Quips, tips and parting shots
When you’re a profes- sional communicator, of which I am a good one, people ask you to speak at all kinds of events.
One time, during my morning nap,
my mother came down to the basement,
even though she’s not allowed to without
my permission, and said I had a phone
call. It was from a theater asking me to
do one of my lectures before a band performance. “Doy, yeah, I’ll do it! I said.
Besides, I’m free most Saturday nights.
I’d do my lecture and then watch the
band, killing two birds with one stone.
Because that’s how I roll: I’m Robert
Mac, and I kill birds.
The band was Lynyrd Skynyrd,
southern rockers known for triple-headed guitar attacks and for breaking
up in the ’70s—mostly because most of
the band members died in an airplane
crash, which tends to break up a band.
One of the original band members,
a brother of another and the former
janitor decided to get back together—
and I’d open the show!
One slight problem. There was no
mention that I’d do my humorous
lecture before the band came on, so I
would be a big surprise to the die-hard,
rabid, foaming Lynyrd Skynyrd fans.
Note to reader: People who obsess
over bands that broke up more than three
decades ago, and who are still stuck in
that era sporting pony tails and wearing
bell bottoms, usually don’t like surprises.
At show time, I got on stage and the
audience immediately shouted song titles:
Freebird, Sweet Home Alabama, Gimme
Three Steps. I don’t know if they were
showing off or what. I mean, I know
three Lynyrd Skynyrd songs, and I don’t
even like them. (I didn’t say that aloud.)
It got ugly quick. The audience wanted
classic rock, not me. But I’m used to it:
Sometimes my lecture is so high over people’s heads, I’ll actually see them roll their
eyes upward to try to see it as it escapes
beyond their grasp of understanding.
To save myself, I downshifted to
knock-knock jokes, which they failed to
“You’re already here!”
I explained that knock-knock jokes
could only develop in the United
States, thanks to freedom of expression
and the right to privacy. You can’t have
knock-knock jokes in dictatorships
because they don’t knock-knock. They
just barge in, steal your stuff and throw
you in the slammer.
But here it’s “Knock-knock.” “Who’s
there?” “Bill.” “Bill who?” “Bill of Rights!”
“Actually, my friends call me Willy
because I am free.”
Then, someone I can only describe as
a “Southern drunkard” began warbling:
“I’m as free as a bird now, and this bird
you cannot change! Whoa-oa-oa-oa!
And this bird you cannot change!”
He went on like that for a while,
but luckily we have the Second
Amendment—the right to bear
arms—so I got my gun and shot him.
Because I’m Robert Mac, and
I kill birds.
Robert Mac has been a professional laugh-maker for more than 16 years, perform- ing and presenting at colleges, comedy clubs, conferences, and
conventions. He is a member of AFTRA
(American Federation of Television and Radio
Artists) and has appeared on NBC, ABC, TLC
(The Learning Channel), and Comedy
Central. His first comedy CD, Know More
Robert Mac, was released in 2008.