- And out of those 30 people,
4 of them were gangbangers.
Yeah, real gangbangers.
Like the typeof guys that generally
don't leave theirneighborhood and...
like, yeah,and you'll know where they live
when they shoot you, like,"4th Street, bitch! Di--"
Like, you felt it.
[dark electronic music]
[cheers and applause]
- Hello, everybody,
welcome to"This Is Not Happening."
I'm your host Ari Shaffir,
and today, all the storiesare about nostalgia.
[cheers and applause]
You guys, I'm so excitedto bring this next comic up.
I'm super, super excited.
We started togetherat the Comedy Store
like, fucking 15, 16 years ago.
He's been one of my best friendsmy entire time here in L.A.
He's got an amazingpodcast called,
"Good Times:With Steve Simeone."
Please give it upfor my friend and yours,
Mr. Steve Simeone. Let him hear it!
[cheers and applause]
- I remember beingabout eight years old,
and I'm at myfamily dinner table,
and for the first timeI'm staring at the craziness
that is my family.
I'm starting to get old enough,like, "Is this normal?"
Like, people will laugh,then they'll get angry.
And my dad will be like,"Did he say what?"
And my Dad's laughing, then hepushes away from the table.
"I got agita, babe,make the kids shut up!"
And she was like, "You were justlaughing two seconds ago."
"Fine, I'm not gonna eat."
And I'm like, "What's going onwith this house?
These people are crazy."
So I'm staring at my family,and I felt this voice,
like, this calmnesscome over me.
And, uh...I think the voice was God.
I'm not telling anybodywhat to believe,
so if you believe in God,then this was God.
If you believe in energyand the universe or whatever,
then energy told me this.
If you believe in nothing,then fuck it,
nothing told me this, okay?
So I'm eight years oldand I'm watching all of this,
and I just have this feeling,this voice tells me,
"Remember thisfor when you get sad."
And I'm like,"Get sad? I'm eight, bro.
"Friday's pizza day.
We got a field trip on Tuesday.Ooh-ooh!"
Life is good when you're a kid.
Right, life is goodwhen you're a kid.
But then I became a grown-up,and I was sad all the time.
I was, and then I was like,"You know what'll solve this?
I'm gonna move to Los Angeles."
Right, I was like, "I have toprove to the world I'm special,"
so then I moved here and I was,like, suicidal for a while.
I wish that was a joke.
So I'd been doing comedyfor a while.
I was about ten years into it.
And I had the type of actthat was, like, fun.
Like, people would like it,but it wasn't really--
it didn't really comefrom an honest place.
You ever watch comedy sometimes,
and you kind of tellthe comedian's lying.
When they're like, "You know,my girlfriend sure is crazy!"
And the audience is like,
"I bet she is!He's gonna tell us!"
So that's kind of like--I would,like, walk out on stage
like all high energy,like, "Who's wasted?"
And the audience would be like,"We are!"
And I'd be like, "Me too,look how small my wiener is."
And they'd be like,"Oh, my God. This guy's great!"
I'm so embarrassed now.
But the thing was thatno matter how well I did,
nobody would remember it.
Like, I would--there were timesI would lit--I would get--
I remember once gettinga standing ovation,
and then, like, after the show,I was like,
"People are gonna wantto hang out with me."
And they were like...they didn'teven remember my name.
They were just like, "Oh,that one guy was all right."
And I'm like, "Okay."
So...I guess about,
I don't know,it was about ten years in,
I started to switch up my styleof comedy a little bit.
I started--'cause I was so sad...
thinking back to my childhoodmade me happy,
'cause I really couldn't see...
I couldn't see too muchhappiness in the now.
So I had to look athow happy I was yesterday,
and something coolstarted to happen.
I started to...
I don't know, retrain my brain?
Like, if you could see somethingawesome when you were eight,
if you have those memories,look for something awesome now.
So I started to tellthose stories on stage
just becausethey made me feel good.
But then it startedto make audiences feel good,
and people would relate to it.
It was the craziest thing.
People I didn't think would,
like, everybody'sgot crazy stories.
Like, somebody would be waitingfor me after a show,
and they'd wantto tell me, like,
"Dude, one time we hadmy brother tied up.
"We're pouring gasoline onhim--soon as my Dad comes in--
it was fucking awesome."
Like, everybodyhad these crazy stories.
Like, I remember, like, once--like,
I remember, like, kids, like,17 years old,
they're like,"Do you remember this?"
I'm like, "No, I'm old, dude."
They're like,"But it was awesome."
I remember being in, like,Afghanistan, and these guys
I thought werethe sons of anarchy,
they were special forces guys.
They were like,"You were awesome!"
And they wanted to tell stories.
Once I was in Santa Monica,I'm not--
there was this manthat was so old.
He came out of the crowd.
I thought he was likea time-traveler or an angel.
He was like,"You were wonderful!"
I thought he wasgonna give me, like,
a magic power or something.
So, anyway,about five years ago, maybe six,
there was a hot summer night.
It was a night just liketonight in the Comedy Store
down on Sunset Strip,and comedy wasn't cool then.
We only had about 30 peoplein the room,
and out of those 30 people,4 of them were gangbangers.
Real gangbangers, not, like,
the fake guys that are, like,
trying to look toughfor girls or sell drugs
and intimidate people, like, no.
The real deal,like the type of guys
that generally don't leave theirneighborhood and--like, yeah.
And you'll know where they livewhen they shoot you,
like, "4th Street, bitch! Di--"Like, you felt it.
What I'm saying is some peoplehave to talk about it,
no these guys are about--you feel it.
When they walked in the room,they changed the energy.
Like, if you've ever seen"Breaking Bad,"
the two brothers that came overthe border--imagine--
remember the guy, and he hadhis legs chopped off.
He's like, "You're notstopping me, bitch."
Imagine four of those guys.
Four killers are walkinginto the room
with tattoos on their faces andtheir heads, and they're like,
"Let's have a night of laughson the Sunset Strip."
I don't know why they werethere, to be honest.
I think maybe'cause one guy got out of jail,
and they were like,"Larry, what do you want to do?"
"I don't knowlet's have some laughs!"
So about right there there'sfour assassins at a table,
and they are a delightful crowdfor the first hour of the show.
They're having fun.They're clapping.
Very respectful,but they keep on drinking.
And as the drunker they get,
a little moreout of line they get.
And I remember the one guyyells out, he's like,
"Get off the stage, puto.You suck!"
And the manager hears this,and he goes over hard,
and it's dark in there, okay?
So the manager hears,"Get off the stage, puto."
And the manager goes,"'Excuse me--
"'can I buy you fellas anotherround of drinks?'
"Holy shit,I'm not getting stabbed
for 12 bucks an hour, okay?"
So now, it's like...
So now these guysare getting drunker,
nobody's doing anything, okay?
I'm about to go on, or whatever,
it's like meand two other comics,
and I remember, I forgetwho it was, they were like,
"Dude, what are you gonna do?Are you gonna go on?"
And I'm like,"I need the $15, okay?"
So...I'm in my--[laughing]
Dude, it's tough enough for meto go on late at night.
All my jokes are about, like,pizza day and building forts
and staying awake till midnight,right?
So now I--I'm like, what am Igonna do with these four guys
in the crowd that are booingpeople off the stage?
So I just walk up,and I'm just like,
I start to talk about pizza day,
and I'm like,"Mother effin' pizza day."
The one dude stands up,and he goes,
"Mother effin' pizza day!"
And I'm like, "Awesome!"
I'm like, "This is great."
We're connecting, right?
So now everybody's having fun.
Like, everybody in the crowd'sstarting to have more fun.
And there's something great
that can happenonly in a live audience
where you can sort of create inthe moment, and it was magical,
and I remember thinking,you know what,
you don't need $1 millionto create memories.
In fact, if you have kids athome, tonight, on your way home,
stop off, get ice cream,hot fudge, whip cream,
some little sprinkle-y things,make sundaes.
Make real, legit, rich kidbirthday party sundaes.
Put them in the kitchen,turn out the light,
then go wake your kids up.
They'll be like,"What's happening?
Is the house on fire?"
Go, "I don't know, buddy..."
"But there's somethingin the kitchen for you."
Walk him into the kitchen,turn on the light, and be like,
"We got ice cream, bitches!"
With this the fourgang members stand up.
They start laughing likeit's 1994 and I'm Chris Tucker.
The one dude goes,"Mother effin' ice cream!"
He starts kicking his footlike in "Fat Albert"
when Weird Harold'skicking his foot, like,
[as Weird Harold]"You're like school
in the summertime: no class."
They start laughingso hard, right?
And I'm like, "This is awesome,"
but then they keep on laughing.
And around the same timeit occurs to me,
it occurs to everybody elsein the room
that that's not a genuine laugh.
That that's, like,a heckle-laugh.
Like, the next gen--like, it wasaround the time when people
started to be like,"Cool story, bro."
So now it's palpable.
Everybody's like, "Oh,what's this poor kid gonna do?"
They're like,"Ha, ha, very funny. Ice cream.
Yeah, I'm gonna make sundaeson the way home."
At least that's how I'm hearingit in my brain, okay?
So I remember right herethere was a couple,
and I remember the husband'sdragging the wife's hand.
He's like,"Let's get out of here."
She goes,"We have to pay our check."
He's like, "Fuck it. We don'twant to be witnesses."
And they just left.
So now I'm scared, okay?
The next comedian goes up,and he goes,
"You got to get out of here."
I'm like, "I know, but I gotto walk by their table,"
'cause they're in the backof the room,
and I'm, like, goingDo I--what do I do?
Like, if I stare at themand not act afraid,
they might thinkthat's aggressive.
They might just beat me upfor staring at them.
But then I'm like,if I look away,
they might think I'm a bitch
and beat me up on principle.
So I'm like--right?
So I'm like,"What am I gonna do?"
And I'm thinking,I'm like, you know what?
'You don't start no shit,it won't be no shit.'
Just hold your head up,mind your business.
So I start walking,and I feel--poom poom!
As I'm leaving the room,I feel two dudes get up,
and I'm like,"This is not good."
And my legs are startingto go weak, okay?
I'm not making--I'm like, "I'm gonna die.
"I'm just trying to bring joyinto the world for $15.
"And I'm gonna wind up stabbed3,000 miles
away from my family," right?
So I'm like,"Just get to your car.
Just get to your car."
My car's blocked in,and the whole time I'm hearing,
"Hey, bro!Hey, dude!"
And now I have nowhereelse to go.
So I just turn aroundand he goes, "Hey, dude."
And I turn aroundand I'm like...
And he goes, "Were you the foolthat was just on stage?"
And I went, "Yeah."
And he went "Mother effin'ice cream!"
And came over and hugged me,okay?
[cheers and applause]
t gets so much better,
'cause now he's callingfor his buddies, like,
"Hey, Larry, get over here.He's cool.
I told you he'd be cool.Larry, get over here."
Now this guy's namewas not Larry,
but I'm not sharing with Americahis real name, okay?
'Cause there could berepercussions.
Okay, so this guy,Larry, is menacing,
but he's got the energyof a small child,
'cause he's afraidto talk to me.
He's not even makingeye contact.
He's just going,"Bro, you were so funny.
"I loved it.I needed to hear that, bro.
You just made me feel good.Thank you."
So now I realize I haveto talk to this guy
like he's one of my nephews.
And I'm like, "Hey, buddy.
I like your shoes."
And he's like, "They're Nikes.I just got them!"
I'm like, "They're awesome."
So now the first guyon the scene was like,
"Larry, tell himthe joke you wrote him."
And I'm like, in my brain--and he was like,
"No, he'll think it's stupid."
And he's like, "No, tell him.He wrote you a joke."
And I'm like,"Oh, that's great."
And Larry's going,"No, he's not gonna laugh."
I'm like, "Trust me, dude.
I'm gonna laugh regardlessof how funny I think this is."
But honestly I'm going,"What kind of joke
could this guy write me?"
Right, like, "Don't you hate itwhen you're on a drive-by
"and blood getseverywhere so you
"got to take your shirtand burn it.
You can't have that DNA around.It's a new shirt, right?"
So, I remember going,"Dude, what--what do you--"
He goes, "I think you should doa joke about balloons."
And I'm just like, "What?"
He goes, "I think you should doa joke about balloons."
And I'm like,"What do you mean?"
He goes, "You remember when youwere little, you had a balloon
"you could play withfor hours?
"Like, you would hit it once andthen your brother would hit it.
"And he would hit it, then youwould hit and he would hit it,
"but if it hit the ground...[explosion sound]
it could explode."
Okay, so that's when I startedto calm down, right?
And I'm like, "That's a greatjoke, and I should use it,"
and I had a sense of peace.
First time the whole nightI'm like, "I'm gonna be okay."
And it's not likeI heard a voice,
I just got this feeling thatI do believe was God again.
'Cause he was like,
"What do you learn tonightabout judging other people?"
And I'm like, "What?"
And I felt this thing that,I don't know, changed my life.
I think as a society,
we're really goodat judging each other
instead of loving each other,
and if you lookat the world now,
never in my lifehas it been so segmented.
Everybody'sat each other's throats.
Like, If you just walkdown the street
and smile, people are like,
"Look at that prick.I wish he was dead."
Everybody's so angry.
Right? Old peopleversus young people.
Rich versus poor,black versus white,
gay versus straight.
Everybody's judging,judging, judging, judging.
When deep inside,we're just little kids
that just want to hang out,love, have some laughs.
And here's the great thing:
the less you judgeand the more you love,
you'll stop judging yourself
and you'll start lovingyourself,
and you'll be a source of
that happiness for other people.
So that's what I'm hereto tell you.
Stop judging, start loving,
good night and God bless you.
[cheers and applause]