The Day The Laughter Died

Mike was a real asshole.

Looking back, I can’t figure out why I hung out with him all through high school. I guess you could say that we had similar interests…we were interested in girls, but they weren’t interested in us.

Living in the same general area of suburbia, we would hang out at his place more often than not. Sometimes I thought it was just so he could show me the latest computer game he got or the new CD player that was thinner and better than the last one he had. When we weren’t hanging out at his place, his Mom would drive us to one of the local malls. There were 4 within a 5 minute drive of the other and they became banal in their own way very quickly.

We didn’t frequent the sporting goods store or the food court. Sometimes we would hit the movie theatre to see something Mike wanted to watch, but nothing that involved a plot or acting. It was, more often than not, something that was made by a single member of the current cast of The Expendables.

Generally, after the movie we spent time walking around aimlessly and occasionally popped into Record Town. You didn’t shop there because it was necessarily cheap or the long-form cardboard CD cases were still in vogue. You shopped at Record Town because the rest of stores at the mall sucked.

One afternoon, after seeing the latest offering from Jean-Claude Van Damme, we wandered into Record Town where I would look for deals on music and Mike would try and hit on the cashier. It was coming to the end of our day and Mike’s Mom was going to be picking us up soon. As we were heading out of the store I noticed a double-cassette on the counter with an orange sticker on it.


Looking closer I saw that it was new material from Andrew ‘Dice’ Clay. I have listened to his standup before. It was good, a little over my head at times, but I knew that it was something that I shouldn’t be listening to. We had already heard the dirty nursery rhymes and watched him wrap his arm around his head to take a puff from a freshly lit smoke. By this time, Dice had had his rise to fame, rode the MTV wave for a bit, and then crashed.

Mike said, “Come on, it’s time!” Quick knee-jerk reaction, I bought the overly-priced dual cassette and headed out with the asshole to meet up with his Mom.

Later that night I grabbed my yellow Sony Sports Walkman to listen to the new tapes I bought. There was no way in hell I was taking a chance playing the album on my stereo. My parents and sister were home and I was conjuring up all the ideas of what my parents would do to me if they found out what “filth” I was listening to.

I went to bed listening to the tapes and when I got to the end I thought, “That was it? That wasn’t funny at all.”

I bought this album again years later, after the original tapes were lost and digital media made things easier and cheaper to get. I had also found out the story behind the album: Producer Rick Rubin wanted Dice to do a show that wasn’t advertised to a small audience during the holiday season. Dice got up onstage and did improv for about 90 minutes. After listening to it years later, I hear the genius in it. It’s not great comedy, but it is comedy in its purest form. Not everything will be a zinger and people aren’t going to roll on the floor laughing at your every word.

For the record, I connected with Mike recently and he’s still an asshole.


First Kiss2:11
Holiday Season1:51
The Tree1:20
Places To Meet Chicks3:06
The Gift1:41
The Divider2:11
Personal Delivery Service3:52
Female Anatomy3:42
Under 2 Minutes3:30
Mothers, Daughters, & Sisters2:50
Jerkin' Off1:20
Milk & Shampoo5:39
Laughter Vs. Comedy1:07
While The Cats Away...3:18
What'll It Be2:16
Frozen Food1:09
The Osmonds4:24
Hot Mama2:19
Turn-On Words0:34
Rhyme Renditions3:51
True Stories0:42
Automatic Pilot1:47
Dogs & Birds2:49
Women Comics3:20
A History Lesson2:00
Mother & Son3:37
What Did She Say?1:15
Double Date2:26
Multiple Sclerosis0:26
How Are Ya?0:50
Silence Is Golden0:17
Hour Back...Get It?6:40
Something Soft4:45