“Republican Standup: Fundraiser” (Story)
Do Republicans have a sense of humor?
Can they take a joke? Seriously, can they laugh at themselves?
Richard Charmer is a Republican standup comedian having a crisis of political faith. Everything he believes in is crashing down around him. Time to take another tablet.
“Republican Standup: Fundraiser” is a tragically funny political story. What happens when a man loses respect for his own politics?
What happens when the joke’s on the joker?
‘Are there any conservative comedians out there? I looked everywhere but couldn’t find any funny right wing comics still alive. So I had to make one up.’ Stefano Boscutti
‘Caustic, trenchant look at the plight of the modern standup comedian.’ Clive Watkin
‘Boscutti’s sense of irony in this story flip flops between rough humor and seething panic.’ Ray Adler
‘Somehow tantalizingly funny and heroic at the same time.’ Alan Michelson
Rated R / ISBN 9780980712544 / 1,000 words / 4 minutes of outrageous reading pleasure / Buy Barnes & Noble / Buy Smashwords
Prefer to read free online? Scroll on to read the full story.
‘If money isn’t loosened up, this sucker could go down.’ George W. Bush
REPUBLICAN STANDUP: FUNDRAISER
Copyright 2012 Stefano Boscutti
All Rights Reserved ISBN 9780980712599
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Richard Charmer has been a standup comedian for more than half his life. Longer, if you count when he was in the womb, tad more if you want to get all pro-life about it.
Tonight he’s waiting backstage, behind the plush blue curtain for his cue. It’s a tough gig. Fundraiser. With a tough audience. Republicans. Not exactly the most generous souls on earth.
Still, he’s played this kind of crowd before. They know what to expect. He’s no Stephen Colbert, no shiny haired parody. He’s no Louie Anderson, no burnt out Vegas comic spilling clean cut mother-in-law gags on retirees nursing free beers over by the slot machines.
The MC out front is prepping the audience with the usual jokes about Democrats and drowning the government in a bathtub and fat free hair conditioner. Couple of taxation zingers to warm up the crowd. Everyone’s chuckling along.
Charmer normally pops an Inderal tablet before a show. It’s a beta blocker that takes the edge off, blocks the fight or flight response. Brings performance anxiety way down.
Tonight he’s taken another tablet, just to make sure. He’s also got an extra one in the pocket of his suit. Someone wearing a headset microphone and a black polo hands him a glass of water. Charmer takes it as a sign and takes the extra tablet.
He hears the muffled voice of the MC calling his name. A burst of applause, and he strides out into the blinding light and towards the front of the stage, microphone in hand.
The light is right in his eyes, and he can’t make out the audience. But he feels good, he feels totally confident.
‘How you motherfuckers doing tonight?’
The audience gasps. Charmer shields his eyes from the glaring lights and peers into the audience seated in clusters around tables. A smile spreads across his face.
‘Oh, shit, you’re all white. Sorry about that.’
The audience titters. Someone claps. They’re paying good money to be entertained, and they want their money’s worth.
‘How’s the chicken tonight?’
Someone yells out something unintelligible.
‘It’s fish? Seriously, who knew?’
More laughter. The American food processing giant Archer Daniels Midland was underwriting the fundraiser. Pretty much everything on everyone’s plate came from the company line. All laced and sweetened with the corporation’s government subsidized high fructose corn syrup.
‘You know some people say there’s no such thing as a Republican standup comedian, and I say that’s just plain ridiculous. That’s liberal media elite bullshit.’
More hoots of laughter, and clapping.
‘No such thing as Republican jokes? That’s insane. Seriously, you want to hear a Republican joke?’
Audience yells out, ‘Yes, yes.’
‘Let me see if I can remember? Oh, okay, here goes. Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you can sell him a fishing rod.’
‘And some fishing bait.’
‘And a fishing boat.’
Still more laughter, a little frothy. Someone at a front table yells out.
‘And a fishing license! Don’t forget a goddamn fishing license!’
Much laughter. Someone thinks they’re on a roll.
‘And a goddamn Department of Fisheries too!’
Everyone is laughing now. Except Charmer.
‘Yeah, Department of Fisheries? What’ll they think of next to spend your hard earned money on?’
‘You got it, son. What the hell’s the government doing telling us where and when to fish? Telling us what to fish?’
‘Yeah, sustainable seafood? Seriously, who needs it? Especially when you can overfish and completely fuck up a marine ecosystem and exploit a market?’
‘That’s it? That’s your comeback line?’
‘It’s okay. I’m not really asking, I’m just being polite. You don’t need to answer. You don’t need to say anything.’
A man moves to speak. Charmer sees him, raises his forefinger to his lips.
‘You can be quite, okay, fuckface. It’s not Fox News. You’re not on camera. I’m not soliciting your opinion.’
‘No, no. I’m fucking serious.’
‘But I don’t need your stupid comments all right. Seriously, I don’t need your shit. You’re fucking with my head, and this is my living. This is what I do. I don’t come down to your place and grab the broom off you, do I? Shut the fuck up, cocksucker!’
A scatter of applause. Charmer looks the man in the eye.
‘That’s the universe sending you a fucking message.’
Charmer glances up at the crowd.
‘You want another Republican joke. Okay, that guy with the pizza chain who thought he could run for president because he got his name painted on the side of a bus? Herman Cain? What a fucking joke.’
The audience is not sure how to take it. But someone laughs, and others join in.
‘Rick Perry? Texas joke.’
‘Newt Ginrich? Washington joke.’
More hoots and hollers. Audience is with him now.
‘Does he eat fish? I wonder? I know he doesn’t like paying taxes. Who does, right? I mean what’s the government ever done for you, right?’
Applause rings out.
‘Honestly, can you name me one thing the government does? Seriously, aside from police and firefighters and courts and prisons and social security and welfare support and disability programs and unemployment insurance and Medicare and Medicaid and elementary schools and secondary schools and public colleges and libraries and parks and roads and air and water and, oh, I don’t know, national security.’
‘Then there’s all those handouts to business? All that corporate welfare? Talk about moochers.’
Two men get up and walk out. Charmer smiles after them.
‘Grants, subsidies, enterprise funds, special treatments, special interests. According to the Cato Institute, the federal government spent $392 billion on corporate welfare last year. Boeing, IBM, Motorola, Dow Chemical, General Electric.’
‘You know how much the poor got last year from the government? $4.2 billion. Not that much in the scheme of things.’
Someone in the audience coughs loudly.
‘What about those poor bankers, right? Government handed over $2.5 trillion in bail outs last year.’
Three more men get up and walk out.
‘$4.2 billion for the poor, $2.5 trillion for the rich. Your taxes at work, right?.’
Charmer thinks for a moment.
‘I guess if you didn’t pay any fucking taxes you wouldn’t have any fucking banks. Which would have made it hard for you to contribute to this little fundraiser, right?’
‘No tax, no banks, no money. Seriously, what would you have paid with? Blood? Sweat? Tears?’
Audience looks at him blankly.
‘High fructose corn syrup?’
Stefano Boscutti is a freelance creative director and award-winning writer based in Melbourne, Australia.
© Stefano Boscutti All Rights Reserved