I’m no longer welcome at the hot new board for comedians. Me and my big mouth!
The kid who runs the board at one time prided himself as the enfant terrible of the Boston comedy scene, as well as the enfant terrible of the Kvetch Board. Oh, the days and nights I spent cleaning up after one of his patented let’s-stir-up-shit sessions. The sad day when the owner of the board said to ban him. And the other sad day when the owner of the board said to ban him. And the one after that, too. Fuck the structure, he declaimed! Don’t censor my thoughts and words, you small minded cretanic cunt! I have just as much right to voice my opinion in public as the useless pieces of shit that continue to foul the waters of comedy with their very presence! Yes, those were fun times!
I never quite understood why he always came back to the board he couldn’t stand; the board that didn’t understand him; the people he despised. Maybe he just needed to let them know that, despite the fact that he hadn’t written any new material in a year and a half, that he was still just as sharp as he was in his hey-day when club after club asked (sometimes politely) never to return.
So when he emailed me to ask for help setting the board up, I couldn’t resist. Sure, I bore his wrath in the past. Sure, he called me a useless cunt. But there’s something sweetly pathetic about someone who considers you worthless asking for your help. It’s adorable, really, to think that I might have been fourth or fifth on list. Or that I was the only one he could think of. No matter.
Have you ever read the book Geek Love? It’s about husband and wife that ingest drugs, chemicals and anything they can think of in order to give birth to horrifying, mutated circus freaks. Wouldn’t you, too, jump at the chance to help a freak find its way into the world? I would! Hell, yes, I would! And since it’s my metaphor, I get to be the sperm that fertilizes the egg. Imagine the fireworks! The verbal carnage! At last, a place where there were no rules and you could say whatever the hell you wanted because you owned it! MAN, that would be cool!
I said, MAN, that would be cool!
I SAID…well, maybe not.
But maybe, instead of a no-holds-barred, wild-west shoot ’em up, it would turn into an invite only forum to weed out the lame-os. Or evovle into sludge-y morass with lots and lots of rules. Perhaps it might take on all the wit and sponteneity of a sitcom pilot. And fake fights. Not just fake fights but long, drawn-out lead-ins to fake fights filled with rules about how and when to post, who would judge, and how to score them. And…
You get the idea – an abortion.
And through it all, vague threats of getting kicked out if you posted on Kvetch. And a tacit understanding that criticism was not all that welcome. And nicknames. No nicknames. So, after a couple of weeks when I got the quaintly passive-aggressive email telling me he wanted to delete hbee (too Kvetch-y) and would I mind signing up under my real name, well, what could I say to the now enfant feeble except fuck you? Answer – nothing else. Not a goddamn thing. Especially when the kid uses an nickname himself.
It’s one thing to casually post on message boards with a bunch of like minded friends. It’s quite another to have the specter of the admin hanging over your head, finger on the delete button, judging to see whether your posts are up to his standard. I get this sadly desparate feeling that this could be it for him. If he can’t attract talent (whatever the hell that means) to this board that can…what? Conduct completely forced humorous conversations? Placate the web-surfing public that comes to watch the monkeys perform in a cage? Create some kind of cool-kids’ lunch table that everyone clammers to join?
So, we’ve gone from fuck-you-the-web-forum-I-don’t-own-MUST-tolerate-my-bullshit to I-own-this-web-forum-and-I-will-not-tolerate-your-bullshit.
What can you say but – WOW.
But let’s end of something constructive –
There’s a story in AA about a group of folks disillusioned with most of the meetings they attended. One day, they decided to sit down and figure out the formula to a good meeting. It took a couple of days of haggling and discussion, but finally they came up with a list of fifty-one rules. For the sake of brevity, I won’t list them here.
They celebrated the list by going to a local bar and getting shitfaced. With the new rules to perfect meetings agreed and voted on, they took it to the Central Office to bestow upon the rest of AA the benefit of their groundbreaking labor. No more strife at meetings attended by alcoholics!
The head of the Central Office read the list carefully, nodding and murmuring his approval. He asked for a couple of minutes alone to think about it. The group sat in the lobby waiting for the verdict.
“It’s a great list,” the head said, “a really great list. You’ve covered just about everything.”
The group smiled and tried to look humble.
“There’s only one more rule that I can think of that really needs to be on here. I wrote it at the bottom under Rule 51. Other than that, don’t change a thing. Thanks for all of your effort.”
He dropped the list on the table in front of them and headed back to his head office. They didn’t all jump at once. That would have been rude, but once they identified who would get to read Rule 52, they sat back and waited.
“Rule 52,” she read after clearing her throat, “Don’t take yourselves so goddamn seriously.”