Stump The Joke Man"
The Montreal Just For Laughs Festival
In summer of 1993 I was invited to perform at "Just For Laughs," the prestigious Montreal comedy festival. I did the late-night "dirty" show. I was only alotted twenty minutes, but somehow I managed to do a pack of filthy jokes and also play "Stump The Joke Man." It was short but sweet both nights. The second night I was moved to last because no one wants to follow the energy the game creates.
The second night, as with most nights, the girls were right out of Central Casting. A Jewish girl, a tall girl, a black girl, an Italian girl, a girl with huge knockers, and an Asian. The mix is always perfect.
"Stump The Joke Man" in the Eighties
Rascals Comedy Club. West Orange, New Jersey
So I work my way down the row of girls, meeting them, teasing them, embarrassing them, everything obviously in good fun. I ad-lib like crazy, which is for the most part repeating those well-worn workhorse lines that never miss.
"Look at that hair-do. I can't believe before you left the house , you looked in the mirror and said, 'That's good.' Tell me that bathroom wasn't fucking foggy."
"You're a housewife? How many houses?"
"You go to college? So you only have class at night? Scholarship or full o' shit? "
"You're shaking. You want to hold me in the bathroom?"
After the "get to know the girls" segment, I played the game with about ten guys...much less than usual, but I was pressed for time. I could only hit them with a minimum of insults and slurs.
"You work construction? What are you building? Obviously not a career."
"Okay, you. What's your name, over there? What's your name over here?"
I mow down the guys one after the other, knowing every punchline, at some point abandoning asking their names and just having them scream the set-ups so I can fire back the answer in a heartbeat. Not one guy comes close to stumping me. I'm at the top of my game, a monster.
my new pal Virginia trying to "Stump The Joke Man," iridium, July, 2009
I move to the line of ladies. One after the other, I listen to their joke set-ups and then break their hearts with the answers to "the one they were sure would get me." They punch me in the stomach, they smack me, they yelp, and it's exactly the way it's supposed to be...totally unplanned, crazy fun, and I win.
it's always wild & fun up there...
After all the jokes in my act that bashed women and every ethnic and minority group and then all the bashing and insulting of the girls on the stage, the last contestant on the second night in Montreal, with a packed house of 500 that was maybe the hottest crowd I ever worked to, and that I had worked to a fever pitch, is the Asian girl.
I brought her out to front-center stage, and after a few more very cheap shots, I asked her to try her joke on me.
Her accent made what she said just hard enough to understand, just foreign enough, to help the situation incredibly, but not impede her riddle.
She said, "What do anniversary, toilet, and clitoris have in common?"
My God. I had no idea. And it wasn't one of those times where I had heard the joke, and knew it, but just couldn't recall it at that moment for some reason, which was how I usually got stumped when I lost.
I stormed back and forth across the stage like a tiger waiting for a slab of raw horsemeat. The place was electric. What a fantastic set-up. Had I known the joke, I would have pranced the same way, building the tension of this situation only to spurt out the punchline and be the hero.
But not this time. I mumbled the set-up a few times, and finally said, "Tell me, lady."
She said, "Men miss them all."
The place shook with laughter and applause. The perfect finale. Put in my place, defeated by the last girl, an Oriental, with a clever, man-bashing joke. She deflated the pompous know-it-all, and it was one of the great comedy moments I have ever witnessed, let alone been part of.
I thanked the crowd and The Festival, grabbed my bag of tee-shirts, handed one to each of the girls on stage, gave the show back to host Nick DePollo and exited. He thanked the crowd and said goodnight, and as he joined me in the wings, the crowd was still roaring and cheering. Yikes.
"Stump The Joke Man"
The Record Collector Store, Bordentown, New Jersey
After the show, Charles Joffee, of Rollins & Joffee, who were the management team for Woody Allen and David Letterman, among many others, came up to me and said, "That was unbelievable. How often do you get girls to come on stage?"
I told him honestly, "They come up every night. It has never missed being wild. This was a great one, Charles, but they always come up, and it always works." He shook my hand and said he never saw anything like it. Needless to say, I never wanted to leave that room.
...try to stump me...e-mail your joke(s) to firstname.lastname@example.org ...
"Stump The Joke Man"
Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey