Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Where Is Charlie Murphy When You Need Him?
We all deal with national tragedies in different ways. We have our methods of easing the burden by sharing the experience in common with our fellow mourners, but for each individual, the manner in which grief manifests itself and is coped with is as varied as a fingerprint. Which is appropriate because all fingerprints look like little frowny-faces.
After 9/11 I remember with some fondness and a little sheepish self-consciousness how I dealt with that: by wandering around, randomly attacking Sikhs. Not Arabs, not Muslims, but Sikhs specifically. I would see Arabs and they just looked too much like regular dudes for me to really get that visceral boost I needed from mindlessly assaulting someone who represented the Alien Other. Sikhs with their beardy faces and their turbans, well, they are straight out of the Conflated Racial Type handbook. Aziz who owns the car stereo store near me, he wears cowboy boots for fuck's sake. Granted, in California that's reason enough to kick someone's ass, but not when I'm looking to sate by irrational bloodlust against nameless foreigners. Plus he gave me 15% off the LED effects lights for under my hooptie. And I'm saving up for this dope-ass Kenwood amp. You do not shit where you eat.
After the Virginia Tech thing, my response has been a little different. It's more of the immolation-by-chocolate response. It's far less extreme socially speaking and the only danger it poses is to the seams of my clothes. So if my grief is a fingerprint, it would be only half-frowning and smeared with a layer of cake frosting directly from the can.
Other people cope in different ways, most private, some much more public. For instance, comedian Dave Chappelle made himself feel better by being on stage for over six hours straight at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
I don't know for certain that it had anything to do with the VATech thing or not, but I'm kind of hoping. If it's just Dave staying on stage and refusing to leave, that just means that Dave is fucking crazy and I'm not ready to accept that. My system can't take two such tragic shocks in the space of a week.
The article makes it clear that the audience was stunned by Mr. Chappelle's achievement. They said they "tried everything" from exaggerated yawning to asking each other loudly what time it was and then being mock-surprised that it was in fact "that late" to raising the house lights, cleaning up around him, casually mentioning what a "big day" they all had tomorrow and finally just wandering out, leaving Dave talking and talking and talking to one game audience member who was found out later to have been dead since Hour #2.
What I think this tells us most about humans and how we operate is clear: Dave Chappelle needs a job. Because a) he's clearly got no place else to go and b) he needs the money. He passed up $50 million from Comedy Central. That's not an easy thing to make up to your wife.
Luckily, the Laugh Factory pays its comics hourly.
Dave Chappelle would also like you to know that he's available to work for you. He will emcee your corporate event, speak at your church retreat weekend, do ten minutes of ethincally appropriate material at your family reunion/bar mitzvah/quinceañera or even--for about $80 and a half-pound bag of weed--just come over and, you know, hang out.
I read that the previous record at the Laugh Factory was set by Dane Cook at somewhere over 3 hours, a record Dave shattered with his marathon set. I think that's how I'm going to start really healing: by having people take things away from Dane Cook. If someone could just undo his millions of album sales, I think I'd be totally healed. Get on that, would you, Bucketeers?
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.9