Sit Down Comedy … June 5th, 2020

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Sit Down Comedy

Mary of Moncrief, Michigan.

A triple threat in alliteration.

She is forty-six years old, the mother of three children who range in age from twenty-one down to a precocious ten.

She is the assistant manager at the local Nordstroms, where she has been employed for twenty years, ascending in the ranks, and well-respected.

The date is November 8th, 2016.

Mary was awake early that morning. She had lost her battle with insomnia hours earlier, trying to remain still as a mouse, hoping that sleep would be merciful to her fatigue. Giving up, she rose, made coffee and cinnamon toast—one of her favorites—and prepared for the day in the quiet of a very chilly pre-dawn kitchen.

She had one thought on her mind: should she go vote before work, or wait until afterwards and possibly face long lines?

Actually, that wasn’t the primary question. What had been haunting her mind for weeks was whether she could cast a vote in good conscience either way.

Politically, Mary was a moderate.

At least, moderate for Michigan.

She had voted for her share of Democrats and a similar array of Republicans. She felt she was informed and believed herself to be open-minded to opportunities offered by both parties. But the past few months had left her in a whirl, dizzy from disjointed facts and accusations.

Donald Trump seemed unqualified to be President, but his journey as a mature man of business seemed respectable.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, seemed more prepared for the position, but less sure-footed in the midst of entanglements.

But still, that wasn’t the real problem.

Deep in her heart, Mary of Moncrief, Michigan, felt that everything was just moving too fast.

She wasn’t against progress–she was upset about the speed being used to achieve it.

So many issues.

Abortion, for instance.

Mary believed a woman should have the right to choose the conclusions of her life, but she was uncomfortable about how the subject of abortion—the termination of a fetus—had become so cavalier. She especially hated the phrase, “abortion on demand.”

Wasn’t a little more humility in order?

Mary also knew she didn’t hate gay people. She was one of the first ones in her local church to rally behind the idea of civil unions.

But lickety-split, she was expected to not only honor gay marriage, but to be supportive of it whenever it was brought up, so she wouldn’t come across as a homophobe.

It felt unfair.

After all, the world of psychology and psychiatry had, for decades if not centuries, contended that homosexuality was aberrant behavior which required treatment.

Now, since that diagnosis had been recently abandoned, they expected Mary and all the American people to quickly shed several generation’s worth of comprehension and join the parade.

It was fast.

Mary wanted equal pay for women in the workplace, but when she rallied with those struggling to achieve this worthy goal, she found herself in the midst of some who decried motherhood and made fun of the simpler values Mary held dear.

Mary was especially troubled by the spiritual indifference, which seemed to reject any soul who believed in God, deeming such a person irrational or uneducated.

Everything was so quick.

Marijuana becoming legal. If marijuana was so safe, why did the people who smoked it always portray it in their movies as a brain-staller—and a pathway leading to no motivation?

And then—the candidates themselves.

Mary of Moncrief, Michigan, was very worried about a man who mocked women, weaker folks and other nationalities with a sneer. But on the other hand, how could she support a woman like Hillary Clinton, who defended her husband’s mistreatment of a twenty-one-year-old intern in the White House, and even to this day, joined into the attacks against poor Monica?

As Mary sipped her coffee in the kitchen, she heard rumblings from the bedrooms above.

Soon her family would join her. Her thoughts would be blended with their desires.

Realizing how important her decision was, she scurried around, deciding to leave for work, going to the polls early to beat the rush.

She called out her good-byes and best wishes for the day, jogged to her car, got in and drove off.

She was nearly to the polling station when she veered off at a graveyard. She sat, staring at the frosty granite stones. Still they were—and at peace.

In a moment of deep reflection, she asked herself what all these people who had once lived would want her to do.

Who would they want her to vote for?

Mary just wished that one of those who wanted to be President of the United States would acknowledge that affairs, nations, wars and social revisions were happening at such a rapid pace that we all needed a deep breath—just to appreciate where we are, who we are and what we’re about to undertake.

Was there an order in it?

Did civil rights come before women’s rights or abortion rights?

It all seemed to be happening at the same time.

Was she supposed to feel some beckoning or even a requirement to vote for a woman since she was a woman herself? Maybe she would have felt differently if Hillary had even visited Michigan—instead of assuming that the unions and the black vote “had it in the bag.”

The Democrats took too much for granted, and the Republicans granted so very little.

Time was passing.

She had a tiny window—about twenty minutes—to go vote and still get to Nordstroms for her shift.

But after weeks—perhaps months—of deliberation, she was no further along.

So she made a very quick decision in her troubled mind.

That night, as Mary of Moncrief, Michigan, watched the election returns, she was so troubled that she felt a chill go down her spine.

Donald Trump was winning. Would he rise to the occasion and be a great President?

Should Hillary have been the one?

Even though the campaign had drug on for more than a year-and-a-half, now it all seemed to be too quick. Too speedy.

Mary was not a bigot.

Mary was not conservative.

Mary was certainly not liberal either—not by present standards.

Mary didn’t hate anyone.

But Mary also didn’t favor people just because they were of a certain color or even just because they were victimized.

As the night wore on, it gradually became more obvious and then official.

Donald J. Trump would be the President of the United States.

Mary didn’t know what to feel.

Maybe she was a little relieved that there wouldn’t be any more Clintons in Washington, but also a bit frightened that a real estate developer would be leading the greatest nation on Earth.

But most of all, she was in turmoil about herself.

For she had gone to work—and didn’t vote.

Catchy (Sitting 40) 101 Days… March 18th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Wedding bells.

Landy Loren, one of the original members of Matthew’s marketing team, fell in love with McKendree Davis, who was the drummer in Jubal Carlos’ band.  Most folks knew him as “Michelob” because of his fondness for beer. He wasn’t a “bowling alley drinker”–more a connoisseur of fine beers from all over the world. He always talked about how he drank his beer like wine-sipping, never chugging.

Landy and McKendree were married on the jet plane en route to a rally in Washington, D.C., where Cassidy Templeton was scheduled to speak in front of a crowd predicted to be 500,000.

After his national exposure, his phrase, “check if you’re dead,” became a slogan all across the country, selling two million t-shirts with the saying in just eight days. The nation had suddenly gone from being engorged in its own self-involvement to being given a new set of eyes–and those peepers were all on Cassidy.

Cassidy was astounding on all fronts. He was strikingly handsome, muscular, devoted to his family, but drenched in good old-fashioned humility. His speeches were blessedly short, his sense of humor was keen and his energy seemed boundless.

Three days earlier he had appeared on international television with Merklin Shineer–probably the most well-known atheist walking the planet. Even though Shineer was in his early seventies and considered intolerably grouchy, young people from all over the world were drawn to him because of his plain-speaking manner and his no-nonsense approach to what he deemed “the monster of religion.”

Even though Jubal Carlos warned Cassidy to avoid this “cattle show,” as he called it, Cassidy just smiled and said, “It never hurts to tell the truth.”

So when they got together for the debate, a coin was tossed, and Merklin was given first crack at the audience. He talked for a solid forty minutes about the indignities of life, the unfairness to the poor, the wretched treatment of women and children and the absence of any divinity to curtail the efforts of what seemed to be rampant evil. Merklin occasionally glanced back at Cassidy, who sat thoughtfully, listening.

At the end of his time, Merklin turned to Cassidy and posed a challenge: “If you can give me one reason why I should believe in a God who doesn’t give a damn about people, then I’ll walk out of here today accepting your Jesus and repenting of my sins.”

The audience hooted and howled their approval. Merklin strolled over to his chair, sat down and smugly crossed his legs. He motioned to Cassidy to take the platform. The crowd continued to hiss and sneer as Cassidy got to his feet.

He walked over and shook Merklin’s hand, and then took the microphone and said to the crowd, “That was amazing. What was truly astounding to me was that as I sat there listening to Merklin speak, I realized how much I agree with him. I became fully aware that I share pretty much all of his doubts. I, too, am pained by the power that evil seems to carry in our world. I am deeply saddened that women and children are the targets of that sinister plot. I often sit in a corner by myself and say, ‘Cassidy, how could there be a God?'”

He paused, looking at the people with tears in his eyes. “I do, you know.”

There was a stillness in the room. Even the babies knew it was no time to cry for their mothers.

After a long moment, Cassidy continued. “But I found, Merklin, that you left out one doubt that I have. I thought you would cover it since you’re such a beautiful and intelligent man. But you didn’t. So let me state the one doubt I have more than you.”

All at once Cassidy slipped to his knees and reached out his right hand to the audience. “I doubt,” he began. Then he stopped. “I doubt,” he started again, his voice cracking, “I doubt if I can love you all as much as I need to without God’s help.”

He bowed his head and let the microphone drop to the stage, sending an echo of reverb throughout the building. And then he just wept. He cried like a widow who had just lost her long-loved husband. This went on for a solid two minutes.

Then there was a sniff or two from the audience, some gasping, and then sobbing. In no time at all, most of the people in attendance joined Cassidy in what seemed to be a needful moment of mourning.

Merklin himself bowed his head, squeezed his nose between his thumb and finger, stood up and strolled off the stage.

America seemed to be coming to a long overdue introspection:

The Catholic Church had decided to try a “test parish,” assigning a female priest in downtown Baltimore, Maryland. They asked Sister Rolinda if she would become “Mother Rolinda” to the congregation and lead them.

After much controversy and many debates, the Mormon Church offered an apology for allowing years of indoctrination against the black man to be included in their books.

The Baptists came out against Confederate flags.

The United Methodist church became more energized, with a sense of hope and revival.

Everywhere there was the essence of awakening, without the religious trappings.

Yet as the jet made its way to Washington, D.C., and the marriage ceremony was completed, Matthew found himself enjoying the night life of Las Vegas and the benefits of Nevada’s legal prostitution. He never jumped on the plane to join the “caravan of the concerned” anymore. He wrote checks, he took care of the books and made sure that all legal questions were fielded by the proper attorneys.

Jo-Jay was busy tracking down Prophet Morgan’s murderer, so every attempt he made to contact her was met with her familiar answering machine: “Hi, this is Jo-Jay. Like the Blue Jay but I’m not a bird. Leave a message.”

Matthew was a man who knew he was ill but preferred the pain to the cure.

Meanwhile, the rally in Washington exceeded expectations. Nearly 700.000 people showed up, many sporting the black t-shirts with hot pink lettering which read, Check if you’re dead. Cassidy spoke only ten minutes in front of the crowd, which had traveled from all over the world for the moment.

Jubal Carlos, who had been taking less and less of a role of late, filled in with music and a fifteen-minutes retrospective on where they had come from and where they prayed to go.

After the meeting, the 700,000 people dispersed with hugs, smiles and tears, as Cassidy was whisked away to the White House to meet the President. He was to be honored with a special Public Servant Award. When he arrived, it was not just the President but his whole family, plus the Vice President and many members of Congress, who had gathered in the East Room to see “the Lazman.”

Cassidy, when asked to say a few words, stood to his feet and quipped, “You know, I used to work with power. But looking around this room–this is ridiculous.”

A great burst of laughter. So he continued. “And as I learned, power can energize you, or it can…well, it can kill you. I hope all of us in this room realize that. I pray for each and every one of you every day. I wouldn’t want your jobs. My job is easy. I take the life God has given me–now in my 101st day of resurrection–and try to just love as many people as I can. It may sound silly, or even weak, but it’s what I got.”

He nodded to the dignitaries, who burst into applause and stood up to give him honor.

Cassidy went to sit on a lovely divan and lay his head back for moment, resting. The President and First Lady walked over to meet him. He took their hands and thanked them for their courtesy in inviting him.

All at once, he raised his eyebrows as if he was looking deeply into their souls. He gave a small chuckle, took a deep breath, and quietly said, “I guess that’s it.”

He laid his head back against the divan, and the President and First Lady, thinking he must be exhausted from the rally, left him to rest. Everybody gave him space. Actually, people thought it was cute that he had fallen asleep at the White House during a tribute to his life and success. Some people even started to leave.

Then one of the butlers noticed that Cassidy had not moved for some time, and it appeared that he wasn’t breathing. The butler slowly stepped over, lifted a hand and felt for a pulse. He lurched back in alarm, speaking to the surrounding guests, “He’s dead.”

A doctor who was present for the occasion ran forward and discovered the same. He placed Cassidy on the ground, trying to revive him. An ambulance was called, but by the time it arrived, it was much too late.

Cassidy Templeton was dead. He had passed away in the White House, on the 101st day after his miracle resurrection.

The nation was stunned.

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What’s So Funny? … May 9, 2013

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laugh maskI made one of those classic mistakes.

Spurred on by some friends and supporters, for a season I decided to advertise myself as a comedian or a humorist. It seemed like a good idea. After all, most people like light-hearted material over crusty pages with darkened corners.

But here’s what I discovered: arriving at my first engagement, fully promoted, a gentleman ambled up to me and said, “So I hear you’re a comedian.” (I would describe his tone as a mingling of spit and vinegar, accentuated with a sneer.)

I was in trouble.

For honestly, the best way to make sure that people will NOT find joviality in your material is to suggest to them that it is meant to be giggly. We are a highly independent species, bound and determined to push forward our own opinions, even if they’re wrong.

It took about two weeks, but I caught on. I dropped the foolish title from my advertising and decided to just go in front of the audience and let the chips fall where they may. Guess what? I was suddenly funny again.

So here’s what I learned from that experience. You might find it beneficial if you are in the pursuit of offering levity to the planet.

1. Don’t TRY to be funny.

2. BE funny–by sharing your “tries.” People love to laugh at our failures. You can call it sick, or just dub it predictable.

3. Don’t make fun of people. It’s cheap and eventually there is someone out there who will get a bead on your oddities–and decimate your character.

4. Make people believe in fun. In the midst of a world of turmoil, discussing the layers of conflict rarely brings about the energy to do anything about it. We have to believe that life is fun or we’ll stop showing up.

5. Don’t lose the humor of God. I was at a church service one time and we were all laughing, having a good time before the service, when the pastor said, “Let’s all calm down and get ready for worship.” I had to object. I replied, “What are you trying to do? Scare God away?” If God does not promote joy, then He’s probably pretty grouchy. I don’t think it does us any good to believe in a grouchy God.

6. And we promote the humor of God because God saves the lost THROUGH humor. The parables of Jesus are riddled by one-liners, set-ups and little stabs of comedy. If you can’t get people to look at their lives through the prism of jubilation and with a bit of jocular nature, the pain involved in changing is just too great.

So to answer the question “what’s so funny?” — it would be me, when I don’t TRY to be funny. And it would be you AND me when we realize that “be of good cheer” is the only way to overcome the world’s tribulation.

 

 

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

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