. You learn a lot writing commentary and telling stories to audiences. A lot of new four-letter words for one thing. Readers just send them in unsolicited. Especially State fans. They must think I collect them like some people collect porcelin swans? T’ain’t Funny McGee came from Fibber McGee & Molly. If you can actually laugh at YOUR OWN foibles, you are one of 17 such unique people I’ve met the past two years.
Two years ago I was invited to speak to the Lake Norman Carolina Club. Upstairs in the balcony of a barbecue restaurant in Mooresville. I’ll never forget it since I almost didn’t live to tell you about it. One of their members had heard me speak to the Statesville Rotary Club and thought his fellow UNCers would enjoy my comments. You’d athought so too.
The Club president met me downstairs all excited. “You are going to tell a lot of Moo U, Amato and Coach K jokes aren’t you?” – “Oh, sure, and I also do some examples of how odd Carolina fans can be too.” – “Oh … I’m not too sure our people will like that.” She knew her people … they didn’t.
I was sharing the program that night with Mick Mixon. Mick had done a bazillion of these over 15 years and had his canned anecdotes down pat. He related a few “Woody and I were in the booth and he said …” and a few “that time in 1993 when we beat State/Duke/Virgina and one of their fans …”. It was like feeding bread crumbs to ducks at the lake. They gobbled up every crumb and looked up eagerly for more. Mick also did a few self-effacing stories. You know the type “…. and I realized my fly had been open the whole time”. We all do those. Mick is especially effective with them.
My turn … My material constantly evolves especially two years ago. I had done 8-10 civic clubs and knew “what worked” from my basic outline. Civic clubs in NC are usually 40-30-30 … 40% UNC – 30% State – 30% lead productive lives. This was NOT a “civic club”. I praised Mick and they liked that. I was self-effacing and they liked that. I did a gig at Wuffs and they liked that even more. I did some “Coach K cusses” jokes and they REALLY liked that. We were rockin’ rollin’. Naïve BobLee moved right into the “us Tar Heels can be pretty weird too” stuff. THUD … KERPLUNK …
A marina operator 20 miles down the road in Cornelius swears he heard those 67 Carolina butts all puckering up at exactly 8:17 PM that night. He had the time about right so he must have.
Delivering the news that “Our Emperor ain’t wearing any clothes EITHER.” is how the term “shoot the messenger” came into being.
NOTE: This column generated a call from the UNC SID office. They are offering BobLee “Marvin $$$” if he will be the one to tell Tar Heel fans in 2-3 years that “RatFace” has broken Dean’s alltime win record. The trick is that he has to be alive to collect the $$$ after-the-fact. No way, Kirschy.
In a situation like this you have the trigger on semi-automatic. You fire off 4-5 rounds at a time but not a full clip. My show is Adult-PG. My hardest hitting “Tar Heels sure are …” jokes would not merit Top 10,000 on a wuff fan sewer. I don’t get into sexual preferences or JR Reid’s SAT scores. My “Dickie” material is even tame. I always assume that his Aunt Sophie is sitting at the front table with a serrated steak knife in each hand. These Mooresville Franklin Street loyalists weren’t buying one bit of it. 67 pair of evil eyes were telling me “UNC IS ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL and WE ARE ALL SUPERIOR TO EVERYONE ELSE just because … and we don’t like you any more. Get a rope Larry.”
My old buddy Duke Buck was on hand and he felt the barometric pressure dropping FAST. He cut his eyes towards the nearest exit and mouthed “I’ll fake an epileptic seizure and you make a break for it. We’ll rendezvous at the BP station in 30 minutes”.
I had a Plan B, but edged towards the exit just in case. I stopped any material the least bit Caro-negative and when into a “Coach K’s back surgery” bit followed by a “Chuck Amato’s big chest and funny sunglasses” bit. This trite partisan crap soothed the easily offended Tar Heels. I had Mick’s ducks wanting more bread crumbs. But the lesson was learned.
Duke and I got out safely. Plan C was to tell this mob that Brother Buck was indeed a dookie which he is. While they were tearing him limb from limb I figured I could sneak out.
Since then I have been asked to do three other Carolina Clubs. I turned’em all down. Feeding partisan red (or dark blue) meat to puckered butted Caro-savages simply isn’t what I do or want to do. I’ve never been asked to do a Wolfpack Club meeting. Gee, I wonder why? I could do a Pirate Club. Just bash the crap outta both State AND UNC and be appointed Mayor of Greenville. BLS and Steve Logan would be a dynamite duo on the hushpuppy circuit.
The Mooresville Almost-Massacre was the 2nd worse BobLee ALIVE experience I’ve ever had. The worst was a Triad-area breakfast meeting in a church fellowship hall. I was rolling right along and had a Tourettes Moment … an F-bomb popped out. No reason for it at all, it just happened. My brain caught up to my mouth about 10 seconds later. I blinked and immediately calculated that “maybe” 10 out of the 40 attendees “might” have caught it. Apologizing or even an “oops” would only compound the situation.
I did that “Coach K back surgey” bit again. It had saved my butt at Lake Norman. Besides F-Bombs associated with any Coach K story are expected and excused.
With a mixed audience you can get away with “partisan humor” if you have an audience profile going in. The battle lines are already drawn among the club members and I ask my host in advance “who are the most obnoxious State and Carolina fans in the club?” The host ALWAYS knows exactly who they are. I point them out early on and make them my foils.
“Ralph, I understand you are a hardcore State fan. Was this bacon we just ate cut off of an old girl friend of yours?”
“Charles, you’re a UNCer like me. Are you still using Daddy’s credit card too?”
“Jerry, I hear you’re the lone Duke fan here. Mozaltov and Shalom.”
Then I do a medley of bits rotating among the primary fan groups. 60% of the room is usually “with me” at any one time. I hold the “K’s back surgery” bit in reserve if I sense I’m losing them since there are never enough Dookies around to mount a serious attack.
There is a sage saying in the “humorist / comedian” bizness … “If the audience didn’t laugh then you weren’t funny.” The greatest material in the world won’t work on the wrong audience.
Political humor has certainly reached that point. Lots of “comedy club comics” do Repub-bashing. The main reason for that is (1) Repubs are in power, but really it’s that LA and NYC are the mecca for stand-up comedy. Have you checked that blue – red voting map lately? A dark room filled with 150-200 people on their 3rd or 4th stiff drink is likely to be of a liberal persuasion. Do your own psycho-analysis of that.
The one exception is “Bill Clinton the horn-dog” material. Libs apparently considered his infamous philandering as one of his most endearing qualities. A stand-up comic who says he does “non-partisan political humor” means he does 15 “Bush is sooo dumb thats ….” followed by one “Clinton’s cigar” then his big finish is 8 “Jerry Falwell and those stoopid Christians …”. Dropping an F-Bomb every 45 seconds. There is a reason I don’t do comedy clubs and never will.
We are taking bookings for BobLee ALIVE in 2006. Today we penciled in Matthews Rotary for late February. If you have a civic club, country club or local sports club that thinks they can handle BobLee then drop us an e-mail. He brings his own bomb-sniffing dog and wears a kevlar blazer. We did eight encore return shows in 2005 from 2004 so we don’t generate massive civil unrest everywhere we go.
If I do the “Coach K back surgery” bit you know I’ve sprung a leak with your audience and I’m bailing fast and checking my watch. … and still having more fun than anything else I’ve ever done in my life. YEE HAA!
Who was “David Seville”?
Name his three little buddies.
** Special SSays Yuletide Note Section **
BobLee will be on WPTF-680AM this Friday at 3:00 – The RickandDonna Show. No idea what we will talk about but the FCC has declared an ALERT level of “vermillion”.
Dirty Harry used the “6 or 5” ploy twice. He had fired all 6 with the black thug in the early scene. He had saved one bullet in the final showdown with Scorpio resulting in a well-ventilated psycho-killer.
Say it ain’t so Johnny Damon. I’m a sports traditionalist but also a fan of the hirsute Damon. Johnny as a clean-shaven Yankee … sniff, sob, sigh. Steinbrenner hires Theo Epstein to be Johnny’s barber and personal assistant.
Quin Snyder may not survive December at Mizzou. Official “Quin Deathwatch” in progress. SSays has a reporter LIVE on the scene equipped with a fork to plunge into the Gucci-loafered carcass when “he’s done”..
Heel BBers lose to SoCal … Dickie tells Ol Roy “don’t let it happen again OR ELSE!” … Sylvia Hatchell given $1,000,000 raise as back-up “in case Roy was a one-trick pony”. Wes Miller announces he will “turn pro too” unless Roy lets him grow a mustache.
NC State brings Roman Gabriel back to run PR campaign for Andre Brown to win both Heisman AND a Rhodes Scholarship. BobLee declares “Andre certainly has my vote!”
Despondent after first loss, Peyton Manning destroys nativity scene in Ron Artest’s front yard.
Bobby Washington’s mamma finds a loophole … Bobby to play for South Florida Bulls in “The Meineke” as RB, DB, deep snapper, and special teams coordinator. Amato screams “you people” can’t do that. It’s “unethical”.
Just a suggestion … do NOT invite Chuck and Doc Holliday to same New Year’s Party.
Marvin Sanders buys cheese balls for each fellow UNC staff member … and leaves new K-State Coach Ron Prince a special voice mail “Thanks, Ron, our plan worked like a charm. Lets keep in touch”.
Nine rabid Wolfpack fans suffer injuries falling off of sanctimonious “high horses” during attack on local Internet Legend.
Confused about the SSays NEW ERA? It’s simple. SSays will still cover all the regular sports stuff (Ol’ Roy, Burly John, Coach K, Dickie, etc) but we will pass on giving undeserved attention to Dilbert and the Junior Woodchucks. Capice? ……… with NEW ERA, we have had 2 “unsubscribes” and 23 “new subscribes” … net +21. A good business decision … ya think?
To All Y’all
A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS !
May Your Christmas Be As Politically Incorrect As Possible
Wanna bet BobLee finds some “boffo columns” in his stocking.