I perform stand-up comedy and I only really.. really bombed one time (so far). It was at the Broadway Comedy club last winter in front of a small crowed of about 10 people. I blame my poor performance on my opening joke which was a 3-minute rant on how I wished I were a bear so that I can hibernate through the winter. I had never done the joke in front of an audience before, but was kind of on the cusp about whether I liked the joke or not, so, that night, I decided to try it out (how bad could it be?).
What made things worse is that my roommate at the time was there with his girlfriend. My roommate had seen me perform before, but this was the first time his girlfriend came to one of my shows. So, needless to say it was awkward when she congratulated me for an “interesting performance” and told me that she still thought I was funny even though no one laughed..
Since that show I have never even attempted to do the joke again. My roommate busted my balls about it for the next several months (and still does) and whenever we had people over he would tell me to “do the bear joke for them” and then tell them the story of that legendary night at the comedy club.
I still refuse to do this joke again in public or private, but if you are interested, I have included the joke below, complete with commentary for kicks and shniggles. Because in the end… its fun to make fun of yourself..(Plus if you don’t do it someone else will).
Setup: I hate the winter. It's depressing and cold.
Punch: Why can’t humans hibernate? .. I love sleeping… hate winter… bam perfect fit.
(Pause for anticipated laughter A.K.A confused snickers)
Setup: I was thinking about this and the only way this would actually be possible is if I were a bear.. Or at least part bear. I’m a big Jew,
(prob. where I got the biggest laugh and it has pretty much nothing to do with the joke)
So I get off of work for the Jewish holidays. If I were a bear I would have to get off for the winter to hibernate because that’s what bears do.
(Think I lost the audience around there)
Punch: its like going on a date… sleeping through it and waking up with an erection and your pants off.
(NOTE: I did not actually end up using this part in the show- thank god, but really?)
Punch: …My co-workers would be like where’s Andrew?.. Oh, its winter he’s sleeping. He’ll be back in April… fucking Jew bear… because they will be jealous because I get off for Yum kipper, Rosh Hashanah, Pass-Over.. and ALL of winter.
(I still think that parts funny.. screw ya’ll for not laughing… “and all of Winter”.. hilarious)
Setup: I was thinking about it and if I could choose what type of bear I was; I would be 2/3 black bear.
Punch: I would be a Jewish black bear. I would be the Lenny Kravitz of the animal kingdom.
(Also a good line.. I think I did get some pity laughs there though)
Punch: I can make black bear jokes and get pissed if someone says the B word. I’d fight for bear rights… we’re here we’re bear… (It’s a work in progress).
(Pause for awkward silence)
Punch: I think the only real problem is that I hate Salmon.. I hope that won’t be an issue. I like other fish.
(Always end on a zinger)
..and that my friends is the legendary bear joke.