Michael Sam’s Club

By dobie Maxwell

Well, it had to happen sooner or later and it finally did. The very first openly gay athlete to be a current member of one of the “Big Four” professional sports leagues in North America officially came out, and to quote 1960’s TV icon Gomer Pyle – “SURPRISE! SURPRISE! SURPRISE!”

Coincidentally, Jim Nabors the actor who played the palpably pleasant Private Pyle forged his own foray from the closet relatively recently. The only surprise there was that it took so long. He had long been rumored to be frolicking in a proverbial foxhole with the late actor Rock Hudson.

The last thing I’m here to do is judge anything or anybody, but is any living being anywhere on the Earth even the least bit surprised about any of this? Gomer Pyle was GAY? Really? The next thing you’ll probably try to tell me is that Liberace or Richard Simmons were light in the loafers.

Was anyone naïve enough to think there weren’t any gay athletes up until now in the history of sports? Come on. Please get me a list of those imbeciles so I can sell them some swamp land or a bridge – preferably a two for one. Better yet, sign me up as the first straight male flight attendant or hair stylist. Would anyone go all nutzo about that like they are over this? I seriously doubt it.

From a life standpoint, I could not care any less about this story. I wish Michael Sam well, and quite frankly before all this I’d never heard of him. He’s in for a hell of a ride to say the least, but judging from the interview I heard with him he seems like a sharp kid and will be able to hack it.

He seems like he’s the right guy in the right place at the right time, and that’s something we all should shoot for in any endeavor. It’s rare when everything comes together, and I know it all too well because I’ve never been able to put myself even close to that position. I usually find myself double parked at the airport when my ship is coming in – then my car gets towed on top of that.

From a marketing standpoint, this was sheer brilliance. Someone had to be “the one” and Sam  is it. I know Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova were pretty open about it in their day and it wasn’t that hard to figure out, but that wasn’t the same as being a male active member of a big time team sport. That spot has been open for the taking for decades, but nobody would claim it.

There have been numerous people to claim it after the fact when they finished their careers, but nobody could bring themselves to do it while they were playing. I look at everything in life from a comedic viewpoint, and I think there could be a lot of fun had with this with the right scenario.

It doesn’t have to be nasty or mean, and having a gay athlete is a ripe comedic premise. Sex of any sort has always been a prime premise for comedy, and this particular wrinkle takes it all in a new direction. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works in the real world. I’ve been around a while.

From a comedic standpoint, this is going to be a nightmare before it starts. Every no talent hack  and his or her grandma’s uncle at open mics and on You Tube is going to jump all over this story and mangle it horrifically, all in the name of “humor.”  I shudder to think of it, but it’s inevitable.

Every time there’s a huge story like this with any hint of shock value, count on there being lots of backlash in the form of painfully poorly placed “jokes.” I saw it first hand in Milwaukee when Jeffery Dahmer hit the world media stage like a sledge hammer. It spread everywhere overnight.

It only took a couple of days for a barrage of jokes to start flowing, but that was way before the internet. Life in general is at warp speed these days and this story will explode online and already has. He happens to come from a town called “Hitchcock.” No joke. Do I need to go any further?

This is going to be the hottest thing to hit the internet since email itself. Batten down the hatch on your computer screen, because the barrage is about to start. This is the right story at the right time, and it will be around for years – just like the Jeffrey Dahmer jokes. I still hear them today.

Hack comics and wannabes everywhere are salivating right now. They can’t wait for their shot to get on stage anywhere to display a lisping limp wristed mean spirited “impression” of Michael Sam, thinking it will be their ticket to the top. There’s blood in the water and the sharks are out.

More than a few somebodies somewhere are breaking their necks to make it to their local malls this very minute to have a number “69” Michael Sam jersey custom made to order.You think I’m joking. I wish I was, but I know it’s true. The latest hack comedy premise has been fully hatched.

I have made my full time living in standup comedy since 1985. I’ve seen this exact thing come to pass before with several stories. Lorena Bobbit slicing her husband’s digit off with a knife was a big one. Well, the topic was anyway. That brought out the masses just like this will. I’ve seen it all before. And once in a while I’ll still hear someone pull out a Lorena Bobbit joke even today.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good sick twisted politically incorrect downright nasty joke. I am all for slicing and dicing any subject imaginable – but NOT on stage. There are just some things that need to be left alone – or at least left to those with experience that know what they’re doing.

I have thirty solid years of hard earned experience, and I have no interest whatsoever in doing any Michael Sam bits or gay jokes in general. It’s not my style, and not what I do. I’m sure there could be some funny stuff there for someone, but for the majority of the herd it’s already passé.

Being gay or making fun of anyone who is isn’t worth my time. I’ve been accused of being gay for years because I have never married. Did it ever occur to said accusers that maybe I am just an ugly bastard that has been rejected by the entire female species? If I were gay, I’d proudly admit it. I’d also in all likelihood be able to dance, cook and my clothes might match once in a while.

Sorry, off on all counts. I’m definitely not gay. I say leave Michael Sam alone. Let him live his life in peace, even though that isn’t going to be the case now. He’s going to be up to his shoulder pads in scrutiny, and will be famous – or infamous – for life. He chose that, and now he’s got it.

What honks me off the most is I’ve been trying to get famous since 1985, and for the life of me I just can’t do it. If you’re reading this, you’ll probably have to look and see what my name is – if you even halfway care which I highly doubt you do. Jeffrey Dahmer, Lorena Bobbit and now Michael Sam are household names forever, and that’s just how it goes. I’m on the wrong planet.

Dobie Maxwell is a stand-up comedian, and writer from Milwaukee.

Visit his website


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