Standup Comet

Excerpt from a one-man play entitled, Standup Comet.

Drawing of a Super star. 


A lone meditation cushion sits vacant beneath a spotlight.
Beside it rests an acoustic guitar in a stand. On the other
side is a small lamp shade with ornate tassels.
The light clips out. We hear a banging hip hop beat and an
emcee preparing to rap, with a lot of ’uh-huh uh-huh &
yeahs’. DJ scratches music to a halt.
Amidst the dark Jaga takes stage center, and sits on the
zafu. He lights a stick of sage, the audience smells it. He
begins to play a Tibetan singing bowl and its large resonant
sound wafts through the crowd. Then Jaga clicks the light on
like he’s in his living room, grabs his guitar and peers 
outward, joyously.
Jaga is wearing bright red jeans, a pink shirt and a purple
bow-tie with a bowler cap. He is fully transformed from his
first appearance. 

Jaga plays one chord and then gets lost in thought.
Woah. I just had Deja Vu. Deja Vu’s
way cooler than the first time.
(pensively) When was that first
Jaga begins finger picking softly.
Sometimes when I meditate,I
think. (waits for joke to hit) I’ve
been doing stand up since I was
two. So now I prefer to sit. My
name’s Jaga. Jaga means awake. I
realized that in a dream. But I
don’t sleep anymore, cuz it gets
stuck in your eyes. Then you can’t
see so well.
Jaga lowers head and plays an interlude on the guitar.
It’s good to be here. And by here I
allegdly mean on this marble tilted at 
23.5 degrees spinning at 500 miles per hour
hurtling through time and space at 67,000 
miles per hour on an elliptic around a 
G-type star that’s been burning 
for 4.5 billion years, here.
Another interlude. Then back to finger picking.
This psychic walked up to me on the
boardwalk and she said, "You know,
you’re psychic." I said,
Jaga cocks an eyebrow.
Then why are you telling me?
Jaga feigns like he’s realizing his own joke.
Went for a hike the other day and I
told my friend I don’t believe in
gravity. He pushed me and I fell
down. Then he said, Ha! Still don’t
believe in gravity? I said, yeah
but now I don’t believe in pushing
Another interlude. Then back to finger picking.
You know you buy too many crystals
when you compare everything to the
price of solid amethyst. How much
are those jeans? (incredulous look)
That’s like 20 ounces of amethyst.
Jaga smiles at something offstage, gets super focused like a
compulsive shopper comparing prices at a department store.

I’m a recovering narcissist.
So I'm working on humility. Getting 
pretty good at it. Been working on
non-attachment too, it’s like all I
can think about. Been contemplating
impermanence but it didn’t last... 
because I couldn’t wait to
start working on patience.
Another interlude. Heavier chords. Back to finger picking.
What is it with humanity and 
learning from trees? Tree 
of Knowledge, big one. Newton
gets hit on the head with an apple. 
Buddha parks it under a banyan tree 
and gains enlightenment. They asked 
Buddha what he actually gained and
he was like, "Nothing, but I lost
ignorance, greed, desire, fear."
That’s whats up. Like the ground
beneath your feet from the
alleged perspective of someone in
Australia... mate.
Jaga lowers head and plays an interlude on the guitar.
It’s hard to get work as a comic.
So I tried to get work as a hand
model. But they said my hands were 
too ugly; so now I wanna work as a 
glove model. I’m both handed, should 
Jaga plays some heavier chords on the guitar and sings, "I
wanna be a glove model" a few times, back to finger picking.
You know those doors that say push,
but you can pull them too? Makes me
think, be more honest door. Anytime
you want the opposite of something
to happen just say what someone
says to you backwards. For example,
"Hey, come over here!"
Jaga lowers his head and drops his voice.
Ereh revo emoc yeh. (makes
weirded-out look) Never mind! Stay
over there! Well anyway, pots legal
in two states. But they’re too far
away. Plus I forget which ones they
Jaga plays interlude.
Let me ask you a question, if heart
chakras are like inner tubes and
pineal glands are like flashlights,
then why am I afraid to float down
rivers at night? That joke kills at
burning man.
Jaga raises his head and plays an interlude on the guitar. 
Do you think people in Hawaii ever
get confused when someone says
Aloha. "What you’re leaving? You
just got here?" Hello Goodbye.
Goodbye Hello.
Turns this into an outro song.
Hello Goodbye Goodbye Hello / Hello
Goodbye Goodye Hello / Hello
Goodbye Goodbye Hello, Aloha. I
wanna be a glove model. I wanna
beeeeee a glove model. I wanna
beeee, a glove model... Aloha.
Jaga begins beatboxing and rapping, finishing the night with
a wild freestyle that crescendos up to the stars and sweeps
through the seats in a flash. Then we hear THREE WRAPS at
the door. Jaga stops rapping, playing, looks up, concerned.
Jaga smiles at the audience and places his guitar down then
clicks off the living room lamp.


Joseph Voelbel performing standup at Hollywood Improv, 2014.