“after every sick joke” by Julia at The Coffee Studio

Monday September 17, 2018
2:35pm
5 minutes
July, ’77
Jill Mandrake

In the night the sticky hot wakes you up and the ac robot beside you becomes a sleep villain. The edge of noise I can teeter on has become finer. The line a little less warning, a little more plummet. I remember you asking for permission but I don’t remember granting it.
My throat catching all the room particles and holding them there. I pull the sheet over my legs and up to my mouth. It’s been an hour in sleep years and in my dream I’m asking you if it can die soon? The robot closes its eyes so now I know you can meet me in my dreams. I know you’ll be able to hear me. In the morning the alarm clock is a welcome sound. No more begging for breeze in the dip of my back, the swamp of my neck. You say, Well that was the most comfortable sleep of my life. Even this joke turns to mud.

“I analyzed four rape jokes” by Julia at Pearson airport

Thursday January 4, 2018
7:38pm
5 minutes
Shrill
Lindy West

One of them was funny. I’ll give you that. I can say this because I’m a woman. Because I have certain rights. Because #metoo. Because I don’t want to cry at every mention of the word rape. Out of four, one was funny and the rest were painful. I am a woman and I laughed so sue me, I’m not even sorry. I’m a little sorry. I wondered if I was bad immediately after I let myself smile. The smile turned into a laugh so what was I supposed to do? Be a brittle bag of inconsolable? Who does this help? I am genuinely asking. I am a woman and I don’t know. I am a survivor and I don’t know. Who am I supposed to ask?

I am a woman and I don’t know.

I analyzed all four of the rape jokes. That is my job. I am paid to do this. And I don’t know who decides that this is work or not. That this falls under my job description or not. Am I supposed to give it to someone who doesn’t know even more than I don’t know?

“little package” by Julia on the greyhound bus

Tuesday December 26, 2017

2:07pm

5 minutes

From an email

In recent years I believed a gift had to have many moving parts:

First, a card, a language of otherwise indescribable gratitude. A love, living. A promise, dancing in the living room.

Second, a thought profound and seeing. A proof, light, opening the airways.

Third, a joke, folded into the side bed of the card and woven through the thought. A humble choice to make such vulnerable words a party of intention.

Fourth, a practical container, one that said The Inside Counts Best Here. I Have Used My Time Solely For The Contents. I Have Neglected The Wrapper On Purpose.

“continues scheming to win” by Sasha at Elysian

Saturday December 23, 2017
3:36pm at Elysian 5th and Burrard
5 minutes
From a Bard on the Beach program

It’s all about winning for you
Being the best of the best of the best
It’s all about competition to you
Whose got the highest score
The best lines
The searing jokes
The this the the this that that

It’s all about rising to you
And that’s easy to glorify
I did I do I did did do
But when I look closer
I see the oozing self consciousness
The fear
The smallness small small tiny smallness

It’s all about anger to you
Not even sure what the difference is anymore
Being or being angry
You dump all over all all over over over
Until it’s all red all best all small all fear

Only in distance can I see it
Up close it’s ha-ha yes yes okay um maybe sure
Up close it’s feel good
Far away it’s oh oh tastes metal tastes burned tastes cheap

It’s always been about winning for you
So hard to give a compliment
So hard to give a something something real something good

“You are a joke cookie” by Julia on her couch

Sunday November 5, 2017
11:44pm
5 minutes
From the postcard from Amanda

I never meant to run this dry. This many days in a row without even attempting to find the joy behind the keys. And I never understood the power of peripheral vision until now. How have I always been such a tentative typer with this new feature? I am crumbling cookie dry like an over baked chicken over baked chick and I never meant to be. I never meant to fall apart. I have been avoiding some truths to myself and spilling the beans to him.  During the full moon I tell him that I feel like I’m being wasted. He tells me he’s sorry. I have been avoiding. Didn’t want the back ache, the carpal tunnel, the magical erase button. Didn’t want the proof of purchase. So dry the cookie forgets to laugh at itself. So dry the cookie thinks about milk for the first time in years. So dry the cookie asks for help. So dry the cookie tells a joke. Nobody laughs. I never meant to fall apart.

“I had some excellent excuses for letting go of that wheel” by Julia on the expo line


Wednesday April 19, 2017
6:18pm
5 minutes
Year Of Yes
Shonda Rhimes


I turned my phone off thinking I would get some me time in-some r&r, a personal party, you know, the good stuff. I was so proud of myself for unplugging that I forgot I was expected to answer not one phone call, but four different ones. I don’t know how I did it. They said No One Needs To Be Reached At All Times, but I did, in fact, need to be reached at all times! I needed to be reached by the woman who was taking over my job in two weeks, by my bank because of the credit card fraud, by the company that might not hire the person I was supposed to be a reference for, and by the dermatologist who casually dropped that the bump on my head might not be a benign fibroma afterall.

“laugh-out-loud funny.” By Julia on Amanda’s couch


Wednesday January 14, 2015
3:51pm
5 minutes
From the i ❤️huckabees DVD case

Come on tell me a joke.
Well what do you want, funny ha ha, or funny, ah-hah!
I don’t know the difference. They’re the same, both funny.
No, one will bring laughs, the other, realizations! In a moment you could be like, “ohhhh righhhhht” or “ha ha ha ha”.
You’re ruining jokes for me. You’ve just put a structure on humour.
You asked me to.
No, I asked you to tell a joke and you just reduced it to types and shit.
I’m trying to please you.
I just wanted to hear a joke you thought was funny.
I don’t know any good jokes.
Well say that then. Don’t say, which type of moment are you trying to have, a good one, or a seemingly less good one. Who would choose the seemingly less good one.
It’s not less good, it’s about preference.
If I preferred the type of laughter I was going to have I would just type it into the internet.
There you go ruining a perfectly good human moment.
Ha ha!
Really?

“Rita and Burton” by Sasha on her couch


Thursday October 31, 2013
11:13pm
5 minutes
Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Department package

She slurred her “R’s”. At first it was intentional and then it was habit. It’s funny how that happens (and not the “ha ha” type). She’d heard a girl in her Science class do it when asking a question (something about a proton or something) and thought it was enticing in that entirely mysterious and wonderful way. She thought maybe Burton would notice, that maybe he would notice and think, “What a phenomenal young woman with entirely few friends.” She smeared on her chapstick and laughed to loud when Burton made a joke. She put her hands in her pockets even though it was uncomfortable, even though it made her feel stuck, because it also made her feel unfathomably cool.