Ever since I read the letter that hangs outside the theater door at Second City in Chicago, I have pined for a heckler of his caliber.
Michael J. Morris of Minneapolis was so peeved after seeing a Second City "show" (the quotation marks are his) in 2009, that he immediately typed out the five paragraph letter of complaint that sits behind glass near the upstairs bar, where Kevin makes a very nice Margarita. Not too sweet.
Morris' rant is one of the most passionate works of scolding you will ever read. You can almost see the little beads of indignation-inspired sweat hanging just above his upper lip as he types.
"Your humor is stupid, childish and without any reason for being," Morris fumes. "I found about five percent of your material only slightly humorous. The rest of it was worthless blather, filled with cheap profanity and tasteless sexual slurs."
Morris is no fool. He knows that cheap profanity and tasteless sexual slurs are comedy gold, even in Minnesota. But he is drawing a line in the hard, frozen, earth.
"You people will go on making your crappie little money with your crass, ridiculous, asinine excuse for humor. I'll stay the way I am," he vows. "Second City; I'd call you Second Pity. Because you are pitiful."
Morris could have left it right there. As an expression of contempt, you can't do much better than "pitiful." That "pity" rhymes with city was just a stroke of luck.
But Morris knew that no self-righteous rant would be complete without an answer to the question: Why the fuck should I care what Michael J. Morris finds offensive?
Why should you care? Michael J. Morris will tell you why: "Because of sick, morally unconscious people like you this country is headed for collapse."
It's not just unfunny. It's unfunny enough to bring down a country.
So when D. "Ballbuster" Bennett referred to my work recently as "inane bullshit", it was a little disappointing. It's accurate as far as it goes, but it just feels like the effort isn't there. Especially from someone who wants us to believe that people call him "Ballbuster."
John Smug-something goes a little further, but still falls short of the Michael J. Morris Gold Standard. "Why is NPR posting this drivel?" he writes. "I suggest you leave the purveying of "humor" to people that are funny."
I give you "credit" for the ironic quotation marks John, but still.
Michael J. Morris does the math.
Photo: Michael J. Morris is just getting warmed up, by Rick McCawley