Where would we be in our day and age without great men of mustaches in our workforces? Probably swimming in a pool of hairless queermosexuals, that’s where! Now aside from Tom Selleck and Ron Burgundy I don’t think I’ve seen a more manly mustache than the one on Paul F. Tompkins. And since we all know the average mustache makes thirty cents more per hour than sideburns and soulpatches it may surprise you that Tompkins was ever woefully underemployed.
Ah misfortune! The mistress of humor.
You might remember Paul F. Tompkins from VH1’s (no seriously, stop laughing) Best Week Ever, Comedy Central Presents, or Real Time with Bill Maher. And for you movie buffs perhaps you remember the Oscar winning film, There Will Be Blood starring the back of his head. The latter credit being a most dubious story of the many bad jobs that Tompkins has had throughout his career.
From the stand-up bubble of the late 80s to betamax rental stores and failed acting gigs the audience is in stitches over the misery that often besets the chasing of dreams. Or even the stupidity. Take Tompkins’ first job at a hat store named “Hats in the Bellfry.” On two occasions in his brief stint, Tompkins had patrons ask for “that king hat.” While letting these words echo Tompkins shows the audience a most confounded face. “You mean a crown?” he says with biting sarcasm. “It’s not like we don’t have a word for that.”
Or take Tompkins own stupidity. While working at a video rental store in the early ‘90s, Paul develops a sudden onset of VHS kleptomania. The rationalization for which he explains as, “They expect [people in retail] to steal. That’s why they pay so little.” After a couple months in which he confesses that he took “two to three videos a shift,” he was confronted by the manager and promptly fired.
Then of course there was the time that Tompkins was invited to a reading of P.T. Anderson’s script of Magnolia. When being handed the script thirty minutes before he was to read he described it as “the size of the phone book.” And further adds, “I don’t know if you ever seen Magnolia but the concept is, everybody in the phonebook starts talking to each other.” Paul’s reading turns out to be as reliable as AT&T’s cellphone coverage—riddled with dropped lines and awkward silences.
Laboring Under Delusions premiered on Comedy Central on April 21st and is now available in CD and DVD format. The DVD comes with the full extended version not seen on TV, an entire commentary—Tompkins talking as a parodied version of a director—and a special encore presentation including piano riffs and a revised pilgrim history lesson. You can follow Tompkins and his mustache at his website http://www.paulftompkins.com and on Twitter @PFTompkins.
About the Author: Nate Rankin writes Comedy Reviews and Fiction because no one taught him any better. His fiction has been featured by Workers Writes, theNewerYork! and Used Gravitrons and is forthcoming in The Green Blotter. His work can be seen here: http://iamseamus.tumblr.com/writing You can find him on the Tweety Box @CommanderSeamus If you'd like to submit a review inquiry please send to nrankin22[at]gmail[dot]com