Illustration by Taylor Sanderson
by Josh Johnson
I do know what one of my major problems is as a person. I lived alone too long. I think everybody should live alone and be single for at least a year. You know, get to know yourself. Get to figure yourself out, because maybe it’s you, you know? You get to live alone, get to be single, get to figure out what’s going on in your mind. But if you do it too long, you just devolve into a monster. Just have a downward spiral. The first few months of living alone that you live alone are the most liberating months of your entire life. And the next months of living alone that you live alone are the most depressing months of your entire life. I had the weekend off the first month I ever lived alone. I was like, “ooh, looks like somebody is going to be naked for the next three days. I ain’t got to wear clothes for nobody. I’ll be naked over here, naked over here. It’s going to be great.” I had that same weekend off six months later I was like, “what’s the point of clothes?”
And I knew I was depressing my friends. I started getting gifts that were purely just to keep me alive. I just started getting puzzles left and right. My one friend, he gave me a cake which would normally be nice, but he gave me too much cake. He gave me seven eighths of a huge, huge chocolate birthday cake. And I think in his head he was like, “this will keep him alive at least a week and then I’ve done my part. I can’t. I can’t babysit. You know?”
But living alone, being single, that’s too much freedom. I need a girlfriend or roommate now just to shame me back to reality. I can do whatever I want, no consequences, anytime I want? I got in the shower with an umbrella just to see how it would feel. In case you don’t know what I’m talking about. I got naked, all right? Got in the shower, turned the water on and lifted the umbrella like, “hmm it does feel like rain. Wonder if someone will call today?” It’s just like being outside except I control the weather.
So there came a day when I was at home alone. Had the weekend off from work by myself, just eating the chocolate cake my friend gave me, no fork, no knife. I am just grabbing cake and putting it in my mouth, and grabbing more cake and putting it in my mouth. Also didn’t bother to take the cake out of the fridge. And so I’m leaning into the open fridge, grabbing cake and putting it in my mouth and grabbing cake and putting it in my mouth. Cake is also not on the top shelf of the fridge. And so I’m bent over in front of the open fridge, grabbing cake and putting it in my mouth and grabbing cake and putting it in my mouth. I’m naked, by the way. I’ve been naked all day. And so I’m naked in front of the fridge, grabbing cake and putting it in my mouth and grabbing cake. I’m still very wet. The umbrella did not cover me fully. And so I’m wet, naked, grabbing cake and putting it in my mouth and grabbing cake. The light from the fridge is the only light in the apartment. So I’m making sad shadow puppets behind me as I’m grabbing cake, wet, naked, putting it my mouth and grabbing cake. And right then someone broke into my apartment.
And I knew somebody broke in because the light from the hallway melded with the light from the fridge. I was like, “that’s too much light on me. I don’t know what’s going on here. And so they see me bent in front of the fridge, but they can’t see the cake. I’m not chewing. I’m just pushing. So globs of chocolate cake are dropping in between my wet, naked legs just globs and globs of chocolate cake. And I turned around to look at them, and they politely just closed the door. And I ran after them too. I was like, “no wait, don’t leave.” Because I don’t want to be robbed but they’re gonna tell people about that, you know? I’m already the dude in my apartment complex with no friends. I’m don’t need people thinking I poop next to fridge. I’m a good person.
Trying to be a good person at least. I feel like the person that you are in a split second decision, that’s who you really are. You know, when you don’t get to weigh the options or worry about what people might think. You know, that snap decision. That’s you, in your heart. I’ll give you an example. I was walking down the street in New York. This dude was walking down the opposite side of the street from me just texting and walking in his own little world, just texting with his head down and walking. And then he walked out into the street, but he didn’t have the light and cars are coming right at him. He has no idea because he’s still just texting and walking. Just in his own little world. And then without thinking, I saw a car that was like coming right at him. And I just ran for him as fast and as hard as I could and tackled him out of the way of a car and ended up saving his life.
And not eight hours later, I grabbed a lady by the face so I didn’t fall down. The same person did both those things in the same day. Alright? Not a full eight hours later. Not a full shift at Denny’s later. I’m walking and I slip on a grape because I’m a child and as I’m falling, I reach for anything to keep my balance. Okay, and I’m not looking, but I know it’s a face, all right? I knew it was a face immediately. My finger went in her mouth. I fish-hooked this lady so I didn’t fall down. And why should I? I’m a hero.
Josh Johnson’s comedy special Up Here Killing Myself is streaming now on Peacock. He’s an Emmy-nominated writer, performer, NAACP award-winner, and writer for the Daily Show. Check out our interview with Josh to hear his thoughts on politics, the modern world, and why we’re living in Funny Times.