Gary Gulman: Born on 3rd Base (2023) Movie Script

Anyhow, a lot of comedians
are starting that way,
and I think it's,
I think it's kinda jazzy.
Gary, start the special. It's...
Alright, so I'm doing
the special material,
but also, I wanna give you
a quick excerpt
from my one-person show,
which is...
it's a work in progress,
but I, I have the title.
It's called "Mommy, Look."
And the title stems
from my-my theory that...
just about every one-person show
could be called...
"Mommy, Look." I...
I've said for a long time,
you show me a 4-year-old
on a diving board,
screaming, "Mommy, look"
to an unreceptive audience,
in 14 years, I will show you
a theater major.
"Mommy, look! Mommy! Mommy!"
"Mommy, look."
The subtext of my near
30-year comedy career
is, "Mommy, look."
The same thing
I've been screaming
since I was 4 years old,
just now,
I'm doing it
from the diaphragm.
And with better posture,
thanks to my
theatrical training.
Had my mother looked up once
from her "People" magazine...
...while I screamed, "Mommy!"
I wouldn't be here right now.
I wouldn't need
this type of
external validation. I--
Some other
maladjusted man-child
would be here in my stead.
I just wanna let the people
in the front rows
know that they are safe
from me, asking
what they do for work.
I remember going to comedy shows
when I was in high school,
and later,
and the comedian would ask
somebody what they did for work,
and then proceed
to ridicule their profession.
And I just remember thinking,
if I am ever in the front row
at a comedy show
and a comedian asks me
what I do for work,
I will stand up and say,
"What do you do for work?"
I didn't come here
to be forcibly cast
in your TikTok video.
You lazy hack.
But here's the autobiography.
I grew up
in an oft-ignored sector
of Jewish people called...
Which is kind of
an O. Henry twist there.
We were--
We were poor Jews,
but you laughed
because it upset the status quo,
A culture as big,
about 12 million of us,
as big as Jewish people,
we have versions of you...
within it.
There are poor Jews,
there are rich Jews,
there are smart Jews,
there are dumb Jews.
There are athletic Jews.
Yes, there are poor Jews.
And we were proper poor.
Food stamps, free lunch.
Welfare. We were on it.
We were on welfare.
I got free lunch.
The dirty little secret
about the free lunch program
is that
it's also free breakfast.
If you could get to school
by 6:15 a.m.
for a school day
that started at 8:50...
The indignities they thrust upon
poor kids never end,
even in the timing of that,
that you would be forced
to get up at 5:45
to get some calories,
it was almost--
It had to have been planned.
Let's prepare these kids
for their futures
as migrant apple pickers...
...and longshoremen... getting them
up at 5:45
for breakfast.
And if you got there by 6:15,
you could get
a half pint of milk,
a Pop-Tart,
and a variety pack-sized
Kellogg's cereal box.
I-I'm sorry, I said "and."
Or a variety pack-sized...
And if you got there
any later than 6:20,
all the good variety pack
cereals would be taken.
So you would wind up
with the Corn Flakes...
...which I do not know
why they included that
in the variety pack.
No kid wants Corn Flakes.
I would sometimes play it off
if I got there late.
I would say, "Oh, no, no.
I didn't--
"I didn't want Frosted Flakes.
"I wanted, I wanted
the Corn Flakes."
"I, I use it
in my chicken recipe."
"My, my chicken recipe calls for
"a variety pack-size of...
...Corn Flakes."
Now, if I got there on time,
I would always get the,
get the Pop-Tart.
But even in the Pop-Tart,
the Pop-Tart...
was just a complete F-you
to the poor kids
who were eating it.
First of all,
it was one Pop-Tart.
I knew they came
in packs of two.
I'm poor.
I am not stupid.
And then, the other thing
about the Pop-Tart,
they had enough frosting
to spread it
all the way to the edge.
I'm sure there was a person
in the factory who said,
"Hey, boss, we have, we have
a lot of extra frosting today.
"Do you wanna spread it
all the way to the edge
for this next batch?"
And he said,
"Do you want these kids
to ever stop sucking
at the government teat?"
"That bitter crust
will remind them
of what their futures
are going to look like."
"Frosting all the way
to the edge?
"Are you insane?
Why don't we put frosting on
both sides while we're at it?"
"What are we, Toaster Strudel?
Get back to work,
Eugene V. Debs."
Everything about the Pop-Tart
they did to screw
with poor kids.
First of all, the name.
It's not a real tart.
And it brought about a cultural
blind spot in all poor kids,
where the first time
we saw a real tart...
...there was this cognitive
dissonance, this disconnect.
"Wait a minute. This..."
The first time
I ever saw it was at an
Au Bon Pain.
Au Bon Pain!
It was a tart.
It said tart, but it looked
nothing like a Pop-Tart.
The, the real tart has nothing
in common with the Pop-Tart.
Th-The real tart, first of all,
it's three-dimensional.
The Pop-Tart is
barely dimensional.
You, you would have to be
living in Flatland
to consider that a dimension.
Also, the real tart
has chunks of fruit.
Apples, pears, raspberries,
blueberries in it.
Whereas the Pop-Tart
has a suggestion of a rumor
of a whisper
of fruit-flavored,
artificially colored schmutz.
It's so fraudulent that
the Pop-Tart calls itself...
a-a tart.
I'm gonna use an analogy...
to clarify this.
The tart is to the Pop-Tart,
as the Grizzly bear is to the...
gummy bear.
That's a really strong analogy.
And the irony of me coming up
with such an apt analogy...
is that...
I flunked out of analogy school.
And flunking out of
analogy school is like...
It's as if...
I used to think
they called it a Pop-Tart
because it popped
out of the toaster. No.
Pop is short for populist.
It's the poor man's tart.
Welfare saved my family,
and I'm not ashamed
to have been on it.
It just has been
demonized for decades,
and unnecessarily so.
It's infuriating to me
because they've been making
the same argument.
Even since I was a kid,
they keep making
this same argument,
and it, and it goes
usually like this.
"Well, welfare doesn't work.
"That's why we wanna,
we wanna get rid of it.
"We wanna strangle
the welfare programs
"because it just...
Doggone it."
"It doesn't work.
Oh gosh, how I wish it worked!"
"But what happens is
the-the welfare recipients,
"they lose their initiative,
"and they become
dependent on welfare
for generation
after generation."
And I remember
even at 7 years old,
I could see through
that flimsy argument.
Th-The one thing I will say
about poor kids for us is that
we're much more astute
about financial ideas
and mechanisms
than the average person.
The-The rich kids have no idea
how much we know
about what things really cost.
Like, at 7 years old,
and I'm not exaggerating,
I understood
the tax ramifications
of the alimony portion
of my parent's divorce decree,
Because every April,
my mother would be crying
on the phone with the IRS
because it was taxable.
The alimony part was taxable,
and she owed.
And they would, they would say,
"We're gonna put a lien
on your house."
And I didn't know how to spell
that type of lien. No.
I knew it wasn't
"lean" on our house.
There were tears involved.
So, I just, I understood
these things at a level
that most kids don't understand
because these were like
traumatic moments in my life.
So that when I heard this
argument, "Welfare doesn't work.
"The people
lose their initiative.
They become dependent for
generation after generation,"
I couldn't have
put this into words
because I didn't possess
the words
and "disingenuous."
I knew they were full of shit.
And-And I would've said,
"Oh, you're looking out
for my, oh, my initiative.
Thank you."
"Thank you for looking out
for my character.
"I, I have to admit, I was being
a little bit cynical.
I, I thought you just didn't
wanna pay any taxes."
"But you were looking out
for my character.
"Thank you so much.
"Can I just share
a little concern I have?
"You already have more money
than you can spend.
You're just gonna leave it in
a trust fund to your children."
A trust fund
is this very expensive way
to tell your children
you don't believe in them.
"You're gonna leave this money
to your children
"in a trust fund.
And I just...
"I worry your children
are gonna lose their initiative
"and become dependent for
generation after generation,
" the more likely scenario,
considering it's a clich."
It's a clich we've been
playing for laughs
for hundreds of years, so...
Do you know how long the average
family stays on welfare?
Two years. Two years.
Two years is not a generation.
Unless you're a bandicoot.
That's not generation
after generation.
My family,
we were off welfare,
all of us, by the time
we got out of high school.
A pittance of an investment
in the Gulman boys.
We've repaid over and over again
in our own taxes.
I'm doing fine.
This is all Banana Republic.
Now, full disclosure,
I purchased this "ensemble"...
...during one of
Banana Republic's
thrice-weekly 40% off sales.
If you put in any effort at all,
if you show any initiative... can wear Banana Republic
- for the price of Old Navy.
- I am not exaggerating.
Just wait until
the next 40% off sale.
They should have
to put a sign up
when they're not offering
40% off,
and that sign
should say, "closed."
"We'll email you when
the next price break comes up."
Then go online, find yourself
an additional
20% off promo code.
I'll give you
what I used last week.
"Summer savings."
Enjoy. Enjoy.
Stock up on tees.
Whenever I get the promo code,
I always think to myself,
"I coulda guessed that."
But, the truth is
I couldn't have.
It's always just clever enough.
Okay, summer savings? Hm?
They spelled summer
with a dollar sign.
Oh, Banana!
You impish scamp!
$30 for the shorts.
How much for the whimsy?
Free whimsy at Banana Republic.
Half-off caprice.
Capris? The short--
No, no, no. Caprice.
A synonym for whimsy.
Okay, that's just a little--
I always--
I pander to my base.
Which is librarians.
Librarians right now,
when they--
I had them at O. Henry.
And then...
We never felt too poor,
I will say, and there were,
there were three reasons.
The reasons were threefold.
Imagine if I used
that suffix "-fold."
It is, without a doubt,
the most pretentious suffix... the English language.
Just say there were three.
The same type of people
who say "threefold" also say,
"For lack of a better term."
Whereas working class
people like us,
instead of saying, for lack
of a better term, we go,
For lack of a better term.
Just think of a better term!
The second--
The second most pretentious
suffix, I would say,
is "-esque."
Unless you're talking about
something French,
I think you--
We're "-ish" people.
I feel comfortable
around people who say "-ish."
I think one of the most
pretentious things you can say
is "Kafkaesque."
That's just...
you're showing off.
We're working class.
Just say "Kafkish."
Which has the benefit of also
sounding like a kosher pastry.
Can I get a pound
of the Kafkish?
And a dozen rugelachhh.
And a raisin chhhallah.
I don't know if, if Jews
are doing this everywhere,
but in an attempt to assimilate,
I've noticed a lot of Jewish
people pulling back
on the "chhh."
They're saying
challah and rugelah.
And I say no.
Embrace the "chhh."
Embrace it!
What are they gonna do?
Hate us?
so the reasons are threefold.
There are three reasons...
...why we didn't feel poor.
For a poor family,
we had pretty good electronics.
We frequently had
a good television set.
Sometimes, we even
had a good stereo.
And this was all thanks
to my Uncle Norman's job.
My mother's twin brother,
Uncle Norman.
His job, he was...
a burglar.
What did I tell you
about Jewish people?
We have a version
of every profession.
Uncle Norman was a burglar.
And you're like,
"Yeah, but he got out of it
and moved on."
No, no, no, he died a burglar.
He was, actually, a fence.
He would receive stolen
merchandise and then resell it.
The man never made an honest
dollar in his life, but...
he got us
incredible electronics.
Poor people,
you have to understand,
we're not very picky
about warranties and...
...serial numbers and receipts.
We just wanna watch color TV.
So, Uncle Norman would
get us these things,
and sometimes, he would
store things in our house
until the heat was off.
Wh-Which took on this other
meaning for the heat was off,
'cause sometimes, the heat
was off in our house.
But we'd have a pinball machine
in our kitchen.
We were warming our hands
on The Who's "Tommy."
So, that was the first reason
we didn't feel poor.
The second reason
we didn't feel poor
was that the income inequality
was not as vast,
as significant, in the '70s.
And up until 1983-ish... wasn't as bad as it,
as it is now.
What we're living in now,
I would categorize it as
"Tale of Two Cities-esque."
In fact, it's-it's worse
than 18th-century France,
In 18th-century France,
according to
"Tale of Two Cities,"
and I'll just do
a little bit of the preamble.
The overlapping is-is
"It was the best of times.
It was the worst of times."
"It was the age of wisdom.
It was the age of foolishness."
Big check.
"It was the epoch of belief.
It was the epoch
of incredulity."
But I could keep going.
But, at no point
did Dickens say,
"Also, three or four times
a week,
there was a show called
'Shark Tank.'"
Even the 18th-century
French aristocrats
never made their "entrepreneurs"
dance for a small investment
in their life's work.
That is a cruelty...
...that is just us.
I-- That show...
I hate it!
Please, if you have an idea,
do not go on "Shark Tank."
There are...
places that offer
much better terms...
...than the "Shark Tank" sharks.
I happen to have an accounting
and finance degree
from Boston College.
"It's no Harvard"...
was our motto.
It sounds much nicer in Latin.
Okay, so here's a place
where you can get better terms
than the "Shark Tank" sharks,
and this is where
you should take it.
A bank!
They make reasonable investments
in small businesses.
You know who else
offers better terms
than the "Shark Tank" sharks?
The Devil!
He'll take your soul.
He will not take
as much of
your annual net income
as the "Shark Tank" sharks.
Also, Mr. Gazzo from "Rocky 1,"
the loan shark,
he offers better terms
than the "Shark Tank" sharks.
Do not go on "Shark Tank."
I wanna start a show
to counter-program
against "Shark Tank,"
and I would call it...
And what would happen on
"Guillotine" is billionaires
would sit in front of
working class folks
like ourselves,
and they would
have to convince us
not to chop their heads off
on live television.
And we--
"How much of it are you
gonna give away?
"Some of it? No, no.
That's not enough.
- That's not enough.
- Bring the blade up."
"You're gonna give
all of it away?
Okay. Alright. No blade."
The income inequality is just...
it's cartoonish.
Even in my business,
just the difference
between me and--
Do you remember the guy
who played Jerry on "Seinfeld"?
He's in the same business,
ostensibly, as I am,
but he is worth
over $1 billion.
And now let's say he's a,
he's a better comedian,
for argument's sake,
but then we'll
come back to this universe.
Can you imagine?
Is he $999,911,000
better than me?
And now, you know my net worth.
About $89,000,
if you consider
my security deposit
to be an asset.
The accounting is murky on that.
I'm probably
not gonna get the entire..., 'cause
I had, had dogs, and so...
Here's the thing.
Jerry Seinfeld, okay?
He owns a building in Manhattan
where he houses his extensive
Porsche collection.
Okay? My wife and I,
we don't have enough room
on our kitchen counter
to keep the toaster
on display at all times.
And here's what's beautiful
about this audience.
You're so generous.
You are all picturing
a four-slicer.
It's a deuce.
My wife and I had to have
an apartment-wide meeting... which we determined
that we-we needed
to keep the microwave oven
on the counter
because you can't take it out
every time you want popcorn.
And we had to keep
the coffee machine
on the counter at all times
because I want no delay
in getting to the machine
that makes the beverage
that makes life tolerable.
So, she said we should put
the blender
and the toaster
in a cabinet.
I'm sorry.
The cabinet.
And so why am I bitter?
Because I can't imagine
that the Seinfelds have
to rank their appliances.
That's why I'm jealous.
The third reason.
The third-fold...
...why we never felt poor
was my dad.
Phil Gulman was
what we call a mensch.
He was a kind, thoughtful,
generous man.
A complete failure
in terms of capitalism.
He never made a great living,
but he left us
with such strong values.
No valuables.
I got-- I'm not exaggerating.
I got his copy of "Gone Girl."
But the values.
I remember--
This is why we didn't feel poor.
Because he had this policy.
He would say, "If there's
something you really want,
"just ask me.
- Don't steal.
- Don't go to Uncle Norman."
"Come to me.
I'll try to find the money."
And then sometimes, he would
come through with the money.
I remember for
my 11th birthday,
he got me all the books
for "Dungeons and Dragons"
and the expert playing set,
which came with, like,
nine different types of dice.
But, unfortunately, and nobody
could have foreseen this,
it didn't come with any friends.
So he got me that.
But then one year,
I think it was,
like, 1978, let's say.
I wanted to play--
I wanted to keep playing hockey.
But hockey, the price
for a season of playing hockey
was $50 in '77.
And then in 1978,
they raised it to $500
because of a new tax policy
in Massachusetts,
where I grew up.
It was called
"Prop two-and-a-half."
And people would save
2.5% on their property taxes,
and all they had to give up was
children's art, music,
gym, afterschool sports,
and tutoring.
It sounded like a tax policy
designed by
a Roald Dahl villain.
But I wanted to keep playing
hockey, so I said to my dad,
"I really wanna play hockey."
He said,
"If you really wanna
play hockey,
"I'll try to find the money
"for you to play this sport
you've shown no potential in."
"Not only have you shown
no potential in hockey,
but Jews..."
"...have acquitted themselves
with very little distinction,
"to be honest with you, Gary.
"Son, go grab
the Sports Almanac.
"We're gonna look
at the Hockey Hall of Fame.
We will count the Jewish players
in the Hockey Hall of Fame."
And we open up the book.
He said, "Okay, ready? Done."
This was 1978.
There were zero Jewish players
in the Hockey Hall
of Fame in 1978.
Now, there are
zero Jewish players
in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
My dad said, "Just for
a point of comparison, son,
"more Jews have been...
the Messiah."
"Do you--
"Do you understand that, Gary?
That you...
"are more likely
to walk on water
"than you are to skate on it,
holding the Stanley Cup?"
"But if you really wanna play,
we'll find the money.
Yeah, we'll find the money,
One benefit,
and I'm sure there are
a number of benefits,
to growing up poor,
for one, it-it humbles you,
but also, it makes you more
compassionate, more empathetic.
I think empathy is, is one
of the most valuable things
we can teach our kids
and-and grow up with.
It's just-- It's almost
automatic for poor people
because we've struggled,
and we feel bad
seeing other people
struggle or-or suffer.
Now, that's not
100% of poor people.
Some people get money,
and all of a sudden,
they wanna pull up the ladder
behind them and lock the door.
But, for most of us,
we really go out of our way
to try and help people
and also be more thoughtful
and-and kind to people.
You'll notice that people
who have worked fast food jobs
are much more polite
to the fast food people.
People who have waited tables
and bartended
are the best tippers
you will ever be around
because we know how much
those tips mean to people.
And, and we go into
fast food restaurants,
and we're much more patient
with the people.
I think one of the best examples
of the rudeness
that people treat
fast food workers
and workers of-of that category
is at any of these restaurants
where you direct
the assembly of your meal.
Your Chipotles, your Subways,
your Just Salads,
your Chop-t.
Like, going to Chipotle,
you may not have noticed this
before tonight,
but I assure you you will never
not notice it after tonight.
The people in front of you
at Chipotle,
as they direct the assembly
of their burrito--
Uh, sorry.
Or their bowl.
I try to be inclusive because--
Because people, they feel hurt,
and then you get the message
the next day.
"I was at Gary Gulman's
early show
"in Toronto,
where he ignored those of us
who opt for the bowl."
"Who eschew..."
"...the tortilla...
"in favor of the bowl
for dietary, religious,
or political reasons."
Alright. As you're directing
the assembly of the burrito,
or the bowl, the people in front
of you, notice this. They'll...
Corn. Corn.
Corn. Corn.
Black beans. Brown rice.
You're like, "What, they point?"
Nah, pointing is, is bad,
but forgivable.
They wag their fingers... other humans.
That is staggeringly
Also completely unnecessary.
They know where the corn is.
You found it.
You don't even work here.
How would they not know
where the corn is
by this point in their shift?
Just people who've worked
in this job,
we would never, because
we've had fingers wagged at us.
We would always give
the Chipotle worker
the benefit of the doubt.
We would say "corn."
And then,
if they looked baffled...
...we would subtly...
...before we ever got
to that point!
I wouldn't last a shift
at Chipotle.
I'm so sensitive.
Like, earlier tonight,
I didn't say anything
'cause we're taping a special,
but earlier tonight,
when I said "Jewish poor,"
I felt like most of you
laughed in the right way.
But, some of you, I felt, um...
I mean, I might be being
overly sensitive,
but did you feel a little bit
of a Holocaust denial?
Like-Like, there was a laugh,
it was like, "ha ha ha ha."
And you, you just heard,
"ha ha ha ha."
I heard, "The numbers
were exaggerated!"
But I'm overly sensitive.
So, what I'm saying is...
I would not last six seconds
at Chipotle.
Somebody would come in. "Corn."
And I would...
Brenda, I found the corn!
It was with the other toppings!
Isn't, isn't it always
the last place you look? She's--
- I sent her into the walk-in.
- She must be freezing,
and it was here all along.
Thank you so much.
Where is the brown rice?
But make sure to jam your finger
into the sneeze guard
so I have something to Windex
at the end of my shift.
Just something
to look forward to...
...before I go home.
How can you be
that mean to people?
Just that...
dismissive of people
who probably aren't
being paid a living wage.
Might have health insurance.
Definitely don't have dental.
I-I love my dentist,
but I have...
I have a history with dentists
in that,
I don't know if you
know this about poor people,
but most people go
to a dentist for their teeth.
But poor people,
my mother specifically,
would go to a local university
that had a dental school,
and these hungover 23-year-olds
would take their midterms
in my mother's mouth,
basically, just--
And fail again
and again and again.
Just these mediocre students,
just mucking around
in my mother's incisors
and bicuspids.
And it just built in me
kind of this-this antipathy
towards dentistry because--
I love my dentist,
but dentistry,
it's organized crime.
First of all, the hygienist does
99.985% of the work.
It shouldn't be called,
"going to the dentist."
It should be called,
"going to the hygienist
featuring the dentist."
Like, the dentist shows up,
has this Stan Lee-ish cameo.
One line, which is always,
"Oh, we don't take
any insurance."
Did you think
you had insurance?
You don't have insurance.
You have a free cleaning,
which is like the loss leader
of dentistry.
It's like the cheap grapes at
the front of the grocery store.
"We brought you in here
"to find $8,000 worth of work
we can do in your mouth.
So, no, you don't have,
you don't have insurance."
You know how you know
you don't have dental insurance?
You need dental insurance.
That's how you know
you don't have it.
Every other doctor
takes insurance.
Dr. Dre takes my insurance.
Doctors Who, Seuss, Dolittle,
Strange, and Doom
all take my insurance.
They take my insurance in
the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
"Doctor, doctor,
give me the news."
"I've got a bad case
of loving you." He...
...takes my insurance.
It's unfathomable.
A heart surgeon
will open up your chest,
replace a valve,
put in four stents,
save and extend your life,
$45 co-pay.
A... dentist
mostly fills
miniature potholes.
Cash only today.
We'll work out a payment plan
like any other
strip mall retailer,
but you're gonna pay.
And what's
so surprising is that
dentists have all
come together
to deny my insurance.
And yet,
they are a profession notorious
for not being able
to reach a consensus
on even the simplest of
In a study...
...a very serious, important,
groundbreaking study,
only four out of
five dentists...
...felt comfortable
recommending Trident... their patients
who chew gum!
Now, you-you have to be
around my age or older
to understand
why I stress "chew" gum.
There was this commercial in
which the narrator would say,
"Four out of five dentists
recommend Trident
to their patients
who 'chew' gum."
And I remember as a kid,
I would say to my mother,
"Why are they saying
it like that?"
"Why are they saying 'chew' gum?
It should be chew gum."
And my mother by this point had
developed Stockholm syndrome.
And so, she would side
with the dentists.
And a lot of poor people,
we have this pathology
where we convey wisdom
on rich people
that they just don't have.
So, I would say to my mother,
I said,
"Why would they say
their patients who 'chew' gum?"
And my mother,
always defending the rich,
"I think they know
what they're doing, Gar."
Not in this case!
By saying they're patients
who "chew" gum,
they're making it sound
like there are alternatives... how we ingest gum.
Oh, you recommend Trident
to your patients who "chew" gum?
What do you recommend
to your patients who...
snort gum?
What do you recommend
to your IV gum users?
What do you recommend they...?
Fruit Stripe gum?
Okay, yeah.
'Cause it starts off
very strong,
and then it, it doesn't linger.
What do you recommend
to your patients
who absorb gum through
a semi-permeable membrane
using a process known
as osmosis?
In other words, what do you
tell your amoeba patients?
Sorry, or your paramecium.
I just don't wanna get that...
"I'm a paramecia.
"A zillion of us came to
Gary Gulman's early show,
"and we were so disappointed
"that he acknowledged
the amoebas,
"but ignored almost half
of the unicellular
organism community."
"This was a slight I felt deep
in my ribosome..."
"...and mitochondria.
My husband was literally
pulling his cilia out."
Many of you sat in science class
in eighth grade
and thought,
"When are we gonna need this?"
June 22nd...
I'm gonna dub in
whatever year it is.
- Every year, I'm gonna...
- "Four," so it'll be,
"This guy, he's unbelievable."
But I have,
I have a strong empathy.
It might be-- Sometimes,
it gets in the way
of enjoying things,
and I, I think,
"Well, I can't enjoy certain
things." Like, I don't--
I've been upgraded
to first class sometimes
because I have
all these miles from traveling,
and I just don't enjoy
a moment of it
because I feel like kind of
a traitor to my class.
And I'm-I'm incredibly insecure,
and I've spent so much time
walking through first class
and just judging
and, and making up stories
in my head.
And I don't mean
to distance myself from you,
but I fly Comfort Plus.
It's just, it's a,
it's a trade-off.
For an extra $135, usually,
I can get the legroom
that prevents me
from having my legs amputated
because of blood clots.
I cannot sit
in-in the coach class.
It just doesn't work for me.
So, I'm going to
my Comfort Plus seat.
I get so anxious
and embittered.
I always say, "Honey, don't be
impressed with these people.
"If they had
their shit together,
they'd be in a private jet
right now."
"They all have bosses.
They all have bosses.
"Don't be dazzled by their
Tommy Bahama polo shirts.
These are not people
to be impressed with."
The sad part is I'm almost
always traveling alone
when I do that.
I can't because of the empathy.
I'm always boycotting things
because I feel bad
for enjoying things
because of what they represent.
I-I won't drive a Mercedes-Benz.
Even if I could afford one,
I would not drive
a Mercedes-Benz.
Just so we're all
on the same page,
Mercedes-Benz was not
neutral during the Holocaust.
They chose a side,
and I, and I'm not going to--
If you're a Jew and you drive
a Mercedes-Benz,
please just tell me
you won it in a raffle.
I cannot...
Jews driving Mercedes-Benzes.
I'm always boycotting things.
I used to watch
the NFL every Sunday
from between four
and 14 hours and...
And then,
they banned Colin Kaepernick
from making a very reasonable
protest by taking a knee.
And I said, well,
I'm done with that group.
And the thing that's aggravating
is my boycotts never work.
They're having
another Super Bowl.
It's already been given a date.
I became vegan after seeing this
documentary called "Food, Inc."
I saw how they were
treating the chickens,
and I said, "Well,
that's the end of that."
And I-- Oh, man,
I loved, I loved those foods.
But then, I said, "I can't.
I can't be a part of that."
Then, I saw
a picture of a sea turtle
in "National Geographic,"
and it had a plastic straw
stuck in its, in its
cute little nostril,
and they had to use
a pliers to take it out.
And I thought,
"Oh, that could have been
my plastic straw from a..."
It could've been any of our...
...plastic straws.
And I made a vow that day.
I say, "From here on out,
it will not be
one of my plastic straws."
And people, when I told them
I'm off plastic straws, they go,
"What do you do
about smoothies?"
And I said, "Well, I-I put
a moratorium on smoothies
until I--
until I could figure it out."
And what I figured out
was that this,
this stainless steel straw
is the answer.
It's a
a really good suck.
By the way, I have no dog
in the sea turtle fight.
None of my ancestors
are sea turtles.
But the empathy, oy.
So, I use this, and I-I love it.
For $14.99, I got four of these,
and it comes with
a free pipe cleaner
which answers your question,
"How do you keep it clean?"
Free pipe cleaner.
So, look at me. I'm not only
saving the majestic sea turtle,
but also the near defunct...
...the moribund
pipe cleaner industry.
The pipe cleaner industry
was on its last legs.
And here's what's so precious
about the pipe cleaner
industry's last legs.
It's made out of a pipe cleaner.
It's made out of
a pipe cleaner.
And what they did
was they took the points,
and they, they folded it up
so it looks like feet.
The thing with empathy
is that...
certain things,
they hit you so hard,
you feel it,
and it can limit you.
Like, because of my empathy,
I can't watch...
close-up magic anymore.
Which sounds like
a non-sequitur,
but it's a sequitur.
Okay, I have been a fan of magic
as long as I've been...
and I used to be a-a magician
when I was a kid.
Like a lotta kids, I had tricks,
and I had a magic set,
and I would make tricks from
books and things like that,
and I would practice
all the time.
And then one Passover,
on, I think,
night two at a seder,
I asked my dad if I could
put on a little magic show
after the-- Of course,
I would do my job.
I would ask the four questions,
but then after the seder,
after Dayenu say...
"Gulman got really Jewy."
"I thought his base
was librarians."
"It's middle-aged Jews."
I asked my father if I could
do a magic show,
and he said,
"I, I don't know, son.
"It might be a sacrilege
to do magic on Passover."
And my argument was,
I said, "Dad,
"what was Moses'
splitting of the Red Sea
but the greatest ta-da..."
" Jewish history?"
And he, and he laughed,
and he said,
"Keep it tight."
Okay, so I was doing
the magic tricks,
and my brothers
were sitting there
and just calling out
every single trick.
"What's in your other hand?
Roll up your sleeve.
What did you just drop?"
And I was 7.
You're picturing them
being 10 or 11,
which is obnoxious,
but forgivable.
They were 20 and 23.
The gift you have
given me tonight,
that I can be myself.
Like, you enjoy my jokes,
but you also enjoy me,
which is just--
I don't know if you know
what goes on...
I don't know if you know
what goes on before the show,
but I, I say a little prayer
of gratitude. And then,
then I remind myself
of something
my therapist always tells me,
which is, um,
"The audience, Gary,
they're not your family."
"These people
are rooting for you."
So, this was why
I stopped doing magic,
I couldn't,
I couldn't handle the heckling.
I still loved magic
all my years.
And I-I remember the last time
I went to a magic show.
I was so moved.
I went to this show at
the Magic Castle in Hollywood.
And the young man
did this trick.
And it sounds basic,
but it was very complicated,
and I knew how much effort must
have gone into perfecting it.
So, he does this thing. He says,
"Pick a card, any card."
I pick the queen of diamonds.
And then he handed me
the queen of diamonds
and a Sharpie and asked me
to sign the back of the card.
And so, I did that.
Then he took the card
with my signature
and the Sharpie,
put it into the deck,
and did a series
of elaborate shuffles,
culminating in
the cascading bridge. The...
My sound effects are so poor.
Cascading bridge,
which I can't do
and makes me less of a man.
Sometimes, people will ask me,
they'll say,
"Gary, do you wanna
play poker with us?"
And I'll say,
"Oh, I don't, I don't gamble."
But the truth is
I don't shuffle.
But, this guy,
his cascading bridge,
it was just perfection.
So, he takes the deck, and then
he put it into the pocket.
This pocket in his blazer.
From this pocket,
he removed an orange.
And I screamed, "How?!"
"I just saw you put the deck
into this pocket.
"I watched every moment of it
from here to here.
Now, you're implying it's in
the middle of that orange?"
When I told my mom this story,
she said, "Gar, honey,
how'd you know the card
was in the orange?"
And I said,
"Oh, that's because I--
I've seen magic before,
you dingbat."
He didn't pull out the orange
'cause he was concerned
I had scurvy.
"Bullocks to Gulman,
who so blithely
mentioned scurvy."
"A vitamin C deficiency that
ravaged the British Royal Navy
"in the 17th and 18th centuries.
"First, he went after
and I said nothin'."
"'Cause I weren't 'Seinfeld.'
"Then, he went after dentists,
and I said nothin'
"'cause I don't care
for them blokes neither.
Then, he came for me."
"Also, I thought
it was a low blow
"and petty and spiteful
"that he mocked those of us
who still sent our emails
using a manual typewriter."
"And while I don't wanna stoop
to his level and pick nits,
but 'is mime work is rubbish!"
"He would have his audience
of librarians
"and middle-aged
Jewish women
"believe that we return
the carriage
after every bloody letta!"
"And that we only type words
"that could be typed entirely
with the left 'and,
such as west and steward
and abracadabra."
So, he hands me the orange.
And he says, "Inspect it, make
sure it hasn't been doctored
or manipulated in any way."
I said, "What can I prove?"
"Without an MRI,
"I got nothing.
All I can say is bravo.
"This is the greatest trick
I've seen from this distance
in my life.
You are incredible."
And so, I handed him
back the orange.
He peeled it. Sure enough,
in the center,
queen of diamonds. My signature.
Some pulp.
"He's self-referential!"
And then he said,
and this, to me,
was the most impressive
part of the trick.
He said, "Is this your card?"
That blew me away, right?
The humility.
I don't possess that.
It's, it's insecurity.
I gloat. I boast.
It's-- I know it sounds
but when you don't believe
in yourself, you're so shocked
when you come through,
you're like,
"Yeah, in your face!"
Like, I've been
obnoxious about that.
Like, when I was in high school,
if I-- uh, playing basketball,
if I made a shot over you,
and I, I would have...
...and your coach called timeout
to staunch the bleeding...
...I wouldn't go over
to my huddle.
I would go over to your huddle,
stick my beak in,
and say, "I'd bring in someone
who can guard me."
And sometimes, the referee
would come over and say,
"Son, you pull that again,
I'm gonna tee you up."
And I would say, "Pull what?
Offer sage defensive counsel?"
Sometimes, I'd go to
the free throw line,
I'd make the first one,
and then, I'd turn to whoever
fouled me and say,
"We could all be playing
basketball right now
if you'd shown
a little self-control."
"I'm gonna make this next one,
"even though your fans and
cheerleaders are screaming,
Lemme tell you something, kids.
While you were all at prom
and semi-formal and the
Enchantment Under the Sea dance,
I was keeping my elbow in...
...and following through.
I'm not gonna miss.
You know what I consider a miss?
If it hits any part of the rim
before falling through the net.
That's my miss.
It has to be
esthetically pleasing
as well as go
through the points.
If it hits, if it goes
I'll cover my ears
and scream, "Too loud!"
that's high school basketball.
The stakes are very low.
If I pulled your card
out of citrus fruit
in front of an audience,
I'm not,
"Is this your card?"
I'd whip it out with a flourish.
Look familiar, fuckface?
How did I do it?
I'm magic!
Now, you're wondering
where, where does
the empathy come in?
He said, "Is this your card?"
And I felt it.
I, I wanted to say,
"Not only is that my card,
"this is the greatest trick
I've ever seen in my life.
"You are...
"a perfect athlete,
"a deft magician.
"I am...
I am in awe of you, sir.
I am blown away."
But, because of the empathy,
my jubilance was suppressed,
and all I could muster was,
"I cannot fathom...
how lonely
your childhood was."
The isolation must have been
You said,
"Is this your card?"
I heard,
"Mommy, look! Mommy!"
"Mommy! Mommy!"
So, I'm, I'm gonna
start this special,
but what I've noticed
with some of the-the specials
I've seen of, of comedians
that I really admire,
they-they kinda start
in medias res.
So you don't even hear the-the,
the-- In ninth grade,
I learned in medias res.
I think it means in the middle
of things,
but sounds much nicer.
Anyhow, a lot of comedians
are starting that way,
and I think it's,
I think it's kinda jazzy.
So, like, the special might
start with me going,
"It's kinda jazzy."
And then, there's
like mystery of the people
who weren't here, thinking,
- "I wonder--
I wonder what I missed?"
Into tomorrows and
Take it as it goes...