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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

A Non-Taxing ‘Tax Day’ Post

Well, folks, it’s the fifteenth once again, which means that it’s time for the old double whammy entry. And best of all, I don’t have to work for either whammy. Not tonight, anyway — I put my time in on these a few days ago. Nothing like riding on your own coattails, eh?

Anyway, here’s how we roll around here on the first and fifteenth — over at Zoiks!, you can catch my latest contribution, along with a half-dozen or so other giggle-filled comedic opuses. Or ‘opii’, whatever. I don’t have time to look this shit up on a Friday night, people. Help me out here.

Meanwhile, here at the ranch, you can peep my last piece, which has passed through the Zoiks! spotlight, and into the dusty archives. Which don’t actually exist, as far as I can tell, so it’s a damned good thing I’ve got the original copies. What a crime it would be to lose these gems from the collective works of humankind, eh? Right. Let that sink in for a minute. And stop snickering, dammit.

At any rate, last issue’s piece is below. And the current issue is ready, lubed up, and waiting for you at Zoiks! — and this double-dose of Friday fun is fully tax-free, folks. Soak it up, baby. Happy weekend!


The Secret Life of Standup

When I’m not toiling away here at the keyboard – which usually involves looking up words like ‘assbaggery’ or ‘douchetastic’ in online dictionaries – or working at my fabulous, brain-melting cubicle job, I’m an aspiring stand-up comedian. For those of you unfamiliar with this charming little hobby, here’s how it breaks down:

– Comedian – because I’m trying to be funny

– Stand-up – because the stool onstage is not for sitting, apparently

– Aspiring – because nobody’s paying my sorry ass to tell jokes to strangers in seedy bars

And that’s okay – we comics are in it for the love of the game. Which is good, because stand-up is not the most lucrative job in the world. They say, ‘love won’t pay the rent,’ well, comedy has trouble scraping up cash for the cable bill. Nobody this side of Cosby or Seinfeld is getting rich in the yuks business, that’s for sure.

But again, that’s all right, because the job certainly has its perks. Just think about the daily routine of a comedian for a moment: they get up at the crack of noon. They work twenty, maybe thirty minutes a day, tops. And they’re allowed – nay, even encouraged – to go to work drunk off their ass. Seriously, who else has it that good? It’s like being in Congress! Or being a drug mule, I suppose – though they generally have better health benefits than comics, of course.

Don’t get me wrong, though, folks – stand-up comedy is not all fuzzy bunnies and perky nipples. No, there’s a lot of work involved, too. First, there’s the pressure to constantly come up with new material. Personally, I write ideas down everywhere – at home, in the car, in the soul-sucking cubicle… even in the shower. Come to think of it, especially in the shower.

(Yes, because there’s apparently something about being wet and naked that makes me feel hilarious. Man, if I could only go onstage dripping wet and wearing nothing but my bunny slippers – oh, how I’d slay the audiences then! Unfortunately, the one time I tried this technique, the bouncers didn’t let me get anywhere near the stage. And now the club won’t let me back in anymore. Or return my phone calls. I think they kept my pants, too. The bastards.)

And, if that’s not odd enough, I even write jokes down in bed. Which my wife doesn’t particularly appreciate, especially if we happen to be, ah, ‘steaming fajitas’ at the time, if you know what I mean.

Still, I look at it this way – she’s been taking notes and laughing out loud during sex for the first dozen years we’ve been together. Well, now it’s my turn. The giggles are on the other pillow now,

baby.

Of course, being a stand-up isn’t just about the writing, either. You can’t scribble down a few jokes and call yourself a ‘comedian’ in much the same way that I can’t peck this crap out and call myself a ‘writer,’ apparently.

(An ‘aspiring writer,’ perhaps – and see above for the big fat bunch of nothing that will get me. ‘Aspiring writer’ and fifty cents will get you a cup of coffee. Or one-fortieth of a lap dance in Vegas, if you prefer – which is more entertaining, perhaps, but it doesn’t come with a side of cream and sugar. You pay extra for that.)

So, a comic has to practice, as well. For a while, I tried working on my routine at home, tucked away in my room. That was fine, until my wife started asking what I was doing, locked in the bedroom with a cucumber for an hour and a half every night.

(Just for the record, I was using it to simulate a microphone. Still, you probably shouldn’t let that get around. On the other hand, maybe you should. The last time I locked myself in a room with a cucumber, I was in and out in ten minutes. An hour and a half would sound much more impressive, I think.)

Barred from the bedroom – and the cucumber, by the way – I decided to join a ‘writing group.’ This is a handful of comics that meets every few weeks, and gives advice and suggestions on new material to each other. It’s sort of a support group for the stand-up set; a comics’ caucus, if you will. And it’s been a phenomenal help for me, personally, it’s great to get honest, constructive feedback like:

“Please, promise me you’ll never say those words to another person ever, ever again.”

Or: “I know I’ve said this before, but I truly couldn’t possibly think less of you right now.”

Ah, the fun we have. And what fun it is to be an aspiring comedian. Honestly, I can barely remember what life was like before stand-up, but maybe that’s just because of the booze and the debilitating, stage fright-induced post-traumatic stress. Still, it’s either perform comedy, or spend more hours sitting in the cubicle. And there’s nothing funny about that.

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