More Thoughts on Comedy Album

I did my first interview yesterday – promoting Comedy Album. It was interesting. That’s a muscle I haven’t flexed in quite some time. All in all, I think it was fine? Did I hit all my marks? No. Was I at least in the general vicinity of those marks? For the most part, yes. But there are some things that will need tightening up, need to be improved upon.

Talking to the interviewer, Prairie Public Radio’s own Doug Hamilton, really had me thinking about what the book is about. And at the end of the day – and the start, and the middle – it’s a book about not fitting in. A book about wanting to connect with other people but being mostly in the dark as far as how to go about doing that.

In this collection, there are a lot of pieces about being different, not belonging. There’s also a lot of numbers about parties and trying to find ways to appear confident at such gatherings when you’re NOT confident; ways to appear suave when you’re (I’m) not the least bit suave. It’s a book about boundaries: how we build walls (or fences) ourselves and are forever trying to figure out a way get through the walls or fences others have built. If you ask me, that’s what Comedy Album is about. That’s at least a fair part of it.

Minneapolis Writer Releases Comedy Album – in Print

Minneapolis, MNSeptember 24, 2020 – Local writer Dan Hendrickson has released a comedy album, but not on vinyl. Instead, he’s transplanted the format to the printed page in Comedy Album, his newest collection of comedic verse. In the recent past, Hendrickson has sometimes referred to his genre as ‘cometry’ (a souped-up blend of comedy and poetry). However, he says Comedy Album is exactly what it claims to be: straight-up comedy. It’s designed to be funny; a blast of seltzer direct to the kisser.

“Comedy is all about timing,” says Hendrickson, “and while some might say now is the perfect time for such an offering, others would be very quick to say, ‘No, Dan, that’s a really terrible idea.’ Those two points of view and where I’m at form a nearly perfect triangle.”

Professionally, Hendrickson served as spokesperson for a historic, local nonprofit for nearly a decade. However, when that came to an end, he fully embraced his lifelong passion: comedy. Despite today’s myriad and ever-present uncertainties, Hendrickson – in true showbiz fashion – says the show must go on, arguing that comedy is an essential ingredient when it comes to enjoying life.

Often absurd, Comedy Album revolves around lobsters, lemons, libido, and trout – though not necessarily in that order. It also contains callbacks and running gags, and its design and layout all lend it the look and feel of an actual comedy album. And, like many comedy albums, the material is intended for mature audiences (language, adult themes and subject matter).

“A lot of people write a lot of terrific books for children,” observes Hendrickson. “I’m just not one of those people.”

Comedy Album follows on the heels of 2017’s Dark Glasses. Hendrickson has also penned a series of chapbooks under his pen name, Henry Rifle, including: Shooting Gallery; Bullet Train; A Bullet West; and Ballistics Report. He also wrote and co-produced an independent movie called Henry Rifle is Dead. Additionally, Hendrickson has dabbled in standup comedy on various stages around the Twin Cities over the years.

“It’s something I can do,” says Hendrickson, “but I tend to consider myself more of a dancing bear that’s too lazy to perform. This way, my work still gets out there and I can stay home and watch television.”

Comedy Album’s formal release date is September 30. Published and designed by Flat Sole Studio in St. Paul, it is currently available for purchase online, in both hard copy and e-book formats, and locally at Cream and Amber in downtown Hopkins.

About Dan Hendrickson: A comic, screenwriter and poet, Dan Hendrickson grew up in Northwest, Minnesota, graduating from the University of North Dakota with a degree in Communications. Later, he earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Hamline University in St. Paul. He’s co-writer of the screen adaptation of Did I Ever Thank You, Sister and has also written a semi-autobiographical spec script titled Life in a Northern Town. Dan has been a guest on KFAI’s Write On! Radio and Prairie Public Radio’s Main Street. He currently resides in Minneapolis.

Chasing Shadows

The other night, right before I drifted off to sleep, I had an idea for a poem. I really, really liked it. I tried my best to remember it, but when I woke up later, in the middle of the night, I found that it had escaped me. I simply could not remember it. So the question became, What do I do about it? Every fiber of my being wanted to drift back off to sleep. But I also felt the idea was still there, somewhere inside of me.

First, a quick note about that part of me that pops out just before I lose consciousness. It’s kind of like a malcontent that spends most of the day behind a convenience store, smoking cigarettes. It has things to say, but it doesn’t necessarily feel like saying them. Still, every now and again, after lights out and before the lights go out completely, it wanders out to have a look. Maybe to stretch its legs a bit – clear its/his throat. It’s a small, but interesting piece of me.

Anyway, back to my story. Instead of going back to sleep, I decided to stay up for a bit and allow myself to drift back into that tranced-out state. And you know what? This time, it worked (it doesn’t always). Here’s that poem that I was chasing.

Pistachio – Time buries us in sand/We’re all just future clams/Death is a pearl collector.

Was any of it worth it? I don’t know. You tell me.

The Perils of Tightrope Walking

I’m not sure if you’ve seen the movie The Walk. If not, you really should. It’s a fictionalized account of the life of the guy who walked on a tightrope between the Twin Towers. It’s a really inspiring flick – entertaining, to boot!

My favorite character in the film is Papa Rudy. Papa Rudy is Phillipe Petit’s mentor. He’s a wise, old circus hand who knows all the ins and outs of tightrope walking. One day, while observing Petit (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) almost fall just a few steps from the safety of the platform – on the far side of his walk (it’s a training session, under the Big Top) – he pulls him aside and Papa Rudy tells Petit (still played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) that most wire-walkers fall just three steps from their intended goal. And they fall because they believe they’ve made it and can therefore let their concentration lapse.

Why do I bring this up? Well, first, there was a time when I tried to get my friends and family to call me ‘Papa Rudy.’ But they wouldn’t do it. Everyone just kept telling me to go f*** myself. Second, it touches on my DIY mentality as far as getting books out on the market. For even though I work with a top-flight independent press (Flat Sole Studio, out of St. Paul, MN), I’m responsible for all the editing that goes into my books. And this time around, with Comedy Album, an error (a typo) was missed just steps from my goal. It’s since been corrected and only 100+ copies of the book will be printed with this typo intact. But, just as Papa Rudy warned, I let my guard down. Forgive me, Papa Rudy!

I won’t tell you what or where the error is, but I will tell you that these copies will likely be worth a lot more than the books without this error. Whereas corrected copies of Comedy Album will one day likely settle out at $1 per copy (at garage sales and such), the version with this typo will likely go for $1.25. Maybe even $1.50. It’s a lot like that stamp that was printed upside down all those years ago. The retail price of that stamp was $.24 cents! Now it’s worth an estimated $1.59 million dollars!! In the words of Yakov Smirnov, “What a country.”

Thoughts on Comedy Album

I’ve written this book (the e-version of which is available now; hard copies later in September) called Comedy Album. How do I feel about it? How do I feel about it…? I feel pretty good about it. I guess it’s like Luke in the cockpit of his X-Wing Fighter, right after firing his shot at the Death Star’s core. I’m not in any way saying I was using the force, but I am saying I’m trusting the process. When the book started falling into place, it felt right. And though I won’t be able to fully judge it until it’s in my hands, I’m not waiting around on pins and needles. It is what it is and it’s as good as it can be.

As recently as five years ago, I would have been sweating what I wrote in my last post (see my last post); that I wanted Comedy Album to be my Nevermind. But you know what? I’ve worried enough to last at least five lifetimes. If I’m wrong, it will just be another mistake to throw on the pile. If I happen to be right, well, that would be a nice thing. But if YOU want to worry about what I wrote in my last post, feel free to do so. If you need any pointers on worrying, let me know. I’d be happy to walk you through it.

Comedy Album

I’m close to releasing a new book called…Comedy Album. The concept is that it’s a comedy album, only in book form. Someone asked me if I was going to record it as an actual album. I told them, honestly, I hadn’t thought of that. I’m working with the same publisher and designer as I did with Ballistics Report (published under my old pseudonym, Henry Rifle) and Dark Glasses, so it’s going to look ultra-snazzy. And the content? Well, it’s out there. Out there on a limb. But, that’s where you find the tastiest pears and apples and such. The hope, first and foremost, is that it’s funny. Kurt Cobain said he wanted Nevermind to be like AC/DC’s Back in Black: “You hit play and it’s hit after hit after hit.” I want Comedy Album to be my Nevermind.

My book – Dark Glasses

Some time ago, I wrote a book I’m still happy with – Dark Glasses. Thanks to a friend of mine, that book is now available (for a limited time) free to Kindle Unlimited users. The place to go to grab that book is right about…here:

Please do have a look! That’s Dark Glasses, by me, Dan Hendrickson. Free (or at least relatively cheaply) at a virtual bookstore near you.

Cutting Crew

If I could, I’d like to ruin a song for you. The song I’m going to ruin for you today is an oldie – Cutting Crew’s ‘(I just) Died in Your Arms (Tonight).’ The song goes, “Oh! I just died in your arms tonight. It must have been something I said.” But I’VE always thought it would be better (or at least funnier) if it went like this: “Oh! I just died in your arms tonight. It must have been something I ate. I should have walked away…”

I should have walked away.

Indiana Jones Sequel

Being me is a lot of work. However, it has a few benefits. Namely, I tend to have a surplus of ideas. I’m going to tell you about one of those ideas – a sequel idea for the Indiana Jones franchise – in just a moment. However, before I do, I’m going to tell you the drawback to having ideas like this. The biggest drawback? What to do with these ideas?

I mean, as you’ll see, I couldn’t charge a nickel for this idea and I would feel guilty if I did. Additionally, no one will want it, and no one else will know what to do with it. It’s my idea and I’m…I’m stuck with it. Without any further ado, I’ll tell you what the idea is. Oh, and I should tell you that the idea came to me while I was watching Raiders of the Lost Ark over the weekend.

The title of that movie made me think of another possible Indy sequel: Breathers of the Lost Fart. If anything, it would be a short, I suppose. Basically, it would show Indy and a fellow adventurer accessing a hidden chamber. Upon entering said chamber, Indy would sniff the air with a look of disgust and say, “Do you smell that?! Oh my God!!”

Breathers of the Lost Fart.

Logic is a four-letter word

Sometimes when I’m in the mood for nonsense, I’ll say something like, “Logic is a four-letter word.” Then I’ll give whomever I’m talking to a look and add, imploringly (as though it’s obvious), “Think about it.” Then, with that being said, I’ll say I have to get going and head for home.

I’m always in the mood for nonsense.