Sunday, April 19, 2015

Fantastic Voyage ain't cheap!

Author and comedian Mike Buzzelli 

I went to the hospital this week. I was having an outpatient procedure. My doctor wanted to take a small camera on a “Fantastic Voyage” through my body. It had to travel from a vein in my right wrist all the way to my heart. I’m impressed because I couldn’t even get a coat hanger through the crack in the window down to my door lock to open the car door that time I locked my keys in the Honda.

On Tuesday morning, I showed up at the hospital. The first thing I learned is that I have a $2,000 deductible. Yikes, sweetie, yikes! I immediately thought about that Jack Benny bit: A robber pulls a gun on him and says, “Your money or your life!” Benny calmly replies, “I’m thinking it over.”

I begrudgingly wrote the check. As luck would have it, I happened to have $2,000 in my checking account. Color me grateful. It was payday, and I have direct deposit. A fortuitous turn of events … especially for them.

Then, they took my blood pressure. The nurse said, “Your blood pressure is up.” I said, “That’s because I just wrote a check for two thousand dollars!” She didn't laugh. I can handle paying a bill, but I can’t handle someone staring blankly when I crack a joke. I’m now grateful I don’t have to watch you people read this column.

Honestly, they should have asked me for the money after the procedure. Of course my blood pressure is going to spike. It probably spikes when I buy a ticket to the movies.

Apparently, they called me the day before to tell me about the money, but I didn't answer the phone because I didn't recognize the number. I don’t answer randoms.

To prep me for surgery, two different nurses shaved my chest, wrist and legs in a few spots, including my groin. Not that many people see my groin at the same time. It should have been more fun.

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(Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and a sit down author. His book, "Below Average Genius," a collection of humor columns culled from the Observer-Reporter, can be purchased here:

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Hi Diddle Dee, It's a Mascot's Life for Me!

Comedian and author Mike Buzzelli 

Baseball season has begun. I wish I was a better player. I’m not “Bad News Bears” bad, but I’m not good. I can play. When a baseball is hurtling at my face, I make an effort to catch it. I don’t cross my arms over my face and scream. Not anymore.

Baseball reminds me of summer, my favorite season. If you’re anything like me, you hear the word baseball and you start singing, “Take me out to the ball game” in your head.

While I’ve sung that song for hours on end, it bugs me. Mostly because of this one line: “Buy me some peanuts and Crackerjack, and I don’t care if I ever come back.” First, buy your own peanuts and crackerjack.

Second, peanuts are in Crackerjack. Why would you buy both?

Third, you have to come back.

You can’t live on soft pretzels and stale beer. I know. I've tried.

I’m trying to find ways I could hang around the field this summer. I think I’m too old to be a ball boy. The job title has the word boy in it. It’s been a while since I've been a boy. Also, I’d be all, “Get your own damn ball.”

I wonder if the Pirates or the Wild Things are looking for a new mascot.

I might not be good at sports, but running around acting like a goofball is totally in my wheelhouse.

A few years ago, my family went to a Wild Things game and my niece Chloe was terrified of the Wild Thing. Seeing a giant stuffed animal running around in public frightened her.

I felt bad because later that year, my brother took the wife and kids to Disney. I kept thinking Chloe must have had a conniption fit every five minutes in the park. Giant mouse! Giant duck! Giant … whatever-Goofy-is!

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(Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and a sit down author. His book, "Below Average Genius," a collection of humor columns culled from the Observer-Reporter, can be purchased here:

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Communication Breakdown

Author and comedian Mike Buzzelli 

A short time ago, I was sitting in Panera with my friend Sandy when I thought I saw a guy who looked just like former congressman Barney Frank. It seemed unlikely a politician from Massachusetts flew in for a half of a Panini and a Greek salad, but the guy had the same arched eyebrows and low-hanging jowls. Sandy couldn’t picture Mr. Frank. I whipped out my phone to show her a photo of said congressman. No photograph came. My phone screen went dark.

Picture me, in slow motion, saying, “Nooooooo!”

Later that same day, I went to the company that sold me the phone. I can’t say their name, but they have plenty of outlets. You can see them over every horizon. I didn’t have the warranty (always get the warranty). I was on a plan that didn’t let me have a new phone until August. August!

I went off to the store that made the phone to grapple with them. I can’t say their name either, but here’s a riddle: Mr. Braeburn went to Fuji for an opening night of “Pippin,” and at the gala he ran into his Granny Smith.

I talked to a bright young man who was also unable to help me.

I went a week without a cellphone. It was a very long seven days. It was like a dog year.

I don’t know when I entered a co-dependent relationship with my cellphone. I was afraid to go anywhere. What if I got a flat tire? What if I went to meet people and they weren’t there? How did I function before I had this phone?

My boss offered me her dead brother’s phone. She had it because they wanted to charge her to send it back to them.

Later that same night, sister-in-law Brenda offered me a spare iPhone she had. Suddenly, I had two phones! I opted for the iPhone. Frankly, I got a little weird about using the phone of a deceased person. It wasn't like I was worried he was going to call from beyond the grave. I just got a little creeped out. Just to avoid the same problem, I decided I’m going to be buried with mine. You never know, I might have to make a call on the other side.

(Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and a sit down author. His book, "Below Average Genius," a collection of humor columns culled from the Observer-Reporter, can be purchased here:

Sunday, March 29, 2015

One Fish, Two Fish, Earth Fish, Moon Fish

Author and comedian Mike Buzzelli 

Scientists now believe there is water on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. Ganymede, Europa and Enceladus might have oceans under their icy surfaces. If the water is warm, it could contain aquatic life. It is fun to speculate there might be fish, whales or other kinds of creatures elsewhere in the solar system.

Granted, you’d need an awfully big ice pick to even get at that water; it’s miles under an icy crust, but that’s some seriously committed ice fisherman’s job to worry about.

I got to thinking, like I do, if there were fish on another planet or moon, would you eat that fish?

It would be a while before we’d get to go to an interplanetary fish fry, but it’s worth considering. Even if they find water and it’s drinkable, I don’t think I’d want to be the guy who has the first sip. I fell for that trick in Mexico.

I don’t think I’d eat alien fish, even if it was Good Friday.

They might be really ugly. Of course, that never stopped humans from eating anything before. Look to the lobster. I often wonder about the first man or woman who saw a lobster crawling along a beach and said, “That looks delicious. Let’s eat that.” Think about it. They ate lobsters before we knew how to harvest lemons or make butter.

Those alien fish could possibly be smarter than us. Or they could consider us dinner. The Syfy channel hasn't made a movie called “Space Sharks” yet?

It’s intriguing to think there might be other life forms right here in our solar system. I’d like to imagine we have more than fish up there. Let’s not rule out the possibility of a race of mer-people. Mer-people would be cool. If we found other humanoids in the galaxy, we probably wouldn’t get along with them, either. I don’t get along with my neighbors down here. Why would I think I’d be able to get along with my off-planet neighbors?

They could be really smart. They might think we’re idiots. They might be able to see Ted Cruz from up there.

(Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and a sit down author. His book, "Below Average Genius," a collection of humor columns culled from the Observer-Reporter, can be purchased here:

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Remembrance of St. Patrick's Day Past

Comedian and author Mike Buzzelli 

I am convinced St. Patrick is the patron saint of bad decisions. I think the dude would be aghast at Pittsburgh’s South Side on his special day.

A few years ago, St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Saturday. It also happened to be more than 70 degrees that year. Also, niece Brittany turned 21, and she and her friends wanted to go to a house party on 16th Street in the historic South Side. It was a confluence of bad decisions. I decided play chauffeur for the momentous occasion, because I didn’t want Brittany or any of her friends to drive under the influence.

There is no award for World’s Greatest Uncle, but if there was, I would be somewhere on the list (the actual award would probably go to the guy who talked his niece or nephew out of such shenanigans).

It was mid-afternoon, and Brit and I were in the car somewhere between Station Square and her destination. The parade had let out, and since it was a nice day, an endless stream of emerald revelers shambled to the mythical land of limitless alcohol.

Side note: In a recent article in Time magazine, I read that Pittsburgh’s South Side has the largest number of bars per capita than anywhere else in the nation. Yay us!

P.S. Sarcasm.

Most people hoofing down Carson wore jeans and a green T-shirt. Some went a little farther out. Occasionally, you would see someone in a green tutu or face paint or going full-on Leprechaun. It took an hour to drive one mile on Carson, from Station Square to 16th Street.

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(Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and a sit down author. His book, "Below Average Genius," a collection of humor columns culled from the Observer-Reporter, can be purchased here:

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Pothole that Ate Pittsburgh

Author and comedian Mike Buzzelli 

It came without warning. On a dark night in the city, I got in my car and made a fateful trip home when I encountered the “Pothole that Ate Pittsburgh!” Dunt dunt da!

Actually, I hit a pothole. It’s unfair to call it a pothole. It was the size of a lunar crater. The streets of Pittsburgh look like the surface of the moon. This particular beast was on Banksville Road somewhere between the Eat’n Park and the Arby’s.

Side note: I just recently learned that Arby’s is not the name of the company founder, but an answer to a bizarre riddle. Roast beef abbreviated is R.B. Arr Bee. Arby. Am I the only person who didn’t know that? I’m pretty sure I was the last on the list.

Don’t get me started on Eat’n Park. I always thought, “You’d better park BEFORE you eat, or you’re going to run over all of the waitresses.”

But I digress, like I do. I thought nothing of that treacherous hole until I pulled into the driveway and the tire pressure warning light came on. It was late on a Saturday night, and I thought I’d just deal with it in the morning when my mind was fresh. On Sunday, I woke up and completely forgot all about it. My brain was not so refreshed. Clean and devoid of thought maybe, but not fresh.

I was on my way to a matinee at City Theatre. I like going to the Sunday matinee because I am the youngest person in the audience. As I drove down Carson Street, I remembered that my air pressure warning light came on. OK, so it was less that I remembered it and more like it was staring in my face, but you get the idea.

(Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and a sit down author. His book, "Below Average Genius," a collection of humor columns culled from the Observer-Reporter, can be purchased here:

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Cooperstown Comedy Night: Chuck Krieger, Mike Wysocki, Gene Collier: Saturday, March 14, 2015

Schitz & Gigglz Comedy Productions presents
Cooperstown Comedy Night
Featuring headliner Chuck Krieger along with WDVE's Mike Wysocki, Gene Collier & Brad Ryan
Saturday March 14
7:30 Showtime
Broughton Fire Dept.
25$ includes Beer, food, mixers.
Chinese auction and 50/50 raffle
for tickets, call:  412-310-8243
Broughton Fire Hall
1030 Cochrans Mill Rd
South Park Pa.  15236