How Past Girlfriends Could Have Changed History

Adolf Hitler
Tammy wouldn’t like Hitler’s sense of humor and would give him a frowny face every time he told a joke. He would invite her to his parades and she’d tell him the goose-stepping looked “gay” and that she “didn’t get” the swastika. This would undermine his confidence and make it harder for him to retain an iron grip on power. “I don’t know what you see in that Goebbels,” she’d say. “He seems like kind of a loser.” Her constant criticisms would result in Hitler and Goebbels not hanging out as much. As a result, Nazi propaganda would suffer. Tammy would also insist that they forgo his favorite watering holes and instead go to places she likes. The putsch would then happen at a tacky folk-music bar with her ex-boyfriend playing guitar. Most of Hitler’s friends wouldn’t have shown up, because they couldn’t stand the constant arguing. In the middle of their relationship, Tammy would tell Hitler she was going on a trip with some guy she worked with. With Hitler’s self-esteem in the gutter, he’d lack the support and influence necessary to invade Poland and start World War II. Eventually, he’d break up with Tammy and call Himmler, whom he’d blown off for two years.
The Titanic
Sharon would go into the captain’s quarters and refuse to leave. “I just want to talk,” she’d say, “I just want to talk.” He’d beg her to leave, but she would just keep telling the captain she loved him and wanted to talk. “I don’t want to talk,” he’d say, “I don’t want anything to do with you.” Sharon would tell him that’s not true and that she knew he loved her. She’d say she wouldn’t let him break up with her anyway. The captain would threaten to call the police. “Go ahead,” she’d say, “I’m not leaving.” Frustrated and desperate to get away from her, he’d flee his quarters and run on deck, where he’d spot the giant iceberg. “Goodness! Go a few degrees port-ish,” he’d tell the folks piloting the ship-averting potential disaster. Sharon would be unaware that she saved so many lives, as she would be busy trying to feed the captain’s cat a tomato-because she thinks cats can eat them. After finally exiting the captain’s quarters for good, she’d leave a long message on his voice mail telling him he was an ugly loser and everyone hated him. Then she’d make out with his first mate.
September 11
In the middle of planning a surprise attack on civilians, Osama bin Laden would be invited to meet Anna’s family in rural Pennsylvania over Christmas break. Osama would get along fine with the overbearing mom and timid dad until the mom went through his bags and found Anna’s marijuana and birth control pills. Having triggered the mother’s dormant psychosis, Anna would then be dragged upstairs for six hours of being called a whore. This would be discomforting to Osama, who would sit in the living room freaking out. When Mohammed Atta called to check in, Osama would be totally frazzled. “Hold off on the martyrdom ops, dude. I’m up to my ears in shit,” he’d say. Anna and Osama would decide to cut the trip short and leave the next day. The following morning, Osama would sit in the freezing car for another three hours while the mom wrapped up calling her daughter a whore and drug addict. While her dad remained in the house peering from behind the curtains, Anna’s mom would come out to curse at Osama for ruining their daughter’s “white wedding.” Osama would be forced to spend the next year dealing with Anna’s being disowned. While tending to her subsequent nervous breakdown, he’d neglect his evil endeavor, which would give a vigilant INS the chance to notice that several pilots-in-training had no interest in flaps or landing gear.
Cuban Missile Crisis
Maggie would regularly call Castro “Mr. Poops,” which he’d find endearing but, at the same time, childish. Though she’s an extremely beautiful and sweet girl, Castro would have a hard time finding her sexy, because of the childlike demeanor. Every time he said, “So …,” she’d finish with “… buttons on your fanny.” Again, something he’d find cute but weird. Castro would find it very hard to stay threatening on the phone with Kennedy, because she would make puckered-up fish faces as he talked. She would only communicate with him in babyspeak, which he would accidentally carry over into his conversations with the Soviets. After hearing Castro say, “Toodles, my noodle,” Khrushchev would call a little powwow at the Kremlin. The Politburo would decide that Mr. Poops wasn’t the best person to mind their nuclear weapons. There would be no missile crisis. A few weeks later, Castro would call the relationship quits when he hears Maggie pee.
Kelly would keep trying to get David Koresh to have sex in the shower. “C’mon, baby doll,” she’d say in a Southern twang. “C’mon, baby doll.” He would be very concerned about the FBI/ATF forces amassed outside his compound, but she would only talk about sex. She’d tell him to try some ecstasy because the sex would be great when on ecstasy. About 12 minutes later he’d realize he was chemically impotent, but that would be OK with him. He’d just smile. “What’s the matter, baby doll,” she’d ask. “You gay, baby doll?” He’d take deep breaths and sink into the bed as his pupils dilated to maximum. Having discovered the remarkable texture of Kelly’s fake breasts, he’d start rubbing them lovingly and telling her how fantastic they were. The warmth of her skin would resonate as awesome ATF agents beautifully entered his wonderful bedroom and fired two gorgeous rounds into his eye.
Originally appeared on McSweeney’s.

Why I Am Leaving The Troupe

Dear Tim,
When I first came on board Hilarity Ensues, I was thrilled. I thought being in Oswego’s only improvisational comedy troupe was the beginning of what I intend to be a long and successful acting career. I also thought the fact that Jesus was in the troupe was a bonus.
It’s been well over a year now, and I’m sure you realize things have not been so good. The enthusiasm that I originally came with has waned considerably, almost completely, and the troupe’s morale in general is at an all-time low. I feel I should elaborate on why.
From the very beginning it was obvious to me that Jesus was not a team player. In my very first performance, Mike and I were doing a scene where a watermelon farmer is returning an eggbeater to a department store. We had the audience in stitches. We owned them. Then Jesus walks offstage to an older woman and heals her ear. We totally lost the crowd after that.
That was my first inkling that Jesus was the kind of improviser that had His own agenda, other players be damned. Usually, with a player like that, you hope that the director reins Him in during the after-show notes. You never did. In fact, that very same night, I recall you defending Him as “the King of Kings,” even though I have more experience, having completed Level 3 classes at Upright Citizens Brigade in New York.
And so we plodded on. Every show was more of the spotlight-stealing same. If Jesus wasn’t inviting the whole audience to the Kingdom of Heaven, He was blessing them, guiding them, or turning pitchers of water into wine-which annoyed the waitresses to no end.
He was even nice to hecklers, which I think encouraged them even more.
Most of us in the group hoped in vain that you would see the light and ask Jesus to tone it down. Every single time, we were rebuffed. It was “Son of God” this or “Messiah” that. In your eyes, He could do no wrong. I know He fixed your uncle’s knee, but separation of personal and professional feelings is paramount here. Hilarity Ensues was supposed to be about the comedy, yet we were dealt one blow after another. Even though He killed nearly every scene, He was “the Savior” in your eyes. And to add insult to injury, you gave Jesus a bio that took up most of the playbill. I was limited to a headshot and a line mentioning my history degree.
I know you consider a packed house to be the hallmark of success, but the people weren’t there for Hilarity Ensues, or for improv comedy at all. They were there for Jesus. Perhaps from a business standpoint it was great-a full house at $10 a pop was not a shabby deal at all-but from a performer’s standpoint it was a disaster.
Did they ever appreciate my adherence to the Tao of Del Close? No. Were they impressed with my lightning wit? No. My repertoire of differently wigged characters? No. They were there to be healed or saved or to personally request that their favorite team win the Super Bowl. I’ll never forget doing my awesome Greek fisherman character with the funny hat and not getting a single laugh because He couldn’t stop ascending in the background.
Improv is a team effort, Tim. When you get a group of talented folks together and put them on stage, you have an amazing, magical experience. But if one of those people is Jesus, I’m sorry to say, all bets are off. Frankly, I think Jesus was the Yoko Ono of Hilarity Ensues, and you were the Lennon.
At this point, I think it’s best that I part ways. I’m certain Oswego is big enough to support two improvisational-comedy troupes, so I’m starting up New and Improv-ed. There are no hard feelings. I hope you’ll come see us.

Premiered on McSweeney’s, 7/29/04.

Saddam’s Interrogation Logs

Interrogation commenced: 0735 hours
Colonel Beckwith and I decided to play Good Cop/Bad Cop again. I came into the room as Bad Cop and yelled at SH. He immediately laughed at me because last week when I came in I was Good Cop and had given him a sandwich. I tried to play it off that I had some heartburn and was still Good Cop but “just a little cranky.” Colonel Beckwith tried to cover for me by entering the room as Bad Cop and yelling, but that didn’t seem to work either. SH muttered something but wouldn’t say what.
Interrogation terminated: 0749 hours

Interrogation commenced: 1430 hours
I tried to break the will of SH by showing him an Iraqi newspaper editorial calling for his trial and punishment. SH told me that our Psychological Ops folks obviously printed a fake newspaper. I told him I swore that I bought the paper at an off-base coffee house. He insisted it was a fake. I told him I crossed my heart. He said he did not believe me. I asked him what I needed to do to prove to him that it was a real newspaper and he suggested taking him to the off-base coffee house to see it first-hand. I asked, but Gen. Farley said absolutely no way. SH didn’t say anything else aside from asking how much my PsyOps newspaper subscription cost and if there were any PsyOps coupons in it. I asked where the WMD were and he suggested I look in my copy of “PsyOps Weekly.”
Interrogation terminated: 1540 hours

Interrogation commenced: 0330 hours
Woke SH quite early to catch him off-guard and groggy. I asked “What’s your first name?” and he said “Saddam.” Again I asked, “What’s your first name?” and he said “Saddam.” I kept asking “What’s your first name?” and he kept saying “Saddam.” Once I had a rhythm going, I quickly asked “Where are the WMD?” and he said “Saddam.”
Interrogation terminated: 0338 hours

Interrogation commenced: 2210 hours
I played chess with SH, who is not too bad a chess player. At one point, my Bishop took his Rook. I told him that in the U.S. when you lose your Rook to a Bishop it is customary to divulge a little personal secret, like maybe where the WMD are. He said we weren’t in the U.S., then he took my pawn with the horse piece.
Interrogation terminated: 0122 hours

Interrogation commenced: 2000 hours
I told SH that we would be paid a visit by Baghdad’s longest-running improvisational comedy troupe, and that they often ask for audience suggestions. I had one of the “players” ask SH for the name of something you’d return to a department store. He said “pliers.” They did a quick scene about returning pliers, and then another “player” asked for a geographic location where one might hide WMDs. SH was quiet for a long time, and so I suggested Wal-Mart.
Interrogation terminated: 0122 hours

Interrogation commenced: 1241 hours
After lunch, SH informed us he was willing to talk. Colonel Beckwith and I sat down with him. He spoke for quite some time and answered every question fully. We believe we have made great progress and we are researching the data.
Interrogation terminated: 1551 hours

Interrogation commenced: 0940 hours
Colonel Beckwith and I told SH that we didn’t think it was particularly funny that he had us looking for “Monkey Valley” and the “Camel Ass Testing Facility” when it turned out there were no such locations. Also, we told him we were unable to verify the existence of Mohammad Mohahaha and we do not believe his claims of having built an “Indfidel Ray.” We told him as a result of our disappointment, we would be denying his TV access. He said TV sucks anyway because they don’t sing about him anymore.
Interrogation terminated: 1100 hours

Interrogation commenced: 0250 hours
I roused SH from his slumbers and told him Tariq Aziz was on the phone and wanted to know where the Vx gas was. Didn’t bite.
Interrogation terminated: 0252 hours

Premiered on McSweeney’s, 4/20/04.
Longer version commissioned by The Independent (UK), 7/29/04

Possible Closing Lines for a Defendant Who Has Chosen to Represent Himself

“My client professes his innocence. And when I look in the mirror and
see his eyes, I just have to believe him.”
“The facts, which I will present to you, will show that the defendant
is not guilty. My client was nowhere near the scene of the crime. My
client was where I was, obviously, because he is me, and I’m definitely
aware of our whereabouts that night.”
“Truth be told, no one knows what really happened that night. Except me
and my client.”
“I have been accused of a terrible crime. This frightens me both as a
defendant and a lawyer. I don?t want to go to jail, and I’d hate to
lose my first case.”
“When all is said and done, you will have to take all the evidence and
go into the room back there, talk about it, and decide amongst
yourselves on a verdict and whatnot. Right?”
“I want you to take a good, hard look at my client. I want you to ask
yourself if he could be capable of such a heinous crime. But I don’t
want you to take that long, hard look just yet because it will distract
me and I’m not finished talking.”
My first piece published by McSweeney’s