The Tyrannical Rule of Three Callbacks


Last Call for the Three Comedians

The melancholic comedian considered the puzzle of existence. 

The listener doesn’t know. The ins and outs.

He considered the audience, melancholic, dour, hard to please. Their lack of humor saddened him and effected his presence, a poor reflection upon them. He sought out the advice of his compatriots. 

His bombardier insisted the answer was to hurl more bombs, from unexpected directions, the unpredictability measured to alter the viewpoint of the audience. In this she was adamant. It was the only way. Confrontational mendacity. Factionalize the audience. Make them fight themselves before you. Because the listeners don’t know. 

What’s good for them. 

She had written a book on this subject, of interest to those who rebel. Naturally it bombed in the marketplace. She claimed it had been defused by being watered down by said marketplace; because a product of a marketplace can never overturn 

the market 

in which it, itself, is a product which arose from those market forces. But people don’t usually find talk like that funny. 

That’s the problem, said the bombedier. The body counts.

The upbeat comedian commented that the way was to be as middling as possible, to pander to the most genteel sensibilities,  feed the crowd hamburger to warm their hearts, to make the audience feel 


and part of the majority. To fit in, together. Because the average listener doesn’t know. 

What they are missing. 

That is why they are so easily satisfied. The other comedians called him a dirty hack, which, of course, he was. But those people who called him that were themselves guilty of being controversial. And it’s a strange hill to take a stand on because controversies shift underneath you. And you might slip and fall. And people would laugh.


I believe it was Milton Berle who first said, “The average person will laugh when someone dressed up as a bad person slips on a banana peel and falls on their ass. But to make a comedian laugh an actual bad person has to slip on a banana peel and break their ass. Also, it’s funnier if tragedy comes in threes. 

Because the average listener doesn’t know, 

unless you hit them in the head with it repeatedly, 

the importance of fruit to a healthy diet.

Its bananas. 


And one can’t talk about diet anymore. That’s going too far. People won’t stand for it. Either way. There is ONE vegan corpse on Mount Everest. And you hear no end of it. Nobody ever talks about the carnivorous diets of all the other corpses which litter the mountain. Man those carnivores are humble. Quiet folk. Unassuming and tolerant. I hear you can still see the half eaten cheeseburger on the guy who serves as a marking post on the east slope. Hamburger Ned they call him. As climbers often say to each other – if you run into old hamburger Ned, you’ve gone too far!

Can’t you count? Don’t you listen?

Where were you at the last supper?

I hear they re-used all the garnish.

Who paid?


 Three comedians, each blindfolded, are presented with an elephant. So, when each comedian has a turn to speak and address the situation, they each must, in turn, address the elephant in the room.  Remember, elephants are not cheap but comedians are.

 I am sorry for the animal cruelty implicit within this setup.

The first comedian, confronted with the leg of the elephant, tried to just pull his own shtick and this was very revealing. He was trampled, and the crowd seemed to enjoy that.

The second comedian, confronted with the animals trunk, didn’t seem to know whether he was coming or going. He’d been a long time in the business, you would think he would understand the importance of timing.

The third comedian, confronted with the ass, insisted upon making everything about himself.  And it wasn’t the right crowd for that. If he hadn’t been blindfolded he would have been able to see.

 Anyway, the moral of the story is bread is less expensive than circuses but the people’s demand to be entertained can be satiated by mere spectacle which ads up to nothing. 

But I am speaking arabic here.


Mystery Dinner

A Hapgood joint

“Of course, we do math after dinner,” said the fancy gentleman.

“I would expect nothing less from such a cultured family, said Hapgood. “After Dinner Math, the old man always called it. Said it cleared the mind. He was an old man, my old man. Sixty-Seven when I was born.”

“Of course,” said the fancy gentleman. 

“How many courses?” asked Hapgood. “In this dinner.”

“One Hundred Thirty-Four!” said the fancy man.

“A great number, of course,” said Hapgood. “And when did your dinner guest die?”

“In the middle of the Sixty-Seventh course. Right in the middle, of both the allotted time and the state of the dish, which was half eaten.”

“Half, you say,” said Hapgood.

“I do say,” said the fancy man. “I assume I shall have to say it again. And again.”

“Invariably,” said Hapgood. “Invariably.”

“Of course, in these matters, you are looking for variability,” the fancy gentleman said.

“Exactly,” said Hapgood. “I look for variability in all matters, wherever I can find it.”

“Well there is none here,” said the fancy man. “In the middle of the Sixty-Seventh course of a One Hundred and Thirty-Four course dinner, my guest dropped dead. Into the middle of a half eaten dish.”

“Messy social situation,” said Hapgood. 

“Inarguably,” said the fancy man. “Inarguably.”

“You might say the aftermath of the dinner party occurred before the After Dinner Math could have been factored in,” said Hapgood.

“Are you… are you having… fun here tonight, Detective Hapgood?” said the fancy man, his voice crackling with disgust.

“Yes,” said Hapgood, who was just happy everything was out on the table.

It made discovery easier. But it helped that he looked at the matter as if he were not involved, which is a mistake that can be capitalized upon without correction.

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“Winner Winner!” by Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

“Someone Else’s Memories” from the album “The Politics of Desire” by Revolution Void licensed under Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0.

Grateful acknowledgment thereof.