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Writings on staying alive
 

We all want to be funny. All of us. Even you, Serious Jones.

Let’s face it. There’s nothing better than the satisfying feeling of reducing a fellow person to helpless peals of laughter. Laughter that causes them to fall to the ground and flail helplessly. Laughter so uncontrollable that they have to go on medication to calm down. Laughter so literally explosive that they literally explode, and suddenly you’re looking at 20 years hard time, minimum. That kind of laughter. Helpless, flailing, exploding, incarcerating laughter.

But how? For thousands upon thousands of years, we have tried to crack the comedy code. Whether it was ancient man subtly making the classic “pleasuring oneself” hand gesture while his friend told a hunting story everyone heard a million times before, or you attempting to play “Gotcha Nose” with a co-worker, comedy is an elusive, mysterious beast indeed.

Not anymore, though. Not with my patented, three-step How To Engage In Humorous Comedy Activity Units System. What is a Humorous Comedy Activity Unit, you might ask? Shut up.

A Humorous Comedy Activity Unit, or HCAU (pronounced like “T’Pau”), is a measurement that Modern Science has assigned to the Human Comedy Response.

For example. If you bump into a table, and somebody goes “Heh,” that is 13 HCAUs.

If you bump into a table, exclaim “Son of a goat-sucking erudite, I have hurt myself badly, take me to an apothecary post-haste,” and someone goes, “BWAHAHAHA YOU STUPID CLUMSY OAF AN APOTHECARY CAN DO NOTHING FOR YOU, NOBODY CAN, THE WORLD IS ONLY TABLES FOR YOU, TABLES AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE,” they are a terrible, weird person, and that is 700 HCAUs.

“So far so good,” you might think to yourself. “As long as I bump into tables, making odd exclamations about old-timey names for pharmacists along the way, I’ll be rolling in HCAUs faster than my friends can say, ‘Say, Steve? Why do you keep bumping into tables? Is it because you’re drunk? Way more drunk than you should be at 9am on a Tuesday? We’ve all gathered here today because we care about you, and want to help you get through this. It’s time for the healing to begin. But first, bump into that table, that shit is hysterical.’”

Obviously, you are wrong. Wrong about bumping into tables, wrong about being drunk at 9am, and most importantly, wrong about being named “Steve.”

Which brings us to our first rule for eliciting HCAUs:

1. DON’T BE NAMED “STEVE.”

Sure it SOUNDS like a funny name to the untrained ear, but say it to yourself a few times. The first time you say it may invoke two or three HCAUs. The second time you say it, you might find yourself actually frowning. And if you say it a third time, the Candyman jumps out of the mirror and kills you with his hook hand.

(As a side note, this is why Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson changed the name of their song “Steve Steve Steve” to “Say Say Say,” because as much as people enjoyed the former version, the death toll was astronomical.)

In order to be an HCAU-acquiring-automaton, you need a truly funny name. A name when you announce it to people, you’re already 600-10,000 HCAUs ahead. Modern Science has done years upon minutes of research into which names result in the most HCAUs, and they are as follows:

  • Humpefoot T. Fitzandersnoot

  • Julius “Canasta” Bumtacker III

  • Linda Howitzer Fizzlefazzlefoozle

  • Alberta Meredith Lemoncustard

  • Serious Jones, Psych, My Name Is Actually Humpefoot T. Fitzandersnack

So as long as you are named one of those things, you’re well on your way. In the event that you are not named any of those things, go your nearest municipal building and demand that they change your name. Even if it’s the Department Of Water And Power, they have the authority to do this, so don’t take “no” for an answer, Alberta.

By now you have a hysterical name. A name that gets people to drop HCAUs like Galileo dropped the orange. But comedy is a ravenous beast that must be fed constantly, like a lion who eats constantly to avoid dealing with deep-seated issues about its parents. “Be the king of the jungle, Mortie,” they said, but did they tell you that, like, 50 other goddamn lions are trying to do the same thing? No. They didn’t. So you’re out there every day, trying to live up to their ridiculous expectations, and if that means you want to eat 17 antelopes at 3am while watching DVRd reruns of “Eight Is Enough” and having a good cry, then goddamn it, you are going to DO THAT.

Which brings us to our second rule.

2. HAVE DEEP-SEATED ISSUES WITH YOUR PARENTS

For most of us, this isn’t a problem, because every single thing that is wrong with us is our parents’ fault. From our stupid bodies, to our stupid value systems, to being named “Steve,” our parents all but signed notarized documents at our births stating that we were going to be incredibly funny, because they were committed to emotionally fucking us up as deeply as possible.

But what if you are one of those rare jerks who has a good, healthy relationship with your parents? Don’t fret! It’s not too late to change that! Simply call your parents, and follow this script exactly:

YOU: Hello (PARENT 1) and/or (PARENT 2).

PARENT 1 AND/OR 2: Why are you calling me/us that? And why are you shouting?

YOU: I have something very important to tell you. You know how you love me, and you’re supportive of me, and how you’ve given me everything in life?

PARENT 1 AND/OR 2: Yes, I was just reflecting on that as I was writing you your weekly check for a million zillion dollars.

YOU: Well tear that shit up. From herein, you hate me, you’re disappointed in me, and you wish I was taller.

PARENT 1 AND/OR 2: No way.

YOU: QUIT IT, QUIT BEING NICE AND SUPPORTIVE, I NEED TO BE FUNNY.

PARENT 1 AND/OR 2: FINE, WHY CAN’T YOU BE THE KING OF THE JUNGLE LIKE YOUR LION COUSIN MORTIE?

YOU: MORTIE’S EATING HIMSELF INTO AN EARLY GRAVE YOU INHUMAN MONSTER(S)! AND I’M NOT...LYIN’!

PARENT 1 AND/OR 2: Ha ha ha ha ha

CHRIS HARDWICK: HCAUs!

Now that you hate your parents, and your parents hate you, you can trot out this information the next time you are at a social activity. It might go something like this:

FRIEND: What a social activity we are enjoying!

YOU: You know who would hate this? My parents. They hate everything, including me.

FRIEND: That is sad!

YOU: No it isn’t! It is very funny! Because you see, they are terrible, and my name is Linda Howitzer Fizzlefazzlefoozle!

FRIEND: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha fuck that is so fucking funny ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha *explodes*

Woah, friend, you’re a fast learner. But not so fast! There’s one more rule, you impetuous know-it-all fuck-munch of a waste of skin and hair. Jokes!

3. SHOUT “JOKES” AT THE END OF EVERY STATEMENT

So you’ve gone ahead and done it. You’ve changed your name, alienated your parents, and something about lions that never really quite paid off. You’re almost ready to be a well-oiled machine that runs exclusively on HCAUs and fossil fuels.

But what happens if, for some reason, people still don’t think you’re funny? Well then, you have to TELL THEM. The #1 reason why people don’t dispense HCAUs more often is because they don’t UNDERSTAND that something funny has been said, and therefore, don’t KNOW to make with the Units.

Luckily, there is a protocol to handling this very situation. Again, please adhere as closely as possible to the script:

YOU: I have a funny name! My parents are terrible! And you are a smelly jerk-foot who has made rotten choices in your life, and the things that make you uncomfortable bring me nothing but joy! In addition, I do not agree with your lifestyle, and I hope you die soon! Painfully! You awful, awful, awful person! You are seriously the worst! I’d kill you myself, were I not already serving 20 years for exploding my other friend! Poop! That’s what you are! A pile of it, served on a silver platter marked “Horrible”! Everything you hold dear comes out of a butt! And furthermore, suck it!

NOT EXPLODED FRIEND: I’m seriously offended.

YOU: JOKES!

NOT EXPLODED FRIEND: Ohhhhhhh, JOKES! Okay! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha I won’t explode but that was satisfactory ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

And there you have it. Follow these three rules, and if HCAUs were money, you’d have a million zillion dollars.

Or don’t worry about it, and just keep getting those weekly checks from your parents. It was pretty stupid of you to pass those up, but the fact is, you’ve always been a real dumb-ass.

Jokes.