COVID, Fear, Death, and Sharing Your Art. Neat!

What a time to be alive. I haven’t done comedy in a few days because I’ve been a little under the weather. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s a weird time to be under the weather. There used to be a time where you would simply rest up, drink some emergen-C, and play with your wiener a little more than normal, but now… it’s not so simple. Now, any time a breeze of air tickles your throat in the wrong manner or your nose has a wee bit too much stuff in it, you wonder  “do I have COVID!? Should I get a test? Should I isolate? Why did Kevin Cash take out Blake Snell in game 6 of the World Series last year? Who’s REALLY in charge these days?” These… these are the questions. I think we’ve all got more questions than answers. At least that’s how it should be. You ever meet someone who seems to think they know it all? I’d rather hang out with the person who asks dumb questions. At least they’re funny.

The point is, I don’t think many of us know much about COVID because I don’t think many of us know much about anything at all. My stance is to be cautious and considerate, but not afraid. A lot of people (especially in this country) fear death. Personally, I’m much more concerned about a bunch of live people who are living in fear. “A bunch of live people.” That sounds… terrible. What a phrase to use. “What are all these live people doing here!?” said the angry old man, who just wanted to snag a box of Oreo cookies at the store after his weekly bridge game.

The point is, I don’t think death is very scary. It’s mysterious, but I accept it. I’m not afraid of something that I know is going to happen. I don’t know when I’ll die, but I will die. We can be sure of that. Will my soul live on? Does something greater await on the other side? Who knows! There’s only one way to find out!

Well, shit. I’ve got bad news. I just killed myself and now I’m back, here… in this room. We’re living in a loop, people! There’s no escape! Aaaaaahhhhhh!

I’ve been trying to write this joke about death for approximately two years now, and I just haven’t been able to get it right. The problem is that it’s not funny. That’s kind of a requirement for a joke, so that’s a bit of an issue. I know how to lead into the topic, but I can’t seem to find a way to combine solid punchlines with the point I’m trying to make. I have a joke that’s been working pretty well, where I say “Hey, don’t you guys think Kobe Bryant took helicopter parenting a little too far?” and I want to talk about how it’s actually a healthy thing to laugh at that joke because it means you’ve accepted your death or death in general.

I’ve developed fragments of funny around the concept, but it hasn’t come together yet. I wrote this part, which I self-grade at a 7/10 on the funny scale.

“Nobody dies anymore, that’s a problem. Everyone used to just die. Like if you got sick, you didn’t go to the doctor’s office. People would just be like “enjoy the next couple days I guess…

Whoa whoa do not… do not fucking hug me. I’m supposed to get a letter next week. My wife sent it six years ago, and I need to read that. I cannot get polio right now, okay? Go die over there, I can’t handle this right now.”

Anyways, I’ll figure it out. I’m trying to be more transparent about the process of joke writing and the process of creating in general. Anastasia was recently talking about how we shouldn’t latch on to our art and our creations, but share them as much as possible, and as is usually the case, she’s right on the money. I’ll probably write a separate post about my continued love story that seems to defy reality. Long story short, we didn’t talk for a couple months and I was really depressed. Fingers crossed, but it looks like we’ll actually be able to see each other soon.

The point is, we shouldn’t be selfish with the things we create. Because are they really ours? When I write a poem, I try to take myself out of the equation. I don’t try to write anything at all. It may sound a little hippy-esque, but I just let the words come to me. I don’t actually feel like it’s me writing the poem. I feel like the words are already out there and they’re just using me as a filter. There’s something that needs to be said and it’s floating around in the ether like a lost little virus that just needs a host to become a poem. I’m the host. The words pass through me and onto the page so other people can read the message quickly and easily instead of having to take mushrooms and meditate for three hours until it finally shows up.

So, yeah. Cheers! Cheers to art, wherever the hell it comes from!

Jason Brendel
Jason Brendel

Jason Brendel is an author, poet, and comedian from Northern California. Navigate the buttons below to follow him on social media or purchase his collection of laugh-out-loud poetry on Amazon.

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