There is no good reason to visit Indianapolis. Unless, like me, you are there to compete in a well-known event like the Indy 500 or the 2011 ComedySportz World Championship, but you probably aren’t that talented. Since I get car sick driving in circles, I was only visiting to do comedy, and like most cities I’ve done comedy in, I saw only the airport, the hotel, the venue, and the blocks in between. Fortunately for you, my brilliant and well dressed reader, I have an extremely heightened ability to extrapolate the worth of an entire city from just a few interactions. I can tell you everything you need to know about Indianapolis and, with the help of the great Lord Tumblr, I’m gonna.
Getting to Indianapolis is annoying. Because of its perceived undesirability by all but comics and race car drivers, most airlines won’t fly to Indianapolis directly. Even the drivers only come once a year for the Indy 500 (which, I assume, features 500 cars). Sure, you can convince a few airlines to take you there, but they’ll route you through some place fun on the way, like Las Vegas. That way they can drop off the pilot who’s been doing a good job recently and replace him with somebody who owes money to the mob and wants to hide out somewhere even hit men won’t go.
Once the degenerate gambler holes up in the cockpit, the last leg of the flight takes right around a million hours, and then another 15 minutes of taxiing. I hate long flights because I’m terrified of being without my phone for an extended period of time; I’m always afraid a celebrity will die and I won’t have access to Twitter so I’ll be the last one to know. There’s nothing worse than arriving in Indiana tired, sweaty, and thinking Amy Winehouse is going to live forever.
Actually, there is. It’s arriving ignorant and with my ears bleeding from boredom (a common symptom of under stimulation). To prevent that, I keep my iPod on the whole time, even during takeoff and landing. Yes, I’m confessing publicly that I refuse to turn off my approved electronic devices. I’ve done it 10 times now, and not one of those planes has crashed. I’ve run the numbers, and as far as I can tell, the worst thing that could happen would be some tragic Bluetooth accident wherein the pilot is forced to land the plane while listening to my music instead of instructions from Air Traffic Control. I believe that if he isn’t able to put the bird on the ground safely while listening to gangsta rap, he needs to go back to flight school. Provided, of course, the mob doesn’t break his kneecaps first.
It’s hot as balls in Indianapolis. Congratulations, you’ve landed safely in the Hoosier State. You probably won’t want to leave the airport because outside it’s 97 degrees, humid, and it smells a bit funky. Never has the testicular simile been more accurately applied. You’ll feel exactly like you are nestled inside Indy’s undies. It’s so uncomfortable, your ears will bleed (a common symptom of heat stroke). If it gets any hotter, Indianapolis is actually set-up to retract away from Indiana’s body to cool it off. This is to keep the city as fertile as possible for racing season, when locals watch the Indy 500 (which, I assume, is interesting to about 500 people).
Newspapers in the area will be too self-censoring to tell you that it’s as hot as balls, so instead they’ll use the invented measurement “Heat Index.” Like its wintery cousin “Wind Chill Factor,” heat index is complete bullshit. Here’s all you need to know: if you’re in a city that refers to the heat index, it’s too hot. Go away. Nobody has ever said “It’s 70 degrees out but there’s a heat index of 71.” They just say, “We’re happy we’re not in Indianapolis.”
People in Indianapolis don’t understand humor. As mentioned, I was in town with a comedy tournament. When confronted with that information, locals insisted on trying to amuse me. The first time it happened, my cab driver (let’s call him Cabby) told me about the funniest driver at his company (let’s call him Joey, [because that was his name]). Apparently, Joey is famous for always having one headlight out, so at the Christmas party last year, he showed up wearing only one shoe and sunglasses with one lens knocked out. In the mind of Cabby, this was the funniest thing any human being had ever done. It was a fat kid slipping on a banana peel while farting the Simpson’s theme song (or whatever the the local equivalent of the Simpson’s is in Taxistan). When I asked Cabby if maybe Joey had just been mugged on the way to the party, he said he wasn’t sure. Comedy is just tragedy plus Christmas party.
On my last night in town, I was at a party in the hotel bar. A group of locals approached us and their leader asked what we were in town for. Comedy tournament, I told her. ”Oh,” she said, “can I tell you a joke?” I guess.
“Oh, fuck. I meant to say banana first.”
Not a good start. Not only did she choose a joke that has multiple annoying stages, she didn’t do it in the right order. She started her comedy comeback right away.
“Forget that joke. Say fort five times.”
No. Go away.
“Do it! You’re a comedian, you need to do it.”
I don’t remembering signing that document.
Okay, fine. Fort. Fort. Fort. Fort. Fort.
“Now spell it four times.”
F-O-R-T. F-O-R-T. F-O-R-T. F-O-R-T.
“Now say it three times.”
This is a long joke.
“Shut up, clown. Say it three times.”
Easy there, non-clown. Fort. Fort. Fort.
“Now spell it twice.”
“Now say it five times.”
This is the worst joke ever.
“It’s almost done! Say it five times. Now!”
[I do that too.]
“Now spell it once.”
“What to do you eat cereal with?”
“But what do you use to eat it?”
“No, dummy, what’s in your hand?”
“Damn! You were supposed to say ‘fork.’”
Afraid she’d only try another joke, I didn’t tell her this was the worst joke I’d ever heard. Perhaps she noticed the scowl on my face and the fact that my ears were bleeding (a common symptom of trying to set a woman on fire with your mind for five minutes).
“Fine, whatever. You tell me a joke.”
I do this for a living. You wouldn’t walk up to a dentist at a party and demand he extract a molar.
“But I told you two jokes!”
No you didn’t. You screwed up one joke and one psychology major party trick.
“Okay, I’ll give you two dollars if you tell me a joke.”
My show this week cost $25 to get into. I don’t want to devalue my craft.
Finally her friend jumped in.
“I’ll show you my tits if you tell me a joke.”
I’ve never been paid in boobs before, and while I appreciated her willingness to support the arts, I’m concerned that I’ll have to exchange them for cash at the airport and they never give a good rate. I politely declined.
Soon after, it was time to leave. Cabby brought me to the airport, but he insisted that flashing a nipple wasn’t a good enough tip. I gave him what I had, a week’s worth of sweat-ruined shirts and some advice on how to tell a joke, and he seemed pleased. While I waited for the plane to take off, I started to wonder if maybe I’d come back next year to see the Indy 500 (which, I assume, is about 500 Indianans holding off an invading Persian army). That’s when the pilot came on the loud speaker and announced that dying in Vegas is better than living in Indianapolis.
-by Alex Falcone who would like to apologize to the entire nation of Taxistan for stereotyping them.
Edited by Ezra Fox.