it often permeates the brain and lingers for years.  And the “you suck,” no matter what shape it takes (“you smell weird,” or  “stop calling me and hanging up, you sad, sad clown,” etc.), is the basis of all hatred in this world, responsible for wars, every case of suicide, and, most depressing of all: “mean people suck” bumper stickers.

But c’mon! There’s got to be a better way of coming back at such a simple expression without resorting to anger, violence, or a hack phrase to make yourself feel better.  In his last days, Jesus Christ had a whole town heckling him, telling him he sucked, but did he fight back? Or try and make a point by screaming, “I don’t come to your job and slap the d*ck out of your mouth!” No, he just did his thing unto others and let them do unto theirs.  And now he’s dead.

Bad example?  Not at all, because he’s currently more famous, timeless, and influential than any of us will ever will be.  And that’s the goal, isn’t it?  That J-fame.  In fact, you handle your next verbal crucifixion like a messiah, people might turn the words “you suck, Donny” into an icon and wear it as a necklace.  Assuming your name is Donny.  For most of us, it’s not.

Comedians in particular tend to resort to anger, since it’s easy and it’s the cooler-looking option of our primal Fight-or-Flight instinct.  Nature has designed us to hear “you suck,” and either pop back with a “no, YOU suck!” (Fight) or to drop the mic and run off stage, screaming for help while dialing our therapist (Flight).  I personally find Flight funnier to watch, but most audiences expect a comedian to stand their ground.  In fact some crowds are so bloodthirsty they’ll applaud a comic tearing into a heckler’s raw heart, cheering as blood splatters all over their faces. (Literally, I saw Gallagher do it once.  It may have been a melon, not a heart, but definitely something you tap to listen for a hollow sound before consuming.)  Still, if a comic chooses Fight over Flight, they must make sure to keep their cool.  We all know that a heckler confrontation escalating into a Youtube-ready meltdown is one of the most painful things to watch, forcing the audience into their own Flight, out the venue door.

I’m not a particularly mean person, so fighting back doesn’t fit my character as much as surrender.   In fact when I get angry, I look “scary” and “threatening” as I’ve been told by many women in my life.   I think it’s because I have big eyes, and when I get angry they dilate to twice the size, making people uncomfortable.  I don’t even hurt bugs! And yet my bug-eyes make people think I hurt people. I mean, sometimes my wit stings, but still, ain’t that a bee?  A heckler can threaten to kill my family in front of a packed room, but if monster-eyed psychopath Sammy Obeid snaps back at him, the crowd turns on me to console him with a protective “aww” and loads of hugs.  So, to keep laughter at optimal levels and the threat level at business-casual, I treat comedy like customer service: “the heckler is always right.”  Because, let’s face it, they are.  They’re heckling for a reason, and most of the time it’s something I’ve said.  Sure the person can be inebriated, bigoted, or just dumb, but writing that off as the reason that the conflict came about is just a tangential way of dealing with the real issue: that nobody is perfect. I’m going to share with you my way of dealing with the “you suck,” and you have the right to stop me at any time and yell drunken slurs…

 

1.  Accept that you do, in some way, suck.

Everyone sucks at something, whether it’s dancing cool or spellng words corractly.  Therefore, if someone tells you that you suck, it’s always true.  Why fight the truth?  And if you think you don’t suck at anything, please stop reading my blogs.  Because you don’t need to.

Earlier this year I’m bombing at an open mic at a bar in San Jose, no one is laughing at my jokes except one guy in the front with his back to me. I check in with him to make sure he’s laughing at me and he turns around to tell me I suck.  But he has a Mexican accent, so it sounds like “jew suck,” which is not something customer service is trained to agree with. I publicly diagnose his alcoholism and go on with my set, but he keeps saying “jew suck” over and over, like Hitler propaganda, and I keep telling him to shut up, raising my voice each time. Of course no one else is helping, similar to the beginning of World War II.  That’s the thing about bar open mics: no bouncer, no club staff, no spectators who prefer your uninterrupted comedy to a bar fight.  It’s like performing for drunk warmongers.  After struggling to silence this man for a few minutes, I take a deep breath and say, “Okay, you know what?  You’re right. I suck.  And I’m sorry.”  Because I did suck; I was drawing from the bottom of my joke barrel (e.g. “How does a cat like his steak cooked?  Rawr.”) 

He turns around, sees my pitiful surrender, and says, “Eh… Jew not so bad.” Then he shuts up for the rest of the show.  Wow, did I just stop Anti-Semitism?   No wonder my Jewish friends are so good at self-deprecation.

 

2. Locate the aggressor’s pain

A good customer service rep knows that behind any complaint, there’s pain.  Good comedians know that behind our jokes, there’s pain. There’s basically pain everywhere.  In fact, the only time people are 100% happy is when we’re asleep, or laughing in that exact moment, or dead.  So to heal pain we must make someone laugh, put them to sleep, or… Let’s stick with those two.

A few months ago, I’m performing at my favorite show in the world: Tourette’s Without Regrets in Oakland.  I’m very familiar with Oakland’s PC vibe and sensitivity towards racial dialogue, so I’m doing a careful job of not sh*tting on anyone’s culture (which is hard because cultures are so easy to sh*t on am I right?).  The set is proceeding regretless, but in the middle of a big peal of laughter, I hear a young man in the front yell, “You suck! Stop picking on people and tell some real jokes!”  I pause, in a state of cognitive dissonance from hearing both loud laughter and “you suck” at the same time.  Maybe he has a personal problem with my material, or, oh no, does he actually have Tourette’s?!  The rare kind where he just disapproves of everyone?  I ask him what it was that he felt was unfair of me to say, and he refers to my last joke, about Israel/Palestine.  The joke went, “It’s tricky, because the Jews were in Israel first, a very long time ago.  But then they left… It’s like leaving your towel on the bench press at the gym, and then you leave the gym for a few hundred years… Someone’s gonna grab that towel… And wrap it around their head.”   I’m hoping he shouts, “Are you that d*ckhole from 24 Hour Fitness last week who took my towel!?”   But no, he’s mad about something else, as he asks me, almost on the verge of tears, “Did you ever wear a turban as a kid like I did?  No?  Then don’t talk shit.”

Instantly I soften and get that human feeling thingy in my heart (is it called “sadness?”) as I feel his pain wrap around me like a headpiece.   For years this poor kid grew up, following in his family’s tradition of wearing a turban while facing adversity, and this particular “you suck” he threw me was a reflection of hundreds of misplaced “you sucks” from ignorant, uncultured, sh*thead kids.  I want him to know that I’m on his side, so I say, “Brother, I feel your pain.” He relaxes right away, allowing himself to listen to my response.  You can see it here, but basically I admit that, although I don’t know the pain of getting made fun of for wearing a turban, I do know the pain of constantly being mistaken for Indian.  Which is just as bad, if not worse, because I’m Palestinian, and the headpieces are different.  A keffiyeh is not a turban, kid.  Not all towel-heads are created equal.  Stop being racist.

 

3.  Find the greater good

It’s okay to be emotional after a verbal attack, but once you transcend your own pain, you will find a prize in the cereal box.  Yes, “You Suck-O’s,” the breakfast of bronze-medalists.   

A couple weeks ago, I’m hosting the finals of the San Francisco International Comedy Competition. The contestants have already performed, so now it’s my job to tell jokes while the judges tabulate votes and the servers drop checks at the tables (also known as the “We Can’t Listen And Do Math” Zone).  I’m not getting many laughs, and a girl in the front gets on her cell phone and starts texting right in front of me like I don’t exist.   I ask who she’s texting, and without hesitation, the guy at her table yells, “You suck!” Which I assume is the full name of her friend, Yu Suk from Thailand. But then he gives me two deliberate thumbs downs, raised high so the crowd can see. Oh, okay, I get it now, he really doesn’t like me.  The audience, super quiet until now, immediately comes together in an “awwwwww.”  I do a double take to make sure they’re not aww-ing him, and for once it’s in my favor!  Even though they didn’t think I was too funny, they did like me, maybe because I kept my eyes squinted.  Then, in beautiful synchronicity, they all start booing the man.  After I pause, flustered for a moment (because I’m not quick with comebacks), I take my time to say, “Sir, I’d like to thank you.  I was eating a d*ck up here, trying to get this audience on board, and you, with just two words, got them all to come together for the simple fact that they like me better than you.”  The audience cheers and applauds. I’ve won them back, and I credit him with the assist.

To which he responds, “I’m from Brooklyn, do you think I give a fuck?” and the crowd quiets again.  I’m both surprised by his quick comeback and impressed that he simply doesn’t mind being disliked. And furthermore, he projects his viewpoint onto the world, assuming that others shouldn’t mind not being liked, because he doesn’t.   If he doesn’t mind being told he sucks, why should I, right?  Good logic, sir!   I pause a moment to take in his pain, the pain of being bombarded with hefty Brooklyn “you suck”s all his life.  Then I realize, if I simply absorb his worldview, stop giving a fuck myself, then I can proceed to do exactly what I want… Mocking his Brooklyn accent!  So I balls up, do the most condescending guido I can and the crowd explodes, along with dude’s emotional watermelon.  Brooklyn just got Gallagher’d.

So I guess that’s the moral.  If someone tells you that you suck, you can take the common approach and fight.  OR you can take the high road… Surrender, feel their pain, and make fun of their accent.

Keep suckin, y’all.  Suck it dry.

3 Secrets I Used To Go Viral

So I’ve gone viral AGAIN! (The first time being when I got infected in May, see last post).

More recently, a video of mine went viral on one of the highest-trafficked websites in the world (arguably the universe), World Star Hip Hop! For those unfamiliar with the self-dubbed “#1 urban outlet,” CBS News describes the site as “infamous for posting videos of violent fights and public sexual acts.”  My video was neither AND YET still yielded over 200,000 views. Let’s see what users are saying:

Okay Trillest Ever, it’s been over ten days and I haven’t forgotten, so looks like you aren’t as trill as your verification suggests! And yes Greg4422, white people love it!

Now, if you’re still reading you’re probably thinking, “DAMN I REALLY WANT TO SEE THIS GUY’S VIDEO, I’VE NEVER SEEN A VIDEO BEFORE, THIS SOUNDS SO INTERESTING.”  I sense some sarcasm in your tone, but first I want to share my secrets to success. Yes, take my hand and YOU can go viral too (see diagram).

Secret 1: Make A Video

This seems like the easiest part, but it’s not. You need to have a smart phone or know someone who has one. If you have money or are good at manipulating people, you can get a camera and crew, but you’ll feel like a jackass when your $2k project is outshined by the iPhone video of a cat eating its own p*ssy.

But that’s the cool part, even the poor can go viral. One night in 2012, I was at the dinner table with my roommate, fellow comedian Toby Muresianu, both of us eating stale chips and refusing to laugh at each others’ jokes, when we were struck with the stunning realization that he’s Jewish and I’m Palestinian.  We’d lived together for a year at this point and always wondered why we could never agree on whose cupboard was whose!

So we wrote a sketch about an escalating fight over the apartment.  Admittedly a simple premise–so simple a gorilla could’ve thought of it (A gorilla who’s well-read on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, which is rare, but still more common than a human who’s read up on it).

After arguing over whose name should go first in the writing credit, we put together a cast and crew for no pay (what unites the Semitic people–Arabs and Jews: thriftiness). Well I did buy some burritos and cut them into thirds, and Toby passed out Dixie Cups half-full of Walgreens Cola for lunch. We had a tolerable shoot day at our apartment, and we didn’t even have to change out of our pajamas! I now see why so many comedians write sketches about roommates; our people lack motivation. Not Semites, the comedians. Which brings me to…

Secret 2: Post the Video

We wrote the sketch in 2012, but we didn’t post it until 2014. Why the delay? After we shot and edited, we showed it to some of our friends (or dream poachers, as I call them). They said things like, “umm… This is biased,” or “it moves too slow,” or “the acting is over the top.” Sadly, they were all right. It is biased toward the Palestinian side (reflecting Toby and I’s political views, or lack thereof), it’s not cut like an action movie, and we made it a little corny to lighten the mood of a dark topic. But, even though I know the poachers can’t distinguish art from a cat video, they’re still my friends, so I took their shots to heart and let them capture and skin my dream alive, when it should’ve been the p*ssy-eating cat. I considered re-doing the sketch and pumping some money into a big production, but, really, what producer in Hollywood is going to get behind a pro-Palestinian film? That’s right, Mel Gibson. Talk about career jihad.

I decide against posting the film, and then time passes and I realize…Wait, I hardly even have a career to jihad. I’m not on any type of comics-to-watch list, festivals and networks are passing on me, I can’t even book any FEG roles (Funny Ethnic Guy) that I audition for, all three of my retirement home shows get their plugs pulled, I go viral in my hands, feet, and mouth (how you can prevent this), and finally, I get to witness my distant relatives in Gaza, who’ve been dying off for years, get their worst shelling yet.

So why not post the stupid video? No Hollywood producer is calling my phone, I’m sitting at home with skin peeling off my hands and feet, as if in solidarity with my relatives overseas, and if there’s an appropriate time to post a pro-Palestinian piece it’s when America is sympathy hashtagging #Gaza. I go into Toby’s room for the first time in years (I was never denied entry, we just usually text). I say, “Post it?” He says, “I thought you’d never ask!” We cry. I click “upload.” No, wait, I have my assistant do it (there’s all these buttons you have to press). Now, we change the world…

Secret 3: Wait

At this point, you’ve pretty much done all you need to. Sit back, relax, and watch the view count rocket over the Red Sea. I got tired of watching it over and over myself, so I went on Facebook and shared it. A comic friend saw the post and shared the video on Reddit, where it was seen by a guy named Abdul, who submitted it to World Star Hip Hop. So, another tip: make videos that guys named Abdul would like.

It’s clear that the video is atypical for World Star Hip Hop, which I guess makes it even edgier? Or less edgy since WSHH probably isn’t a Zionist enclave.  No matter what, it definitely caught users off-guard, garnering reviews like:

Again, ALL TRUE! I assure you poachers and your families that when I do my multi-million dollar revamp of this sketch, it will have two black guys as lead, some hot Israeli bitches, and exclusively albino producers. Honestly, I think THAT alone would solve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. But before I send the pitch to Mel, all we’ve got to show is this simple sketch, which I made on a budget of three burritos while wearing my favorite pair of sweatpants:

I’m Palestinian, My Roommate is Jewish

P.S. My roommate Toby will tell you that it’s his video, but I assure you it was on my channel first.

Doctor Tells Me I Have HIV

Some of you are expecting a joke here.  Like HIV stands for “Hilarious Internet Vegetarian” or something stupid like that.  No, this time there’s no joke.  Last week at a Kaiser in West Covina, I was told that I have HIV.

It’s not easy for me to put this into words, and it all happened so fast.  Just over a week ago, things were going better than ever.  I was finally back home after weeks on the road, had just won a $1,000 comedy competition, and was feeling, physically, in the best shape of my life.  I even thought to myself, “Man, this is like the best my life has ever been. I’m… Happy.”   My advice to you all is never have this thought.  Or else you’ll soon find out you have HIV.

I’m at the gym on a pleasant Sunday, when I feel some eerie chills.  I decide not to push it and return home, noticing a sore throat brewing.  So I think, “Oh, I must have the flu.”  My advice to you is to never think this thought.  Unless you want to have AIDS.

I take it easy that night, and the next day I wake up to find some strange bumps on my fingers.  I think, “Weird, I must have been bitten by a mosquito.”  If you ever think this, you’re a dead man.

Over a few hours the bumps spread, covering my hands, and soon I notice some around my mouth.  My girlfriend says, “I think you should go to the doctor.”  Yikes!  My least favorite word.  (Doctor. Not girlfriend. Love you!)  If you read my blogs last year (you probably did not because I suck and nobody cares about me) you’ll know I don’t trust doctors, because they prescribe you acne medication that makes all of your hair fall out and then they blame you for it, as if you need that when you’re already all stressed out from doing 1,000 days of comedy.   So I tell my girlfriend “I think I’ll be okay,” and then she notices, “Sammy it’s on your feet now.  And… Oh god, no… Your butt.”   My butt?? I grab the phone, sobbing, screaming to Kaiser: “PLEASE HELP!”

She drives me to West Covina Kaiser, where I wait two hours while they try to connect with the Northern California database to get my ID.  Advice to Kaiser patients: if you are a NorCal member, don’t get sick in SoCal.  It’s not worth it; you will die in the time it takes for them to search your name.  It’s like SoCal Kaiser still has beef with NorCal Kaiser over the word “hella.”  So, hella hours later, the rash now covering my body, the nurse takes me to the doctor’s room, while asking advice for her niece trying to get into stand up comedy.  I give her the good ol’ “hit the open mics and work hard!” while she stares at my mouth covered in lesions and decides to tell her niece to go into improv.

The doctor enters, takes a look all around my body and gasps like something has gone horribly wrong.  I ask as she stands behind me, “Is it a rash?”

She hesitates. “No… I think it’s syphilis… And HIV.”

I’m thinking, “Wait, did you say syphilis???”

She hurries out, “I’m going to get a second opinion.”

“Thank you God!”   I’m going to pretend like she was spelling out ‘hives’ and got distracted midway through.

She leaves and another doctor enters, examines me and gasps, like she chose the wrong door in a haunted house.  She leaves and the first doctor slips back in.  “So, we both talked, and agreed… It’s syphilis and HIV.”   WHAT??  Case closed?   No blood test?  No goodbye to my family, no chance for a “Doctor Tells Me I Have HIV” blog post?

“Do you have sex with women or men?  Or both?”

I don’t get it, why is she changing the subject now?  I’m not interested in her.  Well, I’m going to die anyway, and I’ve never been with a doctor: “Women.”

“When was the last time you got tested?”

I sigh, embarrassed.  “A few weeks ago, but I don’t get my results until tomorrow.  It’s one of the free clinics where you have to call in.”

She’s unimpressed. “Have you been getting sick a lot recently?”

I sigh again.  Ugh.  “Yes, five times this year already.”

She shivers like we are on CSI. “Oh my.  I’m sorry, Sammy.  I’m really sad to see this.  This must be HIV.  I’m going to get one more doctor to confirm.”  She leaves and I sit in the room for what seems like a day, trying to figure out who gave me HIV.  Why I haven’t noticed anyone dying on Facebook.  Wondering how I’m going to tell my girlfriend.  Unless she gave it to me, in which case she may have already died in the waiting room!

A new doctor comes in, and I’m ready for him to finish me off and send me home with full-blown AIDS.  He takes a look and says, “I don’t think this is syphilis.”  Whew! So it’s just HIV! What a relief.

“This looks like hand, foot and mouth disease.”  What the?  I’ve never heard of that, it sounds horrible.   If I didn’t know anything about diseases and someone offered me HIV or hand-foot-and-mouth disease, I’m choosing HIV in a heartbeat.   He continues,  “A lot of toddlers get HFMD, but adults with compromised immune systems can as well.  I’m going to give you a blood test for HIV.”  Argh, never late.   Bless Kaiser, their motto is “Thrive”, and apparently you can’t spell ‘thrive’ without H-I-V.

I limp to the lab, as my feet have graduated from pimples to blisters (that reminds me: congratulations to you recent grads! This is what real life is like). They draw a bottle of blood from my arm, as if I need to lose any more t-cells. I walk out to tell my girlfriend their HIV verdict, and she snaps “Who the fuck have you been cheating on me with!?”  Guess it’s not her.

I do my show as normal that night, knowing it could be one of my last, so I really push my mailing list sign-ups. I stay up at night, trying to think of what I did earlier in life to deserve this, and the only thing I could think of was: comedy.  The next day I call in for my STD test results from a few weeks before. The lady answers, “So you were tested for gonorrhea, herpes, syphilis, and HIV.  Here are your results.  Gonorrhea… Negative.”

Whew.  Wait, does this mean the other 3 are positive??

“Herpes… … … Negative.”

Why is she pausing for so long between results?   Is she just a slow reader?  Probably not the best for this job.

“Syphilis…*sigh*… Negative.”

Ugh, just tell me already!  I’m so panicked about HIV I feel like the 1980’s over here!!

“HIV… … … ………………..”

Yes?  Hello? Are you asleep? Did you die of AIDS? TELL ME!!

“… Negative.  Thank you for calling, goodbye.”

I drop the phone and throw my fists in the air like I just beat a life-long battle with AIDS (By the way, if you’re upset by the misleading title of this blog, take it in literally and then realize that it’s a little f*cked up you’re disappointed I don’t have HIV.  You’re angry that for three minutes you thought I had HIV?  I thought I had it for 24 hours!)  I’ll tell you, I’ve never been happier to find out that I have hand, foot and mouth disease.   Having found out that I wasn’t cheating, my girlfriend stayed with me and took care of me all week.   I was itching, burning, oozing puss from sores all over my body, but I loved every minute of it, sharing my progress in gross Instagram pics.  I learned that the best way to cope with HFMD, or any disease, is to first think it’s HIV.   Kaiser will help you with that.

I want to make it clear that I have no idea what it’s like to really have HIV, and I don’t think HIV is a joke at all.  If you take anything from my story (other than that doctors are evil aliens sent from another planet to destroy us and you must remain vigilant), it should be this: stay strong!  We all get sick, and it sucks.  HFMD was the worst virus I’ve ever caught, and I still don’t know how I caught it, but I know I survived it.  This whole experience made me realize how much more powerful I am than a virus.  It helped me remember that without my body, a virus doesn’t even have a place to live.  It’s like my child, it should be thanking me for feeding it and staying up with it late at night.  And I’ll be damned if I’m gonna let my child scare me from living my life in my own home or going out drinking with the boys to forget it exists.  No way.   Viruses need hosts.  And I’m a national feature.