How to embarrass your kids in public

Whenever  I’m out and about with my kids and they tell me I’m embarrassing them by existing in any capacity, like for instance the annoying habit I have of converting oxygen to carbon dioxide, I like to kick it up a notch  by showing them what it really means to be embarrassed because they have no freaking clue.  I grew up with a mom who chain smoked and wore “housecoats” 24 hours a day no matter who was visiting, and a dad who  inspired countless episodes of “What Not To Wear.”  My parents and their wardrobe were constantly embarrassing me. Like the time  I spotted my dad outside of my high school during third period taking pictures of the marquee because it featured my name and my status as a National Latin Scholar.  ( I know, being a National, not Regional,  Latin Scholar is pretty cool, so you think that would outweigh the horror of seeing your father outside on the lawn snapping pictures with a disposable camera, a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, wearing cargo shorts/white tank combo, athletic socks, and black Velcro shoes while doing it, it doesn’t).  So, in order to really teach my kids a life lesson, and yours as well because I know I’m not the only one dealing with assholery,  I’ve compiled a brief list of ways to embarrass our offspring.  Feel free to use them at no cost to you (except for the therapy bills you’ll be paying to reverse their childhood trauma). Let me know how it goes.

1. Flossing- not the dental kind, the dancing kind,  though I imagine if you started flossing your teeth in public that would also be pretty embarrassing, so go ahead and add that to the list.

2.  Billy Bob Thornton Sling Blade voice- loud and relentless.  I recommend watching the movie as a family first and then going to Applebee’s and ordering for everyone at your table in this voice.

3.  Ed Grimly walk- must include hop and pants pulled to chest height while exclaiming, “I must say it’s pretty decent!” (If you’re wearing mom jeans like I am it’s easy to accomplish the pants to chest).  I recommend watching old SNL sketches to fully get in character and whipping out the walk next time you’re clothes shopping with them at a mall. While their friends are there.

4.  Toilet paper on the bottom of the shoe-  not just a square, but like literally a whole roll of toilet paper glued to the bottom of your shoe. Walk around like you’re oblivious to it.  Also works if you put a large stream of it hanging out of the back of your pants.  Bonus points if you can pull this off at  a neighborhood fest after coming out of a Porta-John.

These are my top four go-to-moves for embarrassing my kids, but eating an Oreo and pushing the chocolate into my teeth and talking loudly to strangers while they watch mortified, and rapping  to a song that I barely know the words to but still doing it confidently, (like Ice Tea’s “Colors”  or  DMX’s “ Party Up”) with the windows down at a stop light, are some other quick yet effective ways to also make your kids cringe.  And yes, fully aware that I am a psychopath walking, nightmare-mom talking and I will likely end up in a nursing home, but it will be one hell of a party up in there, up in there when I do.

So, you’re friends with a comedian

Sometimes, if you’re very lucky, or if you’ve made very questionable choices in life, you might find yourself friends with a stand up comedian.  That’s fortunate for you because that means: A) all of your hang outs will be a regular laugh riot and you’ll get to meet A- List celebrities and walk red carpets because of your association with them.  Or it might mean B) you never see them because they’re working through crippling depression and/or anxiety, or depending on the stage of their career, it might mean you never see them because C) they are sitting at an open mic waiting for three minutes of mic time after 3 hours of wait time, or they’re working at a comedy club/coffee shop/bakery/drug rehabilitation facility/tikki theme restaurant/banquet hall/dive bar/women’s shelter/bookstore/sausage festival/pizza place/church basement/elementary school gym/theater/casino/university/men’s prison/town square telling jokes (all real places where either myself or other comedian-friends slang jokes).

Truthfully, Scenario A, B, or C is very likely, except for A unless you’re friends with Kevin Hart, Amy Schumer, or Joan Rivers which in case of the latter, I’m very sorry for your loss, and in the case of the former, please introduce me to their managers.

In any case, if indeed you find that you are friends with a stand up comic, continue reading for helpful advice or rules that will allow you to reap the benefits of this friendship and avoid becoming material for their “skits”.

Rule 1: Comedians do not have “skits”.  Do not call their act a “skit”, unless you are an elderly man who grew up in the golden area of black and white television where comedians like Milton Berle and Jack Benny performed skits on tv and harassed women both on and off of it.   If this is you, then you get a pass and you can call it a “skit” (but you don’t get a pass for racist or sexists comments anymore, so cut that shit out already).  For anyone else under the age of 85, comedians have “material,” “acts,” or “bits” calling them “skits” is likely to get you an eye roll or written into their act or bit.

Which brings us to Rule Number 2:  Your comedian friend is not going to use you in their act because you are not as funny or interesting as you think you are.  So don’t ever say to your comedian friend, “hey, you can use this in your skit/act/bit/material” because they won’t and it’s annoying when you suggest it.  The only time they will use you in their act is when you absolutely don’t want them to and there’s nothing you or your lawyer can do about it.

Rule Number 3: Refrain from asking your comedian friend why they haven’t been on  Saturday Night Live (which most cast members who are on it have primarily more of a sketch background, not stand up background anyway so asking that is irrelevant) or why they haven’t been on Conan yet.  Just don’t.  We don’t ask you why you haven’t reached your goal weight yet, so let’s just leave it at that, shall we?

Rule Number 4:  Go to shows if comedy is your thing or you want to support your friend in their comedy, but please for the love of all that is holy, do not heckle.  This goes for all comedy shows whether you know the comedian or not.  Comedians do not “need help”  you’re not “being funny.” If you heckle, you’re being an asshole.  Trust me, no comedian goes to work thinking, “man, I hope I get heckled tonight. That would be fantastic if someone just started yelling out random garbage during my set!”  Comedians work on their act for years, literally an hour set may take 5-10 years of honing and re-writing, so when an audience member interrupts their cadence or steps on a punchline, it can derail the whole set and ruins it for everyone else.  Unless a comedian asks the audience a question. or asks an audience member for specific feedback, you should never shout out or yell at a comic on stage whether they’re your friend or not.  If you feel the urge to heckle, punch yourself in the face. It will be less painful than having a comedian rip you apart in front of your buddies or a room full of strangers.

I hope you found this blog post helpful.  If you liked it, give it a like or leave me a comment.  How else will I know who my friends are?