The least funny joke at the open mike night last night was about ME.

At least, that’s how I see it.

Okay, I wasn’t in the best mood because my set didn’t go so well. I decided about an hour before I went on to scrap half my material and kinda half-improv something I came up with just then. There were scattered laughs, but not enough to satisfy my fragile, wimpy ego. (It’s awful. My inner voice berates me constantly with taunts of, “You’ve got to be #1, Jerry!” Someday I’ll lash out and tape somebody’s buns together.)

Anyway, I finish my disappointing set, return to my seat, humbled, ashamed and considering a career in accounting, and the emcee introduces the next guy, a goofy-looking stooge in a Rockets shirt. (I don’t know what Rockets is — some kind of sports team?) And as Rockets Guy takes the microphone from the emcee, he says he “sensed a weird Chuck and Buck thing when you handed the mike off to that last guy”.

Yeah, that’s what he said.

Now, in that sentence, the “last guy” he was referring to was clearly me. What wasn’t as clear was whether I was supposed to be Chuck or Buck. Either way, I was not flattered. I really wasn’t sure what the crack was supposed to mean, but it definitely wasn’t a compliment. It’s a movie about a disturbed, pasty freak who has a bizarre homoerotic obsession with his childhood friend, a self-involved Hollywood producer with really bad teeth.

Where’s the love in that?

And more importantly, who was this creep standing up there insulting me?

Well, that’s the fun part, because I know exactly who he was.

You see, my new least-favorite comedian once appeared on a TV show. It was never what you’d call a hit, though I guess it had a cult following, which formerly included me. (Yes, I once loved this show. Well, no more!) But that alone probably wouldn’t have made me recognize him. In the five or so years since the show went off the air, Rockets Guy has lost a lot of weight and buffed himself up into a veiny WeHo gym boy type, shaved arms and all. (I know… yuck.)

The twist in our tale is that this short-lived show aired on none other than MTV, the network Drew works for. And Drew knows this guy. And a few weeks ago, when Drew and I were eating breakfast at Toast, we ran into this guy. And Drew introduced me to him.

Clearly, Rockets Guy does not recall this encounter.

But I do.

That’s all I could think of as he so cavalierly insulted me from the stage. I thought back to that brief introduction at the restaurant, with the newfound knowledge that he wasn’t quite as nice as he seemed that day. His polite act had clearly been nothing more than a big fake. “It’s nice to meet you,” he had said. Nice to meet me? Nice to meet me?!? Yeah, right. As he said those words, he was probably thinking, “You pasty Mike White-looking weirdo.”

Oh, how I hated Rockets Guy at that moment.

I couldn’t wait to get home and tell Drew about it. And I didn’t wait! I called him on my celph as I drove off from the club. “How obnoxious,” Drew said. “That’s really wrong.” He then assured me that I didn’t look anything like Mike White. (Hmmm… that was odd. Why did he assume I was the Mike White one?)

When I got home, as soon as Drew saw me, he pointed out the shirt I was wearing. It was a yellow and blue striped short-sleeved rugby. “It looks like a Chuck and Buck shirt,” he said. “He probably just meant your shirt.”

Could it be? Was it possible that Rockets Guy was merely referring to my attire? Was the seemingly mean-spirited crack actually kind of harmless and good-natured?

Either way, I still hate him.

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