Tag Archive: humour


Aaron Fullerton pic

The first of our Aaron Fullerton journey stories was published two years ago and is reblogged with permission:

The original title: Laughing With Cancer, Not At It:

When Lance Armstrong fell from grace a few weeks ago, I didn’t really care. I’ve always appreciated him for the icon he is, for the modern miracle of his health and success, but when I think of Lance Armstrong, I think of three things: bracelets, Michelob Ultra, and high-fiving Matthew McConaughey. But now that there’s an odd, shameful shadow looming over his legacy, a void has been created. Who will be the new face of kicking testicular cancer’s ass? I’d like to nominate myself. Because, you see, I have testicular cancer and we’re going to make this fun.

I know people are going to bristle at the words “cancer” and “fun” so close together in a sentence, but that’s my personality and this is my story. A couple weeks ago, I was annoying my co-workers by blatantly trying to massage my own back in the middle of the writers’ room; I had what I believed was a knot in a muscle and it was aggravating me endlessly. That night, I visited my girlfriend, Sarah, and, before I knew what was happening, I was on the floor, crippled with back pain. She took me to the ER – my first time ever – and after a seven hour wait, I finally saw a doctor. They ruled out muscle issues. They ruled out kidney stones. They gave me morphine and I started talking like a Daily Show correspondent. They did a scan and found a mass which, after some laparoscopic surgery to get a tissue sample, they determined was a germ cell tumor. As the one in pain, I didn’t really care what they called it – I just wanted them to make my back feel like Thor’s hammer WASN’T being whipped against it.

After one week of painkillers, my back felt great and I haven’t needed to take another pill. (But if anyone wants a cupcake with lots of extra sprinkles, let me know.) Considering the tumor is still there, this new pain-free Aaron is a miracle. But the miracle was accompanied by the official diagnosis: testicular cancer.

Let me note, for the record: I am not used to talking about my balls. My general rule is to avoid bringing them up in conversation. When people ask how my balls are doing, I usually just say “fine” and then change the topic to this week’s episode of Homeland. But I guess God needs me to break my rule, because my balls have been front and center (yes, also literally) in my life these last few days. Here’s the deal: this morning, at 7AM, I had the offending testicle removed. (And for the curious among you, let me just say that yes, I’m still symmetrical.) That was the first part of my treatment; the second part will be a few rounds of chemotherapy that zap the tumor in my abdomen. I’ll be rocking the Bruce Willis haircut for awhile, but I can always ask my co-workers to steal me some hats from the White Collar set. If you’re gonna wear a hat, go big, right?

My real treatment, though, is going to be writing. Because no matter what I’m doing, what I’m living, what I’m feeling… writing about it makes it better. Even when it’s about my balls. I’ve been beyond lucky to make my living as a writer and I truly believe that if I’ve been given cancer, it’s because I’m supposed to write about it. (My surgeon was named Dr. Fallas and my urologist is Dr. Sacks, so clearly this all a grand comedy.) Assigning the cancer a purpose may seem self-deluding from the outside, but I believe with total conviction that a whole crapload of good can come out of a little bit of bad. So if the cancer’s going to use me, I’m going to use it right back. Sorry, cancerous cells, but now you’re “material.” Get used to it.

The fact of the matter, too, is that every statistic is completely in my favor. Ninety-five to ninety-eight percent of testicular cancer patients end up completely cured. Like, back-to-normal-in-every-way (yes-even-that-way) cured. If my experience was a Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen movie, it would be called “98/2” and the stakes would be incredibly low (and the humor would be even more genitalia-based.) All signs point to this being nothing more than a speed bump. I still get to work with people I love on a show I love (Graceland coming to USA in June 2013!). I still get to live in a city I love with a girlfriend, friends, and a family that I love. I get to write, I get to joke, I get to laugh, I get to tell the story.

I know there’s a comfort in shaping personal experiences into a narrative. When we give our lives the shape of a “story,” we turn ourselves into heroes; our point of view becomes something like narrator-ly omniscience, everything we do and feel is validated by context. But I think the greatest comfort comes from choosing the ending; we pick the happily ever after, or the thematic beat that defines our moralities. Me? I’m going to try to always end it on the punchline.

You don’t need to wear a rubber bracelet for me. Just wear a smile. Or, even better: laugh. Because we’ll be talking about balls, whether I like it or not.

[For the next part titled ‘The Cooler Part of Chemo, click here] 

[You can follow more of Aaron’s Journey at his blog over here]

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aaron fullerton

This is going to be a little bit of a different one. i ‘met’ Aaron online, as much as you can ‘meet’ anyone online [i think you can] and i don’t even remember how although it might have been through Hashtag Game tweets or some other comedy moment. And we got chatting, which is a little strange for strangers on Twitter. And especially when it turned out that one of the strangers is a writer for a popular tv show called Graceland [Aaron, not me.] And he was super friendly. And somewhere along the line i found out that he had cancer, or had had cancer, and had a blog about it and he gave me permission to use some of his posts.

Aaron clearly has a strong gift for writing and is also a funny guy and so despite these posts being about cancer [which is completely not funny and a total bastard, let’s be honest] there is a deep focus on the life behind. And as much as his form of cancer has a 95 plus percent chance of ending in complete freedom from it, i imagine the percents that are not guaranteed still contain enough strength to bring some anxiety and fear.

What i like about Aaron is he is real and rough and raw and it’s great because it really allows us to get a glimpse of a real life story, which is what Taboo Topics is all about. i am going to be sharing a number of posts from his last two years of journey, that i find particularly powerful/encouraging/uplifting/challenging, but i encourage you to go and check out his blog and subscribe and become an even closer part of his journey. Who knows? He may one day be writing one of your favourite shows.

Friends, i give you Aaron Fullerton and the appropriately named Aaron Laughs With Cancer

Laughing With Cancer, Not At It – Two years ago, after having the offending testicle removed, Aaron started to write.

The Cooler Side of Chemo – Aaron focuses on some of the things he is grateful for during treatment

Glimpses and Truths – snippets from three different posts that share some of Aaron’s insights, challenges and encouragements

Close to 13 years of doing Improv with Megan Furniss and differing amounts of years with the rest of this crazy bunch i usually get to hang with on a Monday evening.

Making stuff up.

cow

And to be absolutely honest, i had been getting a little tired of the same old formula, week in, week out, and so when i was about to leave for a month to go overseas again, in one sense i was looking for a break.

Not that it had always been the same – for the last three years, the players of Improguise have put on the most amazing festival in January, which, despite living overseas at the time, i just happened to be at each time. So i was able to be in a full length documentary, a South African soapie, a full length completely made-musical as well as take part in two other forms of show we have all taken to: Namely Superscene and Stuck in the Middle [which are both a little bit of mayhem]

i had mentioned it to Megan who had been feeling similar and the whole group jumped at the idea and so the last class before i left South Africa we decided to perform a different type of show every week with the traditional ‘Whose Line?’ type show being just one of the many shows]

And then i left the country. With much jealousy. Of the good kind that cheers and celebrates and is excited to hear of the different types of shows happening in my absence including a documentary and a road trip.

BACK TO THE FUTURE

Tonite was my first show back.

And we played a Superscene which i describe as Survivor Improv where five directors give the premise for the next scene we will see in their movie and everyone else acts that scene out. Then each director shares what will be coming up next and by way of Clapometer [loudness of audience clap] the audience decides which story they don’t want to continue and the other 4 then play out their next scenes. And so on, until we are left with one final scene which is the Superscene.

And tonite the winner was Carolyn and i was her star lead actor Neville, an Afrikaans young man with a passion for dance and a mother who was against it.

But actually we were ALL winners. From the tiny audience of 12 who braved it out [and all wished they’d brought more friends afterwards] to each of the crazies who acted and corpsed their hearts out on the stage.

milk

Because we really did have zombie cows [who shot guns at people and gave heartfelt speeches] and a Cactus Milk Tattooist who created white tattoos [Zabhira from India who had grown jaded with Indian culture from watching American You Tube videos growing up and moved to America where she won over her father to the lifestyle and Americanised him in a ‘Pretty Woman’ type montage] and of course the plants [poisonous banana types] who while not quite saying “Ni” [semi-obscure-Monty-Python reference] mumbled something like Randy-ni-ni-ni-ni which was close enough. There may have been an edgy and insane Mad Maxesque road chase we never got to see enough of as it was eliminated way before its time. And a cheap and grumpy ghostly ouma who had trouble speaking as all her ‘N’s were switched to ‘M’s.

ni'

Thank-you Megan and Carolyn and Ardine and Tandi and Ryan and Ashley and also Hilton for working the lights. And the rest of the crew who could not be there tonight.

You’ve helped make Improv fun again. Because it has once again become unpredictable. This coming Monday we will be performing a Stuck In The Middle [one actor stuck on stage the whole night while the rest of the team create a host of different scenes with that person] with the proceeds going to uThando leNkosi place of safety for children as a part of the Mandela Day 67 minutes celebrations. So let’s pack the house. For a good cause. And for amazing laughs.

Looking very much forward to next week when we get to make it up all over again.

For more information on our times of shows and prices and how to book and organise for us to play at your school, poker club or seniors tea, click here and if you’re on the Twitterer, make sure you add @ImproGuiseSA to follow us around.

And see you next week…

Let’s face it, with the way the economy is going these days, you could easily find yourself caught in that awkward place of having just been snuck over the line into the next tax bracket and suddenly being expected to hand over all your hard-earned money to government. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

So i completely had you in mind when i thought of these:

10 FOOL-PROOF WAYS TO ASK FOR A DEMOTION OF PAY CUT AT WORK

[1] Arrive at work in Hulk costume complete with full-body green-coloured skin and claim you thought it was ‘Dress Like an Avenger’ day.

hulk

[2] Answer every question you are asked with another question. When your boss asks, “Why are you doing that?” Respond immediately with, “Why am I doing what?”

[3] Choose your favourite operatic piece as your ring tone, set it to full volume and every time your phone rings stand up and accompany it at the top of your lungs with appropriate arm movements.

opera

[4] Replace the ‘O’ on your Boss’ office door with the letter ‘A’ and regularly stick your head into his office and then look really confused and say, “I’m sorry, I thought this was where i was supposed to get the fish.”

[5] Commission a creative portrait of yourself from a local artist and when it arrives hang it up in the office entrance hall.

dwight

[6] Use makeup to slightly lighten your skin colour. The following day repeat the process but go a little lighter. Every day keep going lighter and lighter until your face has turned completely pale and then reverse the process.

[7] Sneak into your boss’s office when he is out at an important business lunch and decorate his office as your way of letting him know you are proud of all the long hours he puts in.

newspaper

[8] Start calling your boss “Neil”. Apologise every time you are corrected but continue to call your boss Neil, even when she insists that her name is “Joan.”

[9] Keep a hard boiled egg on your desk covered with a cloth. Remove the cloth at regular intervals during the day and make disappointed sounding sounds that it hasn’t hatched yet. Every time a work colleague catches you doing this, whisper to them, “I’m hoping it’s a girl!”

egg

[10] And finally, take some time over the weekend to remove all the glass from all the door windows between offices and set up a helpful video cam to record what happens.

Which of these was your favourite?

Any other suggestions on ways to get a demotion or pay cut at work? Leave them below!

[For more fun vibes, click here]

So by now, if you know me, you know that i don’t really believe LOL is a thing.

Apart from someone in my close family who actually thought it meant ‘Lots Of Love’ and actually [true story] sent it to a friend via text who had just lost a family member, as in: i heard your dad died. LOL

But my basic theory is this: If you’re writing LOL [which, family member, stands for Laugh Out Loud] then you’re clearly not LOLing! Because who can type accurately if they are in fact laughing in an out loud kind of manner? [Most people i know shake, do you shake?]

Anyways, one person i know in life who regularly gets me to actually blatantly honestly LOL is my buddy, Dreadlock Mike, and i’m not sure why it is, but when we get together we both become little seven year old gigglers [do seven year olds giggle? whichever age that is, we’re them] which is why i love hanging out with Mike and recently it was Mike and i reading out Jack Handey’s that was bringing out the LOLs.

If you don’t know Jack Handey’s work, then it is my absolute pleasure to share it with you. Different people respond to different thoughts of his and so if you don’t like all of them, that is fine. i am going to post five today and if one of them brings you closer to LOLing than the others, let me know which one it was below…

tiger

The tiger can’t just change his spots. No, wait, he did. Good for him. [Jack Handey]

sunset

Whenever y read a good book, it’s like the author is right there, in the room, talking to you, which is why I don’t like to read good books. [Jack Handey]

sand

Instead of a trap door, what about a trap window? The guy looks out of it, and if he leans too far, he falls out. Wait. I guess that’s like a regular window. [Jack Handey]

balloon

One thing vampire children have to be taught early on is, don’t run with a wooden stake. [Jack Handey]

web

It’s funny that pirates were always going around searching for treasure, and they never realised that the real treasure was the fond memories they were creating. [Jack Handey]

Which of those came closest for you? Or do you have a favourite Jack Handey? Share with us in the comments section and we’ll see if it makes it into the next episode of Chasing LOL… 

[For more Jack Handey love, check out Chasing LOL part II over here]

Is this the best ever Pearls before Swine cartoon strip ever made?

Quite possibly yes although it does require you have a bit of a history of foreknowledge to fully appreciate it.

And to be honest, as much as i knew the skit it comes from, i had never watched the original til this very moment and it is incredible.

Abbott and Costello and if you haven’t seen this, do yourself a favour – this is insanely pulled off:

Now that you’ve got that under your belt, check the greatness that is Stephan Pastis and Pearls Before Swine:

Pearls beforeWho

[For more great Pearls before Swine strips, click here]

 

 

i posted this a few years ago when i had a Weekly Mash blog going on, but thought it was worthy of a place on Irresistibly Fish as it is one picture that never fails to make me smile a lot and usually laugh out loud [which is unusual for me – normally an inside laugher]

i hope it might have that effect on some of you.

you know as a child, many well-meaning adults told you that you could be whatever you wanted to be…

well this guy took them seriously…

cloud

[For some more fun and silly stuff, take a look at these offerings]

[If you have never experienced my alter ego, Brad Fish, and his video series ‘Dangerous Things You Can Least Expect’ click here]

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