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Coming to a Brick Wall and a Spotlight Near You

Rich Cerow

One of my dreams as a kid, besides contributing to a totally awesome website (which is amazing cause I didn’t even know what the internet was back then), was to be a stand-up comedian. I think it was from watching too much Evening at the Improv on A&E. Plus it was the 80’s and stand-up was big back then.

Anyway, I used to come up with little bits that I thought I’d do when I started working the clubs. Since I was, in my mind, a master impressionist, lots of these took the form of impressions of other stand-ups, parodying their styles. One I prominently remember was a way too long routine about Jerry Seinfeld being high (even though I didn’t have much concept of what that was like at 10), and basically I just did ten minutes of asking “What’s the deal with…” and then mentioning something about weed. This was, of course, uproariously funny. I think I also had material on airline food written out, that’s how much of a hack I was.
Tiny Tim at the Improv. This is probably as hard as the Improv ever rocked.

Unfortunately, though, this debilitating addiction has not abated throughout my life. I’m not crazy enough to actually want to be a stand-up anymore. Instead, I now come up with little routines to impress women. This doesn’t work. Nevertheless, I keep trying. For instance, and I’m writing this out for the first time here, I have a nice little scripted conversation for elevators, that goes roughly as follows:
[After a couple of seconds of normal elevator riding, in which everyone does their best not to look at the other people riding with them] You ever notice how numbers counting up [this story assumes the elevator is going up] becomes the most fascinating thing in the world when you’re in an elevator? I mean, at any other time this wouldn’t even be remotely interesting, but in an elevator you can’t take your eyes off it. It’s not like people go home and watch “The numbers counting up” channel. [Affecting a water cooler conversation] “Hey, Jim, did you catch “Numbers Going Up” last night? They hit 14! I couldn’t believe it!” “No, Bob, I was watching “Down” last night. I just had to find out what happened after 6. It was 5.”
Trust me, in person with inflection, this is terribly charming. I’ve got some other elevator material (it’s a whole new ballgame when our imaginary attractive young lady is staring at the floor instead of the numbers), but it’s probably not as strong as the numbers bit. E-mail me at if you want to secure the heart of that lovely lass who works in the accounting firm on the 12th floor, and maybe I’ll be able to help you out. And if this works for you, let me know, cause I’d really love to document this having been successful once.

I have some “blue” material as well, which I can’t post here for the children’s sake, but suffice to say you’ll never look at The Facts of Life the same way again. I also have a cache of music-based material, because I am a record geek (in case you hadn’t figured that out already). For instance, I’ve got about twenty minutes on “Heavy Metal vs. Heavy Metal: Simultaneously the Best and Worst Genre of Popular Music,” which if it sounds like an essay is probably cause it should be. Frankly, it’s a lot of jokes about Iron Maiden (and if you’re asking “Who?” - Exactly.) and their version of “Rhime of the Ancient Mariner.” And I’m already way too obtuse for most people out there. Also, there’s a lot of high-pitched wailing involved. So obviously, when I start getting out there and try to land that sitcom deal I’ve always dreamt of, I’m going to be wildly successful. Someday I’ll be your favorite terrible stand-up comedian.

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