You should always be positive.

Illustration by Louis Sobol

Abbott: This is going to be a fascinating conference.

Costello: I know, I can’t believe so many world-renowned health experts are under one roof.

Abbott: I’ve never been more excited to hear scientists talk.

Costello: Who’s on first?

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: Who?

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: I’m asking you who’s on first.

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: At the conference.

Abbott: WHO’s going first.

Costello: Who?

Abbott: You got it.

Costello: I don’t got it, that’s why I’m asking you.

Abbott: WHO.

Costello: Are you asking me?

Abbott: I’m telling you. WHO.

Costello: Are you positive?

Abbott: Oh no, I’m negative.

Costello: You’re…

…but first, let’s fire-up your metabolism

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Do you want something you don’t have? In a few minutes, I’m going to show you the one thing you need to get in order to have the thing you want.

Do you want to have a better body? I get it. I used to be like you: overweight, out of shape, difficult to look at. Now I’m a ripped, attractive man in his late twenties who has sex each morning with a different Tilted Kilt waitress. In this video, I’m going to show you the only exercise you’ll ever need to do to…

My tabby cat Meowranda Priestley would make a more convincing Meryl.

Illustration by Louis Sobol

By Mary Nepi and Christopher Shelley

Meryl would have shown us at least five-and-a-half emotions at war with each other; you’re only giving me two.

Could you try that again, this time like you grew up in New Jersey and have an MFA from Yale?

Since Meryl can memorize lines after looking at them once, here are ten additional pages of sides. You have thirty seconds.

You know that quality Meryl has of being likable yet mysterious yet mischievous yet charming yet complicated yet light yet serious yet funny yet omniscient? Show me that.

My tabby cat Meowranda Priestley would…

What if you weren’t playing your character?

Photo by Kenny Filiaert on Unsplash

by Mary Nepi & Christopher Shelley

Try that again — slower in pace, but faster in speed.

Are you comfortable with heights? You may or may not be suspended high above the audience for the entire show.

You’re still giving me something… I want you to give me absolutely nothing. Make me believe you do not exist.

Do the scene as if there’s a bird on your head, but it’s actually your mother trapped in a bird’s body, and she’s reminding you that you’ll never be good enough.

Your mother just called: she says you’re not good enough.

How do…

Mother Nature has a history of violent weather events

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Ladies and gentlemen of the court, today we will prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant, Mother Nature, is solely responsible for inciting the snowstorms that have killed at least 31 people and has left millions without power.

Mother Nature has even inflicted her wrath upon states that up to this point had only heard about snow in books or more likely movies, states like Texas and Alabama. Ladies and gentlemen, the people of these states can barely spell the word blizzard, let alone figure out how to continue driving…

How do I love thee? Let me count the — hold on while I just send this text…

Photo by Ryan 'O' Niel on Unsplash

Dinner Out

Single: Book a reservation for two at a romantic candlelit Italian restaurant, arrange for a violinist to serenade you at a table surrounded by rose petals. Somehow you score a view of the Eiffel Tower, even though you’re in Des Moines.

Married: Oh god: the traffic, the waiting, the bad service, the non-gluten menus. What a hassle, especially when you’re both working two jobs to pay for the In Vitro. …

Your niche is out there

Photo by Samuel Ramos on Unsplash

Writers need to experiment with forms, styles and genres to find their niche.

Writers need to focus on one form, style or genre to gain the necessary 10,000 hours of experience to become masters of their chosen form of writing.

These conflicting things are both true and unfortunate in being true, as they can work against each other. How can you tell that one kind of writing is your niche if you haven’t ruled out other forms of writing? How do you know you don’t have a poet living inside your creative non-fiction body? …

I’m now brain-damaged, but I don’t have COVID.

Written by Jennie Young and Christopher Shelley

Photo by Tai’s Captures on Unsplash

Contrary to what my girlfriend says, I’m not a “maniac.” I just take reasonable precautions to keep us safe during the pandemic. For example, I’ve always taken a multi-vitamin, but recently I added separate Vitamin D and zinc tablets to boost my immune system — reasonable stuff like that.

I also eat seventeen fish oil caplets a day so that if I do travel and my plane crashes in the ocean, the fish will think I’m part fish and I’ll have a fighting chance at survival. I mainline Vitamin C three times per…

This year I’m taking no chances with facts

Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

This year I’m going to get serious about losing weight. I heard that people can lose fifty pounds on the Covid diet, so I’m going to RSVP ‘yes’ to that secret 10,000-guest Hassidic wedding.

This year I won’t just get thin, I’ll get ripped. That Mirror Home Fitness thing is super-cool, but the next big thing is a hologram where pro athletes train you to look just like them. …

By this time tomorrow, our towns will be covered in snow, but our indoor areas won’t be

Photo by Ibrahim Rifath on Unsplash

The biggest snowfall to hit the northeast in twenty years is due to hit the region beginning today at four pm. Experts agree that the snow will be primarily outdoors, and that those people who are indoors will not be affected unless they lose power, in which case they’ll still be un-snowed upon.

“Covering your face and also the rest of your body with a building or other indoor-type space is the safest way to protect yourself from snow, which occurs primarily outdoors,”…

Christopher Shelley

Humor in Slackjaw, Little Old Lady Comedy, Points in Case, The Haven, Sex and Satire. Weddings:

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