Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

I have a short story. I'll reveal the moral first. The moral is, "Don't steal jokes."

This past Wednesday was the first day of my level 2 improv comedy class, at Upright Citizens Brigade. One of the exercises we did was short 3-line scene starts. One person says a line, you say something in response, they say something, end of scene. The point is to get good at starting scenes. So it was my turn, and the other person started, and opened up his imaginary trenchcoat and said, "Pssst. I've got some good stuff today. What do you want?"

There's a stand-up bit I've seen, done by Mike Birbiglia, who's a really funny stand-up comic I've seen live a couple of times and mentioned on here once or twice, where he talks about how there was a drug dealer on his street, and he passed him, and wished he sold Snapple, because he was thirsty... I'm not doing it any justice here, but it's funny.

So, that's what popped into my head in the improv class, and I stole his joke and said "You have any Snapple?" and it got a chuckle and whatever, it's a 3-line scene in a class, who cares, and I forgot about it.

Whatever you think the rest of the story is going to be, lower your expectations by about 80% and you can probably figure this out.

So... I just got back from seeing a stand-up comedy show at the same place I take the improv class, Upright Citizens Brigade -- it was a Hurricane Katrina benefit, $10 and you get to see a bunch of stand-up comedians.

The host did a little routine, and then announced they had a special guest who wasn't listed on the website... Mike Birbiglia. Which was cool, because, like I said, he's funny and I've seen him before and I think he's really good.

And he did about 6 or 8 minutes of material, I think. And, yeah, he did the drug dealer-Snapple thing.

Now, I don't even know if anyone else from my improv class was there, but it's certainly plausible they were. Certainly I don't expect *anyone* in the improv class could possibly remember this tiny 3-line scene I did where I used his joke. It's inconceivable anyone would ever think this hard about it. But *I* know. And so I feel marginally bad about it. Like, not really actually bad, because it's a class and it's one line, and it's improv and it's the first thing that came to mind. But I feel like this was an amusing coincidence. Worth sharing.

The headliner of the show was a guy named Demetri Martin, who was very very funny in a Steven Wright kind of way. Dry one-line observations. Good stuff. Also funny was Christian Finnegan, who I think does a bunch of those VH1 "I Love The Ten Minutes That Just Passed" shows.