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Here's Me, Bending The Knee, To Bri

Matt Winkelmeyer. Getty Images.

A few weeks ago, I spoke at the Barstool Awards Show. I told a number of jokes and made an effort to target the people I thought might enjoy being the marshmallow of some light roasting. I called White Sox Dave illiterate. I said Nate came to the show by scurrying through the connecting sewer systems of adjacent towns, implying that he is some kind of sunlight-averse goblin or mutated gator. Sas gave me a joke that leaned on a long-running bit about Smitty being an anti-semite. I inferred that Gaz preys on younger women. There were some fat jokes about Glenny, Big Ev, Frank, and Dana. And I said that Mintzy rode the Underground Railroad, which you can decipher yourself. 

Oh, and I called Trent a "fucking wretch" and a "freak" who belongs strapped to a wall, eating his own penis like Theon Grayjoy. 

There was one joke I was nervous about—a joke about Brianna Chickenfry's relationship with country megastar Zach Bryan. I don't know Brianna all that well, but in the times we've spoken, she has been kind, professional, and cool as hell. We're all aware of how successful she is, so perhaps I expected her to be superior or aloof. Not even close! She's the real deal—down to earth, accessible, dedicated, smart… and here's a little secret: I LOVE that she's dating Zach Bryan. I get excited when people I know date famous, respected, talented people. Unless you're a weirdo, that's cool. Now I can name-drop my nugget about Zach Bryan anytime someone plays a song of his or lauds his latest album: "I'm pretty close with his girlfriend, Bri. She's super cool. We talk a lot at work. Honestly at this point I feel like I know Zach." 

Try this: if Caroline Banisandwich started dating John Mayer, I'd be STOKED. Now I'm two degrees of separation from a backstage pass, green room access, and a night on the town with Johnny fuckin' Mayer next time he visits the Big Apple. All it takes is me memorizing Caroline's birthday, organizing a cake or some shit, maybe a few retweets of her work, and a gentle ask for an intro. Before you know it, I'm smoking doobies and suggesting we hit a late-night pie diner with a man who was once my friend before I prematurely creamed my celeb-friend pants.

I did the joke about Brianna—indeed, a low-hanging fruit joke which played on this homie-hopping term I'd learned from the manifesto Meek Phil keeps hidden in his desk. It got some chuckles. Stool Scenes later showed Brianna yelling "Fuck you Francis!" good-naturedly from the wings with Dave. After the show, I approached Brianna to extend an olive branch, make sure there was no foul air between us. She immediately dismissed any concerns I had, so much so that I almost felt sexist for worrying she might not have been on board with the joke! 

I broke all this down on SOABD, btw: 

Whelp, turns out I totally misread the situation. Couldn't have been more incorrect in how I thought this went. You put that clip of Grace and Bri talking about it from Plan Bri next to me talking about it from SOABD and it's like some divergent, inverse, through-the-looking-glass perspectives of the same event. Egg on my face. John Mayer pie all over my face. 

So, this is me saying sorry to Brianna Chickenfry. Sorry Bri. I bend the knee to thee. Without you, I'm probably swept away in that wave of layoffs last week. Your merch keeps me employed and insured, and for that, I'm eternally grateful. What's more, the night is darkest before the dawn. These internet trolls will soon move on. And hopefully, when they do, we can finally find some time to hang out, get on the same wavelength, maybe take in a concert, maybe chill in the performer's green room or something. 

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Who knows. You might just enjoy my east coast mentality as we get drunk, then hungover, spiral, and wonder… does any of this even matter?