Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Comedian From Jamaica


I am drunk and walking home from Specs

it is a Tuesday evening

a lot of people are still out walking around on Grant Street

this guy starts talking to me

and he walks with me for a ways

he says, “I’m a comedian from Jamiaca.”

I say, “I’m not giving you any money.”

he laughs

he does a lot of laughing

he says, “Come on. I’ll tell you some jokes. I just got in to San Francisco today.”

I say, “You don’t sound Jamaican. And you’re not very funny for a comedian.”

I am pretty drunk

he laughs some more

he says, “This is my first time in this country. I swear. Let me tell you some jokes.”

I stop and lean against a lamppost

I light up a cigarette

I offer him one but he says he doesn’t smoke

I say, “Okay. If you can make me laugh before I finish this cigarette, then I’ll give you five dollars.”

he laughs

he likes this idea

he has very white teeth and a winsome smile

he starts telling me some jokes

the jokes are not funny

an old Chinese lady stops and scowls at him

she asks me if he is bothering me

I tell her to mind her own goddamn business

I am pretty drunk

I am not really listening to the Jamaican comedian anymore

I am just enjoying my cigarette and feeling good and drunk

I say, “Hey. I know some comedians. You ever go down to the Punchline?”

he says, “The what?”

I say, “I thought so. Your time’s almost up, and I’m still not laughing.”

he laughs

he starts in on another joke

I cringe

it’s a pretty bad joke

something about a Hertz Doughnut

but I laugh anyway

and give the guy a five

and go on walking down Grant Street

until I get to a bar

where I go on inside and order a double whisky

and decide to try

to never laugh again