Everyone bombs at some point. WitOut’s “Where Jokes go to Die” is where you can put your worst bits down for good.
by Chris Dolan
I had a bit that died multiple zero-to-pity-laugh deaths before many showcase and competition audiences. (Spoiler: I did not win any of those competitions!) The bit involved wanting to toilet train my cat. It opens by telling everyone that my cat is like my drinking buddy, and that I wanted to toilet train him—first for the obvious uses, second so he could puke in the toilet after we got drunk together. That wasn’t terrible enough for me or my audience, though, so I continued by stating that I started the toilet training process slowly, by placing toilet paper next to his litter box, “because anything beats your way of cleaning up down there.”
I have many theories about why this bit sucked. The obvious one is that maybe people aren’t interested in jokes about cats. I love cats, so I told the joke with enthusiasm. And I think people are turned off by someone showing genuine affection for things (or animals) they dislike. Like saying, “Y’know what I love? Cats! And hate crime!” Then there’s also the fact that I was presenting the audience with the ideas of a cat puking into a toilet, and licking its own ass clean. I find those images hilarious. My audience did not.
I miss trying to make those cat jokes work.
Chris Dolan is a middle-aged amateur comic & writer with a marketing day job at a website; he has performed locally since 2009. He’s been taking detailed notes on the jokes he’s bombed onstage with for some time, and now has a depressing and terribly unfunny 250-page autobiography. He lives in Montgomery County with his two cats, Pete and Beezus, who are still not toilet trained.