No, Not Daddy’s Standup!

Our kids noodle around on our iPhones constantly. By “noodle,” I mean change my ringtone to Nicki Manaj and sign us up for the 4GB Pro Data plan at $60/month. As long as they’re occupied and happy, right?

Arlo (2) has a knack for finding bizarre stuff on YouTube. He’s been known to travel 50 to 60 levels deep into “related videos”, so whether it’s Death Metal Bob the Builder, or Steve-o snorting a line of wasabi, he’s on it . He also explores my music library, often starting a Rush song only to immediately chant “Over over over.” I don’t think he likes Rush. That’s OK, they’re an acquired taste, and La Villa Strangiato isn’t the best introduction to their specific brand of progressive rock. We’ll work on that when he turns eleven.

Luckily, he almost always gets confused and switches off any hip hop clip featuring “rump shaking” in favor of Yo Gabba Gabba, so generally we haven’t had to intervene. Recently, however, he’s discovered my voice notes, and has, on multiple occasions, started playing recordings of my standup which makes us jump out of our seats faster than if he’d downloaded Pat Robertson’s podcast.

Somehow, it’s tacitly agreed that we would rather he watch a 2 Live Crew video than listen to a recording of me explaining to a group of strangers how I’ve simply grown too old to enjoy pornography, or why I fear my eyes are so close together that people on the street think I’m from a less evolved species.

We’re always alerted the same way. He’s holding my phone and quietly saying, “Daddy Daddy Daddy.” That’s when my wife and I scamper to make the first loud vocal noise we can think of so he can’t hear me talking about how difficult it is to be Zen when a shaved chimp in a diaper is playing the kazoo in my ear. I panicked once and just started singing the chorus to “I Will Always Love You” at the top of my lungs. It was the most wholesome thing I could think of.

Of course, he doesn’t know what I’m talking about, but the mere fact that it’s ME – his daddy — talking late at night about stupid grown-up stuff makes us envision a dense cloud of innocence bellowing out through his ears.

I don’t know how old my kids will be before I let them watch my standup. I’ll probably just wait until I catch one of them watching a Louis CK special after I’ve gone to bed.

I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

20 comments On No, Not Daddy’s Standup!

  • God this made me literally laugh out loud (LLOL) four times! First the eyes then the shaved chimp and whitney houston and so forth.

    I've always wondered what Louis CK's girls are going to think when they grow up and hear him calling them little a-holes. But they'll probably say "yea, yea we were. And Daddy's funny as hell and now we fly first class… so…"

  • Aaaaand now I have "I Will Always Love You" stuck in my head.

  • Jennifer Martin

    My son is 13. Several months ago, he discovered that he could make Pandora channels for himself based on comedians. He was pretty immersed before we figured it out. In any event, he likes to sleep with background noise and Pandora comedians is his background noise of choice. We have gotten used to it, but other people find it strange that horrible cursing can be heard emanating from his bedroom at all hours of the night.

  • Isn't it funny what we are protective with our kids about?

    I had two boys at Alcatraz and although I know they play video games where they are blowing up zombies and watching things explode, at one point of the recording it said something about an inmate stabbing their cell mate to death. Never have I ripped a pair of ear phones off a child's head so fast. I don't know if it was because it was non-fiction, but I didn't want the little ones hearing that sentence, even though they virtually kill people on almost a daily basis. (And these weren't even my kids. If they were, they probably wouldn't be playing those video games).

  • Did anyone else scroll up to check the pic immediately after the 'eyes too close together' line? Haha

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