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  • Writer's pictureunkillbilly

Great Gig In the Sky

Shit. Another one bites the dust. Carl Reiner, lived to be 98, best friends with Mel Brooks, has made the transition. I can almost hear the angels cracking up…

Carl was a bit older than me.


He was very familiar. So much of his work found its way into my sense of humor. He was part of an era of comics that featured such heavyweights Neal Simon, Wooden Allen, Mel Brooks, all of whom were engrained in my thoughts and behavior. I became a class clown because my mom took me to see movies like "Take the Money and Run" and "Young Frankenstein".

Even in his nineties, Carl was a hoot. I saw him a couplethree times in the last year, always in tandem with his buddy, Mel Brooks. Those two. They were class clowns their whole lives! And I mean from cradle to grave. Well, grave for Carl.

Making people laugh is a big deal. Yeah, yeah, sometimes you feel like the Court Jester, if you're not a midget, you'll get over it. What? What'd I say? Oh. I used the M-word. My bad. Little person. What?! Isn't that what you call them. Wait, wait, you don't 'call' them anything, you address them politely. If you can. Some midgets are dicks. What? I give up.

But seriously, if I've ever felt a purpose, something strong always in my consciousness, it's been to make people laugh. I thought I wanted to do it professionally, which, while I didn't attain the career I desired, I went to L.A. in 78 and tried to make it as a stand-up comic. I lasted a year on a steady diet of open mics and minor paid gigs. I didn't like L.A. Or Catalina for that matter.

That's a fine purpose to have, is it not? Make people laugh. Ever studies the science of laughter? I have. I'd go over it, but the science of laughter is not funny. It's science.

I'm glad I'm not a scientist, rocket or otherwise. I just don't know how I feel about science in general. On the one hand, it has enabled some great accomplishments…and on the other hand, it's enabled some horrific atrocities. Right? The atom bomb is a stumble, for humans, far as I’m concerned. Lots of things line up behind the bomb, a long, long line, shit, produced by science, killing us. Dead dead.

Hey, Dave Barry, my hero, has identified as humorist. He's part of the HCSUCJ movement. Big, I hear, might even make donations, I don't know for sure. Being a humorist would be better than being hummus. I don't think I even have to defend that last sentence. And I for damn sure won't explain it.

What's in a name, anyway? Why, holy crap, everything is in the name. That's why I can't see why people insist on naming there kids. You could use the Dewey Decimal system—till they're old enough to pick their own names. What? That's not completely ridiculous. Oh yeah? Okay, you're right, that's completely ridiculous.

Thus, we have stage names. Right? Don't like your name, you take on a stage name. Happens at all levels of what they call Talent. Prince didn't like his name, so he became Prince. I think that's totally cool. In fact, if you use your real name in the field of Talent, somethin's wrong with you. For real, here's your chance. Wanna be Lady Ga Ga, BAM! There you go.

You could have a collection of identities. Like me. I've moved through four identities in my lifetime (all of them modeled after Raoul Duke in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"), to this, my fifth identity, unkillbilly. I keep my alters in the back seat of 1964 ½ Cadillac Coupe de Ville. Each of them has a role in the current identity, if only to give me shit when I phuck things up. But, see, if you're ever worried about unkillbilly isolating, you don't have to—I've got my collection to have fun with.

Purpose, identity—this started off as a tribute to Carl Reiner. Kinda got sidetracked.

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