My lame routine at Rotary today

On Friday, I got the call asking me to fill in at today’s Rotary meeting with Health & Happiness — which as you may recall means coming up with jokes.

I stressed about it all weekend, because with me, the members expect topical, original material — and I just hadn’t seen much to laugh about recently.

But I had to come up with something, so here’s what I came up with:

As y’all know, I generally try, in my own poor way, to offer y’all a little humorous commentary on the passing parade of current events.

I prefer doing that to falling back on the tried and true method of googling “clean jokes” on the Internet. Since I AM a writer, that just always feels like sort of a copout.

But folks, we are suffering a severe shortage of current events humor, particularly in the political arena. You may not have noticed, because it struck quite suddenly. We were enjoying a huge political comedy bubble in this state, but recently the bubble burst.

So it is that after the recent election, from my point of view, there’s not much to laugh about in the news.

There was a lot of stuff that was ALMOST funny, but it generally fell short of the mark. For instance:

  • There was good news and bad news in the U.S. House elections. The good news is that the hapless Democrats are no longer in charge. The bad news is that the Republicans ARE going be in charge. We, the people, just can’t win, and it’s not a bit funny.
  • Being a guy who gets his news via the written word, I thought for a brief time that there was some comic possibility in the name of the man who would be our new speaker of the House. Imagine my bitter disappointment when I heard on the radio that B-o-e-h-n-e-r is pronounced “BAY-ner.” What a loss to comedy! (Pause.) I’m going to give you a moment to think about that one…
  • Moving on, Alvin Greene also disappointed us. He gave it a good run, but fell just a BIT short of winning his election, so now we don’t have Alvin Greene to kick around anymore. Of course, now he says he’s going to run for president. I mean, he’s doing his best for us, and I appreciate that, but he’s completely lost the strategic advantage of surprise, and I’m concerned that he might not be able to cinch the nomination this time.
  • Then there’s Christine O’Donnell, the former teenage witch. We had a lot of fun with her during the election, and she promised to be a hoot and a half once she got to the Senate. And that was looking good, since she had that can’t-miss Tea Party kingmaker, Jim DeMint, backing her. Apparently, neither his magic nor hers was working. Maybe she SHOULD have joined that coven, after all.
  • Here’s how bad it’s gotten on the political humor front: I heard the other day that Gov. Sanford was seen actually hiking the Appalachian Trail – or thereabouts, anyway. No detour to, say, Patagonia. I mean, when you can’t rely on Mark Sanford, what are you gonna do?

Now, I don’t want to leave y’all feeling hopeless. There are some promising developments on the horizon:

  • First, South Carolina still has the first-in-the-South Republican presidential primary, and it’s only 14 months away. So there’s all sorts of potential for tomfoolery in the days to come.
  • Next, Nancy Pelosi isn’t fading away, but seems poised to come back as the new minority leader. This will at least please South Carolina Republicans. You may have noticed in the recent election how they LOVE saying her name, over and over, whether it’s relevant to the subject at hand or not. Say “good morning” to a Republican running for Congress, and he’ll say “Nancy Pelosi.”
  • Oh, and how about the way she resolved the fight between our own Jim Clyburn and Steny Hoyer over the meaningless post of minority whip? She made up an even MORE meaningless position for Mr. Clyburn as a consolation prize. THAT has potential. I launched a contest today on my blog to come up with a fitting title for that post. I’m leaning toward “Once and Future Whip,” or maybe “Whip Wannabe.”
  • Finally, I see that our new governor-elect has named her transition team, saying she chose its members based on their success in their chosen fields. Then I saw she had named her husband to the team. Now, that fact in and of itself doesn’t quite rise to the level of “funny,” but it has promise. And I promise YOU that I will keep an eye on that situation and report back if anything develops.

Anyway, bottom line, I told y’all this wouldn’t be funny. So let me close with this little story I pulled off the Internet:

A politician, a clergyman, and a Boy Scout were passengers in a small plane that developed engine trouble. The pilot announced, “We’ll have to bail out. Unfortunately, there are only three parachutes. I have a wife and seven small children. My family needs me. I’m taking one of the parachutes and jumping out!” And he jumped. Then the politician said, “I am the smartest politician in the world. The country needs me. I’m taking one of the parachutes.” And he jumped. The clergyman said to the Boy Scout, “I’ve had a good life and yours is still ahead of you. You take the last parachute.” The scout shrugged and said, “Don’t need to. There are two parachutes left. The smartest politician in the world just jumped with my knapsack!”

How did it go? Well, let’s put it this way — I got a big laugh on the joke I pulled from the Internet. But I wasn’t disappointed. The small laughs I got in response to the rest was the most I was hoping for.

It definitely wasn’t like the times that I KILLED. But I didn’t totally die, either…

7 thoughts on “My lame routine at Rotary today

  1. Luke

    Were there any people left in the room by the time you finished? Are you sure the laughter in the room wasn’t nervous laughter trying to cover for your embarrassing attempt at stand up? That was brutal enough to read, I can’t imagine actually having to sit through it.

  2. Kathryn "Blue" Fenner

    Health and Happiness doesn’t have to mean jokes and humor. You *could* have done heart-warming or personal reflection.

  3. Brad

    The thing is, when I know I’ve got to do H&H at some point in the future, I think about it, and it affects how I blog for about a week — I look for fun stuff, and comment on it on the blog, and then recycle it at Rotary. Which is dull for Kathryn, but not for most Rotarians.

    This time, being asked at the last minute after a dry spell of a couple of weeks, I was pretty much empty-handed.

    I saw Conan’s new show last night — or at least, his monologue — for the first time. And I was struck by how much effort it must take to get UP to that extent, even with a whole team behind you, and be funny. It’s a lot of work. And even with the hard work, how to you make yourself be IN THE MOOD like that. If it was me, there would be days when I’d step out in front of the audience and just stare balefully at them. Personally, I suspect doping is involved…

  4. bud

    If it was me, there would be days when I’d step out in front of the audience and just stare balefully at them.

    Apparently Conan must feel that way every night. He’s the least funny late-night guy I can ever remember.

  5. Kathryn "Blue" Fenner

    You could have run the dogs greeting soldiers video….

    @ Luke– Brad was the high point. We were treated to a presentation from the District Governor of Rotary…there was a mass exodus after Brad’s presentation, but I stuck around. Often Rotary presentations turn out to be a lot better than expected. Sometimes, they are not. You guess which time this was…..

  6. Ralph Hightower

    I liked 1, 2, 4 & 5. 3 lacked punch. I wished we could call the new House Speaker “Boner”.

    Of 4, it would’ve been a hoot for Christine O’Donnell to have been elected. She probably would’ve been an embarrasment for Demint. She’s against teen sex, but she’s also against “self satisfaction.”


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