There are several goals I want to pursue as I progress through life, and one is to write jokes for both strangers and friends. Some time ago, I asked an actor I admire if I could write a script for him. (It's about a sad billionaire.) He was into it, and since writing for a specific actor has previously been a rewarding experience, it's an opportunity I should probably pursue.
That said, there's a lot of risk and reward in that scenario, and I haven't had the time to work on the project. And if I did have the time, I'd be writing my "Irish Never Quit" script, because it's adorable, it's makeable, and it's kind of important.
I've been outlining "Irish Never Quit" since 2013. As I do that — while focusing my attention on a formal manuscript —
I'd like to write jokes for comedians. I recently went to a comedy club for the first time, and had a wonderful evening out. Much like writing a stage play, writing for comics would offer me a live spark, and make for a great Tuesday night as well.
I have a document full of "normal" jokes, but here is some out-of-the-box material which I could never place in a script.
As a Democrat, one of my favorite things to do is make fun of Democrats. I do a decent Elizabeth Warren impression, but I really enjoy poking light-hearted fun at Cory Booker. Even though I truly adore him, well, watch this link, then read on.
I don’t know how I feel about Cory Booker. Whenever he speaks, there’s a tone to his voice which rubs me the wrong way. Sometimes he makes these videos from his office, and it always seems like he’s being held at knifepoint by kidnappers. “I’m Cory Booker, and I need your help.” The man is very talented, he’s very smart, but he also tries too hard. Cory Booker is like the Anne Hathaway of politicians. Do you know how some people feel about Anne Hathaway? Well, that’s how I feel about Cory Booker. I like Anne Hathaway a lot, I don’t like Cory Booker at all, and I’m going to give you six reasons why.
1) Cory Booker is the kid in middle school who — with about a minute left in class — reminds the teacher that they forgot to collect last night’s homework assignment. He’ll be like, “Mrs. Smith: I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you that you forgot to collect our homework. It’s imperative that our commitment to responsibility is recognized as such, through daily checks and balances.” So, the teacher thanks him, collects the homework, and it ticks everyone off. You’re like, “Man, why would you do that?” And instead of apologizing, Cory Booker doubles down. He asks why you didn’t do the homework. You’re like, “Guess what, dippy? I did do the homework, but other people didn’t, and maybe it’ll be one of us next time.” And then he hits you with that high road nonsense. He’ll be like, “David. Whatever hatred you have in your heart for me, is only surpassed by the love I have in my heart for you. You’re like, “Ah, shut up, Cory.”
2) Sometimes you have a party or a wedding to go to, and you’re feeling uncomfortable about showing up for one reason or another. But then you get there, you have something to eat and drink, you starting talking to a few people, and before you know it, you’re having fun. Maybe you even start dancing a little. By the end of the night, you’ve had a better time than you ever thought possible. Then you go home, and you have a good night’s sleep. But the next day at breakfast, Cory Booker is the uncle from out of town who has to ruin everything. He’ll be like, “Someone was cutting a rug last night!” And then you never want to go to a party again. You never want to have fun again. Two years later, you’re sitting alone at a Sweet Sixteen, and your dad comes up to you. He’ll be like, “You used to like to dance. What happened to my little girl?” You’re like, “Ugh.” (Cory Booker is the uncle who has to point out that you were dancing.)
3) You know when you want to buy something expensive, like a winter coat, or maybe a watch? You tell yourself that it’s a timeless piece, and it can last 20 or 30 years, or even a lifetime. So, you buy the coat, you wear it for the first time, and guess what happens? People tell you that you look great. People love it, and you love it, too. Well, Cory Booker is the friend who sees you in it and says, “You paid how much? Why didn’t you ask me? I could've gotten you 30% off!” And then, for the rest of your life, every time you wear the coat, you think of Cory Booker saying, “I could’ve gotten you...30% off. And I could’ve gotten you...the friends and family discount.”
4) You know when you’ve got a new boyfriend, and you meet his friends one night? It’s going well, everyone is personable, everyone is welcoming. But then, at the end of the night, Cory Booker swings by your table. Cory Booker is the guy who tells you that your boyfriend’s previous girlfriends were way prettier than you are, but your boyfriend likes you so much more, because you’re smart...and you’re down to earth. You’re smart and down to earth, not like those other girlfriends, who were resplendent and sophisticated. You’re like, “Wow, great. Smart and down to earth — that’s me.”
5) If you say Cory Booker’s name three times, he’ll show up at your door. Then, he'll ask to borrow your grill. When you say yes, and offer to take him to the garage, he’ll be like, “Don’t worry about it. I noticed your garage was open Saturday, so I already borrowed it. I just haven’t got around to asking for it yet.” (Cory Booker’s one of those guys.)
6) Cory Booker is the rich girl in first grade who invites you over her house. It happens out of nowhere, so you’re excited, because she’s pretty, she’s popular, and you didn’t know she thought of you as friendship material. Now, after your moms talk on the phone, they’ll make plans for you to go over her house. It’ll be after school on a Friday. When Friday afternoon rolls around, you ride home with Cory Booker on the bus, and you arrive at her house. You meet her mom, you have a snack, and you talk a little bit about your life with Mrs. Booker: Where you are, where you’ve been, where you’re going.
At some point, Mrs. Booker gives you a knowing smile and says something to the effect of, “I’ll leave you two ladies alone.” Then she takes off, and you and Cory roll your eyes, because even though you’re in first grade, you know when someone’s mom is being corny, if not flat-out patronizing.
So, Cory takes you to her room, and it’s a big bedroom. It’s a really big bedroom. It’s bigger than your parents’ bedroom. From there, on the dresser, you see Cory Booker’s Barbie doll collection. She has to have two hundred dolls at the least. Soon enough, you’re sitting on her bed playing with Barbies, and it’s all very first grade, it’s all very fun.
But that’s when things take a turn. Cory asks to borrow the Barbie you brought over, in exchange for one of hers. Just for the weekend, and you’ll trade back on Monday. The problem is, Cory Booker has 200 Barbies — just a massive collection — but you only have five. Also, this is your newest one, the one you have in rotation right now. You’re bored with the other ones, so for all intents and purposes, this is your one Barbie. This is your ride or die doll.
Now, when Cory asks to borrow it for the weekend — in exchange for one of hers — you feel like you can’t say no. Maybe you even mumble something about needing to get permission from your mom. Either way, it’s irrelevant, because Cory Booker pushes you. She pushes you, and you relent, because again, she’s pretty, she’s popular, and you do generally like her. So, you go home with one of her amazing Barbies. Maybe it’s a Trisha Yearwood Barbie. Maybe it’s an Ava DuVernay Barbie. Of course, none of that matters, because it’s not your Barbie. It is Not Your Barbie.
So, you’re stressing out about the doll all weekend. It’s the worst weekend of your life. You do manage to find moments of serenity and even pockets of happiness, but they’re fleeting, because in the aggregate, you’re miserable. You're not a happy girl. Thankfully, Monday rolls around, and you get your doll back. But what happens? Your worst fears are realized. In an instant, you notice something. You notice a permanent crease in your Barbie’s hair. You notice a Permanent Crease...in Your Barbie’s Hair. And it’s that specific-looking crease in blonde doll hair that just stands out. It stands out, and your eye is drawn to it every time you look at the Barbie. In fact, any time anyone looks at the Barbie, you know their eye will be drawn to it as well, and it’ll reflect poorly on you. (Sadly, it’s your first experience with society judging you for being a bad mother. It’s a harbinger of things to come.)
Now, you immediately notice the damage to your Barbie, so you turn to Cory Booker. You're both distraught and angry, yet you remain calm, then plainly state your case. You show her the crease in your Barbie's hair. And do you know how Cory responds? Do you know what she says? She looks at your Barbie, she looks at you, and then has the nerve to say this:
“It was like that when you gave it to me.” It Was Like That...When You Gave it to Me.
So, Cory Booker lies to you about the crease in your doll’s hair, and it makes you mad. It makes you really mad. You’re like, “Uh, no, it wasn’t like that when I gave it to you. I don’t get permanent creases in my Barbie’s hair. I only have five of them, so I have to take care of them. My parents aren’t rich like yours are.”
Of course, you have the presence of mind to leave that last part out about Cory being rich, because you don’t want to draw attention to the socioeconomic gulf that divides you. Because a potential friendship with a girl like Cory Booker isn’t important for the relationship in and of itself, it’s important for the social standing it affords you as you progress to second grade, third grade, and beyond. So, again, you ask Cory Booker why she got a crease in your doll’s hair, but this time, Cory Booker says something different. She says, “My mom will buy you a new one. Next weekend...my mom will buy you a new one.” And before you can mount your righteous, feeble response, Cory Booker snatches the Barbie out of your hands, and then she walks away.
You go home, and that night, when you’re in bed and trying to fall asleep, you keep replaying the scene in your head. You’re processing it. You’re like, “Wait. First she tried to say that my Barbie was already damaged. Then she moved on to ‘My mom will buy you a new one.’ She never admitted to the lie. She Never Admitted...to the Lie. So once again, that makes you mad. It makes you furious. Because to top it all off, Cory snatched your Barbie, and then she took off with it. Fine, you don’t want a damaged doll, but you didn’t expect to part with it, either. And now, things are really spiraling.
So, a week goes by, and you’re getting nervous. You’re reasonably confident that Cory Booker will replace your Barbie, but you’re still getting nervous. It’s causing you so much anxiety. And it’s that particular brand of childhood anxiety that’s so insidious, because you don’t have a career or kids to worry about — you don’t even like boys yet — so all you do is focus and obsess on this one Barbie doll. Worse, you have no agency. You’re still in first grade, so you can’t drive to the store or buy one online, so that gripping, helpless anxiety just builds...and builds...and builds.
Soon enough, you remind Cory for the first time, and she says that you need to relax. She’s like, “I told you my mom will replace it. Stop being dramatic.” So, again, you go home, and you play the scene out in your head. You’re ruminating. You’re thinking to yourself, “Wait, Cory Booker. You ruined my Barbie. Why am I being made to feel like I’m overreacting here? I’m being dramatic for worrying about my Barbie? I am, when you initially skirted any and all responsibility for creasing her hair in the first place?”
Now, the problem is exacerbated by the fact that you can’t ask your mom to intervene and mediate. You know she won’t get it. She’s a mom, so she no longer understands how to navigate early childhood friendships. They’re very postmodern, they’re very nuanced. Your mom’s going default the obvious. She’ll just victim blame. She’ll be like, “Well, why did you lend her your Barbie in the first place?” And it’s not her fault for asking that, but telling your mom will only worry her, and it’ll move you backwards, not forwards.
So, the next time you remind Cory Booker about your damaged Barbie, she cuts you off. She’ll say, “You should be happy. When you get the new Barbie, you'll replace your old one with a new one. You should be happy, because it’ll be better than the one you had.” It'll Be Better Than the One You Had. And you’re like, “Uh, that’s not the point. I don’t want a new doll, I didn’t want you ruining this one. That’s why I didn’t want to let you borrow the doll in the first place. I knew this would happen. I knew this would happen, and now my mom’s going to be so upset with me.” Then, despite your best efforts, you start to cry, and your peers are there to see it. You Start to Cry...and Your Peers Are There to See It.
Finally, about two weeks go by, you’ve given up hope, and that’s when Cory Booker comes through with the new Barbie. Of course, by that time, your interest has waned, because it’s not the same doll. It doesn’t have the same soul, so you went through all that hassle, all that acrimony, all that distress...for nothing. And now, the experience has soured you. Not only on Barbies, but on childhood. Not only on childhood, but on life. Why? Because this sad perversion of justice is the first time you’ve wrestled with the complexities and vagaries of the human condition. Plus, the same injustice that occurs with the Barbie? It gets buried under an avalanche of far worse injustice that comes roaring through your childhood. It just comes barreling through. From there, later in adolescence, no matter who you are, no matter how much you blossom or how well you shine, people will diminish you. People will diminish you with the things they say to you...and the things they do to you. And what happens is this: Ten years go by, and you’re a junior in high school. One day, your mom’s driving you home, and things are quiet between you. You’re staring out the window in detached teenage melancholy. After a while, your mom's like, “Hey. Why don’t you hang out with that girl Cory Booker anymore? And you’re like, “Eh. I dunno.”
Anyway. That's why I don’t like Cory Booker. She’ll put a permanent crease in your Barbie’s hair, and say it was like that when you gave it to her. She’ll put a permanent crease in your Barbie’s hair...and say it was like that when you gave it to her.