My Father, the Comedian

Do you think your mom would have been proud? He asked.

My Father, the Comedian
Photo by Pea / Unsplash

by Trent Brown

My father was a corporate lawyer. He taught me multiplication tables poorly and the history of the Supreme Court well. He is a comedian now, at 63. Last week he sent me the link for his Saturday night show. He told me to buy tickets for my friends. He didn’t ask. They’ll love it, he said.

On Instagram I see that he has posted once again with a comedian I know from some social media. They do crowd work. His caption says that he loved to get to meet them and bounce ideas off of such a great comedic mind. They look like they’re not excited to be around him, but who is?

He posts some of his jokes to LinkedIn. They walk a fine line of being just too conservative and just not funny enough. But he says that those are just the ones for LinkedIn. He has better ones that he tells in his show.

I took my girlfriend to see him Saturday night. He told a joke about my mom. About how she used to nag at him. He does not mention that she is dead. From cancer. One year. He just tells the joke as if she’s some person that used to exist in his life for the purpose of jokes.

Katy, my girlfriend, asked me if I wanted to leave early. We sat at the back of the room. There’s no way he could see us. I said no. After the show, we walked backstage to see him.

He first asked me where the rest of my friends are. I said they couldn’t make it. He said, oh well, it was still my first sold out show. I don’t tell him I bought five extra seats just in case.

He asked Katy her thoughts. She said it was funny. He said she was just being modest.

Do you think your mom would have been proud? He asked.

I think she would have liked the college debt joke, I said.

He introduced me to his videographer then. The videographer was a short guy with long brown hair and a handlebar mustache. He looked like he enjoyed getting a gig from a guy with my dad’s kind of money. My dad said they were going to start posting clips to his TikTok account. He wanted to get in on the comedian wave on social media right now. He thought he might have a shot to do some bigger shows before. He paused. If he can just get some more fans, he continued. I asked him before what. Katy said she had to go to the restroom and walked away. One of the other comedians walked by us and my dad reached out and patted him on the back and told him he had a good set tonight and the comedian turned and looked at my dad like he’d never seen him before and after a blink he said, you too, and kept walking. My dad turned back to me and smiled. It’s just so awesome to be around people like this, he said. Funny people? I asked. He nodded like he wasn’t sure what type of people it was that they were. Or he was. Where were you sitting tonight, I didn’t see you, he asked. I told him the back, the Uber driver was slow and we got there too late to be up front. But before what? I asked. He asked me if I had a TikTok account. I said yes. He asked if I would follow him on there and share his posts. I said sure. He asked if I thought Katy really liked it because she has good taste. I asked him before what. I think your mom would’ve loved being in a place like this, he said. She was so funny.

Joshua Trent Brown is a short fiction writer from Raleigh, North Carolina. He has been published in the Holon Project, will soon be published in God's Cruel Joke and has self-published twice, including a recent short story collection titled Kill Me If You're Going To Kill Me. You can find him on twitter, too often, @TrentBWrites.