I’m not a teacher (anymore).
I’m a comedian.
I joke about awkward Tinder dates and farting in yoga class.
I joke about the fact that I look like a 12-year old and have to constantly convince 30-year old men on dates that they’re not pedophiles.
I joke I like my Kombucha like I like my cocaine, overpriced and I use it to make me skinny.
I joke about drugs even though I don’t do them and sometimes have to awkwardly explain to weird old guys at the bar that I can’t help them “acquire an 8-ball of cocaine.”
I joke about asking friends to avenge my death in the event that my skin gets made into a lampshade on my next blind date.
I joke in dive bars, prestigious clubs, basements, windowless classrooms, and my kitchen.
I joke on the subway in my little notebook, constantly trying to scribble down a new concept that could be funny but probably isn’t.
I joke late at night, which makes my mother nervous.
I joke to crowds of strangers, friends, drunk people, and sometimes drunk strangers that have recently become my friends.
I joke on my hands with setlists inked on my palms like badges of smudgy honor.
I joke even when my palms get sweaty and my entire set list is ruined.
I joke I have a brain injury and I am still really bitter about not getting a handicapped parking spot.
I joke in my sleep and in the shower which is annoying because I can never remember any of the jokes produced in these two locations.
I joke I saw this weird guy today, let’s make fun of him.
I joke I’m actually the weird guy, let’s make fun of me.
I joke about my inability to get someone to date me for longer than two months.
I joke about ex-students, ex-boyfriends, and that one time I thought the Office Depot guy was hitting on me but he was really just checking to see if I was in the “Rewards Program.”
I joke even when everyone at the bar is yelling, someone forgot to shut off the music in the back, And there’s a band setting up for their show on the stage during my set and they absolutely can’t wait three more minutes to test that drum kit.
I joke to people that paid to be in the audience.
I joke to people that I paid to be in the audience.
I joke Wait, I have to pay to get an audience?
I joke sober and I joke 1-2 beers in.
I joke about funny shit kids used to do in my classroom like try to barrel-roll out of my classroom to escape to the bathroom, stealing my phone, and showing up high every day to 1st period.
I joke about how silly it would be if men had to have periods, like a traumatic scene out of Saving Private Ryan.
I joke about how bullshit salads are and people should really quit judging me for my salad topping choices, who are you, my DAD?
I joke even when men explain comedy to me despite my combined six years of improv, sketch, and standup experience, personal study, reading, workshops, and training at comedy theaters.
I joke while struggling to figure out who I am and if I like the person I look at in the mirror every day.
I joke to the sound of hardy laughter, confused laughter, and often times an exotic form of “silent laughter.”
I joke about a lot of movie references, specifically romantic comedies, which I’ve been told is only funny if you’re a white women between the ages of 18-32.
I joke word-play and puns.
I joke about my medical history.
I joke about my anxiety and depression.
I joke in several medium-sized notebooks, which I misplace on bar stools and in bathrooms every night.
I joke while looking up to comedians that are funnier than me, practice more than I do, and are crushing because of it.
I joke even when I’m discouraged, disheartened, and in general need of therapy.
I joke as therapy.
I joke Oh, you’re gonna’ try and heckle me during my set, good sir? Go ahead and try. Oh, shit. Now I’ve done it. Please, sir, shut up. No really. Shut the fuck up.
I joke despite breaking the microphone 97% of the time I use it.
I joke in a black fedora that people now don’t recognize me without.
I joke in sneakers because ain't nobody got time for that shit.
I joke in the presence of the most talented comedians in the country.
I joke backstage trying to decide if I have time to nervous poop right before my set.
I joke after long days of work and emotional turmoil.
I joke even when I am the last to sign up for an open mic and don’t make it up on stage and spent the past three days preparing but stay anyway to support my fellow comedians.
I joke to supportive audiences, my mother, and mostly a room full of other comedians who have all heard my jokes before and don’t look up from their phones.
I joke Have we covered dick jokes? after an entire hour of dick jokes at a mic.
I joke with comedians that started when I did, have busted their asses, and are on their way up.
I joke about the creepiest Groupon massage I ever had, performed by an 86-year old Trump-supporting Bavarian man with the sniffles.
I joke in 3 to 10-minute increments.
I joke about all of these things and more.
But what I don’t joke about is how to be funny.
Not how to write a good punch line or how to use the microphone.
But how to be funny when nothing has been funny since Donald Trump got elected.
I don’t joke Fuck, are we all going to get blown up in a nuclear war?
I don’t joke I better stock up on birth control pills before the President takes them away from me for good.
I don’t joke hate and bigotry and fear.
I joke Listen to me my fellow comedians, I love you more than you will ever know and I will fight for your right to tell jokes on this stage until my last dying breath.
I joke even in years like this one when it feels like every atom in my body is screaming.