People are going to say this story isn’t true, only because it is fake. They are going to say “Alex is just trying to be funny” or “Alex has a tumor in his brain that makes him lie to the public.” When you get right down to it, why can’t we both be right? Cannot a lie be the most true? Would that be crazy?
Anyway, here is a fabrication where a comedy legend tells me I am great and then puts his damp mouth-barn around my squealing flesh-hog.
Monday night. There I am, waiting around backstage at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade theater in Chelsea for the Whiplash show to get started. Leather jacket. Blue jeans. Ray Bans hanging low. I’m twitchy — twitchy as the popular game streaming website twitch.tv. I’ve only been performing for around 3 years, and this improv mega-church is one of the hottest joints in town. This ain’t some mud farmer’s hovel like the UCB East. No, according to this story, I have never performed at such a venue. I am Billy Joel waiting at the table for his fourth bottle of wine before he hops back in his car. I am Marshall Mathers sipping on his fourth bottle of vodka before he hops back in his car. I am God.. .hopping back in his equivalent of a car.
Lost in a flask of absinthe, I spin around too quick when The Host taps me on the shoulder. For the sake of anonymity, I won’t use her name here. With the depravity of the story to follow, I would not want to drag anyone through the mud. Also, and I cannot stress this enough, none of this happened.
“Hey Alex, there’s uhhh last second change in the lineup,” she pines. “Someone is dropping in and you’re going to follow him.”
“Better be Jesus Christ, himself,” I growl, fictionally.
“Well, no, but actually somebody dropped in and–”
That’s when I see modern entertainment savant Bill Burr rounding the corner of the green room. He is coincidentally also wearing a leather jacket, blue jeans, and Ray Bans.
“Bill Fucking Burr,” I hiss.
The Host can tell from my sunday school verbiage that I’ve gotten to the bottom of the situation. “Yes, it’s modern entertainment savant Bill Burr. He has to go scream at some trans kids outside soon so we’re gonna put him on first and then you can do 40. Does that work?”
Another swig of my flask lets The Host know it sure as hell doesn’t. The gesture is lost on the millennial, already sucked into her phone as she gets ready to start the show.
By the way, I should have mentioned in this story I am a 52 year old navy SEAL. So I do not like millennials and my hands are weapons. Hooyah.
Tonight’s crowd is weird from the start. A veritable army of feelings warriors, mean lit professors, and elderly spoon nuns packs out every seat in the house. The Host tries her best to get them laughing with some observational takes on myspace.com. Each one of the creatures responds by spitting derision back in her eye from the safety of their own individual palaces of silence. A lone sympathizer responds to a punch-line by politely clearing their throat. Realizing this is the best she’s likely to do, The Host starts listing credits as everyone claps. The animal is hungry and ready to eat. And now it’s Bill’s turn to work.
The spectacle that follows is nothing short of theater mastery. Fifteen seconds is how long it takes for the man to transform the room to pudding. He’s barely uttered three sentences before a woman in the front row guffaws so hard she throws up guac onto the stage. He’s doing whacky faces. He’s moving his hands to mime bringing the hemipenis of a snake to climax. He’s doing impressions of everyone’s race as a milkman. He’s impersonating beloved American president William Henry Harrison.
Understandably, I’m starting to feel a twinge intimidated that I will be following this act. Just from the sheer number of vomiting audience members (one), this set looks like a tough peak to top. At this time I could never imagine the peak of sexual pleasure I will be topping later, with the same man using his legendary physicality for the task of reaping sperms.
Twenty minutes passes like so much sand through a shattered hourglass and all of the laughs have been siphoned out for Bill Burr. He pinwheels his arms as he moves through his big closer.
“You’re a faggot! And you’re a faggot! And you’re a faggot! And you’re a faggot!”
A roar fills the room of a crowd watching a gladiator carve the liver from a lion. You can hear it outside. In the back, I grab the beer bottle from a man overcome with joy and smash it against a wall. The crowd reaction completely drowns out any sound from the glass. The Host points to me for a reminder I’m up next as Bill takes a bow.
We can mostly gloss over the next part. It is a steeply embarrassing fictional set for me, and I wish it had gone another way. I get a few chuckles in with my topical material. The older stuff doesn’t do so well. I mean, this is a crowd that just watched a bald man “milk” a snake using only the power of the human imagination. Not to mention I’m really stretching for time to do 40. I actually spend a good 12 asking a college girl what the weather is outside and then pretending like I can’t hear her and going “did you say rain? What? What is the weather? What?” Long story short, I pale in comparison to Bill. I don’t call anyone a slur, and a guy in the third row actually pulls out a laptop and does some copy editing while I’m on stage, which, as a gesture, can be very hurtful to a performer.
As the crowd is filing out, all I can do is collapse against the back row and sob deeply. The sadness crawls like a wound from my chest to my throat. It sounds like I’m hiding a bird in my shirt. TV’s Raven Simone is there (wow!) and checks to see if there actually is a bird in my shirt, so I spin around suddenly while screaming and smash a second bottle.
“That’s no Raven,” she gasps.
I scream. She screams. We scream together in various pitches and volumes until she decides to attend to business elsewhere in the city.
Now I’m the only one left in the UCB Chelsea. The crowd is gone. The house staff has been chased away. The Host threw her keys at me and turned the lights off. The absinthe has exited my body through the eyes. I am in the dark, alone to dive the sea of entertainment failure: the most perilous journey known to man.
That’s when I feel a brush against my leg.
A rat! I kick out my foot and the trash beast flies into the air, landing drunkenly and skittering into a vent. I can’t believe the Upright Citizens Brigade theater in Chelsea is infested with rats. This is one of the premier comedy venues in America. To think that they have rats crawling around the place mere minutes after the lights turn off is unbelievable. Not to mention a public health issue for thousands of people every week. It’s especially ridiculous, because this place has money coming in hand over fist. And no food to attract rats. There’s really no excuse for them to have any kind of pest problem. How many spiritually barren finance bros give these people bags of gold every month for classes specifically to take care of things like getting rid of rats? And in 2017? This is a pivotal point in human history where the accelerations of climate change and antibacterial resistance are coming to challenge an existential threat to the human species. What an incredible display of non-care. Absolutely incredible. Rats. Is no one going to call the city about this?
In the sudden tussle with the rat, I realize I’ve dropped the keys. I fumble to find them like a blind beggar atop the cobblestones of London in 1804 for at least another 45 minutes.
The streets are completely clear by the time I step back into the cold. There is only one figure left around. Contemporary performance genius Bill Burr. The Bald Bastard. The Man Who Made Philly Cry. He’s not smoking a cigarette, or playing with his phone. He’s just staring and waiting alone in the dark and the cold.
I hide my head in shame and pull on the shutter for the club. It is past my bedtime now, and I need to be home before morning if I want to wake up early and end my life with a blunt instrument.
As I adjust the lock around the gate with my numb paws, a warm hand reaches around my fingers and helps me close the latch. Bill Burr is less than a foot away, staring into the back of my head unblinking.
“Ya gotta lock the gate tight, ya gangly retard.”
A laugh is pulled from my lips. Damn him to hell, he can always make me laugh.
“Ya did really good tonight, asshole,” he still hasn’t blinked, “I think you’re an inspiration.”
I step back with an actor’s gait. “Thank you Mr. Burr, but I don’t think the fine people of New York tonight would agree.”
“Listen, they’re a bunch of fags. I’ve been following your great twitter account @PtakJokes. You’ve got some really great stuff on there. Normally I don’t do much on social media, but you’ve got some really great stuff.”
“You can’t think that. You’re one of the greatest of all time,” I protest.
“But I do. I think you’re criminally under followed on social media and that’s me saying that — the real Bill Burr.”
Naturally, this is all too much. Wet warmth greets my cheek as tears begin to well up again. It’s too warm, even. I open my eyes and realize the moisture isn’t from my tears, but from Bill’s tongue. Its alien tendrils probing my face in small circles like he is Jabba The Hutt and I one of his foreign concubines. His gaping maw emits the noise of a ravenous bear. From up close I cannot only feel, but I can smell his desire. His is a lust that takes on sound and shape and surrounds the human body like a shell casing, eclipsing all notion of an outside world.
The details of our love are not important. The most important thing to understand is that nothing in this story ever came even close to happening, and that I made it all up right now. Just on the spot. Like this isn’t even a 3rd draft. Like if you look back through it, I bet a bunch of the details don’t even line up. I’ve never seen Bill Burr outside of a screen and I’ve never heard anything to make me believe that he is interested in men, or that he pleasures them asexually to make them feel better after a weird show with his mouth.
Also understand that your man splooged gobstoppers.
This article was written by Alex Ptak, a NYC comedian and co-host of the political comedy podcast Left Jest. Alex also wrote a newspaper called The Terrible Tribune and hosts a monthly show, Industry Night, at The Village Lantern. You can find more of Alex on Twitter @PtakJokes and his personal website alexptak.com.
The featured image is original art from NYC comedian and animator Irving George. You can find more of Irving’s work on Twitter @irvillainy, Instagram @irvillainy, and his website irvillainy.tumblr.com.