Interview with Christian Finnegan • Comedian

SM: When was the last time you found yourself stranded somewhere, and how did you get un-stranded?

CF: Being a stand up comic, I get stranded in hour-long conversations with social misfits and/or potential psychopaths at least once a month. The comedy community is populated with a disproportionately large number of people who creep out members of the opposite sex and routinely bring friendly conversations to an awkward, grinding halt. And for some reason, these people are drawn to me like drooling infants to a set of car keys. Maybe it’s because I’m not very good at inventing reasons to excuse myself from unwanted conversations. I think the excuse one I tried went something like, “Hey man, hold that thought. No, really-I’m totally interested in hearing why you want to have sex with Strawberry Shortcake. I just need to go…um…I think I just contracted bone cancer.”

Anyway, I’ve found that the best way of getting un-stranded in this situation is to passive-aggressively address it in an online interview and then hope that certain people read it.

SM: When was the last time you danced like you meant it?

CF: I’m not big on the whole dancing thing. Not by choice, really-it’s a matter of my chemical makeup. You see, I have a theory that every person in the world has his or her own internal “dance threshold”-a specific level of stimulus which, once met, compels you to begin shaking your booty. For some people, a well-liked pop song playing on the radio is enough to do the trick. Gay men and junior high girls, for instance, tend to have relatively low dance thresholds. I’m on the other end of that spectrum. My Dance Threshold is just shy of Stephen Hawking’s.

SM: Please create a fantastical creature for you to ride around on, and give it a name befitting it.

CF: Allow me to introduce my faithful steed, DJ Thunderhoof. He’s a centaur-you know, half man, half horse? He was given to me as a gift after I vanquished the evil wizard Mixmelm from the forests of Gorrhyllm (he was just “Thunderhoof” back then). Sadly, DJ Thunderhoof is not nearly so interested in his mythological duties, now that he’s found work as a turntablist in a ‘nü metal’ band.

SM: Given that a big hypothetical prom is happening next week, whom will you ask to accompany you, and why?

CF: Strawberry Shortcake. Duh.

SM: Please add an anecdote to our growing collection.

CF: I recently performed at Fresno State and, sitting across the aisle on the puddle-jumper from Los Angeles to Fresno, was legendary crooner and national treasure Tony Bennett. I have no idea why Tony Bennett would need to take a thirty-five seat, coach-only glorified prop plane with the rest of us common folk, but there he was. Even cooler, he was dressed in an expensive suit, with a ruby red pocket square and slightly-too-large-for-his-face tinted sunglasses. I like it when celebrities go the extra mile to be who they “are” in public, even if it means sacrificing a bit of comfort. You think Tony Bennett, you think classy suit and pocket square–to see him farting around in sweat pants and a Cookie Puss t-shirt would just seem…I don’t know, not right.

Seeing Tony Bennett look so “Tony Bennett” made me think maybe I should cultivate a “look”. Here are some ideas I’ve been batting around:

* Urban Pirate
* Breakdancing Satanist
* Faggy Spaceman
* Hooker with a Heart of Gold
* Native American Jello Wrestler
* Lobster Boy Chic
* Grunge Barrister
* Stroke Victim Nouveau
* “Brendan”, that neighborhood kid who tortures small animals

SM: What do you think would be a good opening line for a book of haikus?

CF: Well, being a book of haikus, the opening line would have to be just five syllables. I know that because I’m a very literate and sensitive person. I have what you might call an “old soul”. I don’t know, I just feel things more deeply than other people-always have. And to me, nothing expresses the tragic beauty of the human experience like a well-constructed haiku. Here’s one I’ve just now come up with:

Bird rests on flower
A morning whispers its song
Whoops, I just farted

SM: Please describe a location that you’ve only seen once but have spoken about many times.

CF: Last year, I spent one pleasant afternoon wandering around the world famous San Diego Zoo, home of renowned late night talk show guest Jack Hannah, if I’m not mistaken. The main thing I noticed about this climate-controlled, wheelchair accessible safari was that the “wild” animals in the are notably more civilized than the human beings paying to look at them. The various rhinos, gazelles and giant anteaters seem to have a decidedly laidback attitude about life–they’re not out to impress anyone and they certainly don’t feel the need to draw attention to themselves. The humans, on the other hand, tend to act like complete morons. From a sociological standpoint, I think watching an African warthog casually mill around in a pile of hay doesn’t provide nearly the intellectual appeal as watching a pudgy, fanny-packed housewife scream obscenities at her children from 75 yards away, while simultaneously trying to operate a camcorder and eat an ice cream cone. And the thousands of rampaging children are even worse. The run around unsupervised, throw shit at each other, violently bang on the glass to try and get attention–in short, acting like monkeys. But actually, now that I’ve been to the zoo and actually seen the animals do their thing, I can say that to compare children to monkeys is an egregious insult to monkeys. No, the monkeys were not jumping around like howling mongoloids, they pretty much just sat there, eating, sleeping, and occasionally pulling clumps of crap from their ratty hair. In this, it seems to me that monkeys are not unlike potheads.

SM: If you were to illustrate your great great grandson facing his arch-nemesis, how would you render this most unusual circumstance?

CF: In the piece, my great great grandson, Fletcher Ramirez Boudoin Finnegan would stand triumphantly above his vanquished foe, ready to plunge a light saber (they won’t call it a “light saber”, due to trademark infringement, but for all intents and purposes it’s a light saber) into his chest. And above the brave young lad’s head, a word bubble reading, “Make peace with thy maker, Jimmy Fallon IV!”

SM: If you were heard to exclaim, “There’s that thing I was telling you about!”, what would you most likely be pointing at?

CF: Punani.

SM: Please describe an impressionable moment from your childhood.

CF: Every spring in grade school, we’d have what was called a “Field Day”, where all of the students would compete in decathlon-style events (although, if I’m not mistaken, the “Old Clothes Race” was recently removed from Olympic competition). Despite my very rather established reputation as a dork, I saw Field Day as an opportunity for me to boost my stature among my fourth grade classmates. The problem was, I had very little in the way of clean laundry on that particular day. This was a real problem, as one’s Field Day outfit was of the utmost importance. After trying on several different combinations, I found myself wearing a pair of extremely high-cut purple shorts with white piping-like Bruce Jenner wore, or so I told myself. Up top, I wore a green camouflage t-shirt that, looking back, was just a wee bit too snug (even then, I was what a clothier might call “husky”). But as I stood there, studying myself in the mirror, I remember thinking, “Hmm. A bold choice, this ensemble. Maybe this is exactly kind of thing that will blow everyone away. Yes, no doubt about it: I look awesome.”

It took only me stepping onto the school bus to know I’d made a grave error in judgment. Apparently, I did not look awesome. What I looked like, according to my bus mates, was a word that my guidance counselor later told me meant ‘a bundle of sticks’. But the image that will forever haunt me is the look of withering disdain I got from a popular girl, whose opinion of me mattered for some reason I cannot now fathom. When she spotted me in my purple shorts/snug camouflage shirt combo, Jen Gardner gave me a look that said something to the effect of, “It’s not that just that you’re a loser. It’s that I’ve always suspected you were a loser, and now you’ve finally proven it to the world.”

P.S. For the record, I was able to shake off the ego bruising long enough to snag 3rd Place in the Egg Toss.