[Editor’s note: We asked five comedians to share something funny about their mothers for Mother’s Day. Andy Kindler, Todd Glass, Joe DeVito, Ben Bailey and Bil Dwyer each offered a funny, touching or honest story about their mothers.]
A New Yorker in California
By Andy Kindler
It sounds cliché, but she has given me tons of unintentional material over the years. She’s fleshed out my act. When my mom first came out to visit me, in California, she had a tour book and she’d say, (in a thick Queens accent) “Aaandy, did you know San Francisco is the fifth-largest textile manufacturer?” “Aaandy, can you tell me about the Spanish explorers and Franciscan monks?” “Aaandy, I want to visit Sausalito, a small fishing village north of the Golden Gate Bridge nestled in lovely Marin County.” This actually happened. We’re in Sausalito, sitting in a restaurant and she says, “Aaandy, you live in California, how are the fajitas?”
One cake, hold the cake
By Todd Glass
When you are younger you really don’t want to believe you get your sense of humor from your mom. Over the years, when all your friends think she is hilarious, you stop and think, “Well, maybe I do.” The part of life that I enjoy the most is being silly. I definitely inherited that from my mother.
I remember when my brothers and I were young, once a month for dessert my mom would make a big bowl of icing and put it on the kitchen table with five spoons. It doesn’t get any better than that for a little kid. Years later, I asked her why she did that and she told me when she was young she thought “licking the beaters was great, could you imagine having a whole bowl!?” Most people would forget to do that when they get older but my mother never did.
Whenever there was a blackout, she would wake my brothers and me up in the middle of the night, light a candle and we’d all tell funny stories.
To this day my mom has friends of all ages, as young as teenagers, and still she has that same silly sense of humor as she did when I was growing up. Now, as an adult, I can see my mom has influenced my personality and my comedy immensely and I couldn’t be happier for that.
Mom leaves a voice mail
By Joe DeVito
My parents are at the age where computers, phones and other devices with on/off switches terrify them. But my mother doesn’t let her technological shortcomings keep her from sharing breaking news, like their plans to turn my old bedroom into a storage facility, or which of my high school friends are currently featured in the local police blotter.
8:14 pm: sound of several touchtone keys pressed at once
MOM: Joseph, it’s your mother. Your father and I met a young lady who would be perfect for you. She’s Italian, comes from a good family… looks like a breeder.
DAD (from the other room): Who?
MOM: And we think it would be in your best interest to call her.
DAD: Call who?
8:16 pm: sound of several touchtone keys pressed at once
8:21- 8:23 pm: ambient noise
8:24 pm: sound of phone falling off kitchen counter
8:25 – 8:34 pm: sound of TV in background and coughing
8:35 pm: sound of phone being kicked across kitchen floor
MOM: Oh for heaven’s sake…
8:35 pm: sound of several touchtone keys pressed at once
DAD: You mean that fat girl?
The cowboy and the Indian
By Ben Bailey
I didn’t get my joke telling ability from my mom. She told us a story about a cowboy and an Indian who are out jogging together and the cowboy goes into a bar to get a shot of whiskey and tells the bartender, ‘I don’t have a lot of time, I left my Injun running,’ but instead of saying Injun, she said Indian. She completely blew the joke.
My mom is my dad
By Bil Dwyer
Growing up, my father died just a couple of weeks before my second birthday. (Side note: How was that birthday party? Was there a second birthday party for me? I don’t remember. Was I gypped out of a birthday party? I must look into this.) And my mom didn’t remarry until I was 28. Growing up, my mom was my dad. And, of course, my mom.
She was a great mom. I’m going to have to insist that she is better than yours. Argue with me, if you will, but I can’t change my opinion. Nor should you change your opinion. My mom was a great mom. And, when she had to be, a great dad.
I’m so grateful that she didn’t feel she needed to get married right away so her five (!) kids could have a man in her life. She had plenty of suitors, sure. But she took her time and found the right one. Instead of finding a man, on occasion, she filled the role.
Of course, we showered her with our juvenile gifts on Mother’s Day. She deserved every handmade card and misshapen ceramic pot we gave her. But on Father’s Day, she daddied it up.
Father’s Day became a farce. We would bring Mom breakfast in bed, and after eating, she would throw on a red silk smoking jacket, pack up an old Dr. Grabow pipe with some Borkum Riff, and walk around the house puffing away and filling the place with the oddly pleasing aroma of old cognac flavored tobacco. We’d laugh, and Mom would cough, and we kids knew that we had plenty of parents with just my one Mom. We didn’t have to say anything. You could just tell.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I’m thrilled to be your son.
(With reporting by Gerri Miller)
More stories from our 2011 Mother’s Day Package