Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Three Laughs (for Harold Ramis)

The first person
I ever wanted to be
was Groucho Marx.

When I was a teenager
I wanted to be part
of the Second City
television show.

In my early 20’s
I thought I could be
a Mexican Woody Allen.

I told myself
I wouldn't give it a go
until after
I graduated college.

When I was 22
I got up on the stage
where I tried
and I failed

It was a Sunday night
and I remember
I couldn't get the
flush of the embarrassment
of my face.

I spoke
to one of the regulars
who told me
he worked
different clubs
in the valley
every night.

I asked him
how much he made
each week,
and he said
“Thirty-five dollars.”

Putting my college degree
to work,
I calculated and
I realized I lacked
the drive,
the desire
to pay the dues.

So that night
I put the dream away,
and eventually went back
to graduate school,
where I earned a
Master’s Degree
in sociology.

Throughout the nineties,
I worked evenings
teaching sociology
at the local community college.

All the years
of studying the masters
Cheech, Chong
paid off

as I peppered
my lectures
with original jokes
and observations.

I finally
found my audience
when I realized
that a nightclub comic
who only gets three laughs,
is a sucky stand-up,

but if you’re a college teacher
and you get three laughs,
then you’re the fun professor.


  1. yes you are...ha...
    i love having fun with my know what they love
    to hear stories from my if they do good
    and work hard....every day at the end of class
    i spend the last 5 minutes telling them
    one story...

    1. See? You're the fun teacher! Thanks for commenting, brother.

  2. true... i wish we had more teachers that make a joke now and then... we never had much to laugh in school

    1. We had many laughs in school, mostly unintentional.

  3. It's all relative! Like being the hottest middle aged postal wage slave poetess in the room!

    1. So true, like the New Yorker comic sez "Yes, but for a fat guy who doesn't exercise or eat right, I'm in pretty good shape."

  4. Always the ones we remember, the funny teacher, professor. Laughter good therapy and all.

  5. well, that's cool. I had mean teachers in school... like Claudia, I, too, never had much of a laugh back then. ha

  6. Nice to see when some under-rated or over-looked aspects of our lives start to shine. One professor I know barely looks up when he's walking, let alone say hi.

  7. Three laughs when you are teaching is great... When I taught physics I rarely got even a smile.. but there are less fun jokes about Schrödinger's equaiton.

  8. A good teacher! People relate to story and love one with humor -- aww how we do love to laugh -- I enjoyed your poem - joanie

  9. Ah well you made me laugh! I didn't have too many fun professors!

  10. That's fun and adorable way of going - I like the effect and emotions you build throughout the poem - a cool write.

  11. Anonymous5:11 AM

    There is a seed from every flower and it can grow wherever there is light,,,, Your subject didn't fail at comedy. Rather he discovered a new use for it. Fun interesting poem that kept me glued to it, which is the key to great poetry.

  12. Ha! Those last lines are so true! Love the way you can tell your story in poetry, my friend.

  13. Ha! I wish that would work with adults. I am a trainer and sometimes I struggle to get any laughs at all in a class (when they don't really want to be there). Great little story!

  14. This is utterly DELIGHTFUL. And so, so true!

  15. Perfect! This is what happened to my performance art too. And it is success! With the best and most critical audience. I see you wrote this for someone else, but what a great contribution it would be at Poets United today.

  16. Mosk...I can't even imagine you not getting laughs or the right kind of attention, you're so candid with the way you tell your stories, as Joanna says, in poetry...this was wonderful...good to be reading you once again...I've been somewhat MIA...

  17. And you just got three from me, also!