Monday, July 17, 2017

This morning, the homeless man with a voice like a cartoon prospector refused to believe that my bicycle was not an electric one.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

"It's been two weeks. When does this start getting easier," he wondered.

"Two weeks," the centurion scoffed. "You've got a lot to learn..."

Wednesday, July 5, 2017


Last night, I walked down 18th Street from my home, maybe about half a mile or so, to watch Fourth of July fireworks.  Every year, Tucson launches a barrage of sodium, copper, lithium, and barium into the night sky from the backside of Sentinel Peak, and for at least the last decade or so, I've put no real effort into watching them.  There are exploding colors.  There are exploding claps.  Dogs hate them.  Vets hate them.  A lot of people stand around.

It's a program I've seen before.

Friday, June 23, 2017

I finally finished my Ramadan parody of"Blue Christmas." Obviously it's called "Blue Ramadan."
I’ll have a blue Ramadan without you
I’ll be so blue thinking ‘bout you (and food)
Skipped meals, empty plates and being thirsty
Won’t be the same, dear, if you’re not here with me

And when those hunger pangs start bawling
That’s when those blue memories start calling
You’ll be doin’ all right, with your month of drink and food
But I’ll have a Ramadan that’s blue, blue, blue, blue

You’ll be doin’ all right, with your month of drink and food
But I’ll have a Ramadan that’s blue, blue, blue, blue

Monday, February 27, 2017

Catfish Correspondence

Dear America,
Something happened, America. I woke up November 9th in a country that had just elected as president a man who had proposed banning people like me from entering this country and monitoring those of us already here.  This kind of man and ideas like his were not new, America, but what felt new was the approval with which he and they were met.
Just like in September, 2001, I was acutely aware of the fact that the word “Muslim” had taken on new meaning in our country.  This time, however, it felt like a more calculated action.  Instead of being an emotional, knee-jerk response to an awful action perpetrated by a pack of foreigners, this time around, the fires of hatred and darkness were fed internally by the verbal kindling from an increasingly-popular campaign podium.  “This fire,” the followers were told, “this fire will keep us safe.”
I gotta tell you, America, even before November 9th, 2016 wasn’t going that well for me.  And then the election happened.  It felt like I stopped on the sidewalk to find gum on the bottoms of both shoes, and then, while standing there, looking at the gum mashed in the tread, I got hit by a truck.
And the truck was hauling pianos.
And a literal ton of bricks.
And then, while laid out in the street, waiting for the ambulance, someone shit on me.
That’s kind of what it felt like.  But worse.
I woke up November 9th, America, and I no longer felt like being funny and making people laugh, which was problematic: without my snark and sarcasm, how would I keep people at an emotional distance?
And how could I still be expected to go through with my performance the next day at the Tucson Comedy Arts Festival?  What had felt so important to me in the preceding months--my show, America, making an audience laugh!-- now felt like an impossible and uninteresting task.  Who had time for dick jokes?  Shouldn’t I be planning to flee the country?
Also, what if I suddenly start crying on stage?
And so, America, I did something I had never done before in my life as an occasional stage performer: I wrote a foreword.
I introduced myself as an American Muslim living in the United States, opening myself up on stage in a way I had never before considered doing. I was convinced, America, that fiery boos and jeers would follow such a public proclamation in this new country I found myself in.  They need that fire to keep safe.
“It’s difficult trying to find the desire to be funny,” I told that roomful of strangers, “but I know that if I don’t try, if I give up on trying to make people laugh, the snark and sarcasm inside of me will build up and most likely turn into malignant tumors.”
In the screenplay of my bio-pic, the audience’s applause begins slowly and gradually builds to take over the theater.  Everyone rises to their feet as they being cheering.  The sound is deafening.  Flags wave proudly!  Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” erupts from the speakers flanking the stage!  The audience lets me know that they are with me and I am with them.  Together, we are stronger!  Together, we are Americans!
But in real life, the audience was quiet and respectful during the foreword, which, when compared to a lynch mob, is a huge win.  They laughed at my scripted jokes that followed.  They followed along.  They listened.  They probably don’t realize it, but their laughter and applause and attention made me feel like I belong.
So I’ll keep trying, America, because the thought of the copays and deductibles for removing snark-tumors in a post-ACA world scares the hell out of me.  And because you’re better than this, America, aren’t you?  Because you may be an electorate and a podium and a platform, but you’re also an audience. My audience, on my darkest day. And as long as I have an audience, I have a reason to try.

This Catfish Correspondence was originally written for and submitted to a different website where it was rejected because Catfish is not a very good writer (right).

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Last night I made the mistake of trying to revisit my youth. As these things go, it didn't end well. Because children are stupid and like stupid things and it's painful to realize this.

I watched He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.

SPOILER ALERT: It was not good.

I'm now thinking of blogging the entire series. I'm sure someone has already done it on the internet already, but I'm not going to look so that I can claim that I wasn't aware of its existence.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Now that "The Whale Tale; or, Dick" has finished its run at the Tucson Fringe Festival, I can finally change the slip mat on my turntable.

Sunday's show was a great way to wrap things up. The audience was amazing, and it was easily the best Slideshow Fairytales performance of the weekend (sorry performances #1 & 2).

Thank you so much for coming out this weekend and supporting this weirdo.