The Great Comedy Off

Lyle Allenstein loved jokes. Ever since he was a kid, he had embraced the concept of funnying. Every year for his birthday, he wanted one thing and one thing only: hundreds of joke books. You name it, he’d read it: Great Anecdotes Volume 3, 1000 Jokes To Be Aware Of Before You Die, The Life and Times of Humour. He knew every joke known to mankind, and most jokes known to humankind.


“Lyle Allenstein, will you put that joke book down and pay attention to this graphic sexual education video focusing on breasts!” his stern high school teacher Mrs Prickman would shout constantly.


Lyle would always just smirk and reply in the only way he knew best: comically. For example, he’d take some ice cubes out of his pocket and say “sorry ma’am, I’m just chilling out!” or he’d pull some muck out of his pockets and say “sorry miss, I’m just muckin’ around!” or he’d honk a rubber chicken and say “rubber chicken!”


His biggest comedy influence was the great Gaggles the Clown. Every time Gaggles toured, Lyle would camp out for weeks to prove to his parents he had the streets smarts to buy a ticket to one of Gaggles’ regularly unsold out shows.


Lyle had all of Gaggles’ comedy records, all of his autographs, and all of his teeth that Gaggles had put up for auction on eBay for meth money.


Eventually Lyle reached a point in his life when he realised it was time to stop spending all his time reading and re-telling jokes, it was time to start writing and re-telling his own jokes.


As the Allenstein family were just simple pebble farmers (and there had been a pebble drought since the late ‘80s) Lyle wasn’t able to afford to attend the prestigious Sir Guffawington Joke Writing Academy, so had to settle for the Joke Making 101 course at Pitsweat Tafe.


One afternoon at Pitsweat, Lyle gazed out the window as Macka, the Limericks Tutor, was explaining the fundamentals of “making shit rhyme.” Lyle sighed as he watched the clouds form the words “you will never achieve your dreams, Lyle.” Suddenly his friend Barnaby nudged Lyle and passed that week’s edition of Rib Ticklers Daily.


Lyle eagerly flicked through it and the headline of a large advertisement immediately caught his attention:




Lyle spat out his pebble water, partly because of the taste, but mostly because of the fact he had dreamed of participating in The Great Comedy Off ever since he was old enough to dream of participating in things. It usually cost an arm and a leg to attend (or an arm and two leg for international applicants) but according to the advertisement, this year there was a wildcard entry!


Lyle drafted up the best entry he could:


Dear organisers of the great comedy off


My name is lyle. I am 22 years old and here are some of my best jokes:


What does a horse love in his sandwich?

Mayo Neighs


What is a mexicans favorite drink?

A pinata cilada


Why did the cow go to a different hairdresser than he usually goes to?

Because the udder one was closed!


I look forward to your response and or reply


yours sincerely


Lyle Allenstein


Ps: i love comedy 🙂


He didn’t get in.


Weeks later, a depressed Lyle watched the television teary eyed, and reached for his second box of tissues. He didn’t usually masturbate in the living room, but he just didn’t care about anything anymore. All he wanted was to enter The Great Comedy Off and now his dreams had been shattered, much like his windscreen when his stepdad had gone on a murderous rampage. That has absolutely no relevance to the rest of the story, but it is a suitable analogy.


Suddenly an express news bulletin alert appeared onscreen.


“We apologise for interrupting “Chicks In Bras Tonight” but we have a shocking bit of news. Judd Humptington, recent recipient of the first ever wildcard entry for The Great Comedy Off competition, has been found guilty of illegal joke enhancing steroids and was disqualified from the contest.”


Lyle gasped in excitement.


“He then called for a re-test and was found not guilty and allowed back in.”


Lyle sighed in disappointment.


“He then died of a steroid overdose. The competition organisers have therefore chosen a wildcard for the wildcard- it’s Lyle Allenstein!”


Lyle screamed with happiness and fisted the air.


“Lyle, that was our good air!” his mother lectured him from the kitchen, looking up from her book How to Deal with A Kid Who Isn’t Normal. Like, He’s Proper Weird.


“Sorry mum. Hey, can you drive me to The Comedy Off? It’s in five minutes!”


His mother chuckled. “Ohhh, OK! But if you don’t win, I will disown ya!”


They laughed. It was the closest they’d ever been.


Lyle entered the green room of The Comedy Off, wearing a freshly ironed bow tie and his least stained suspenders to meet the fellow contestants.


“Hi everyone. I’m the wild card, Lyle Allenstein.”


“We know who you are, Kyle!” a rough looking ruffian by the name of Ruff “Looking” Ruffian yelled. “You’re the lazy poor stupid jerk wanker who lucked his way into this prestigious contest!”


Ruff then spat on the ground in front of Lyle.


“Oh sorry about that, I have phlegm tourettes. But I still hate you SO MUCH!”


“Yeah! Go back to Poorsville!” another contestant piped up.


“Well actually I only attended high school in Poorsville, I was born and raised in Poverty Town.”


‘Ohhhh we got a talker backer on our hands, eh?” Ruff scoffed. “Well you know what we do to smart arses? Tease them even more!”


“Oh no!” Lyle yelled.


As the rich kids got ready to yell even louder, a suave charming voice piped up from the doorway and an even suaver charmer young man entered.


“Leave him alone, fellas! We don’t want him to kill himself. He’ll do that when he loses. To me: Manny Goodstuff!”


“Oh Manny, hi, I’ve heard great things abou-”


“Talk to the hand! That’s the name of an anti suicide hotline. Which you’ll need. After you’re suicidal from me beating you”


“OK thanks.”




Lyle decided to ignore Manny’s advice and instead furiously went over his notes in the seconds before the competition started.


“Pft, the kid’s got an actual notebook!” Manny giggled. “Uh, hey, poor boy, the 20th century called! They said tell the wildcard poor boy that he’s a real bloody moron that sucks heaps.”


He then high fived everyone else.


“Hmm don’t think he likes me.”


“Shut up Steinsberg, the competition’s starting!”


Lyle peeked out from behind the green room curtain to watch the event begin.


“Hi, I’m Tommy Host, and welcome to the 69th Annual Great Comedy Off! Wait, 69?! I thought that was a sex move!”


The crowd laughed uproariously.


“Ha ha sorry, I better save some of the comedy for the contestants! One of whom is a favourite to win, a recent graduate of  Sir Guffawington Joke Writing Academy, with a major in witticisms and a minor in poo jokes, it’s Manny Goodstuff!”


A huge picture of Manny was displayed on screen.


“There’s also some others.”


A smaller picture of the other contestants, excluding Lyle, was displayed on screen for three seconds.


“And there’s some wildcard guy as well.”


The words “NO PICTURE” was flashed on screen for one millisecond.


“Now to kick off Round One, it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for: let’s bring out Manny!”


As he walked on to the stage, Manny was greeted by cheers, woops and whistles. Manny thanked the three peculiarly named stage assistants for their assistance and began his routine to an eager crowd.


“G’day guys, cheers for coming out. Hey, so lemme ask you guys a question. How many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb? Two! One to prosecute, one to defend!”


The crowd bursted into a flood of guffaws, chuckles, and guffles.


“Top notch stuff there from arguably the greatest person in the world,” Tommy remarked as Manny moon-walked back into the greenroom. “Now it’s time for the “getting it out of the way” portion of the competition. Here’s that wildcard kid, Lyle Allenstein, Don’t Read This Next Bit Tommy But This Kid Is Gonna Be So Shit From Your Friend The Auto-cue Operator.”


Lyle nervously shuffled onto the stage, sweating more than a sex offender before a big sex offending competition. The crowd exploded with boos, heckles and “we hate you wildcard boy”s.


“Uh, hi everyone,” Lyle spluttered into the mic. “Wh…what do u call a tennis player you can eat? Entrée Agassi!”


There was a slight pause. Followed by a slightly slighter pause. Followed by an actual fair bit of laughter.


“Hey this wildcard douche is alright!” several audience members yelled in unison.


The judges all pressed their buttons labelled “yeah OK.”


Lyle had made it through to the second round! But he couldn’t relax yet, and not just because of the chronic illness he suffered from which meant he could never relax (Allenstein’s Disease). There was still a long night ahead.


Twelve minutes later, and it was down to the final round.


“That punchline could have has a simpler setup!” one of the honourable prestigious judges, Judge #2, screamed at Ruff, one of the remaining contestants, as her and the other judges pressed their “nah no good” buttons.


The crowd booed as Ruff ran off the stage, covered in tomatoes.


“Wow,” Tommy Host addressed the crowd. “That dude’s bit where he coated himself in fruit really didn’t work huh folks? Well, we’re down to the final two contestants: Manny Goodstuff and Lyle Allenstein.”


Backstage, Manny turned to Lyle.


“Hey, Lyle, let the best man win eh?”


“Aw gee, thanks Manny.”


“What, no, I mean let me, the best man, win. Forfeit this thing and rack off back to fuckhead county!”


“It’s Fuckheads County! And no I will not. I’m getting up on that stage and you know what, I’m going to maybe win possibly if I’m good enough potentially. Yeah that’s right, I finally grew some bowls, Manny.”


“I think you mean balls.”


“No, I meant Manny!”


“OK, before we proceed to the final round, we have a very sad announcement,” Tommy cheerfully announced. “One of our judges, the honourable Sid Suck, inventor of the game changing joke format The Limerick Knock Knock, has had to leave due to a sudden severe case of discovering we weren’t going to pay him. We therefore have a surprise replacement judge! Luckily he happened to be in the car park stealing hubcaps, it’s Gaggles the Clown!”


Several members of the crowd clapped out of politeness as Gaggles attempted to bow, then gave up out of exhaustion.


Lyle urinated, farted and vomited himself at the same time.


“G…g…g…Gaggles the Clown!!? Golly me sideways!”


“Figures a saddo like you would like a saddo like whoever he is” Manny scoffed as he prepared to walk onstage, “Well I’m off to win me a comp, wanker brains. Get fucked, fuckerrrrr!!!”


“Are you talking to me?” a stage assistant asked.




Manny then turned to Lyle.


“You’re shit too.”


Manny strutted on stage, oozing confidence. His bizarre skin condition did not appear to alienate the crowd however, who loudly applauded as he grabbed the microphone.


“Hey chumps. So, I was thinking the other day about what a pig’s favourite Shakespeare play would be! And I reckon it’d be something like…HAM-let!”


As the crowd erupted into laughter, Lyle dropped his thermos of pebble soup. That was one of Lyle’s jokes! He went to scrounge for his notebook so that he could prove it, only to see it poking out of Manny’s jacket pocket.


“Ah Manny you’ve done it again,” Tommy announced. “Well I don’t even think we need to hear from that other dickhead! You got this one in the bag! The winners bag that is!”


This was it. Lyle’s life was ruined. Until a voice spoke up from the judges desk.




Everyone gasped and turned to Gaggles.


“Sorry, what was that, hubcap guy?” Tommy asked, bewildered.


“Why would a pig love a play with ham in it? Pigs get killed to make ham.”


The crowd started muttering to each other as the other judges flicked through their rule books.


“By god, he’s right!” Mel Brooks, one of the judges, shouted.


The judges all pressed their Manny is Disqualified For Being Factually Inaccurate buttons.


Lyle let out a celebratory faint.


“Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuudging cunts!” Manny screamed. “Somebody give me a gun so I can kill all of you!”


Tommy Host spoke into his earpiece.


“OK, Manny, I’ve just called security and unfortunately they are not allowed to provide you with a gun, sorry mate.”


Manny flipped the bird and left the stage.


“Wowee folks, what a shocking turn of events. First Manny is disqualified and now he has assaulted our competition’s mascot.”


As medics rushed onto the stage to unflip Kooky the Kookaburra, Tommy explained what would happen next.


“OK so as we all know, in the case of a disqualification, the remaining contestant does not automatically win! He must still tell a joke that is deemed acceptable by the judges. So, Lily Allen or whatever your name is, get out here!”


Lyle froze. All of his jokes were in the book that Manny had swiped, and he couldn’t remember any of them! He looked out the window and spotted Manny in the car park.


“Manny!” Lyle yelled out. “It’s Lyle Allenstein here, from the Comedy Off! Sorry to interrupt what looks like an angry burning of some sort of book, but could I please have my jokes back? I…oh wait…”


Lyle’s heart sunk as Manny took a break from destroying his bible to throw Lyle’s notebook in a dumpster.


“Kid, get the hell out there!” yelled a stage hand. “The clown is trying to dab to stall for time, and it’s bumming everyone out!”


As Lyle got shoved on to the stage, he tried to recall one of his jokes.


“Something about…a crocodile who likes collecting antique coins? Ugh no, Lyle, that’s from that TV show you watched last night about unlikely animal hobbies, not a joke!” he thought to himself.


Lyle considered taking a cyanide pill from his front pocket but then realised that fresh breath courtesy of Cyanide Mints was not going to help him. He instead reached into his back pocket for a suicide pill when he spotted his mother in the crowd. She mouthed “fuck you.”


He knew what he had to do.


Lyle whipped out a cigar from his side pocket and started speaking into the mic.


“So my mother, oy, she’s loopier than a shoelace I tells ya! I kiiiid I kiiiid. I love that lady. Wait did I say love, I meant loathe! Ha, ahhhh but come on folks, let’s hear it for my mum ay? No, seriously, let’s hear it for her, she needs the help, she’s deaf as a door-nail that woman! No no a door-nail is too generous! A rusty nail! If you think you’ve got a crazy mama, try spending a day in my shoes! She’ll say “hey get out of my son’s shoes, I need them to hit him with!”




And then…the crowd laughed a bit.


All of the judges pressed their “yep, I guess he’s won” buttons.


A single streamer fell from the ceiling as Lyle wept with happiness and looked around the room at some familiar faces. Mrs. Allenstein, Tommy, Barnaby, Macka, Mrs. Prickman, Ruff, and Lyle’s estranged father all smiled. None of them were actually paying attention to what had just happened and were grinning at something on their phones but Lyle didn’t mind.


“Speech! Speech! Speech!” the crowd cheered.


Lyle leaned into the mic. “Wow, OK, gee, I’d like to tha-”


Tommy grabbed Lyle.


“Kid what you doing?  You gotta leave the stage, we’ve run way over and Jimmy Speech needs to do his show.”




“Ha ha, just JOKING mate!”


“Ohhh,” Lyle laughed, and shook his head. “I love comedy.”


“Yeah but seriously leave the stage, they want Manny to do a speech, not you.”







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