Photo by: Nick Cobb
“Nowhere on Earth is being adorable funny.”
My 15-month-old daughter Bo is too cute to make fun of, and it is killing me. I am a stand-up comic. Telling jokes at my family’s expense pays our rent (water bill). A couple of nights ago after a show, someone asked me, “Why don’t you talk more about your baby?” I said, “Because she never does anything annoying.” Like a three day-old basset hound and Jill Stein relying on Wisconsin, Bo is just too cute to mock.
I have tried. I really have. But what are you gonna do? Ridicule someone who spends their day following you around on all fours and giggling hysterically every time they “catch” you? Look, I work in show business. It is incredibly rare that anyone is happy or excited to see me, much less stalking and giggling. I keep waiting for my daughter to catch up with the rest of the ‘Biz and crawl into the other room and shut the door.
Every time she does something new, my comic-brain gets excited. This is it! She’s gonna give me comedy gold! Then she gleefully tears up my wife’s Citibank statement or applauds at a small mound of blueberries, and my comic-brain throbs at the icy sting of maddening delightfulness. She just started doing this thing: She takes a sip of a drink, lowers her cup, and goes “Ahh,” like watered-down grape juice is the most thirst-quenching beverage on the planet. If she sees you smile at this, she will “Ahh” louder and louder, with each one sounding more and more like she stumbled upon a Boba Tea stand in the middle of the desert.
Is this precious? Yes. Am I grateful? Absolutely. Is it funny? Fuck, no. Nowhere on Earth is being adorable funny. If you found a remote Eskimo village in the polar ice cap and showed a fisherman YouTube clips of two kittens rubbing their backs on a shag carpet, he would not laugh. He would just have 2,000 words for “that’s nice.”
Along the same lines, morons sometimes ask why comedians only talk about the annoying parts of marriage. Unless you got food poisoning from eating bad goat meat, there is zero funny about your all-expenses paid honeymoon in Fiji. It’s impossible to write a stand-up joke about the wonderfully sweet parts of marriage.
Pretend for a moment you are in a comedy club and the comedian—funny up until this point—pulls out this gem: “Anyone else find a partner who loves and respects you so much that you feel whole for the first time in your life? Let me tell you, last night my wife came home from work—where she slaves to support me while I pursue my dreams—and what is the first thing she says to me? ‘I missed you so much. Can I give you a kiss or should I hang up my coat first?’ Unbelievable! I knew for the first time with total clarity that I didn’t need anything else. Who hasn’t had that happen to them?! Oh, marriage! Hahaha … am I right, guys?”
That is how it would go if I talked about my baby onstage, but I do not want to quit the business of stand-up comedy just because of this cherub and her infuriating perfection. So, I am forced to talk about topics that are related to her, but not specifically about her. Related to her in the sense that by her sheer existence she has vastly changed my perspective, about things like politics and double standards for women and men and anxiety about the future and—Wait! She just pooped on the dog and somehow she’s the one crying? She’s finally come through for me! Forget everything I just said. I’ve got ten new minutes.
Photo by: Stand Up Comedian Nick Cobb with 15 month old daughter Bo
“I am a stand-up comic. Telling jokes at my family’s expense pays our rent (water bill).”