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Michael Schmid’s postmortem jokes

“Finding comedy in tragedy is what comedians do best.”

Michael Schmid at his own farewell party, watching video of his comedy act
Michael Schmid at his own farewell party, watching video of his comedy act

This is for you, Michael

It’s Saturday night at the Comedy Palace, Kearny Mesa.

“You’ve got it easy.”

“Oh. Do you mean the wheelchair, or the diaper?”

The audience laughs. They’re tuned in to what’s going on. As she approaches the one-year anniversary of her friend Michael Schmid’s death, comedian Lisa Alvarez is here, sharing Michael’s jokes from his first and last comedy show. (I wrote about him 12/26/18.)

Wheelchair jokes? Schmid suffered from PLS, Primary Lateral Sclerosis, similar to ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was gradually losing control of his body and even voice. “But he came to me after one of my performances and told me his dearest wish was to perform stand-up comedy,” Alvarez says. “And with his illness advancing, he wanted to leave people with hope and laughter. And finding comedy in tragedy is what comedians do best. So I decided to make that happen.”

Alvarez assembled a group of comedians and together they wrote jokes for Michael to tell at his one performance, scheduled for November 29th, 2018.

He delivered it to rousing cheers. And to a video crew recording for a documentary that Alvarez is making about Michael and his determination to go out cheerfully. Tonight she’s retelling all his jokes to that same camera, and to a crowd who know what’s going on. Tonight, the laughs are guaranteed. A lot of the humor is, well, earthy.

“He goes, ‘Sometimes my hand shakes a lot. Which is really fun when I’m alone.’”

Badda boom.

“A lot of women like to change their men, which is great for me, because I need to be changed three times a day.”

“I wrote this one,” says Alvarez. “I told my neighbor I wanted to do stand-up comedy. And she said, ‘Well don’t you have to be able to stand up, to do stand-up?’ And I said, ‘Don’t you have to be on your period to be a bitch?’”

Laughter.

“I’m losing control of my arms... I signed up for Tinder. Which is really fun, because I never know which way I’m going to swipe.

“Because of my condition, I have to do everything with my tongue. My ex-girlfriend really liked that... because she was a stamp collector. — You guys! You thought it was going to go blue. Shame on you!

“I can’t raise my arms. So if I roll through a spider web, I’m screwed.”

Laughter.

“OK, I’m going to read that again for the camera, and you’re going to laugh louder, fuckers. I can’t raise my arms, so if I roll through a spider web, I’m screwed.”

Big laughter. Claps. Cheers.

“Thank you so much,” says Lisa. “Before I go, this is also going to go into the documentary. On the count of three, as a group together, I would just like us all to point up and say, ‘This is for you, Michael.’ Okay? On the count of three. One... two... three....”

Michael Schmid died a year ago December 28th in a doctor-assisted suicide. To see the movie trailer for Don’t Wait, Alvarado’s documentary about him, go to lisaalvarado.com.

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Michael Schmid at his own farewell party, watching video of his comedy act
Michael Schmid at his own farewell party, watching video of his comedy act

This is for you, Michael

It’s Saturday night at the Comedy Palace, Kearny Mesa.

“You’ve got it easy.”

“Oh. Do you mean the wheelchair, or the diaper?”

The audience laughs. They’re tuned in to what’s going on. As she approaches the one-year anniversary of her friend Michael Schmid’s death, comedian Lisa Alvarez is here, sharing Michael’s jokes from his first and last comedy show. (I wrote about him 12/26/18.)

Wheelchair jokes? Schmid suffered from PLS, Primary Lateral Sclerosis, similar to ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was gradually losing control of his body and even voice. “But he came to me after one of my performances and told me his dearest wish was to perform stand-up comedy,” Alvarez says. “And with his illness advancing, he wanted to leave people with hope and laughter. And finding comedy in tragedy is what comedians do best. So I decided to make that happen.”

Alvarez assembled a group of comedians and together they wrote jokes for Michael to tell at his one performance, scheduled for November 29th, 2018.

He delivered it to rousing cheers. And to a video crew recording for a documentary that Alvarez is making about Michael and his determination to go out cheerfully. Tonight she’s retelling all his jokes to that same camera, and to a crowd who know what’s going on. Tonight, the laughs are guaranteed. A lot of the humor is, well, earthy.

“He goes, ‘Sometimes my hand shakes a lot. Which is really fun when I’m alone.’”

Badda boom.

“A lot of women like to change their men, which is great for me, because I need to be changed three times a day.”

“I wrote this one,” says Alvarez. “I told my neighbor I wanted to do stand-up comedy. And she said, ‘Well don’t you have to be able to stand up, to do stand-up?’ And I said, ‘Don’t you have to be on your period to be a bitch?’”

Laughter.

“I’m losing control of my arms... I signed up for Tinder. Which is really fun, because I never know which way I’m going to swipe.

“Because of my condition, I have to do everything with my tongue. My ex-girlfriend really liked that... because she was a stamp collector. — You guys! You thought it was going to go blue. Shame on you!

“I can’t raise my arms. So if I roll through a spider web, I’m screwed.”

Laughter.

“OK, I’m going to read that again for the camera, and you’re going to laugh louder, fuckers. I can’t raise my arms, so if I roll through a spider web, I’m screwed.”

Big laughter. Claps. Cheers.

“Thank you so much,” says Lisa. “Before I go, this is also going to go into the documentary. On the count of three, as a group together, I would just like us all to point up and say, ‘This is for you, Michael.’ Okay? On the count of three. One... two... three....”

Michael Schmid died a year ago December 28th in a doctor-assisted suicide. To see the movie trailer for Don’t Wait, Alvarado’s documentary about him, go to lisaalvarado.com.

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