Tonight is the seventh annual “Stand Up for Heroes” benefit for the Bob Woodruff Foundation, with Bruce once again performing, as he has each of the past six years.
The event continues to grow in size and after three years each at Town Hall and the Beacon Theatre, is now taking place at the Theater at Madison Square Garden (the venue formerly known as the “Felt Forum”). Surprisingly, this will be Bruce’s first ever performance at this venue; an E Street Band show was planned for this venue in 1975 but cancelled.
Most of Bruce’s performances have been solo acoustic, with the songs varying from year to year; he’s never done any song more than twice. Choices have included the usual catalog staples such as “Thunder Road,” “The Promised Land” and “Born to Run” but also contemporary material such as “Devil’s Arcade” in 2007 and “We Take Care of Our Own” last year. Patti Scialfa has joined in at three of the events, including a duet with Bruce on “Tougher Than the Rest” last year. Most of his performances at the past shows have consisted of three songs.
A real wild-card prediction: it wouldn’t be totally out of the question for Bruce to break out a new song. At this time of year in 2008, Bruce performed “Working on a Dream” for the very first time in a solo acoustic arrangement at the last of a series of rallies in support of President Obama’s campaign. With rumors swirling about a new Springsteen album coming out in early 2014, Bruce just might try something out for the first time tomorrow.
Two Dirty Jokes
“Stand Up for Heroes” is a part of the New York Comedy Festival, and Bruce has gamely tried to fit in on a bill that contains mostly comedians. In his first appearance in 2007, noting that “the flyer said ‘night of laughs,'” he came equipped with a few jokes that he admitted he got from his children and were described as “not knee-slapping funny, piss-your-pants funny, they’re sort of mildly amusing.”
Of course, Bruce’s sense of humor tends towards the ribald (e.g. “Red Headed Woman;” “Pilgrim in the Temple of Love”). In 2009, he blamed this on his years on the road – “problem is, problem with my jokes is, I’m on the road with the band, so they’re all kinda bad, they’re bad jokes.” By 2012, it was a running gag: “Now, besides singing a few songs, I also come out and tell bad jokes every year.”
What follows is the comedy stylings of Bruce Springsteen from the past “Stand up for Heroes” performances. Be forewarned: some of these are not family-friendly.
- “Knock knock.” (Who’s there?) “The interrupting cow.” (The interrupting cow who?)—“Moo!”
- An Irish guy and Italian guy are sitting at the bar. Irish guy says “Italians are the dumbest people on the face of the planet.” Italian guy says “what do you mean?” Irish guy says “I bet you don’t even know what Easter is.” So they make a bet. Italian guy gets up on the bar and he says “Easter is when Jesus Christ rolls away the stone, steps out into the sun, and if he sees his shadow…”
- Guy goes into his doctor’s office, for his yearly checkup. Doctor says “You gotta stop masturbating, my friend.” Guy says “How come?” “I’m trying to examine you.”
- A man and woman had a dog that they really liked. But the dog was getting kinda old, and when it sleeps with them in the bedroom, the dog snores in the middle of the night and wakes everybody up. So the husband says “why don’t you go down to the vet to see if there’s anything we can do for the dog to keep the dog from snoring.” So she goes to the vet, and the vet says “Uh, lady, there’s one thing that’s fail-safe, but it’s going to sound a little strange.” She says “well, ok, what is it?” He says “When the dog starts snoring in the middle of the night, you just get a ribbon, and you tie a ribbon around his penis. I guarantee the dog is going to stop snoring.” So, night comes, and they’re all in bed, and the dog is there, starts snoring, snoring. She says “what do I have to lose?” She finds a little blue ribbon, she comes out, ties it around the dog’s penis, he stops snoring. Two hours later, her husband starts snoring. She thinks, “I don’t know.” Finds a little red ribbon, ties it around his penis, the husband stops snoring. So morning comes, the husband wakes up, and looks down at himself, looks down at the dog. He says “I don’t know where we were last night, but I know that we came in first and second.”
- I picked up the newspaper today: Pepsi has created a soft drink that has Viagra in it. First of all, guys, that’s good news. You’re actually going to have people who are going to go the supermarket and can pour yourself a stiff one. Problem is, they won’t be able to call it a soft drink anymore. They even came up with a good name. They’re going to call it ‘mount and do.’
- Mailman dies, he’s in this little town, and they send the body over to the funeral home. And they’re undressing the body, getting the body ready for the wake. And the assistant says to the manager, “come here, you’ve got to see this. You’ve just got to see this. Look at the size of this guy’s penis, will you?” And this was of Smithsonian proportions. And the manager says, “well, that is something, man. We can’t put this in the box. In the interests of science, we’ve got to keep this thing preserved.” And ok, get the hacksaw, they get the hacksaw, and uh, got it. End of the day, he doesn’t know what to do with it, puts it in his briefcase. He thinks, “I’ve got to take this thing home and show the wife.” (Bruce: And so, uh, aw, I fucked up the joke already! Did I mention that the mailman’s name is Mr. Smith? That’s why I’m a musician.”) So he takes it home, and uh, long story short, pops the briefcase, and his wife says “Oh my God, Smith’s dead!”
- A man’s playing golf. He’s in the rough. Swinging, swinging, swinging at this little stand of buttercups. Swinging, swinging. Buttercups are flying. Big voice comes out of the sky: “This is Mother Nature. You’re killing my buttercups. You’re never going to taste butter again.” Guy goes “Fuck!” Goes home. The next morning he wakes up. Butters the toast. Nothing. Next morning, he makes the pancakes, butters the panckaes. Oh, no. He goes to the movies. Puts the butter on the popcorn. Nothing. He goes “Jesus, Christ.” He’s out with his buddy the next week. They’re golfing. His buddy goes over the rise. Guy goes “Hey Mikey, where are you?” “My ball’s lost over here in the pussywillows! “Don’t swing!”
- So a guy’s out on the golf course, he’s with a friend of his. And the guy swings with everything he’s got, and the ball slices, and he hits his pal right in the crotch. So the guy, boom! Drops over. And ohhh, writhing on the ground in agony. He says “quick, quick, quick! Get me to the doctor, get me to the doctor!” They get him over and down to the doctor, he says “Doc, how bad is it? How bad is it? You don’t understand, I’m going to be married next week. We saved ourselves for each other. She’s a virgin, this has got to work. This has just got to work!” So the doctor says, “Well, you know, I could put it in a splint. That’ll, heal it, and it’ll keep it straight, and you know, next week, should be ok.” So the doctor takes out four of the tongue depressors and makes a nice little four-sided bandage, and he wires it all together. Looks pretty good! So the guy gets married, doesn’t mention anything to his girlfriend. They get off the plane, they’re in Hawaii, it’s the honeymoon night, everything is perfect. And boom, she rips open her blouse, she has this gorgeous set of breasts, and this was the first time he had seen them. She says “you’ll be the first one who’s ever touched these breasts.” So he sits there and he thinks, and he whips down his pants and says “look at this! It’s still in the crate!”
- There’s a middle-aged woman who had a heart attack, and she was taken to the hospital. And while she was on the operating table, she had a near-death experience. She saw the white light in the tunnel, and she got up to God, and she said “God, God, is my time up?” He said, “No, no, no, no, no, you’ve got, you’ve got like 40 years left.” “40 years?” “You’ve got 40 years left, says that right here in the book.” So upon hearing this, the light faded away and she kind of woke up, and said “40 years left? Hmm. I’m in the hospital, maybe I’ll get a little facelift, and some liposuction and a tummy tuck while I’m here. Alright, get ready for the rest, you know? Just change your hair color…” So a few days later, she got out, well, she was feeling great, right? She was crossing the street on the way back home, got hit by a car and killed. And she went back up to God, and said “I thought you said I had 40 years left!” And he says, “I didn’t recognize you!”