Derek Sheen is a comedian-about-town this week with three shows in Seattle and Tacoma. Here, he talks about saying good-bye to his dad's corpse and what trigger words make Seattle's collective asshole pucker.
Paid for by Committee to Reelect Judge North, P.O. Box 27113, Seattle, WA 98165
So what's your strategy for taking people's minds off their broken hearts?
I'll tell them about the stuff I did to my dad's corpse when I went to visit it at the hospital the night he died.
Holy fuck, that'll do it.
Yeah, he was in the mob, and I'm a good guy who makes bad decisions. We didn't always get along. I just started writing material about that night—years after the fact—because what I did was both extremely illegal and emotionally painful. But it was also hilarious.
Is it difficult making audiences feel okay about laughing at corpse desecration?
It's definitely harder to joke about certain stuff here, even if the joke isn't derogatory. The minute you mention race or the LGBT community, people tense up—they don't wait for the punch line. And about 60 percent of the time, Seattle audiences are right—there's a lot of awful, bullshit, misogynist male humor out there, and I have to battle against that. But sometimes I just want to talk about how much I love lesbian yard sales. Where else am I going to find my sleeveless Carhartts and wolf T-shirts?
So what do you do? Start every joke with a donation to GLAAD or the NAACP?
I start jokes with my personality, so they trust what kind of person I am—I'm not racist, misogynist, or a homophobe, and if I use one of those buzzwords, I'm doing it to make a point. Most of my humor comes from making observations about my own life. Like, I talk about my diet because I've lost a shit-ton of weight since last year, when I was cock-blocked by my own body while trying to make love to my wife on our anniversary.
My point is, everyone's done stuff that they don't want to talk about. When one person admits to it, it takes the weight off everyone else's shoulders and makes their problems seem okay. I make your horrific mistakes seem okay!
Derek, you and your corpse dad have indeed put my horrific mistakes in perspective. Thank you.
Wed Feb 15, Rendezvous, 7 pm, $8, 21+.
Fri–Sat Feb 17–18, Tacoma Comedy Underground, Fri 8:30 pm, Sat 8:30 and 10:30 pm, $15, 21+.