Comedian turns to writing to share humor
By Denise Baran-Unland For The Herald-News June 21, 2012 1:02PM
"The World is Shallow: That's Why I Never Learned to Swim," is a slightly autobiographical novel by former Shorewood resident Thomas Meisinger. | submitted photo
Updated: July 23, 2012 6:01AM
At the beginning of Thomas Meisinger’s comedic, slightly autobiographical novel, “The World Is Shallow; That’s Why I Never Learned How to Swim,” Meisinger, formerly of Shorewood, posted an unusual dedication to his grandmother.
Meisinger: “What was your favorite part of watching me perform standup comedy?”
Grandma: “ I liked when you told the jokes.”
Meisinger, who first entered the comedy circuit in 2009, discovered that, after moving to Missouri for a job, his adult-themed, dry and sarcastic sense of humor had little demand. So Meisinger decided writing and self-publishing a story might be a more effective way to deliver it.
“When you’re bombing, performing is awful but you can’t just walk off the stage,” Meisinger said. “If you’re a writer and you suck, you can just ignore the reviews.”
“The World Is Shallow; That’s Why I Never Learned How to Swim” is the story of Chicagoan Jimmy Eichelberger, who grew up on the city’s North Side surrounded by three generations of women and a workaholic father who accuses him of being a homosexual.
After graduating college with a “useless degree,” Jimmy gravitates toward stand-up comedy, but retreats to Missouri when a fellow performer steals his ideas. Alone and without the limelight, Jimmy begins soul searching and learns that, to truly love his neighbor, he must first learn to love himself.
Meisinger enjoyed the process of producing a novel, but he is uncertain if he’ll ever complete another. However, he remains busy with quite a few other writing projects. One blog, “Penguins are Pretentious” (www.penguinsarepretentious.blogspot.com), is a “hodgepodge of honest ideas, opinions and experiences,” while another, “Bacon, Eggs and Whiskey” (www.baconeggsandwhiskey.blogspot.com), is a bachelor’s guide to living.
His third blog, “Dear Grandma Margie,” (www.deargrandmamargie.blogspot.com) is a series of fictitious, humorous letters Meisinger wrote to his own grandmother. He hopes to publish the collection of letters in time for her 88th birthday, which is March 24. Meisinger is also working on two short stories.
One is a benefit for those affected by the 2011 Joplin, Mo., tornado. It revolves around a teen boy assessing his needs and wants following the tragedy. The second story is a historical fiction piece concerning the drug scene on Chicago’s South Side and suburbs.
Finally, although some individuals might find it surprising, Meisinger also guest blogs for a pastor friend.
“People don’t always get that I’m a Christian, especially at the beginning of the book, because my humor is edgier,” Meisinger said. “But I think that’s more honest than sugar coating stuff.”
“The World Is Shallow; That’s Why I Never Learned How to Swim” costs $4.99 and available as an eBook only on Amazon, iTunes, Lulu and Nook. Follow the book on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheWorldIsShallowThatsWhyINeverLearnedHowToSwim.