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The Column

Why is This Column Different From All Others?

Most of you are probably expecting five short observations on things in the world around me. I hope you are used to disappointment, because you are in for it.

Much like the disappointment that comes with being in an airport while forgetting both my cell phone charger and my headphones. The first lapse in memory will force me to spend a weekend not speaking to those I am trying to reach. The second one will force me to spend a flight speaking to those I am trying to avoid. I didn’t even plan on plugging my headphones in to anything. I was just going to wear them. If my neighbor notices the dangling headphone cord, so be it. It’s what they get for arriving late enough to have a middle seat.

I wrote a column for two and a half years about looking at stuff around me and reporting what I saw. Kind of the little brother urging you to look out his side of the car. But after graduating college, things have slowly begun to change. But not in the airport. I’m still sitting here avoiding people, just like I was a half hour ago.

Observational Humor used to be about college, but I felt a bit sheepish writing about something I was no longer part of. So I started writing about working life, but that’s no fun at all. When you tell someone that you write college humor, they say, “Parties, rock!” When you tell someone that you write office humor, they say, “Excuse me, Irving, may I borrow your stapler? I seem to have used up the last of my staples while putting together my painfully boring life.”

When I started to write this column, I was left at a crossroads. And not the kind that has Britney Spears trying to act (whew). My crossroads involved me making a decision. So I finally made one: I bought a new pair of headphones from the airport’s Overpriced Random Things Depot. Actually, I bought two. I wanted mini headphones, and you could only get those “free” with a twelve-dollar pair of big headphones. The Depot also carries the big headphones without the mini headphones, priced at six dollars.

Equipped with headphones, I started thinking about what to write this week. I could give you a riveting expose on white out or the dress code or the gradual change from water coolers to soda machines or something else that your parents might enjoy reading. Or I could write about whatever I felt like, on a week-to-week basis, and just try to be as entertaining as possible. The decision was much easier than whether or not to blow twelve bucks on headphones.

The problem that decision creates is if interesting things happen around me often enough to write about. Interesting things that I can write about here, anyway. There’s all sorts of interesting stuff that goes on between people I know that you wouldn’t really care about. Like when John asked Patricia out, and she turned him down because she wanted to date Patrick, and then everyone made fun of her because her name was Patricia and so she shouldn’t date someone named Patrick. This is an example of something that would not make a good column.

Living in New York and having a keen sense of perception helps. Which is much healthier than living in New York with a keen sense of smell, since that would prevent you from ever leaving your apartment. I enjoy looking at the things around me, thinning them out into bite size pieces, and serving them to my readers like the tiny bag of pretzels and the 5 ounce cup of Sprite that will keep me full all the way to Los Angeles.

Little things like this should provide me with both hunger pains and countless weeks of column material; the world is full of things that make for funny anecdotes. Like the guy who just sat down next to me and is letting his kid run around touching people.

A lot of people have written to me asking if I could make my columns longer, and I have traditionally told them to go pound. So it is possible that none of them are reading this, since they are all busy pounding. But if they have not yet begun to pound, or perhaps they finished their pounding early, they might be reading this after all. I hope that my new format did not disappoint any of them.

Unless they are the guy with the weird kid who keeps touching me. I hope he gets dissapointed constantly.

*Kings vs. Sports Illustrated
*Paris Hilton is No Mother Theresa
*Putting the "Fan" in "Fanatic"
*Thinking Man: Happy New Year
*I'm Listening
*Punky Brewster Scares Me
*Don't Get Smart With Me
*Checking Out a Check Up
*Yeah, Thanks
*Steve Hofstetter is Your Friend
*Post Halloween Wrap-Up
*My Letter to Me
*The Night the Heat Went Off
*Turn That Crap Off
*You Might Be a Redhead If
*To My Future Children
*Shine Your Shoes, Mista?
*Flying Forward
*DotCom Dating Dish
*Paging Paige Page
*Watch While You Eat
*You Have Got to Be Kidding Me
*Come Home, Rachel I. K'Benjamin
*Get Out Of My Bathroom
*Subway Going Under
*Driving Forces
*Singles Anonymous
*Know When to Fold Em
*The Mirth of America
*Also Known As
*Smooth Criminal
*What That Mass Email Really Said
*Dude, Where's Your Car?
*Thinking Man: Can't We All
*You Might Be a Redneck
*A Nice Hawaiian Punch
*100,000 Friends
*Mine is Bigger Than Yours
*Good Answer
*T Stands for Terrible
*I Love You Guys
*Mitch, All Gone
*Birth of a Hate Mail Archive
*Never Do Today What...Ooh, Shiny
*Can You Hear Me Now?
*Fast Food, Slow Digestion
*Homeland Security, Eh?
*Quality Training Purposes
*The Show Went On
*Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?
*Putting My Foot Down
*Breaking the Chain Mail
*Happy Valmochrismaweenygiving
*Mr. Clean's Illegitimate Brother
*The Quest For 10,000 Friends
*Forgetting Paris
*Magnetically Challenged
*New Year's at the Barefoot Boogie
*Instant Carma's Gonna Get Me
*The Biggest Loser
*Steve vs. Kentucky
*Gone in a Flash
*How to Destroy Your Car
*Ghouls, Goblins, and Candidates
*My Freedom From Your Freedom
*Drive Unto Others
*Please Don't See This Movie
*I Love The Clip Shows
*Column of Atonement
*Happy Anniversary, Sugarhill
*Life, 9/11, and the Interstate
*Your Band Sucks
*Spending Wisely
*The Blind Dating the Blind
*Grilled Cheese With a Side of Hip Hop
*The Drive to 25
*Are You There Margaret? It's Me, God.
*Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House
*Seacrest! Out!
*Harder Than You Think
*Glad To Be Here
*Thought for Food
*Feeding the Meter
*She's Ready For Her Close Up
*Paging John Hughes
*Excusing America's Gas Problem
*Extra, Extra, Extra Long Time
*The Finals Countdown
*Your Friends and Mine
*The Future Mrs. Bueller
*Toasting Not Toasting
*A Tall Order
*Snaking Your Engine
*My Hair is the Color of Tomato Soup
*The Solace System
*You Say Potato
*It’s Getting Less Cold in Here
*This is Not a Virus
*Pitchers and Catchers
*Another Night Not at the Movies
*Higher and Higher
*To Write A Wrong
*They Call it Super for a Reason
*Imagine All the People
*Lost Wages, Nevada
*This Just In
*Why Are All My Stands Red?
*For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls
*Silent One Day Sale, Holy One Day Sale
*I Want To Be That Guy
*Felicity Doesn't Always Mean Happiness
*That Time of Year
*My Cranberry Sauce Looks like a Can
*The Legend of Fat Dead Steve
*Two Beldings in One Building
*Happy Halloween From Happy Valley
*Three Stations and Nothing On
*15 Shots of Nostalgia
*Here's To the Dancing Guy
*Teaching an Old Dog New Sticks
*If You Could Choose Just One Dumb Question...
*Obligatory Pun on The Word Tired
*I've Grown Accustomed to Your Wet Nose
*What Do You Want For Your Birthday?
*What a Long, Strange Trip
*Open Letter to My UPS Man
*That Better Be Your Foot
*The Abandoned Lot is Always Greener
*Putting Down the Pieces
*Take One Down, Pass It Around
*Here, You Throw This Away
*Being Green at the Box Office
*Who Wears Short Shorts?
*America is an Okay Place to Be
*You Can't Stop the Rain
*Don't Feed the Alpha Males
*Don’t Sweat It
*The Special Plate Blues
*You Deserve It
*The Return to Popcopy
*They're Real, and They're Spectacular
*Keeping Your Prom Misses
*Guerillas in Our Midst
*That Weird No Bread Holiday
*The Ballad of the Buttless
*Something About Being Twenty-Something
*Have You Seen My Cell Phone?
*War, Huh, Yeah, What Is It Good For?
*Leggo My Ego
*I'm a Spazz, You're a Spazz
*Can I Please Keep My Pants?
*Engaged in Conversation
*Welcome to PopCopy
*Hold Me Closer, Tiny Bathroom
*My Two-Bedroom Furbee
*All’s Fare in Love and Daytona
*Open? Shut Them
*I Am Everyday Pimple
*Here Comes the Judge Show
*When, Praytell, Were The Days of Auld Lang Syne?
*What Are You Up To This Weekend?
*The Waiting is the Hardest Part
*A Night Not at the Movies
*Funny, You Don’t Look Flu-ish
*Does This Baby Come With Airbags?
*When The Hogan Family Was Still Valerie
*Blue (Haired) Tuesday
*In Loco Parents
*Moving Is Like A Vaccuum: It Sucks
*Thou Shalt Not Save the World and Get the Girl
*Like Oil and Stuff That Hates Oil
*How to Get Hatemail
*Fungi, Octopi, What’s the Plural of Bus? (Part I
*Fungi, Octopi, What’s the Plural of Bus? (Part I
*It Happens to the Best of Us
*Talking To A Piece of Junk Mail
*When You Can’t See the Forest for the Trees
*ICFS Disorder and Celebrity Kid Growth
*Electricity and Other Things They Cut Off
*When Pigeons Fly
*Goodbye, New York, Goodbye
*La La La-la La La, Sing a Happy Song
*What To Do at Work Besides Work
*Why is This Column Different From All Others?