Oh, Poppa


Going into the third unit assignment, I was extremely intimidated by the options we were given. I am totally clueless when it comes to comedians so I felt as though it would be ingenuine to research a specific comedian, while truthfully not knowing about their work, just for the sake of writing a paper. After watching the sketch comedy videos in class, I was hesitant in my ability to work in a group based off my schedule. I hesitantly decided to write and perform a stand-up comedy act. The topic that I wanted to write about, however, came to me very easily. Almost everyday, my mom texts me about different funny or shocking things my grandpa says, so I had a plethora of stories to tell.

When sitting down to write my script, I was unsure of what direction I wanted to take in talking about Poppa. I could have focused on his career as a dermatologist and about all the funny things I have heard him say to patients. I also was thinking about including stories that he has told me about some of the grossest skin issues people have had. But, that just did not encapsulate his unique personality. I instead chose to highlight three specific aspects of his personality and how those character traits have created uncomfortable situations for myself and others. From that point on, writing the script was easy flowing and enjoyable.

For each personality trait, I specified stories or situations that epitomize the trait. When it came to impatience, I could think of a million instances where he showed this but screaming at his barely English-speaking cleaning crew seemed to sum it up well. His lack of social awareness was exemplified when he asked my female friend what her BMI was or when he referred to a lady as “that heavy lady” after meeting her. The holy grail story of my grandfather is definitely when he met my boyfriend and told this pale, blonde boy that he was lucky because “most albinos have red eyes”. Anytime I tell that story, I get a roar of laughs so I knew it needed to be the ending of my act. I also decided that the first punch line of the act had to include my cousin saying, “Poppa doesn’t give a shit” because it came as a shock after talking about how he was such a distinguished doctor. Between those two main punchlines, all the other content was decently humorous.

I was very nervous on the day of my presentation because I have never written nor performed any sort of organized comedy act. My friends say that I am funny but my humor is spontaneous and I usually do not think about what funny thing I am going to say next or how to organize my thoughts in order to generate the most laughs. I was not even sure if what I had prepared was going to make my classmates laugh at all. But, once I started talking I got very comfortable and it felt like I was simply having a conversation with them. They laughed at all the parts that I had desired a reaction to and it seemed genuine. Not to my surprise, they roared in laughter at the story about Poppa and my high school boyfriend. As with any public speaking experience, there are things that I wish I had done better. I always struggle with eye contact, usually resorting to looking at the back of the room. I wish I had made more eye contact with the audience because I know it looks a bit weird when I keep looking to the back where no one is seated. I also believe I use my hands too much when I talk because of feeling slightly uncomfortable in front of a crowd. But, overall, I think the delivery of my comedy act was successful and went much better than I had expected it to. I am glad people find my grandpa to be as outrageous as I do!


I went to the doctor the other day to get some moles looked at. It is such a weird thing to have to go in for- like hi I have this brown dot on my arm can you take a peek at it? They can look at it and tell you all sorts of information about this little brown dot. I am always super impressed with doctors, thinking about how much schooling they had to go through to be certified and how much practice they did before actually working in their field. I had a great example of a doctor in my grandpa. He is only recently retired, at the old age of 80 (yikes),and was a very distinguished dermatologist. He owned his own dermatology practice, started Brighter Days (a charity that helps women get skin treatment as they go through chemotherapy), and won dermatologist of the year.

Don’t let this professional picture deceive you.

You take ONE LOOK at him and you would never guess he was so smart… to sum him up my cousin says “Poppa doesn’t give a shit”. His toenails look like they are from a wild animal. His eyebrows truly cover the entire top half of his face. And there’s a 99% chance his fly is down at any given time.


I was a patient of his so I know that he is a great doctor and he was very well respected but I would interact with him and think “dear god, how is this man trusted with someone’s life?” He only treated some of my mild teenage acne and other minor skin issues, but the thought of him cutting into someone’s skin or telling them they have skin cancer freaks me out. His most prevalent qualities, that do not seem to fit well in the professional world are…Impatience, lack of social awareness, and out right rudeness.


He is the WORST when he gets interrupted. When we sit at the dinner table and everyone is talking, my palms start to sweat at the thought of Poppa getting interrupted because I know exactly what he will do if someone speaks over him. He stops what he is saying, opens up his eyes, folds his hands, and says “I will wait for you, really”. It is 100% cringe worthy and it is the best way to make the entire table uncomfortable. At his office I watched his impatience reach new heights; we came in on the weekend when they cleaning crew was in to get some files off his desk. He said to the cleaning crew, who barely spoke English, to make sure to close the door so that the “vagrants” do not get in. As they looked at him confusedly, they said “what?” He repeated “vagrants.” They asked again, “what?” And then he yelled incredibly loudly, “HOBOS, VAGRANTS” and stormed out. The worst part is that he hired them so he knew very well that they didn’t speak English well. I was so embarrassed.

Lack of Social Awareness

I go back and forth with this quality because I still can’t tell if he truly has a lack of awareness or just does not care what people think. He asks my brother’s 12 year old friends “do you guys smoke?” (the look on their faces is very surprised, awkward). He himself doesn’t even smoke so the whole “joke” is irrelevant and confusing. He spoke to one of my mom’s friends at my sister’s lacrosse game… few days later asks “What was the name of that heavy lady I was speaking to on Friday?” She is not even heavy but of course that is how he refers to someone in conversation.

He asked one of my female friends who runs cross country what her BMI was; who does that?! He thinks he’s being a professional chef when he decides to make us breakfast but eats off the spatula that he cooks with right in front of everyone. Just picture an old guy making scrambled eggs, lifting up the spatula, taking a massive bite, letting pieces dribble out of his mouth, and then putting that spatula back in the pan.

Out-Right Rudeness

The most legendary Poppa story…. My high school boyfriend. I had been crushing on the same guy all of high school and finally during my senior year we started dating. He was very pale, like me, but had that hair that was so light that it would disappear if it got wet. I always thought he was the full package; he was sooo cute and was class president and a star basketball player. I was bringing home a winner! After we had been going out for a while, I was ready to introduce him to my family. This was a big deal for me because I have a lot of family who lives close and we are together alot. My grandpa, Kyle, and I talked for a while and everything was going great; no signs of embarrassment in sight…. Yet. When we were saying our goodbyes after a seemingly successful night, Poppa puts his hand on Kyle’s shoulder, looks him in the eyes, and says “Kyle, you are a lucky guy”. He then peers over at me and my heart gets warm at what I think he is going to say next, assuming it is something along the lines of “Maddie is so great” or “you have a great girlfriend”, but no. He looks back at Kyle and says “most albinos have red eyes.” And at that point, I turned as white as Kyle.



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