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Comedy and Loathing in San Francisco

Thirty seconds after writing my name on last night’s open mic list, I scratched it off. I can’t go 25th. I can’t wait until 1am to perform six minutes in front of the last three comics waiting to go on. I need to find a better Wednesday night mic. At 33 I’m feeling way too old for this. I don’t have time for that shit.

If I ever had a catchphrase, it’s that. “I don’t have time for that shit.” I say that a lot. So much that my old comedy buddies in Northern Europe say the phrase and attribute it to me. I first coined it when I did some shows in Sweden. The other comics took the boat from Helsinki to Stockholm while I flew. Boats? I don’t have time for that shit. Why don’t I pack my monocle, top hat, and telegraph machine for that meandering trip back in time.

Maybe I should register that phrase as a trademark. My California sweatshirt did. Don’t you dare write “California” in a yellow font or else you owe someone a lot of money.


San Francisco is a magnet for America’s most insane people, and open mics are magnets for these people. The city has a long history of attracting artists and counterculture. Artists and counterculture have a long history of attracting mental illness. The mentally ill have a long history of attracting drug abuse. Mental illness + Drug Abuse + No Healthcare x 20 years = San Francisco.

Crazy people on stage is funny for about fifteen seconds until you realize they’ve prepared nothing and will not abide by “the light”. The host always has to rip the mic from their hands as they waddle back to their seat, often screaming the rest of their “material”. But to give them props – they have the stage confidence of a young Eddie Murphy. They have a unique voice. They work “clean”. And they’re still funnier than this blog.

Im writing this at 5:30am because my body no longer allows me to eat a heavy meal past 10pm. My body says, “You’re enjoying a good night sleep while I have to digest this slop?? Fuck that! We’re in this TOGETHER!” At age 27 I started losing my hair, at age 31 I could no longer eat late, at 32 I began to just “smell”, and at 33 I saw my first gray hairs. Can’t wait see what life brings me next!

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How I got a Handicapped Woman to Touch my Penis


I had a cyst on my penis.

Well, it depends on who you ask. I consider that part of my body to be my penis. If I was asked to measure my penis, like by the folks at Guinness, I’d jam a ruler into my crotch and the cyst would be between the black one-inch line and the painful red line created by the ruler. But if the Guinness folks measured it themselves, they may conclude the cyst is NOT on my penis, but instead on its base, thus confirming my record as the “Most Delusional Man in the World”.

By the way, if you need a tape measure to measure your penis, your penis is weird. Stop pretending like you have a bedroom advantage. But if you do use a ruler, watch for splinters. And for those who think girth is more important than length: I don’t think Ron Jeremy is known for his 11-inch girth.

Before this blog post turns into a series of less-than-clever dick jokes, you should know that this cyst isn’t a STD. I have a long history of skin problems. Eczema, allergic reactions to earrings, a cyst surgically removed from my face, acne, dry skin, and I once had to have my foreskin removed. So a “penis-cyst” (medical term) is no problem – call the dermatologist.

Finnish doctor offices are sterile and lifeless. The colorless white walls scream out, “Healthcare is free in Finland, quit complaining!!” And only the gentle hands of an Estonian could get a floor that shiny. Grab a number, sit down, take your pick of two Finnish magazines. For women – a magazine with a plump, dyed-red-hair feminist on the cover. For men – a magazine on boats. One of a plethora of boating magazines available in the country, in Finnish, in a land with six days of summer each summer.

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A Mom’s Guide to the Oscar Best Pictures

The 2013 Oscars are over and the nominees are beginning to be released for the masses on DVD, Blu-ray and Netflix. The critics have weighed in, the film geeks have watched, and the jury has decided. But what about the world’s most beloved demographic? That’s right… Moms.

Moms aren’t like you and me. They have different wants, needs, and desires. While we might be impressed with brilliant directing, stunning cinematography, and impeccable acting, Moms demand more.

Better! Funner! rounded up nine Moms for each of the nine Best Picture nominees and asked for their exclusive reviews. For Moms, by Moms.


argoARGO (Winner) by Joyce Meyers, divorced mother of 2

Ben Affleck! Can that man get any more handsome? Am I right?? And how about that beard? Umph! Just like a lumberjack! He can chop down my bush. He can smuggle me out of an embassy, unless it’s the Embassy Suites!! Jennifer Lopez was never a good fit for him. So happy to see him with a nice girl like Jennifer Garner. Two thumbs up? No, three FINGERS up!


lincolnLincoln by Debbie McCarthy, Boston, mother of 3

If you have one movie to see this year, make it Lincoln! Like I did. When you have three kids, you just don’t have time for movies anymore. My husband and I had just one date night last year, and I chose Lincoln because I knew it would be educational for the kids. And it was!


djangoDjango Unchained by Melissa Meadows, Savannah, mother of 2

I didn’t see this movie. It’s too violent and too grotesque. Is that really necessary? All that blood and guts. Not for me. Couldn’t they have showed slavery in a different light? Why the brutality? Just to shock audiences and sell tickets? Oh, and I heard they used the n-word too.

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When a Taxi Driver says you’re Jewish, then gets pulled over

So I’m heading to Hollywood, California for a work thing. Ordered a car service to the airport because my company is paying for it. The best part about a car service is the robot-like driver who doesn’t speak a word. But this driver kicks off our 20-minute ride to the airport with, “Schwarzmann! I was expecting someone darker.”


“Schwarzmann, it’s a Jewish name from Germany. German surnames are often adjectives. Adjectives! Your ancestry had dark skin. The Jews came from North Africa after the fall of the second Roman temple…”

This anti-Semitic history lesson continued on down Route 101 to San Francisco’s airport. Now I’m not Jewish, and neither are my ancestors, but I’m on my way to Hollywood! I appreciate how he thinks I’m a Hollywood native.

And I’m not exactly sure his remarks were “anti-Semitic”. I don’t know what “Semitic” means, but I do know I’m staunchly NOT against it. Plus I’m an American, I never paid attention in Social Studies class, so maybe this history-teacher-turned-cab-driver was going to learn me something. After all, he is wearing a tie.

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Do Canadians have their own sense of humor?


Per capita, Canada is funniest country in the world. Sure, there may be more funny people in the US or UK, but on average, Canadians are the funniest. But let’s be honest, Canada is just the 51st state of the United States, the humor is one in the same. Vanity Fair’s January 2013 Comedy Issue investigates.

There are actually funny Canadians alive today, but all nine of them moved into the U.S.A., and once they got here they renounced their Canadian cultural heritage, the way Mick Jagger renounced of his English accent.

Canadians, if you’re still reading, I mean that “51st state” thing with the utmost respect. You may be the 51st state, but you’re in America’s Top 5 comedic states. Right there with California and New York. Props!

Q: How do you get 26 Canadians out of a swimming pool?
A: Yell, “Everybody out of the pool!”

Canada is cold and dark, and so is their humor. If anything, their comedic styles are aligned with Scandinavia. The more miserable place you grow up, the funnier you are. Minnesota is funny, Florida is not. Finland is funny, France is not. Neither is French-Canada. It must be the language.

The world may not be watching, but Canadians can make other Canadians laugh. It makes sad sense that while Canadian humor entertains the native population, it will never flourish outside the country, because nobody outside of Canada feels any urgent need to read or hear about, or even be ware of, Canada.

Will Arnett, Dan Aykroyd, John Candy, Jim Carrey, Rick Moranis, Dave Foley, Tom Green, Lorne Michaels, Phil Hartman, Eugene Levy, Norm Macdonald, John Candy (again), Mike Meyers, Martin Short…all funny, all American. Quick – name a funny Canadian female! Other than Catherine O’Hara. Other than Samantha Bee. Leslie Nielsen? Close enough.

Canadians are, by history and temperament, the opposite of aggresive, and so, unsurpirsingly, their humor is defensive; they beat up on themselves before anybody else – i.e., Americans – can do it.

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Top 10 Things Only Americans Find Funny

Americans are confident they are the funniest people in the world. I mean, have you seen something funny from another country? Of course not. So many great comedic Americans like: John Candy, Jim Carey, Russell Peters, Sofia Vergara, Ricky Gervais, David Brent…all Americans. All funny.

But sometimes the American sense of humor doesn’t make home runs abroad. Here’s ten things only hilarious Americans find funny…


A Christmas Story
Nothing captures America’s childhood innocense more than A Christmas Story. While being a box office flop, it experienced a resurgence thanks to media mogul Ted Turner, who, during Christmas, repeats this movie 24 hours straight on his network. Americans have literally memorized every line of this, while the outside world has never heard of it.


License Plates
While European plates are way more James Bond, Americans are more Austin Powers. Who doesn’t love a cryptic joke during morning rush hour?


Saturday Night Live
A staple of American television since 1975, SNL has launched the illustrious careers of gabs of comedic actors. The live show is written and recorded in the span of just six days and lampoons American politics, people, and culture, leaving the rest of the world saying, “huh?” and “I do not like this Adam Sandler you speak of”.

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Jon Hamm’s penis affirms there is no God

I’ve been on the fence about atheism. But after seeing Jon Hamm’s penis this week, there’s undeniable proof: There is no God.

Jon Hamm burst out of nowhere in 2007 as the ridiculously handsome lead on AMC’s Mad Men. The show’s not even that good. It’s literally an episode of “I Dream of Genie” played in slow motion. The whole thing is an excuse to see Jon Hamm hang out in a suit. You might as well stare at a Jon Hamm screensaver for 60 minutes.

As if his looks and fame weren’t enough, he’s FUNNY!! Whether it be Bridesmaids, hosting SNL, appearances on Conan, 30 Rock, or seated between two ferns, he kills. Even for a male, you’re not supposed to be attractive AND funny.

Jon Hamm is magical. Toss in millions of dollars, a hot wife, and the ability to chain smoke without getting cancer (cancer wasn’t invented until 1971) and he’s a modern-day saint. He even has standards, he refuses to sleep with Elisabeth Moss! Jon Hamm is like donuts, there’s nothing he can’t do.

So, it would make absolute sense Jon Hamm has a small penis, right? Nobody’s perfect. God is supposed to be fair and just. Surely with all the pain and suffering in the world, God wouldn’t create such a perfect creature. I mean, there’s starving people in Africa!!

Alas, Jon Hamm is packing heat…

Circumcision has risen 19% since the posting of this photo

…no God would ever allow THAT to happen. Therefore we are all just accidental byproduct of random events. No higher power could be so cruel as to flood New Orleans, destroy the Twin Towers, or attach a hog to Jon Hamm.

Or, maybe, Jon Hamm is God. It’s been promised that Jesus will return to Earth. He would naturally want to be charismatic, funny, and wield a large scepter. With a sense of humor like Hamm’s, Jesus may finally win over the Jews.

So the next time you’re debating Christianity with family over Thanksgiving dinner, remind them of Jon Hamm’s ham, and win that argument.

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Buy my fucking book! (please)


Phil’s debut humor book, “How to Marry a Finnish Girl” is out now on Gummerus Publishers.

About Better! Funner!


Better! Funner! is a blog written and curated by Phil Schwarzmann. You’ll find funny original pieces, some not-so-funny pieces, plus stuff that made Phil laugh from around them internets. Enjoy!