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One of my favorite sketches, and a popular comedy formula,
is to put someone with a mental handicap in some kind of
unlikely situation. For example: The retarded gynecologist,
the retarded Jesus, the retarded Osama Bin Laden. It works.
It's funny. Inappropriate? I dunno. I feel like I'm a pretty
good judge of what crosses the line of good taste being
that I am retarded. Socially perhaps, but severly retarded.
My sister is also retarded. Across the board. She's a
one hundred per cent, honest to goodness, born that way retard.
I learned a long time ago that if you're going to tell a story
about your retarded sister, you need to mention she's retarded
right off the bat or inevitably, at the end of the story,
someone will say, "What...is she, retarded?" And then
you have to go, "Uh...yeah, she is." Followed by
a lengthy, awkward silence.
It's interesting, once I have convinced people that, yes,
I have a sister with a mental disability, the retard jokes
really dry up, so I'm not sure how much retard humor is really
going on out there, but I imagine there's a lot because it's
a pretty safe group to make fun of. It's not like the
Retards of America are gonna rise up and organize a protest.
They're not gonna write letters. They only just recently
got the Supreme Court to stop executing them.
My sister likes comedy. And she likes it a little mean
sometimes. She'll point out your fat ass or ask if you're
wearing a wig. She knows how to dish it out, too.
Once my sister busted a nut watching a headliner I worked with.
He closed his set by miming the insertion of a tampon up his asshole.
I don't recall the exact joke. After his set my sister made
a beeline for him, running roughshod over the other more
delicate comedy groupies. She gushed about his tampon bit
and then told him he should get an actual tampon and really stick
it up there. And then she laughed like crazy. I thought it was
a good note.
Another time we watched this morose, spiky-haired open miker
do his entire set laying down on the stage. I guess it was his
way of saying, "Fuck standup." From his supine position
he mostly did dumb puns. After a couple of minutes my sister
turned to me and threw her hands in the air, "I don't get
Later I found her by the box office with the lay down
standup guy cornered, going, "Just stand up! Just
I can't imagine what he thought. Here was this totally intense,
Down Syndrome chick giving him the best advice he'd ever get.
She never heckled anyone but she did have a habit of yelling
out my punch lines when I took too long to get there. And I
just had to go, "Yes, ma'am that is correct."
My sister loves dirty comedy. She'll laugh hysterically
at every foul word, every titillating premise, every fart noise
and every faggot impression. It will come as no surprise then,
when I tell you that her favorite comic is Janeane Garofalo.
She thinks she's really cool. Her favorite movie moment of
all time is that scene in "The Truth About Cats and Dogs"
when Janeane's character, on roller skates, is pulled down
the street by a couple of dogs. Regardless of where you are on
the whole alternative comedy debate, you gotta admit, that shit
My sister would've liked to have been a comic. She had an
act that she would do for me sometimes. But of course, she didn't
become a standup comedian because she's kind of a big talker.
Doesn't do a whole lot of the things she says she will. Like go
to the moon. The truth is if she had done it, she would be
so fucking famous right now. Her act was simply a stream of
obscenities and giggling. Can you imagine? A retarded chick
just standing on stage swearing and giggling?
As for that word... Retard. I tried to get my sister to
start calling her friends retard, you know, to take the
word back. Own the power. They could be like,
"Yo, Tardo!" "Hey, Retard, what up?" to one
another. But if a non-retarded person said it, they'd get pissed,
"No, thas our word!"
But it's a complicated game of irony and my sister doesn't
play that shit. She refuses to use the word retard for fear
she might hurt someone's feelings. Me, I'm not so nice.
My sister might be dumb, but that doesn't make her all
that different from the rest of us. She's just like any other
American. Except she's Canadian. And retarded.
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