Standup comedy is a far more ancient artform than has been previously imagined. A team of archeologists have excavated a cave in Southern Italy that housed the remains of a Neanderthal open micer they call Louie.
The petrified corpse was named after both Lucy, an Australopithecus skeleton discovered in Ethiopia in 1974, and a current day caveman comedian, who was recently rediscovered on stage at the Comedy Cellar like it was no big deal that he did what he did.
Here are some key takeaways from the archaeology team’s article that was just published in Prehistory Review:
- Louie covered his cave walls with setlists. Obviously, writing had not been invented yet, so it isn’t so much joke names as joke pictographs. Examples include being stuck behind traffic on the way to a bison hunt, dumb relatives, and row after row of prehistoric dicks.
- The floor of the cave was littered with fast food, such as rabbits, mice, and salamanders, as well as sock-shaped furs that tested positive for semen.
- Dirt between his petrified toenails suggests Louie left his family’s cave around twenty-five, moved to the Big Cave to chase his dreams, failed, but was too ashamed to move back in with his parents so he found the shittiest cave he could afford (to defend from bears).
- Louie’s comedy stylings changed over time. The earliest images on the walls are short one-liners, like circles or squares, but then he started adding bits, like bits of berry paste or even fecal matter, and finally he graduated to Moth-style stories. Their wings are all over the place.
- His health is even more proof Louie was a comic. His liver was enlarged from two-drink minimums of naturally fermented apples and his lungs were shrunken from social smoking of rolled up tubes of lichen. His heart was one size too big for his proto-Jeselnik stage persona.
- Louie was not above using prop comedy. He had a big rock that he used to smash watermelons and hecklers.
- There is no evidence that a woman who wasn’t his mother ever stepped foot in Louie’s cave. But at least one other traveling caveman comedian slept on his couch. He was apparently much funnier than Louie since his skull fragments reveal he got bashed behind his back.
- Like most comedians, at a certain point, Louie wanted to branch out into emotions other than laughter and fear of fire. The youngest section of his cave wall setlist shows a move towards autobiographical dramedy – a caveman draws airplane jokes on a wall, sleeps with a quirky cavewoman who is way out of his league, and then she cheats on him with a business Cro-Magnon.
- True to his craft to the end, Louie died clutching the femur of a roe deer, which appears to have been worn down over time by hand sweat and blowjob mimicry. It was his microbone.*
* That pun isn’t very good but it’s probably better than anything a caveman could come up with.