Five minutes

Hi. I’m John. I’m not much of a comedian - I really don’t even know what I’m doing up here. When people ask me what I do for a living, I do something humiliating: I tell them the truth. I’m a customer service person for an aluminum extrusion plant. People call me up and say “I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH MY ORDER!” and I say “Stop calling me.”

What I would like to say that I do for a living is that “I write.” Basically, I say anything that’s not “I work at a place that requires a tucked-in shirt.” My Instagram profile bio says - you know, all of your pretentious, douche friends who have ‘artist’ or ‘writer’ and ‘activist’ in there. By the way, anyone who writes ‘activist’ in their Instagram profile is not a fucking activist. They signed a petition that if Donald Trump fired some dude, they would bust out the sign that says “IMPEACH BABYKILLER TRUMP!” They’re not a fucking activist. After all, if they’re out marching around in the heat, who’s going to be there to sign all the petitions? They might miss out. They’re as much of an activist as I am a writer. (shocked look) That’s why my Instagram profile just says “John Hart. Genius. Genius. Genius. Good person. Genius..”

I do think that I’m a pretty smart guy, though. The reason for that is that I’ve been told that my entire life. The standard schpeal that everyone my age got as a kid. “You can do anything you want! John, anything you set your mind to. You want to be a writer? You’ll be one. You want to be a comedian? You can be that, too. I’m just one of the stupid idiots who believed that shit.

I’m the one who thought “yeah, sure, I can be funny on stage, why not, I’m a writer - and a genius.” Here, this is me, literally writing for this act: shut up, you genius. You’ll be fine. You won’t bomb. It’ll be fine.

(pause awkwardly for too long of a time)

I mean, I won’t bomb up here tonight - and if you think that I already am, fuck you. See? The prerequisite to bombing a comedy set is giving a fuck about the audience or your performance. No, see, I’m the one on stage. I am, essentially, holding all of you people hostage. Save for a fist fight, I’ll get off when I’m done - or when my time slot is over, (off to the side) thank you very much to the venue hosts for the evening. I appreciate the chance you’ve given me tonight.

(turns back to the audience) As I was saying, fuck you people.

I’m kidding. I don’t hate you - I hate myself. Unless my Instagram bio saying “Genius” didn’t imply that. I’m insecure, and unsure of myself in everything I do. Every time I finish whatever bullshit I’m writing, I immediately turn to everyone else in my life. I present what I’ve created to them, not unlike a six-year-old saying “look at this!” - and it’s just a boulder of Lego bricks they’ve smashed together. From there, one of two things happens:

Either they go “cool, I’ll read it later,” or they say “that’s an interesting Lego boulder you’ve made there. Must’ve been hard. You’re very talented.”

Sometimes I set myself up for failure and I call people on the phone after sending my work to them. I hit ‘send’ on the email and think, like an idiot would, “boy, I wonder if I can trick them into picking up the phone when I call again, like an idiot would.” I call them and say “hey, I was hoping I could get your thoughts on what I sent you.” And they say, “Stop calling me.”

(bullshit sign off “that’s my time,” etc.)

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