Celebrity Friday: Comedy Clubs in Heaven

 

celebrity spirits george carlin kate sitka

 

There are so many different versions of “Heaven” and I think it’s important to understand that what we experience after we die is what we need and want.

Of course, individuals seek out their friends, their colleagues, their soul families!  What’s the point of any of this if we don’t have friends, family and love? 

I was asking who might want to talk and tapped George Carlin, asked what he was doing, whether he was hanging with Robin Williams yet, etc.  I got the distinct impression of a dark comedy club with a black, flaking paint and stage lighting that was a little glaring and a bit dim at the same time.

A good ol’ DIVE! 

This is the sort of club George loved the best. 

At this juncture, I got up to stir some soup I was making while writing this post.  It takes such a long time to make decent food, I wanted to multi-task a bit, but I ended up interrupting George right as we were beginning our conversation.  He didn’t seem to mind though, and he had some cooking tips.  Here’s the conversation tangent we just took:

George:  Yeah, put some three year old oregano in there, that shit’s the BEST!

Kate:  It’s three years old?  Holy crap I guess it is.

George:  YEAH (long, drawn out, a tad pervy yeaaaahhhhh!) Old oregano, that’s where you really get the flavour.  I never had any oregano, my drunk friends would think it was pot and try to smoke it!

Kate:  Gross, I can’t believe this stuff is three years old.  What are you George, the french chef now?

George:  Don’t put water in there, where’s your wine!  Put a little more red wine in there, that’s what that french guy would say, they LOVE wine!

I added water and then sat back at my computer.  George, you were talking about comedy clubs in Heaven,

George:  Yeah well you know we gotta keep our game sharp, cause every time one of our friends die, and comedians, actors – they WRECK their bodies!  You know one’s always gonna come in soon!  And what do they all want?  A fuckin FREE SHOW!  For a lot of comics, this was the GOOD SHIT, the BEST of times, the time in the dives, before you got famous, when you had friends you could hang around and drink with and talk shit about. 

We could dish it out good!
Go stir your fuckin’ soup!

Kate:  Sorry about that George, last time.

George:  AS I WAS SAYIN’.  The comedians, that’s the first place they wanna go, to their memories of the best times and relive ‘em.  Especially if they’ve had a hard life, and I think you’ve gotta have a hard life to see anything funny in the world. 

For a lot of comedians, they NEED to get a good laugh in a filthy club before they can even look at their fuckin’ shit-show of a life, and you know, when I’m talking about “comedians” I’m not just talking us stage comedians, us lucky-fuckers who were smart/stupid enough to get famous. 

There are a lot of comedians in life, you’re one of ‘em kid.  (Yes, he actually calls me “kid”)  The people who see the irony, who feel in their guts that none of this shit matters, the things we all take so seriously.  So make fun of it, get other’s to lighten up, bring a little bit of brevity and irreverence to your goddamned existence!

That shit’s sacred, you know what I mean?

So this comedy club, this DIVE, this place of my creation – it’s a place of healing for all those folks who die and feel like the first thing they need is a drink, a smoke and a good fuckin’ laugh!  And some tight-assed angel will take this poor soul by the hand and say, “You need to go to George’s.”

(Shows me the exterior of a night club in a tightly packed, greasy city, at night, dimly-lit by a streetlamp, a crackling neon sign outside in bright pink that says “George’s”.)

George:  I like the bright pink because it make’s the jock / masculine guys think for a second they’re being taken to a gay club, and they think “SHIT!  Did I go to the wrong heaven!!!???”

Kate:  THAT is fucking hysterical, George!!!

George:  I KNOW, I’m a comedian.  Give me a little credit here.

Kate:  Which photo do you want, George?

George:  Uhhh, I like the one in the black turtleneck.  That’s the last time I looked so good!

Kate:  What do you look like now?  (What do you choose to look like now?)

George:  Like I just rolled outta bed.  It feels that way, I still feel like I just woke up.  (Dying is like *waking up* and seeing your whole life as a dream)

George:  Actually, I really liked that movie The Matrix.  Incarnation is a lot like that.  Except when you wake up, it’s sort of a relief.  Except you do miss the people still plugged in.  That’s why we try so hard, you know?  My wife knows I’m okay, I got that point across.  Then I felt, Well, what am I gonna do ‘till she gets here?

Hence:  Chez George.  When my wife gets here I’ll hand the club off to someone else.  And hey, when you get here you be sure to check it out, right?

Kate:  Damn straight I will!  I miss the dark, gritty clubs in Toronto, too.  (Note to readers: Kate had a brief stint in stand-up comedy herself.  Very good, but BRIEF.  Too much drama back stage!)

George:  All that drama was because you were working with other girls.  NOW DON’T GET ALL pissy feminist with me, I did sexist comedy in the 80’s you can’t give me any shit I haven’t already heard!  (teasing)  It’s TRUE, if you’d worked with more male comedians, you would’ve been better respected.  I know the business.  But you never would’ve lasted in that racket for long anyway, so it’s no big loss.

Kate:  Thank you for the life advice, George, it’s good to know I didn’t miss out on the goldmine that is late-night open-mike comedy!

George: See yuh sweetheart.

George:  PS:  That quote you’ve got there, it’s even funnier in heaven!

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Carlin: The Funny thing about Depression

The funny thing about depression is it can be there, happening, in the background, and you might not even realize it. I don’t want to be like a six-o’clock news anchor and be all, “You might think you’re happy, but you may really be sad! Find out tonight, at eleven!”

I am very happy with my life. My life is full of joy and love; Sweetie, my animals and surrounded by the beauty and magic of nature. I count my blessings every day, and I am so grateful for this life and all the opportunities in my future.

That’s why I was so surprised to admit to myself last night that I may be experiencing a bit of depression. Weird eh?

Well, really it’s not that strange. Leo passing so close to the one year anniversary of Mocha’s death, and this time last year Sweetie and I were struggling with a business we needed to release. Our lives are becoming progressively more joyful, every day is amazing… yet I’ve got to admit that through all that, the symptoms of depression can seep through, just enough to keep me honest. Like rain on a camping trip.

You can tell when someone is forcing themselves to be happy. It takes a lot of extra energy. I hear this on some of the “transformation talk” internet radio shows, where the host is being so positive and enthusiastic, but you can hear the effort, the push behind it. For me, when I sense this contradiction between what someone is saying with their words versus their energy, it casts an ill light over everything they’re trying to say.

Now, I’ve heard some people who are really focusing on the losses (ie. the “negative”) call into a psychic Mary Sunshine and I can hear / feel the caller’s energy shift, like a weight is being lifted. It is so important to be able to choose what you focus upon, rather than feeling constantly / continually victimized.

So yes, the positive thought movement is fantastic, it’s generating more positivity which is something we and the whole planet really needs. It’s wonderful to see it expand, and I feel lucky to be alive at a time when we can see this turnaround in the earth’s whole energy.

And yet, I want to communicate with people in an honest way, so I’ll get a little personally bloggy wid’ it here: I’m kind of surprised to admit that all of the events in the last year have got me down. I really don’t see the “failure” of our business as an actual failure – I seriously would do the whole thing over again, I’d make all the same decisions. I have no regrets, because I value what I learned, and because I’m so happy where I am… but perhaps all this focusing on the positive has prevented me from actually looking at, admitting to, owning the natural negative emotions that come up in these circumstances. Things didn’t turn out like I’d planned. That’s okay, things are better than I could have hoped – but I still need to experience the disappointment and the mourning of the goals I never actually realized and instead, let go.

Sometimes there is mourning when you let go. It’s okay if someone steals your car, and you don’t immediately skip to “Oh, the Universe has reabsorbed my vehicle. Excellent. Now I am free from vehicle ownership.”

Feel the shit out of your feelings, as Dan Savage would say. (He’s a sex advice columnist, a very good one, and this is part of his post-breakup advice, which is good advice for mourning in general.)

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Buddhist practice of non-attachment. To be zen, one must not attach themselves to physical possessions, because when you do that it can create a struggle to *hold on* to what you have, which can create suffering. The art of letting go is a beautiful spiritual lesson, and it’s challenging. I can see how we’d want to be incarnated to learn this one, because when you’re in a body, you really feel like you *need* those things, you can experience anxiety or panic at the idea of “losing” something.

This is compounded for those of us living in a culture where people spend lifetimes accumulating stuff. Like George Carlin’s bit about our shit:

I swear I hear really far away laughing at drawing this parallel between George C and Buddhist monks. That’s not what he was getting at, but it’s funny and it’s applicable to the topic at hand. That’s the trouble with being dead George, you lose the final say in what happens to-

Awww f*ck, I never had (that much control anyway) (shows me a brutal touring schedule and the routines he did for the audience, shows me youtube which had -) had all my shit long before I was dead! (Something about copyrights and bullshit, with an ironic-angry face, something about wanting to take it with you, shows me a mean old unhappy miser clutching a gold coin in heaven.)

That’s his (own personal hell – created in his “mind”) he’s got just one coin, he can’t let go of it.

George, why is that guy Chinese?

It’s just funnier that way. (dead pan)

George just likes pushing my boundaries. He was being all intense about the ethnicity of this guy he’s showing me, and I think the only reason he’s doing it is to call me on being so careful about racial / gender / whatever stereotypes.

(I asked George why he wanted me to use the above mug shot series in this entry, and he said “Are you kidding? Look at how happy I was!”)

So yeah, non-attachment, and honouring all of the emotions in an experience. It’s interesting, this cultural shift we’re seeing about creating your own happiness with your thoughts, expectations and energy… but I haven’t really found a place in the new pop culture of positive thinking for allowing “negative” emotions to exist at all.

When you lose a job, your house, if you’re diagnosed with an illness, a big message in the positive-thought movement is to see the positive in all these transitions, and focus on that. I think it’s very important not to get sucked into a negative mindset, because that is going to compound your experience of suffering exponentially – “Why is this happening to me? This shouldn’t be happening! I don’t deserve this! I’ve been done wrong! This isn’t right! Why?”

But neither is it appropriate, or particularly healing, to force a positive outlook. I read an article written by a very pragmatic woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer. She experienced a lot of pressure to look at only the positive in her situation, and was denied permission to mourn the life she expected to have. She was told things like, when her hair grew back it would be a different, neater colour. She would grow spiritually in ways she couldn’t have experienced without the illness. She was given crayons to do art therapy and pink stuffed bears to cuddle during chemo – she resented the infantilization of her experience. When she communicated that she did not appreciate this forced positivity, she was told it was important for her to be positive because it would increase her chances of survival – which is true, but it was almost like a threat in the context of what she, the patient, was saying about where she was in her experience. She was asking the people around her to come be with her where she was, and instead was met with commands to buck up or she would be more likely to die, and if she did, it would be her own fault.

Life is tough. It is tough for everyone. We need a place in our lives and our culture to feel the shit out of our feelings, even the negative ones. Our very existence is an exercise in contrasts.

I think I’ve been forcing the happy a bit in the last year, because who the hell wants to feel sad anyway? Screw that. I’ll just stop being sad, and be awesome instead! It works, to a point. But yeah, it’s not an eraser, and every Mary Sunshine has some stormy times.

Is it possible to have a positive outlook on feeling depressed? “Oh good!” says Psychic Mary Sunshine. “I can enjoy wallowing in depression, eating lots of ice cream (all the better to be happy about later when I lose the ice cream weight) and it will contrast with the happy days to come, making them shine all the brighter!”

I do believe this positive thinking habit has become a defense mechanism. Ha.

George Carlin, what else did you want to say about all this?

Well, I think it’s true you need to look at your habits and your thought process. Look at it objectively, if you spend most of your life feeling miserable and (drinking, getting high) whose fault is that? The government? Your parents? Your asshole boss? Your wife or your husband?

Uh uh (f*ck-face). Who’s the common denominator, huh? You. You create your experience, and if you want to create (a cancer experience full of anger, resentment, a hissy fit when your car is stolen) we all have our god-given free will to make as big a stink about the smallest things in our lives! I myself make a point of making a hissy fit up here once or twice a day, see if I can piss the angels off.

At some point, you gotta ask yourself if this is how you want to spend your time.

What sort of stuff do you throw a fit over, in heaven?

Jesus Christ! They hate it when you say that up here. That’s a great way to annoy an angel, take the lord’s name in vain a LOT.

Then, you know, you’d think they’d have better room service up here. I like to complain about shit up here, I appreciate the irony (shows me the irony which loses some of it’s luster in explaining it, but too bad – the irony is you create where you are and what you experience in heaven, and so George is showing me a joke of creating his own inadequate heaven so he can complain about it and annoy angels, which is *his* kind of ideal heaven.)

Ah, and touché Mr. Carlin. He just said “There’s no difference” and showed me the earth.

It’s so fuckin’ true too, and a reiteration of what we’ve been hearing from all angles – your create your experience on earth, just as you create your own heaven.

So I guess I’m creating this bit of depression. Like rain on a camping trip. George, do you have any suggestions for me?

Lighten the f*ck up! (laughs) Yeah, you really wanna be taking advice from me, the alcoholic, meth-smoking, coke-snorting died of a heart attack dead guy.

Love you George Carlin.

It’s George Carlin, folks!

Well, this’ll be interesting. Now I have two Georges on the roster. I’ll have to refer to George Carlin as Carlin, if that’s cool with you, George.

Naw, you can call the other one Hippy George.

You know, my high school art teacher’s last name was Carlin too.

Well at least one of your teachers knew what the fuck he was doing!

My calculus teacher was pretty cool too.

Was that the fucker with the dauchunds?

Yeah!

Who stretches a dog out like that? You know, that’s a great example of humans playing god. Just to see how much they can fuck things up, exaggerate a creature of nature. Hey, let’s see how long we can make this dog! Let’s make this dog look like a dick! We’ll call it a wiener dog! Fuck you, God!

So you’re doing a double-feature eh, George? You came in really clearly when my friend commented that you’ve also done the interview on Channeling Erik.

(something about a threesome/foursome)

I didn’t get that, George. Was that just so obscene my mind rejected it?

Naw, I kind of fucked that up. Can’t win ‘em every time. You have to be a lot faster up here, you know.

What’s it like up there?

It’s fucking great.

You’re going to say “fuck” in every line, aren’t you?

Fuckin’ right. Still the best word in the English language.

Okay, but you need to help me to make sure this post doesn’t get flagged by the IT people as obscene. Yeah, that’s a conversation I’d rather not have.

*withering look*

I know, but dude, I need to stay employed.

You only THINK you need a fucking job.

George, I need a fucking break! You help us get our income up to $4k a month, and help me get an average of two paying clients a week, consistently, through this winter. Then I’ll be open to moving into self-employment again.

Sweetheart, let me tell you, that bankruptcy was the best goddamned fucking thing to ever happen to you. You aren’t so scared anymore. You gotta learn, the rules – which rules are there just to scare you, just to keep you from becoming who you’re supposed to be. That’s why I love the word “fuck” so much! It’s fucking powerful! Fuck it! Fuck off! FUCK YOU! You gotta learn to say it, to live it!

HA! That’s a lot like what Kurt’s been encouraging us to do – we’ve been joking Kurt’s a bad influence.

That kid is fucking great.

Ha! You know I won’t censor language with those asterisks, eh? Is that why you’re insistent on talking to me now, in conjunction with the channeling erik peeps?

Texans (southerners?) are such fucking hypocrites! They’ll put a retard in the electric chair and kill him for a crime he didn’t commit and can’t understand, but they won’t say fuck. That’s a social-cultural criticism, not a strike against (Elisa, Jamie, Erik) in particular. I just always had a thing for Canadian broads.

I’m a broad now, gee thanks!

Yeah, no one messes with a broad. A chick, you can push around. A broad, that’s just about a bitch. And a lot less uptight than a cunt.

Aww, thanks George! You know we’re reclaiming the word “cunt” though, right? Have you read Inga Musico’s book by that title?

Yeah, tell her I think she’s a sexy bitch.

(He always loved to piss off feminists, but I also don’t think Inga would be offended by that.)

I will, when I see her.

You’ll see her in California. And send her that fucking hat! (Sweetie has been sending hand-knit hats to people we think are cool feminists.)

Yeah, we’ve been talking about going to California. LA, maybe, in February.

You’ll get to LA, but not for a while. No here’s where you need to be in fucking California! (Shows me Yosemite? I’ll know it when I get there.)

George, I’ve been thinking about getting back into stand-up, what do you think?

Gorgeous, you are already are back in stand-up. The whole planet’s the club and our existence is beautiful irony. All you’re doing is pointing it out.

I fucking love you, George Carlin.

I fucking love you too, babe.

Our Excellent Adventure

This past Saturday was pretty amazing, I must say.  Thank you all who participated in the first Books for Readings day!  The books have already started to roll in!

The one I’m reading right now is The Dance of the Electric Hummingbird.  Noel, Jacqueline, I think you two would particularly enjoy this book.  It’s about a woman who had a transcendental experience while at a concert Sammy Hagar was putting on at a bar he owns in Cabo, Mexico.

Sammy Hagar spent some time as the singer for Van Halen. (Aside:  I’ve heard that David Lee Roth, another former lead singer for Van Halen, is a paramedic in New York City.  I don’t know if he’s still working as one there right now.  Paramedics, sometimes called “Heaven’s Ushers”.  But that’s another entry...)

Back to Van Halen – What Pat describes in Cabo is so familiar to me.  Not only the out-of-body, consciousness-expanding, temporary understanding of this mixed-up world, but the self-doubt, the questioning of her sanity, the amazing coincidences she just couldn’t deny or ignore.  I’m only halfway through the book, so I won’t spoil it for you, but it is nice to be thinking about, and reading about a rock star who’s still alive, (no offence guys.)

I’ve talked about how I used to be unable to tolerate complex harmonics like those in heavy rock music and in church organs.  There’s something going on with these instruments… damn, I can’t really think straight right now.  Sorry folks I’m at a really noisy internet cafe.  I might have to write another entry later to clarify my thoughts on this.

Speaking of coincidences, Sweetie and I decided to rent a funny movie.  Sometimes you don’t want to think, you just want to watch something fun.  We rented “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure!”  A most excellent movie.

At the end of the movie, Bill & Ted are told by George Carlin that they are super-important people, destined to change the world with their transformative rock music.  He said something like this:

“Your music will bring world peace, align the planets and facilitate communication with all forms of life; from extra-terrestrial beings to common household pets.”

Mind hole.  Mind hole!  WHAT!?  So yeah, we’ve got rock music facilitating euphoria and out-of-body, spiritual experiences.  We’ve got the planets aligning at the end of this year.  We’ve got telepathic communication with extra-terrestrials (some of my clients refer to them as “inter-dimensional beings”) and of course, the uncommonly common household pets.

That’s it for this fragmented entry.  Until the next, better-thought out piece, be excellent to each other.