Made this gif of Rick Ross chewing a piece of straw at work today. They didn’t ask me to, I just did. I added the straw.
This is the story of when I was in the Coast Guard, spending Thanksgiving with a strange family and my friend Brian.
This was the first time I’ve told this story on stage, at Alison Leiby’s “It’s a Long Story” at UCB East.
Jim: Everyone, this is award-winning hip-hop artist Macklemore. He claims he didn’t have anywhere to go for Thanksgiving, so I invited him to spend the day with our family. I hope you don’t mind.
Macklemore: Nah, I don’t mind.
Jim: I was talking to my parents, Macklmore.
Mom: The more the merrier!
Dad: Mind if I call you “Mack?”
Macklemore: Haha, no.
Dad: Why don’t I take your coat.
Dad helps Macklemore take his coat off.
Dad: Oh, that’s a nice coat. Where’d you get it?
Jim: Don’t ask that.
Macklemore nods at Jim.
Mack: Thanks, pops.
Sister: I don’t mean to be weird, Macklemore, but I love your music. Where’s Ryan Lewis?
Jim: Not important right now, sis.
Mack: Your brother’s right. It’s not important. You know what is important?
Jim: Oh no.
Macklemore pulls out a crumpled letter-sized sheet of paper from his pocket.
Sister: Is that a list of things that are important?
Mack: Nah, I thought this was my list of important things, but it’s my list of black friends. Anyway, I just need y’all to know that it gets better.
Mom: What’s he talking about?
Mack: I’m talking about the fact that every day, hundreds of kids get bullied, and those kids need to know that it won’t last forever.
Sister: Where’s that music coming from?
Jim: Let’s eat!
Everyone takes a seat around the table.
Mom: Macklemore, we’re going to say a short prayer, I hope you don’t mind.
Mack: Nah, I don’t mind. Everyone in this world has the right to pray, or not pray, to whoever or whatever they want. I’m just glad we’re all here, celebrating unity. Two groups coming together, Pilgrims, Indians, eating.
Sister: I hear the music again. Am I losing my shit?
Mom: Very nice, Mack. That was a nice sentiment. Everyone, bow your heads.
Everyone bows their heads. Macklemore bows his, then bobs it up and down to an imaginary beat.
Mom: Dear Lord, we thank you for this food we’re about to eat, and…
Mack: Every year thousands of hundreds of kids go starving. Let’s bring awareness.
Mom: And, we thank you for our family and…
Mack: Single mothers out there, I know how you feel. We listening, be strong.
Mom: And, our friends.
Mack: Clap your hands if you ain’t got friends.
Sister: Seriously, every time he talks, I hear music. Is anyone else hearing this?
Dad: Thanks for the input, Mack. Where do you stand on genocide?
Mack: I think everyone should have the right to love whoever they want to love. Happy Thanksgiving. Let’s eat!
Dad: I said genocide, as in. The systematic killing of a race of people.
Mack: I’m all about positivity, and awareness y’all.
Dad: Are you aware that Thanksgiving is the celebration of a fairy-tale? And that the Europeans tried to eliminate or enslave the people that were here when the Pilgrims landed?
Mack: Human trafficking is a serious issue, pops. I feel you. I feel all y’all who are enslaved, euthanized. Just know, it gets better, ya heard?
Sister: The fucking music again.
Jim: Alright, everyone. Clearly bringing Macklemore over for dinner wasn’t one of my better ideas.
Mack: We all have bad ideas, we just can’t act on them. Think, be considerate, be aware.
Mom: Very nice, Macklemore. Are you single?
Mack: As single as anyone in this world of one can be. So, not single at all. Together with everyone.
Dad: He’s a fucking idiot.
Jim’s Sister begins pounding herself in the ears with dinner rolls.
Jim: Macklemore, I hate to do this to you on Thanksgiving, but I have to ask you to leave.
Macklemore: Alright, but while I have this moment, I’d be remiss in my duty as the self-appointed co-opter of all tragedy and oppression if I didn’t take a moment to say: Tens of thousands of Indians have died because of racial profiling, and we can’t let that happen again.
Me doing Dave Attell for “Schtick or Treat” this year.
Originally published in Cleveland Scene Magazine’s recent comedy issue…
Hello, Cleveland friends. It’s your somewhat forgotten friend, Jim Tews. I’m writing you from New York City. That’s right, the Big Apple! Wall Street! Times Square! The Statue of Liberty! Noise!
What a great place to live. A lot of you seemed worried when I shipped off for the promised land, but let me tell you, it was unnecessary. All my basic needs are being met, and then some! (Sorry if I’m using a lot of exclamation points, I’m just so excited to be living here! Excited!)
There’s so much energy here, so much of a buzz, so many people. Endless people! It’s like a sea of people. A sea of people with waves that pull you under until you can’t breathe. Then they push you back up to the surface, so you can get just enough air to make it to the next wave. Such a hum!
The crowd is one of those things that would get to a lot of people, but it’s just as easy to be alone here. Everyone ignores you, even if you’re crying or bleeding, but especially if you’re doing both. You can pretty much do anything you want here, and everyone will leave you alone. They’ll leave you so alone!
There’s tons of culture here too: museums, galleries, top-notch restaurants. I can walk past them and look in whenever I want. People say that this place is expensive, and it’s true, but you just have to be resourceful. I keep my expenses low by living in a terrible neighborhood. A neighborhood I clearly don’t belong in. I know I don’t belong here because that’s what someone wrote on my mailbox. But the longer I’m around, and the more Spanish I learn, the better things get!
There’s always something to do here. Always. You’re always moving. Always. You never sleep, because the city will not let you. Sometimes I get so tired, I pass out on the train. Just like in the movies!
I’ve lost weight, and I didn’t even have to join a gym. It’s mostly from the walking. I’m eating great. There are plenty of places to get cheap food. Just be careful what you eat before bed: Whatever’s in most street falafel gives you violent, vivid night terrors. (That’s only a warning for you; I’ve developed a tolerance.)
I think about coming back sometimes. I daydream about buying a house, for what I currently pay to rent. I dream about what it’s like to hear almost nothing at night. I dream about yelling, “Help me!” and then someone coming to help. But I’m here in New York, doing what I have to do, living the dream. Kind of a hot sauce fever dream, but a dream nonetheless. I’ll see you all again soon. Stay cool, and stay there.