by Jerry Corley fournder of The Stand Up Comedy Clinic
A good friend recently asked me to contribute some writing about the Obama Generation to an online magazine, (www.Kougarmagazine.com). I’m a stand-up comedian and not much of a writer in that fashion, but I wanted to help him out by doing my best to come up with something. I scoured my brain, sat down and prepared to write. My preparation usually includes drinking six cups of coffee and making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. So into my sixth cup and after wiping some stray Jiff off my lips, I thought to myself: who is the Obama Generation? My words flowed thusly:
After one of the most watched presidential elections of all time, Barack Hussein Obama is the 44th , and first black president of the United States. It’s incredible, it’s electrical it’s, a lie! Well, not entirely a lie, but it is only a half-truth. Because, as many tend to forget, he’s half-white! That’s right: Half-white! Barack Obama’s father was a black man from Kenya and his mother was a white woman from Kansas.
When I found this out, the first question that came to my mind was: How did that happen? People from Kansas don’t really travel much—the horses tend to get tired. But I know for a fact that they don’t travel much, because when I was in Kansas, I met a girl after a show and she bragged that she once went “all the way to Wichita.” We were in Haysville—about 20 miles South of Wichita. I wanted to be polite, so I acted impressed and truly involved—let’s not kid one another, I wanted to get laid. I mean, she was hot!—well, in a Haysville, Kansas sort of way… “Wow, ” I said, “That’s quite a trek. All the way to Wichita? You must be exhausted…I hope the wagon seat had a cushion!..blah, blah blah…” –And yes, I wore a condom.
But when I asked her what she thought about Barack Hussein Obama she replied, “You mean that guy from Iraq?” When I politely corrected her—we were still in foreplay mode—she said that she didn’t think that a black man had a shot at being the president of the United States. I said, “do you think he would have a shot if he was half-white?” And, in a defensive tone, (uncannily similar to the tone used by Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder when he said, “What do you mean ‘those people?’”)—she said, “What do you mean: ‘half-white?’”
I proceeded to tell her that Barack Obama’s mother was from Kansas. She stopped me dead in my tracks and said, “You mean this Kansas?” It was a long, arduous process trying to reach this girl. But I think I had a breakthrough. She started asking more questions about Barack Obama and I gave her answers. She needed answers. Her father—a lifetime republican—was recently laid-off and her brother was on his fifth tour in Iraq. She believed in climate change and thought Sarah Palin was “embarrassing.” She said, with true Simon Cowell indignance, “I mean, everyone knows that you can’t see Russia from Alaska…look at any map…it’s right near Hawaii and everyone knows Russia’s nowhere near Hawaii, otherwise no one would go on vacation there.” Yes, she said this. It may have been her attempt at a joke, but I didn’t read it that way. But it did confirm the suspicion: I was desperate.
I ordered a “Maker’s Neat” not because I usually drink whiskey straight but because it impressed her—let’s not kid ourselves, if you want to get naked with a hot chick, you need to impress—and continued talking to her about Barack, (those of us who know him well, just use his first name—those who know him really well, just call him “B” like “Whassup ‘B’?”—who am I kidding? I’m a white, bald, 40-something-comedian from Chatsworth!) I told my new special Kansas friend about ‘B’s’ background: working in community organizations, serving the neighborhood and moving his way into national politics as a bright, first term senator who gave a kick-ass speech at the Democratic Convention when John Kerry was running for president. And she said to me something that was four-year-old-simple, yet extremely profound. She said, “How do you know when a speech is ‘kick-ass?’”
For a moment, I was stumped. How do you know when a speech is ‘kick-ass?’ I flashed with heat. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. I completely blushed…partly from the panic of being stumped and partly because, just then she adjusted her loose-fitting top and caught me glancing at an inadvertently exposed nipple…we both laughed at our mutual embarrassment and then it hit me…not the answer to what makes a speech kick-ass, but a fist the size of a hockey glove! Evidently her meth-addicted, ex-boyfriend had been watching this whole time and decided he had enough. He raced up and punched me square in the forehead! Not a difficult task, because if you saw the size of my forehead you’d know he had a huge target…
“Honey…are you okay…Baby, are you alright?” …I heard when I came to. The bartender gave her ice in a baggie and she put it to my forehead as I re-seated myself at the bar. I told her I didn’t really feel anything…another reason for drinking whiskey straight…She explained to me that her jealous ex-boyfriend punched me in the head and the bouncers are taking him out to the cops right now…this was good for two reasons: 1. He was going to spend the night in jail, and 2. Sympathy…this increases my chances of getting laid.
The bartender gave me another ‘Maker’s Neat’ and after about four seconds of applied ice the girl actually returned to the conversation she said, “So how do you know when a speech is kick-ass?” It was either the Maker’s talking or the punch in the forehead, but I just started talking, I said, “Human beings react to emotional impulses that are genuine.” She started to give me that far-away glance that people sometimes give when you bring up the subject of algebra. So I said, “You ever watch a scene in a movie where real emotion is taking place and you find yourself crying?”
“Is it because something is being put in the popcorn or in the seats we’re sitting in?…No. It’s because genuine human emotion is occurring on that screen and as humans with souls, we have no choice but to respond.”
“So, ” she said.
“Well, when Barack Obama speaks, he not only speaks eloquently with beautiful metaphors and smooth structure, but he speaks with genuine human emotion. When he speaks my eyes water, I feel, because he means what he says. For the first time in my life, a politician’s words have touched my soul…to me that means truth. And after the last eight years, don’t you think the people of this country deserve some truth?”
She looked directly at me with what seemed like a minute-long, intense stare like she was just flooded with emotion, and then her eyes—a compelling blend of gray and Egyptian green—started to water…
On January 23rd, I received an email from my new Kansas friend:
It’s been awhile. I just felt the need to drop the funny man a line and say hi . A lot has happened since we talked last. My brother came home from Iraq for good (hopefully). He has all his fingers and toes, thank God! My Dad is still looking for work. It’s tough in Kansas, not a lot of jobs here!
I got a call from my boyfriend, (well ex-boyfriend now) we got back together after I met you, but then broke up again. He was in jail and wanted me to bail him out. I told him ‘no.’ He stole a car and stuff.
I had a great time with you. You made an impression on me. You really did. In Novemember I voted for the first time ever and my Dad would probably kill me if he found out, but I voted for Barack Obama!
I listened to his speeches and at first I didn’t get it, but then all of the sudden I started getting tingles on my arms just like that night we talked after comedy night. And the next thing you know I was looking for a tissue…because you weren’t there to give me a cocktail napkin! LOL.
Here’s the big news: I can’t believe I’m actually saying this: I went to the inauguration! My friend, (he’s male, don’t get mad) wrote to our congressman and we were chosen with some other people to get tickets. Ha Ha! Now I can say I went all the way to Washington D.C. LOL.
Write me back!
So I guess the answer to the question: “Who is the Obama Generation” can possibly be answered this way: anyone with a heart and a need to feel like they belong, like they matter, like they are included. Could be anyone, black or white; gay or straight; male or female. Even someone you originally mistook as just some gullible hot chick in a small town in Kansas…Thanks ‘B’…thanks for serving, thanks for being truthful and thanks for getting me laid!