A Rough Draft: My First Bit
I think the year was… 2006?
The ex-wife wasn’t the ex-wife yet and she was she still finishing college… hell, this might have been when were both attending university but I remember— no, I was definitely not attending because I was sleeping in her bed the night before I left for set and the night I got back.
I remember the audition process solely because it was one of the only two times in my “adult” life up to that point I had worn a jean jacket. It was an awkward audition in that way that even though it was going well I could tell on the inside weren’t kids I was going to vibe with. I mean. the title of the film was clue enough “Night of The Living Drunk”. As a straight-edge kid who found drugs and alcohol as diversionary tactics to avoid the awkwardness of true intimacy (such an odd kid I was for someone who couldn’t finish a single college essay) I figured I was dealing with run of the mill reprobates.
I’m a good actor though, and they enjoyed me at the time of our meeting. But — as would become a normal behavior of mine throughout my life — as soon as I got the gig and was headed to set I had morphed back into my quiet judgmental self, quietly observing the scene from a distance, only contributing when it was my job.
I was probably a pill. And probably someone everyone felt unnerved by onset. The shoot lasted three days and I recall every night the entire crew and cast would go out in the backyard and party hard by getting high and drunk and silly while I just slept on a couch in the living room. I just wanted to be an actor. I didn’t come to make friends. And I didn’t trust the people I was with. I also felt like this whole entire enterprise might have been a mistake.
Look, I was going through things.
It was the second night of the shoot and something had happened that brought production to a stand-still and we all sat in the kitchen as we waited with an unusual silence hanging around us. We had been here two days already and I guess a lull had finally found it’s place among the chattery minds of over a dozen energetic college kids. My senses immediately perked up as I noticed all the mindful faces trying to think of something to break the awkward silence. And it just came to me. An opportunity to entertain myself:
“Anyone know any racist jokes?”
Every eye of every white pale face locked on to me with perplexed confusion. A guffaw escaped a gaffers lips and unbelievable question that had been asked by one of the most quiet and yet seemingly righteous people in the room. I just started back at them, not an ironic grin to sooth them, just my eyes looking back in innocent ignorance.
This is the hardest part of the bit. I’m not even sure this was the way I lead into the punchline. Truth be told in that moment I didn’t have the whole thing figured out. I was just doing my usual thing of testing people’s boundaries and seeing how they reacted to counter-social behaviors.
“What do you call a black guy that flies a plane?”
This was my favorite moment. I’ll never forget the subtle shift in body language as every body in the room slightly tilted forward in morbid curiosity of what this derange sociopath was about to say next. My heart skipped a beat and I thanked whatever god of irony had granted me this moment since I was sure someone was going to tip my bit but no one had a clue what I was going to say next and the waited with baited breath.
I sold the line perfectly, “A Pilot you fucking racists.”