Paging Dr. Hardy Harhar

Professional help on the hunt for laughs

I wish I'd had the intestinal fortitude of Adrian Mesa and his fellow Cubans, whom he proclaimed "Kings of Fried Carbs." Stick a cigar in Mesa's mouth and the guy would look like a kinder, blinder, paunchier Fidel Castro in Castro's younger years. His set ranged from the observational (Doritos are like "tiny stained-glass pieces from the church of Satan") to the racial (Indian gangstas on low-rider elephants) to the musical (like a Latino Adam Sandler). With 45 minutes of fun-without-offense comedy, no wonder the 29-year-old doesn't need a day job.

After the show, when our Lynyrd Skynyrd-singing host began to flex his musical muscles by singing some Motown, I approached Mesa and his girlfriend, Kristin.

Her biggest complaint? "I feel really not funny all the time," she said, shaking her head slowly in defeat.

Tony Gleeson

"So it's all comedy, all the time, huh?" I asked Mesa. "Is there any room in your life for tragedy?"

"I went to Flamingo Gardens recently and almost twisted my ankle looking at flowers," he told me. "How sad is that?"

Like a scene from Euripides, my friend.

I asked for his help with my joke. He got as far as "A nightlife columnist goes into a bar, and the bartender says, 'Sorry, we don't serve nightlife columnists here'" when an older guy interrupted with a comment I didn't catch.

"There's always a guy like that at every show," Mesa explained after the guy headed toward the pool tables. "A drunkle who always tells you the most racist jokes."

" 'Drunkle'?" I repeated, savoring his mashup of drunk and uncle.

He nodded. "Yup. Some people are naturally talented; others are enhanced."

So use that natural talent to finish my joke, Jefe.

"And the nightlife reporter is lonely and depressed and goes home."

I was beginning to pick up a theme; no matter what state the reporter was in, people kept sending her home.

I decided to buy a vowel and get a clue. But that didn't mean I'd quit. I finished my joke — with a little inspiration from the pros:

Night Rider walks into a cannibal bar, sits down, and picks up a menu.

The bartender shakes his head. "We don't serve your kind here."

"Oh, why not?" the reporter asks.

"Our chef is French," the bartender explains. "He is very discriminating."

Discrimination: now that's a spicy story for a journalist. "Please, tell me more," she encourages her host as she eyes a daily special on the menu that she doesn't recognize. "Naliste?" she wonders silently.

"Off the record?"

The reporter nods.

"Well, actually, we do serve your kind," the bartender says in a low voice. "And I can tell — you think that you smell a story. But that's because Chef Bonmort is preparing his special soup du jour... naliste."

Now, with my 47 seconds of material, I'm sure I'll be making the rounds at an open mic near you.

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