The First Thanksgiving Comedy Show

Comedy has always been a big part of Thanksgiving, how can it not be, with drunk grandmas, racist uncles, and the bipolar “unicorn trainers” that get invited to thanksgiving dinners across America every year? But it’s more than that. Comedy is a MUCH bigger part of Thanksgiving.

A lot of people don’t know this, but there was a comedian booked for the very first Thanksgiving. He performed right there on Plymouth rock, next to a giant willow tree that had an old lady face and gave advice. The show was billed as a private event for 8 Native Americans and 14 pilgrims. It was the first corporate gig in America.

You may be wondering why a comedian would want to perform in such an intimate and unusual setting, without a microphone, stage, proper lighting, or a skilled MC. It sounds horrible right? But for 7 satchels of beads and a suspicious looking blanket (with a value at today’s standard of at least 30 satchels of beads and a small pox vaccine) it was hard to pass up. It’s crazy, but a comedian will do anything if the price is right. Heck, they’ll even host the price is right.

The Comedian booked for the event, a Cherokee named “Sticks To Time,” arrived to the Thanksgiving gig early because he wanted to get a good read on his audience, but mostly because he was riding an excited buffalo and traffic was better than anticipated. He felt uncomfortable mingling amongst the Pilgrims and Indians. He didn’t know anyone and they all looked at him like he was a monkey. This wasn’t his ideal demographic either, way too many old religious people, and by old I mean people in their late twenties, (average life expectancy was 30) and by religious I mean super religious. Yep, this was going to be awkward.

One of the Whites tried to make small talk and kept referring to what he does as doing “skits.” And if you’re not familiar with comedy lingo, this is actually quite offensive and condescending, comedians prefer it be called “Haha fun time.” But of course, Sticks To Time didn’t correct her; you have to be polite if you’re going to get your satchels of beads. 

Sticks To Time’s attention was diverted away from the conversation when he noticed someone starting a fire, and sending out smoke signals. This was worrisome. He asked that they don’t tell any of the other tribes that he was doing haha fun time for them, because the comedy tribes were very territorial, and his whole family would get scalped if they found out he was performing within 200 miles of a competing club. A practice that is still upheld today.

Finally it was time to eat! The whites, Native Americans and Sticks to Time sat around a big picnic table full of yummy foods: pizza, cranberries, banana crème pie, egg rolls, and a pigeon that looked like a turkey. The Native Americans started to dig in, but were scolded “Not until we say a prayer! Sticks To Time, as our guest, will you lead us in prayer?” The nervous comedian went into survival mode and used “Improv” to declare, “Good bread, good meat, good God, lets eat!” Nobody laughed which was a bad sign, but even worse, nobody looked up. Apparently that wasn’t enough. So he continued his prayer, “Also… good trees… and good satchels of beads… good blankets… good god again… good colonization… good Johnny Appleseed… take it away Puritans!” It wasn’t looking good for our comedian hero. The puritans were disgusted. Why did he have to use Improv? That stuff is dark magic, nay witch craft. The lead Pilgrim rolled his eyes, said the lords prayer and suddenly announced “And now it’s time for Stinks Of Pine to do the thing. Get up on that stump and do your skit while we eat in front of you. ”

It was the worst introduction any comedian had ever encountered, they forgot to mention his credits, not that knowing that he won the Funniest Person with a Day Job Contest at the TeeHee TeePee Comedy Club would really have mattered… But they also murdered his name.

Sticks To Time’s mind was racing. I mean how do you follow the Lords Prayer? Not having any other choice, he dove into his jokes; if he wanted those beads, he’d have to start making his way through the 45 minutes of haha fun time.

The set was a blur. Looking back, he probably shouldn’t have opened with the Plymouth Rock Paper Scissors joke, or followed it up with the homo-erotic dream catchers and dream pitchers act out. And the topographical map bit that alluded to how god isn’t real went over everybody’s head. Crowd rap was beyond painful, everyone was from the same place, and everybody was unemployed. Winning them over with a joke about how women are terrible wagon drivers was also quite unsuccessful. They definitely didn’t respond to the dick jokes, and the closer about how Pocahontas was a whore just didn’t work it’s usual magic.

All in all, if you count the sounds of silverware scraping against plates, then Sticks To Time destroyed. And true to his name, He stuck to his time.

The real lesson here, is to not take comedy gigs on holidays, and instead spend it with your family. Your family might not be able to give you amounts of beads, but they’ll at least laugh at your weird prayer and if they’re not too drunk, they usually get your name right.

Have a happy Thanksgiving everybody! 

-Andy Erikson

Nov 24, 2011 | Posted by in Posts | 0 comments

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