|The unusually odorous town of Stinkwater, Colorado has been suffering from numerous setbacks in recent months. And even comedian Josh Banter can’t find a whole lot to laugh about.|
“I used to have a great time, making fun of the ridiculous people living here in Stinkwater — especially the town leaders and the other folks who took themselves too seriously. But lately, the yucks have simply dried up,” Banter told the Post, speaking from the stoop of one of the town’s many vacant buildings on Main Street.
“It’s just not funny anymore.”
To look at Banter — a former Nebraskan with unruly red hair, an oversized nose and an equally oversized ego — one might be tempted to laugh anyway. But Banter is serious about not being funny.
“We had a Thursday night comedy club — just a bunch of local misfits who met at my house, you know, on Thursday nights — and we used to split a gut talking about the water district, for instance. I mean, how silly is that, to buy a $20 million dry valley with no water and proposed to build a reservoir there. We used to fall off our chairs over than one. Did I mention it was on Thursdays?”
Banter was not joking about the group being misfits in the Stinkwater social scene. Two of them were gay, one was from Paris, one had six fingers on one hand, and the other two had college educations. “I mean, we didn’t fit in at all. But that was something we loved about the whole club.”
Unfortunately, as Stinkwater's retirement-town economy began to struggle as a result of the national housing downturn, things went from bad to worse.
“The shops downtown started closing like Venus Flytraps outside a Louisiana outhouse. Then the fees for everything started to skyrocket like — like — well, like a skyrocket.”
Banter was working part-time as a school janitor, but the schools started losing students at a rapid rate.
“The number of kids dropped so low that we didn’t need to clean the schools except maybe once a week. I tried to laugh it off when they fired me for spreading trash around the cafeteria just so I’d have something to do. But the laughter started to sound hollow. You know what I mean? Hollow sounding? Kinda like this.”
Banter gave a laugh that sounded so hollow, it made my dental fillings ache.
“I finally resorted to attending church, figuring that there ought to be some good laughs there, at least. But the minister decided he could make more money in Africa as a missionary.”
“I could chuckle away as the real estate market tanked, I could chortle when the County went bankrupt, I could snicker at the people going out of business, I could howl at the potholes in the street, as the roads went to hell.”
“But when the comedy club shut down, I just couldn’t grin, guffaw, snort, cackle or simper any longer.”
Ha, ha, ha. The guy was a crack up. He oughta be doing standup in a big city somewhere. Like maybe Ignacio.