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Home Comedy Corner Guest Column By Greg Proops

Guest Column By Greg Proops

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The Quest to Underachieve

My friends and fellow young people! Yes, fellow young people. If you think being young in your 20s is difficult, try it at my age in your mid to late 40s. I am your parent’s age and therefore have great wisdom to impart to you. Don’t you dare stop reading! I have the secret knowledge from the '70s. The decade shrouded in mystery. We had a lawless, unpopular warmongering, republican president, an oil crisis, a failing economy headed for recession and Jack Nicholson was in every movie. So much has changed.


We had no need for Led Zeppelin reunions as we had actual Led Zeppelin. Although Rocktober had not been fully developed. We did not have viral videos. We had cable TV, and we knew nothing of the home computer. In my teenagehood, computers still took over the world in movies and no one could hack well enough to stop them.

In this '70s decade I speak of, we did not possess personal communication devices. Imagine it. Having to write a note to someone and sneak it to her in class. Somehow we staggered through without testing. We were, in fact, unduly excited to have pocket calculators the size and density of a small asteroid. The phone lived on the wall in the kitchen, it weighed 85 pounds, and if someone called and you weren’t home, tough shit. We played pinball where you try to keep a little metal ball from rolling down a table full of electric bumpers all for the prize of doing it again. Sure our needs were modest, but we felt cutting edge.

Even in our primitive state, we still went on dates, got blitzed, went to the show, scarfed pizza, went all the way (“hooked up”) and tried to score non-medicinal marijuana much like the kids of today.

I attended San Carlos High School in San Carlos, Calif. Class of ‘77. The Fighting Dons. “What the hell is a Don?” I hear you ask? Well, Dons are Spanish landowners from the 19th century, and believe me we didn’t like it either. We would have rather been the Tigers or the Gamecocks or the Hobbits. But alas, one cannot choose one’s mascot.

We proud San Carlosians strove to excel. Well, I strove to be sober enough to attend class and afford to buy “Cat Scratch Fever” by Ted Nugent. The point is this: I have become an international comedian, diva, white-eyed pea and improviser. I have been as we say now “blessed” with a career of my own choosing. This despite the enormous handicaps of my own laziness, chronic use of chronic, never finishing college and no set plan for my life whatsoever. I felt, if not proud, like at least I didn’t have to dance for the man too much to make me a little biatch. Then came the governor.

I attended high school with the current governor of Michigan. No, she was not governor then. She was busy being a fox and having Farrah Fawcett hair. Her name is Jennifer Granholm, and you may google her to see if I’m lying. In high school Jenny, as we knew her, was popular, gorgeous and the queen of my junior prom. But her secret was she was very intelligent and capable. Not, as you are aware, the stance that gets you the most love in high school. She was also not “stuck up,” as we said back then. I went to college with her for a while. She eventually and unbeknownst to me became Attorney General of Michigan. Then, as I lay in a postshow stupor in a hotel room, I see on CNN that Jennifer Granholm has been elected governor.

Cut to Grand Rapids, Michigan. I am doing stand up at a club called Dr. Grins and who should come to my show but Jennifer Granholm. We spoke and exchanged life stories. My life was not quite as significant. She is a caring, energetic and concerned person with the responsibilities of governing a state with 10 million people and perennial losers the Lions. I tell jokes to drunks. Sometimes I am drunk as well. The innovation of children being able to access pornography instantly was sadly and luckily years away or I may never have graduated junior high school.

Don’t get me wrong, je ne regrette rien. I would not want the responsibility of being responsible for the welfare of a state. But in my pride and admiration for Governor Granholm, I couldn’t help but feel I might have achieved more had I applied myself a little more strenuously to the task at hand rather than chasing chicks and doing bong hits. This is a cautionary tale. Politician, lawyer, doctor, concert violinist; we are all clowns… but some of us went pro.

Greg Proops is a comedian. He does a monthly chat show at Largo in LA. He also lets Drew Carey lay on him.

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