I have not been laughing enough lately. I know this is gross. Like someone saying, “I’m bored a lot” or “I don’t really like being alone.” But this year has been heavy, so I’m doing what I can to compensate. This weekend, for example, I did a little catching up.
MaxFunCon is a summer camp for comedy nerds run by Jesse Thorn, who hosts The Sound of Young America. I’ve wanted to go for years, some of my favorite people are regulars, but I always felt shy about it. I’m not a comedy nerd, just a regular nerd, so I wasn’t sure wether it would be my tribe.
Photo by Snijglau
MaxFunCon usually fills up well in advance, but I was on a waiting list and the stars aligned. I found out I could go when I was already in Palm Springs checking out the venue for my own conference (more on that in the morning), so I was only an hour away from the camp. Oddly, Eden had also decided to attend on a lark, which I found out on Twitter the day before I arrived. Roomie up!
When I arrived, everyone was so approachable and genuinely friendly. We were there to meet each other and go home with some new friends, which all of us undoubtedly did. In addition to Eden, I got to see a few more folks who I don’t see nearly enough, like:
Matt Haughey of A Whole Lotta Nothing and Metafilter. I always look forward to Matt, because I know the conversation will be interesting. He’s globally curious and so pleasantly dismissive when he thinks something sucks. This year his curiosity turned toward grooming, so he was beautifully dressed, which was strange because I mostly remember him in T-shirts and jeans. Apparently, he’s been reading Put This On, and it made an impression. I suppose there were early signs.
I like the above photo because Matt appears to be winking, which I have never seen him do, ever.
Photo by Hiroic
Adam Lisagor of You Look Nice Today, Lonely Sandwich, and the aforementioned Put This On. I’ve only met Adam once or twice before, but he is fantastic. His Twitter stream (@lonelysandwich) often feels like someone smarter and more talented is narrating my brain. To wit: “Here is a weakness I have: if you do a fake laugh in order to belittle someone, I will consider you the worst and will never change my mind.”
Scott Simpson of You Look Nice Today, and Your Monkey Called). Scott made a late appearance, so it felt like he’d materialized at a party, and it made me so happy. I was not sober, so I made him promise to bring his wife and offspring to the city so we can arrange for one of them to wed my son. I’m not totally sure what gender(s) his children are, but that’s beside the point. A promise is a promise, and Scott will come through because he is an Eagle Scout. He was probably also a White House Intern and the son of clergy. I’m like a heat seeking missile for that shit. See you in the city, Mr. Simpson.
I also finally (finally!) met some folks I’ve adored and admired for over a decade, like:
Greg Knauss of An Entirely Other Day. Greg has been such a part of my Web ecosystem from the beginning that I can’t believe it has taken this long to see him in real life. I’d begun to wonder if he was some kind of creepy aggregate project by some of my friends. Turns out he’s just been too busy at home to leave the neighborhood much. His anecdotes are as good in person as online:
“So there’s this over-weight 45-year-old woman
standing in line at Rite-Aid. She’s wearing
leopard-skin tights, and waiting to buy a
twelve-pack of beer and one of those backyard
And people say Americans aren’t subtle.”
Josh Allen, who I know through The Morning News, and who you may know as Fireland on Twitter. I believe his was the first fictional Twitter stream, and it’s hilarious. We discussed how difficult it is to date when the top Google search on your name returns quotes like, “I don’t remember carrying a kitten in my cargo shorts but the lint trap don’t lie.” Women of America, Joshua Allen is a delight. Though he does kill the occasional kitten.
In addition to jump starting my sense of humor, MaxFunCon also supplied some new people to adore. A brief, incomplete list:
Photo by Scott Simpson
John Roderick, lead singer for The Long Winters. He wrote “Hindsight”, “Are you still training for the big race by hoping the runners will die?” He also taught an excellent songwriting class that helped me rethink how I process emotion. Useful. He’s a ready smiler, and a new dad. In the photo above, he’s wearing my pink scarf as an ascot for the Country Estate Party. I mention this because he made a point of finding me to return it before he left the next day. Nice, right? Yeah, I think so too.
Photo from Zickie Pop
Jordan Morris, to whom I admitted that I hadn’t heard a single Jordan, Jesse, Go! podcast. I know my fellow campers are agape right now, because this is like going to Space Camp and staring blankly when Neil Armstrong shakes your hand. He was gracious about it though, and asked me for hair product recs. I demurred because his giant hair is obviously the entire point. I think if he tamed it, someone would be able to tame his spirit as a result, and then I’d be to blame. I am no Delilah, sir.
Photo by Snijglau
Finally, Josie Long was even more winning than I expected. Onstage, she did a brief, one-woman play on the Bronte sisters, which was hilarious and horrifying, and so hyper-literate, I just wanted to high-five every single person in the audience for laughing. Afterward, I turned to Josh and we shook our heads in silent admiration. Then he mimed tucking her in his pocket.
Huge thanks to Jesse Thorn and the entire MaxFunCon team. These are just a handful of the amazing people I met this weekend who I tucked in my own pocket. It’s getting crowded in there with the kitten.