I was silly… so damned silly… Ten at night and there I was, wrist deep in Cheetos, drowning myself in Beer with my old friends Sorrow and Regret (not bragging), and watching Comedy Central when Jeff Ross happens upon my TV. “Well” I think to myself, “this guys always good for a laugh, let’s listen…” It was a Roast, so one by one he went on to insult everyone on the dais, until he said these words:
“How is it possible that Courtney Love looks worse than Kurt Cobain?”
Up I leaped, Cheetos asunder… “To the iPad!!!” I bellowed… “there will be a reckoning!!!” I sat, I thought, I steamed, I crafted… After 5 minutes of furious writing (pecking at a tablet) I had what I thought to be the most insulting, hate soaked piece of vitriol I could conjure. My intention was to email Jeff Ross and try to get across how much it hurt me that he would disrespect Kurt Cobain that way. Silly, right? Well, I know that now, but at that moment, all I could feel was hurt. This man on TV, with his fur coat and his jokes, laughing at what?! Him? Kurt??
I’m not alone in saying that I love Kurt Cobain. Always will. He was in my head phones on the way home from school, on my radio in my room, and in my mind during many other times that I was alone. He was scared, he was hurt, he was fucked up. His songs were poetry, chaos, answers, questions. He told us about loving, hurting, how to say “Fuckit!” through it all, how to say whatever comes out when you can’t hold anymore frustration and a little has to escape through the top. It seemed he felt like us, and maybe had been through the experiences required to understand what we were going through. So, enraged as I was at his insult, I wrote a letter to Jeff Ross, read it through once, and decided to sleep on it.
My reaction that day had a bit to do with booze, I’ll admit, and so it follows that the next morning I had forgotten all about the letter I had drafted. Fast forward many months to a few weeks ago… My friend and I are walking down the hall of the legendary “The Comedy Store” and as we pass the main room, I double back a few steps to peer in… “It’s Jeff Ross!” Star struck as I was, my Cobain beef was the furthest thing from my mind, so my equally excited friend and I crept in to watch from the back.
Not surprisingly, Jeff was doing crowd work and being an awesome insult comic. He was picking people out of the crowd, and personalizing the show for them, giving them attention, a story, a moment of novelty… a connection. He was magical. Then he picked up a guitar, sat on a stool, and started improvising a song. It didn’t seem to make much sense. It was very funny though, and a theme started developing: Having a shitty day. Yep, Jeff sat and improvised cheesy rhymes about things like stubbing your toe, getting fired, and getting cheated on by your lover. He punctuated the song with “That ever happen to you guys?” and “What else, you guys?” …
That’s when I started crying.
Pain. He was sharing pain with us.
He was inviting us to share our pain with him. It struck me hard, I mean like yo-mama-was-a-line-backer hard.
Jeff Ross is a healer.
He is gently reminding us that we are all at least a little miffed at all the noise, and that it’s hard everywhere. No one feels the most pain in the room, and no one is more pity worthy than any-fucker-else.
To anyone with the nerve to ask Daniel Tosh to answer to shit… any of the current greats… let alone any unfortunate soul that may have ever suggested to George Carlin that he rethink his “Seven Dirty Words”…
Even Michael Richards, or whatever more racist, or debaucherous, or vile example… however distasteful you might find it… Is intelligence your issue? Or perhaps it’s sexuality in some form? Tell me, you who apparently has only one problem or affliction; where were you for the Niggers and Faggets and Midgets? Are you offended? What topic would you like us all to shy away from? What can not be talked about?
After all, your feelings are at stake here, right?
Sometimes we want to laugh at the things that scare us. We all carry stuff around that we’re dealing with, and the load is easier to bear when we can share it. When we laugh at something bad, that’s the one moment that that thing is powerless. For that moment, even “that” can’t hurt us.
It is my opinion that whatever good may be gained by holding comics responsible for protecting everyone’s delicate sensibilities is woefully detrimental to the healing conduit that is laughter.
Just for shits…
Note from the author:
I am new to writing, so if anyone has some actually constructive criticism for me, I am open and grateful. If, however, you have criticism that is not constructive, it had better be funny or go fuck yourself 🙂