an important message

(a man in a suit and tie, WENDELL BURGESS, walks out to the middle of the stage)

WENDELL: Good evening, friends. My name is Wendell Burgess and I'm here on behalf of the American Humor Foundation. I'd like to speak to you today about a growing problem in our country, an urgent matter that needs the attention of all good Americans who enjoy having their funny bones tickled. I'm talking about a problem which is not only demonstrated but exemplified by this sketch comedy group that you're watching tonight.

Let me ask you: what is humor? What is funny? Ask ten of your neighbors and you might get ten different answers. Different people have different ideas on the subject, that's for sure, and that's just fine, but some Gloomy Guses out there are looking to go too far. Some of those mean old poopers want to ruin everyone else's fun. Our humor isn't "good enough" for them, they sneer. What am I talking about? I am talking about an American institution as old and as sacred as apple pie. I am talking about the penis joke.

See? You giggled! Let's face it, people, penises are funny! And, for that matter, farts are too! When I think back upon all the merriment of my schoolboy days when some poor unfortunate sot would let loose a rip-roaring gas bubble and all the other children would laugh and point...well, a smile comes to my face. And let me tell you, that smile turns to a big frown when I heard that so-called "smart" people like Potted Meat want to take that stinky brown fun away from the youth of today. They want only jokes about "sophisticated" topics. They don't know what humor is, good ladies and gentlemen. Why, if my pants were to drop right this moment, wouldn't that be the funniest dang thing you ever saw? My face would grow red, and I'd scurry offstage in fear that you might see my privates. Uproarious fun for everyone! It'd sure be funnier than the rest of this claptrap you've been seeing so far tonight.

Some of you protest, I'm sure. You're afraid of being scorned by this (waving behind him) lot of stiff jokers. You shouldn't be. Deep inside, you know what you like. Here is an illustration. Please, compare these two jokes.

(BOY and GIRL enter, followed by ZEKE)

BOY: Hey, Mary Sue. What's swinging?
GIRL: Not much, Billy Joe.
BOY: Hey, look! It's dumb old Zeke!
GIRL: Dumber 'n a sack of taters!
ZEKE: Hey, guys.
GIRL: I seen you with a cow, Zeke!
BOY: Ooh! Zeke likes havin' sex with cows!
ZEKE: I do not! (his pants fall down) Oh no!

(ZEKE runs off, embarassed. BOY and GIRL laugh)

WENDELL: Now that was funny. Wasn't it? Look at that little guy scoot! But here's what the Potted Meat want humor to be.
BOY: Greetings, Virginia.
GIRL: Greetings, Pembroke.
BOY: Look, I do believe it is our foolish classmate Zeke.
ZEKE: Greetings.
GIRL: I say, Zeke, your face resembles Rodin's sculpture of the face of Pope Benedict XVI!
BOY: But only as painted by one of the lesser Impressionists!

(BOY and GIRL laugh stiffly. ZEKE leaves)

WENDELL: You see, people? There's no use kidding yourself. A good belly laugh beats one of these dumb wordy jokes anyday. Stand up for your rights, everyone! All these big words...they only lead to one thing. Communism! Yes! You think big words are so good? Well, Communism is a big word, too. Take that, Marxists! Go scurrying back to Chairman Mao and tell your "elevated humor" jokes there, because we've got no use for it here in America! And for all of you in the audience...if you see these thinkin' fellers trying to tell you that your penis jokes don't beat all, well, you just whack them over the head with a shovel. Uncle Sam will thank you for it. After all, just remember: "Masturbation". (laughs) Wee-hoo! Goodnight.

an important message by marc heiden november 1998