New Material

If it weren't for space exploration we wouldn't have all this new, space-age material.

If it weren’t for space exploration we wouldn’t have all this new, space-age material.

I’m in the middle of attempting to write 20 minutes of new stand-up material over a 20 day period. This is several orders of magnitude more than I would normally write. I don’t think I’ll succeed but I figure that that even if I fall well short I’ll end up with more new material than I would otherwise. And new material is fun-to-perform material.

Bold text represents the new jokes I’ll will be debuting tonight at a fundraiser in Oxnard, California.

Can you predict how well any given joke will be received? Let me know which ones you think will be worth trotting out to a second audience and which ones will spook me sufficiently that I don’t dare to try them ever again. Don’t be shy and remember: I appreciate your input!

(Note: Gentle Reader – Please read the words below as though they were being spoken on the stage rather read from the page. If you’d like to familiarize yourself with my delivery, visit my stand-up channel on YouTube.)


I’ll tell you a little about myself before we get started: I’m married. I got married old school – to a woman.

Getting married was the best decision I ever made. I’ll never forget sliding on that wedding ring for the very first time and thinking “I am someone else’s problem now”.

We got off to a rocky start right when I decided to use “air quotes” during the exchange of wedding vows.

We have three kids – one of each.

We were extremely fortunate the way it worked out for us in that regard: we actually planned each of our children, although I should point out we didn’t actually get any of the ones that we planned.

I love having kids – they’re like forgivable versions of yourself. 

The worst thing I can say about living with small children is that every horizontal surface of our home is covered with Legos. Our house got to the point where I finally had to put my foot down – and it hurt like hell.

Our youngest is a two-year old girl – this kid has not slept once in her entire life. Isn’t it amazing how you can love a kid before it’s even born but not afterwards?

She was born during the SuperBowl but thanks to TiVo I didn’t have to miss the game. In fact, I can now watch her being born anytime I want.

Our oldest is a teenager. That’s a cute age, isn’t it? I often wonder if all teenagers rebel regardless of the culture they grow up in. I always imagine some 13-year old kid growing up in the deep, dark jungles of Brazil. One day he comes home and decides he’s not going to wear that bone in his nose anymore. Do his parents give him “the speech”? “As long as you’re living in my thatched hut you’re wearing a bone in your nose. Now take off that suit and tie and strap a leaf between your legs – you look ridiculous.”

My wife is from Germany and we were told that if my wife only speaks German to the kids and I only speak to them in English then they’ll eventually learn both languages fluently. And that’s precisely how it worked for our daughters but the boy is now 6-years old and speaks only Dutch.

Dutch is a loopy-sounding language, isn’t it? It’s like German after three-too-many Heinekens. Actually, he speaks German and English very well. He does get the two confused, though. He’ll say things like “airplane haben” or “Lass uns outside laufen”. It’s cute now because he’s six. What about when he gets to college and says things like “Boys: let’s get hammerschlubend”.

Having bilingual children has made me appreciate how tricky English can be to learn. For example, everyday I’ll have the same conversation with my son. He’ll say “Dad, look what I did do”. Then I’ll explain “Now Luke, remember, in English you never say “Look what I did do”. It’s “Look what I did”. Then he’ll dutifully reply “Look what I did.” Then I say “Very good. Now what did you do?”

German, on the other hand, is a great language for cutting somebody down to size. If you’ve ever been chastised in English, have it translated into German and you’ll realize how easy you got off. In German, even “I love you” sounds like “We have ways of making you talk”.

Kids today seem so far removed from anything remotely dangerous or unhealthy. I grew up on a steady diet of toy guns and candy cigarettes. Where were my parents, you ask? In the living room going through a pack of real cigarettes a day.

As a comedian married to a German, needless to say, I sometimes have to go outside the marriage for laughs. Let’s face it: trying to make a German laugh is like looking for Dick Cheney at Burning Man for crying out loud.

We argue about money sometimes. For example, she thinks we can afford a pool boy but I’m worried that if I cave on that we’re going to have to end up getting a pool as well.

She thinks I’m bad with money. How can I be bad with money when I’ve never even had any?

Sometimes my wife will see me looking at other women and then accuse me of comparing her to them, which is ridiculous because when I look at other women my wife is the last thing on my mind.

To the extent that there’s any friction between us, though, it’s generally due to cultural differences. For example, after even by best shows my wife usually has nothing to say about it. I used to take it personally but I’ve since learned that for Germans, the absence of criticism is the highest form of praise.

And Sabine thinks the baby ought to play with these wooden toys they made by hand in Germany; I’m American and think she ought to play with plastic toys mass-produced in China.

We do both believe in working hard but even there we’re often at odds: as an American I work hard so that she doesn’t have to and as a German she works hard so that Greeks don’t have to.

We’ve lived in  Germany and for several years but decided to settle in the U.S., though we had different motivations for doing so: she just wants to enjoy California’s year-round climate and I just want her to have the right to remain silent.

I enjoyed living in Europe because every city is so unique. Venice, for example: a beautiful, romantic city. Although I don’t think I’d enjoy it as much without my wife. Amsterdam, on the other hand, is even more enjoyable.

My wife’s becoming quite the wine aficionado – she cal tell a red from a white and stuff.

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