Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Yesterday, I taught my Intro to Comedy Writing class at Second City. There are a few things very unusual about this class.

- It's from 4pm - 7pm. Most classes are 7pm - 10pm or on the weekend. This is my first time teaching this time slot. I love it. I get done with enough time to go home and spend some quality time with my girlfriend.

- It's a small class. Most Intro classes are around the 15 mark. We have five, so there's no hiding out. Everybody writes and everybody reads. I don't have to rush through any exercises and there's plenty of time to debrief and check-in with the students.

- Everyone is in their 30's and 40's. And I'm not the oldest! I love having a wide range of ages and types in a class, but there's something refreshing about not having to explain a lot of references or the kinds of points-of-view that only come with, dare I say it...maturity.

Yesterday, we did a brainstorming exercise of writing a list of ten things that piss you off. The exercise leads to the students ranting on paper about a topic. For many of them, this is their first taste of using strong emotion as a tool as well as simply being heard through their writing. The list is just a jumping off point for some monologue and character work, but it's a tremendous amount of fun to hear. Most everything listed I could relate to and those that I couldn't, I still enjoyed because of the irritation in the voice of the writer. I'm not exactly sure why a server calling a group of people in a restaurant "folks" is a bone of contention, but I sure enjoyed hearing about it!

I never do the exercises along with the class because I would too easily make it about me and not facilitate the process properly. But after hearing them today, I decided to do it myself. Now, keep in mind, this is not a top ten list. It's a brainstorming list done with a time consideration. Its the first ten things that come to mind.


1 - Rude drivers who lay on the horn at intersections. It's not helping.

2 - People who are consistently late. To the point where you can count on them being late. You're holding things up and I don't have the time to waste.

3 - People who talk in movie theaters AND at live theater! Where the hell do you think you are? I didn't pay my money to hear YOUR dialogue.

4 - Panhandlers who hit me up for money when I'm flat-assed broke. It's like a cat who gets in your face when you're allergic or people who - having never done so in their lives - suddenly slap you on the back when you have a sunburn.

5 - Being with a group of people at a restaurant where everyone has pitched in on the bill and it's ridiculously short. C'mon, people, pony up! You - the couple - you BOTH need to pitch in. You're not eating for one. And all you losers, it's not the price in the menu. It's that price plus your drink plus tax plus a 20% tip!

6 - Arrogant ignorant stubbornness (Looking in your direction, Mr. President).

7 - Politicians and celebrities who are more wrapped up in looks, perceptions, spins, focus groups and polls. Whatever happened to just being honest and talking to people? We're not all idiots.

8 - Insurance companies. They're like the mob pinching you for protection money. And if you actually need their services, they squeeze harder.

9 - Boob jobs and anything involving a "lift" or a "tuck." And, for Pete's sake, let your pubes grow back in! It's like that weird ultra-tweezed or shaved eye-brow look, but on your crotch.

10 - Unnecessarily poor service. I get it, chubby slow lady who continues her conversation with a co-worker and never makes eye contact with me at the post office on Broadway near Lawrence. Your job sucks. The awful fluorescent lighting and that funky smell which might have more to do with you than the environment there. I'd hate it, too. But it's not my fault and all I want is a frickin' money order.

Whew! I feel better. Doesn't take long. I highly recommend it. You can write and post yours in the comment section. I'd love to read it.


Paul said...

The restaurant rule: Figure out what you are supposed to pay. And then add $2.

Whenever we go out for a group lunch at work, this formula NAILS it. We hit everything plus tip within fifty cents.

Rob Kozlowski said...

God, I haven't taught an ICW in ages. I miss this part.


1) Reality TV. I'm sorry, it isn't *reality* until people start dying. Call me up when that happens.

2) Edgewater's lack of public garbage cans. Seriously. Is this why Winthrop Avenue is covered with food and I can barely walk my dog because he's hysterical with joy???

3) Waiters who take forever to give you the check. Hey, dumbass, the quicker you get us out of there, the sooner you'll get more diners. More diners, more tips!!! What the hell is the matter with you???

4) Rush Limbaugh. Why is this idiot still alive?

5) People who obsessively follow celebrity gossip. Seriously, if your life is so terrible, you have to vicariously live through coked-up dimwits...KILL YOURSELF!!! You'll be doing yourself and everyone around you a big favor.

6) Smokers. Stop smoking, you!

7) Tourists. Don't stop in the middle of the sidewalk. Don't stop in the middle of the sidewalk. Don't stop in the middle of the sidewalk. Don't stop in the middle of the sidewalk. Don't stop in the middle of the sidewalk. Don't stop in the middle of the sidewalk. Don't stop in the middle of the sidewalk. Don't stop in the middle of the sidewalk. Don't stop in the middle of the sidewalk. Don't stop in the middle of the FUCKING SIDEWALK!!!!

8) Stupid people. Seriously, who pays to go see Rob Schneider movies? Note to those who do: See #5.

9) David Navarro. Possibly the single most uncharismatic TV news anchor in the history of the business. Whose name does he have???

10) Richard Roeper. This smug piece of goose dung went on and on in one of his articles about those Dove body soap commercials that featured actual women in their underwear, calling them fat. You know what, dumbass? If you prefer women who are shaped like 8-year old boys, it means you want to fuck 8-year old boys. Join NAMBLA then, you pedophilic sack of shit.


Beat THAT, Don Hall.

Anonymous said...

I think I pooped a little after reading number 7.

And Richard Roeper is an ass bag. Before Roger Ebert took pity on him and gave him a life, he was, I guess still is, a "humorist" for the Sun-Times. He's horribly un-funny and pretentious as all fuck.

Miranda said...

I agree with #8. I watched SiCKO this week.

Paul Rekk said...

Mmmm. Sweet, sweet vitriol.

1. CTA train conductors who can't figure out the concept of smooth braking. Rule of thumb: if you're running the Red Line on the far North Side, you're going to be stopping. at. every. station. So when you see one coming, y'know, be prepared and shit.

2. Lindsay Lohan. I know, it's an easy target, but this is above and beyond the call of duty. Paris, Britney, and the rest of the Rehab All-Stars I can learn to live with. But someone needs to make sure the Lohan doesn't open her mouth anymore. Or that I don't find out about it.

3. Those magnetic ribbons on the back of cars. Congratulations, America, you've successfully rendered that symbol useless. Oh, I can buy a ribbon to "support" my favorite sports team? Now there's a cause I can really get behind.

4. John Malkovich's voice. I dunno, it just gets to me.

5. Post-Cubs games CTA crowds. You're not a frat boy, you're a 45 year old drunken tourist, and you're not fooling anyone. Get offa my train, asshole.

6. Rosie O'Donnell. Just shut up.

7. The fact that John Malkovich's voice bugs me. Why can't I cringe at the sound of someone who sucks instead?

8. The foie gras ban. Joe Moore, I only shake your hand outside the Morse stop because you provide doughnuts. But being force-fed and having your liver served as a delicacy is a dream compared to the scenarios running through my head, bub.

9. Crocs. Is that what those god awful shoes are called? I don't care how comfortable they are, are you really going to step out into civilized society with those on your feet? Really?

10. Non-smokers who bitch about smokers. Hey Kozlowski, wanna go halfsies with me on a tasty slice of emphysema?

Lori said...

1. When my computer does bad things.
2. car horns. should be banned.
3. slow walkers and people who block the pathway of anywhere, especially the airport when I’m running to my gate. Please move to the side if someone is behind you.
4. People who don’t move away from the doors on the train so that other people can get in or out. Oblivious.
5. I can’t remember what pisses me off. I can’t remember a lot of things. Aaaarrrrgghhh.
6. The smell of urine on the sidewalk. Go find some grass for fuck’s sake.
7. Spitting
8. Using a knife to get ketchup out of a bottle. It will come out. Just wait a few seconds. Shake it. Turn it on its side. Be gentle.
9. slow talkers
10. Americans who won’t “do the jobs that Americans don’t want to do.” What a horrible country culture. We are all going straight to hell.

Crustodio said...

Ten Random Things That Probably Piss Me Off
10. Slow drivers in the left lane. Please just run into the guardrail.
9. Self-righteous non-smokers.
8. Unnecessary wars and the people that still think Iraq took down the towers.
7. Perfectly healthy people, unburdened with packages, that stand still on the escalator.
6. Those that state that they “hate” certain celebrities instead of simply being apathetic. You give them way too much of your thought.
5. Assholes that will wait for an elevator right in front of the door. Gee, you think maybe someone may want to get out at your floor?
4. People that do not understand how to say “please” or “thank you.”
3. Dudes that take up too much room on airplanes. Not large people, just the guys that sit with their knees way too far apart.
2. Leaf blowers
1. Guys who pretend that they hate fake boobies.

Crustodio said...

Okay, the real #1: Shitty tippers