My Dad only orders from local pizza joints. Won’t go to Dominos or Pizza Hut. So whenever I got my folks’ place, we never eat pizza from a national chain. I’m not complaining; for the most part, the pizza is better at the smaller spots.
But here’s the thing about local pizza places: a lot of time they use generic pizza boxes, and a lot of times, those pizza boxes will have a picture of a fat chef with a moustache giving a thumbs up, looking at his pizza. I wrote a joke about this last night, which went something like this:
That is the last image I want to associate with something I’m about to eat. Pizza is the only delivery item that comes with a picture of a sweaty, fat, Italian guy. You never hear anybody say, “Enjoy your chicken lo mein, and here’s a picture of Dom DeLuise on a Stairmaster.”
It got a decent response last night. I figured if I kept building around the premise, I could work it into my rotation. How about I found out this morning that Dom DeLuise died – LAST NIGHT. For all I know, he died while I was telling the joke.
Here’s what so morbid about the whole thing: I wrote the joke around 5:00 PM. I performed it around 8:30. I don’t know exactly when he kicked the bucket, but this man was passing away as I was building a punchline around him. As a group of strangers acknowledged the fact that he is fat and Italian by laughing at my reference, he shuffled into the light.
As someone still new to the world of comedy, I’m always trying to grow, always trying to evolve. And with every performance, and every joke, I believe there is a lesson to be learned. And I think the lesson in this particular instance is clear:
Don’t piss me off or I will write a joke that murders you.
Apparently, that’s my X-Man power: jokes that can kill. It’s a positive thing, if harnessed for the good of humanity.
Of course I’m being facetious; unless my joke is something you could deep fry and cover in barbecue sauce, I doubt it had anything to do with his Dom DeLumise. But it sucks all the same. I feel the same way I felt after Heath Ledger died: very sad for the guy and his family, but also feeling as if I missed out on something more. Heath Ledger was the perfect Joker. And Dom DeLuise was the perfect fat Italian guy to reference in this joke I wrote about pizza boxes. Now neither my perfect pizza box joke nor the Batman franchise will ever be as good as it could have been. Don’t believe me? Look at this:
That is the last image I want to associate with something I’m about to eat. Pizza is the only delivery item that comes with a picture of a sweaty, fat, Italian guy. You never hear anybody say, “Enjoy your chicken lo mein, and here’s a picture of Johnny Depp as the Riddler.”
See? It’s just not the same.
My condolences to your family, Dom. Thanks for messing up my joke.