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Cancer? I Hardly Know ‘er!

November 16, 2009
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I just got home from a Robert Schimmel show at the DC Improv. I’m often worried at stand-up comedy shows, because buying a ticket seems to be license to be ridiculed. Or – as happened tonight when I muttered “Jesus Christ” after being shown a slide of the man Schimmel’s wife cheated on him with – responded to in some way. In this case, he said “no, he’s not Jesus Christ, but good guess.”

Anyhow, Schimmel works blue and assimilates his battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma into his material. This leads to a description of his post-chemotherapy hairless penis as looking like “the very hungry caterpillar after he ran out of Welbutrin.” I guess you had to be there, but the point is that he’s fucking hilarious. The other point is that the show ended with Schimmel narrating a slide show of pictures of him in the hospital, wasted by both disease and treatment. And it’s funny. Not “I’ll give this poor fellow a couple of pity chuckles” funny. More like “I have lost control of my bladder and bowels” funny.

I am a big fan of stand-up, and I am especially fond of people who deal with taboo subjects. But, anal sex and incest have been pretty well plumbed. I think cancer may be the final frontier, and what is more fuck-the-system bad ass and untouchable than “my cancer” jokes?

Also, a friend mentioned the other day that Is It Luck looks pretty good on an iPhone. I checked today, and he’s right! Tell your friends with iPhones that cancer is funny and they can read about it on the same device with which they call their accountants and listen to Kenny Rogers.

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