Will Franken Cannot Smoke Here.

From time to time we have some of our favorite comedians/writers provide guest posts for our loyal readers. Here now we have a tale from comedian Will Franken’s baseball adventure with our very own Ben Hill. This blog originally appeared on Will’s MySpace page.


Fucking cocksucking motherfuckers!

I got dragged out of Shea Stadium tonight in the middle of the 5th fucking inning!

Six fucking security guards! Two for each arm and four to tell me on the way out–“If you come back in the stadium, we’re gonna arrest you for trespassing!”

You wanna know what happened?


I’m at Shea Stadium tonight with my friend Ben, watching the Mets play the Nationals. Top of the 5th inning, game tied at 0-0, I go out to the concourse to have a cigarette.

A Long Island guy in his mid-twenties asks to bum one and we commiserate over the railing about how pathetic the city has become when you can’t smoke a fucking cigarette at Shea motherfucking Stadium.

Back when I lived in New York the first time, the smoking rules at Shea had just gone into effect, but nobody listened. That’s what is–or WAS–beautiful about New York, especially within the outer boroughs: the characteristic New York defiance of bullshit regulations.

Especially if you were sitting in the upper decks at Shea. You lit up and it was an unspoken thing, you know?

“I won’t say anything about that guy sneaking in his own alcohol and he won’t say anything about me having a cigarette and NOBODY is going to say anything about the Dominican and the Puerto Rican in the top row kicking the shit out of each other.”

New Yorkers–REAL New Yorkers–know that the smoking laws are bullshit. That’s why the smoking laws in New York were thrust upon New Yorkers from upper-class cunts in Albany who have no connection to the reality, the grit and grime, the textbook definition of the true, unhygienic and deliciously ugly New York experience. The smoking laws weren’t voted into being by the people of New York. New Yorkers–not health-conscious NYU students, not indie hipsters in Williamsburg, not Albany politicians–REAL New Yorkers–do not vote this sort of bullshit into practice.

It has to be forced into existence from on high like Disney was into Times Square. Or the ban on transfats was most recently into New York City restaurants.

So this Long Island guy and myself are commisserating as we smoke, looking over the parking lot from the upper deck concourse railing, like I say.

“What the fuck happened to this city?” I ask him, “It’s got no balls anymore.”

“Fuckin’ Bloomberg,” he says, referring to the mayor. Then he tells me how earlier in the parking lot he got a ticket for pissing in public. “Fuckin’ guy didn’t even see me piss. He just saw the puddle, you know? $50 dollar ticket. Now I gotta come all the way back here to go to court over this shit.”

“Fuck that,” I say, “Don’t go to court. Throw that fucker in the trash. You gotta piss, you gotta piss.”

“No, man, I gotta go to court.”

He did have a point. The guy probably has more to lose than I do. Hell, most people do. He probably has a car, a house, a girlfriend. I don’t really know what they can do if you don’t show up to court for a “pissing in public” ticket. But me–I don’t really have anything to lose anymore. What are they going to do to me? Cut my hand off? Or my dick? We don’t have Islamic sharia law out here. . .


As we talk, we’re both starting to get a little paranoid about our cigarettes. We see the orange and blue-jacketed stadium guards milling around the concourse. There’s a big “No Smoking” sign off in the distance. But those signs. . .to me. . .well, they’re bullshit. This is a concourse in a baseball stadium. Our hands are over the railing. The way I see it–I’m making too many concessions to bullshit global health indoctrination as it is. That’s all they’re getting from me. I’m having this motherfucking cigarette, you know?

Still, whenever we see a guard coming up the concourse, we “cup” our cigarettes. “Cupping” is what smokers do when they don’t want agents of a nanny state riding their ass. You sort of curl the cigarette up into your palm a bit and wait for them to pass.

“Watch out, man”, we say, “cup it. Here comes one.”

We’re about halfway into our cigarettes, my newfound friend and myself, and we’re swapping more stories about thwarted freedom and global groupthink. (Although we’re keeping it nice and colloquial, avoiding heavy terms like “thwarted freedom” and “global groupthink”)

“Man,” I recall, “the first time I went to California, I went to a bar in Los Angeles and lit up and the bartender says ‘no smoking’. A fucking bar? And now they import this west coast bullshit out here? What the fuck happened to this city?”

“Shit,” he says, “they kicked my bro’ out earlier for having a fucking can of beer he brought in. Said they were gonna arrest him for trespassing if he came back. Fucking prices they charge for beer here? It’s all about Bloomberg and the fucking money.”

“Fuckin’ A,” I agree.

Then, to my left, appears the first one. A square-jawed, broad-shouldered, bushy-browed, orange and blue-jacketed security guard.

In a thick Italian-American accent he says to the Long Island guy, “I need to see your ticket.”

Then he turns to me, “And I need to see your ticket.”

The Long Island guy drops his cigarette and shows the guard his ticket, but I had left mine back in my bag with Ben. “I gotta go back to my seat to get mine.”

“Put out your cigarette,” he says.

“Jesus fucking Christ,” I sigh and start to flick it over the railing.

“Not there, on the ground in front of you.”

“Jesus fucking Christ,” I say, dropping it at my feet.

“Where’s your ticket?”

“Jesus fucking Christ, I just told you. It’s back in my seat. I gotta go get it.”

“No, you’re not gonna get it. There’s no smoking anywhere in the stadium. You two are gonna come over here to the elevator with me.”

The Long Island guy isn’t saying anything. I get the feeling he’s been through this before at other ballgames. But I’m pissed. I had half a cigarette to go and I wanted to see the rest of the game and here’s this asshole–he SOUNDS like a tough New Yorker, he LOOKS like a tough New Yorker, he ACTS like a tough New Yorker.

So why is he so goddamn serious about such a pussy regulation?

At this point, I’m really pissed. But for the hell of it, I make a feeble attempt at lying. “Look, we didn’t know you couldn’t smoke here.”

“There’s a big sign right over there. Come on, let’s go.”

“I didn’t see it.”

“This is why we make announcements about not smoking in the stadium. Now, come on.”

“Fuck man, we’re right next to Laguardia! We got planes flying overhead, people doing the wave, they’re playing ‘We Will Rock You’ on the PA–you think I’m really paying attention for non-smoking announcements?”

Then he grabs my arm. “Let’s go. . .now!”

“Get your fucking hands off me!”

Then the other one appears. This is one is much bigger with a real stringy goatee and slicked-back hair in a pony tail. He takes the other arm.

“How the fuck am I supposed to get my bag? I got a friend in there!”

“You got a cellphone, you can call him on your cellphone,” says the first guard.

“I’m going back in there to get my fucking bag!”

“You’re going on the elevator is what you’re gonna do,” says the second guard.

“What is this California bullshit?” I plead, thinking that the mere mention of California will evoke some latent east coast nostalgia and they’ll let me return to the game, realizing the error of their ways, scorning themselves for compromising their municipal heritage. Who knows? Perhaps they may even let me have a cigarette.

Of course, this is all fantasy. Just as with nations and states, cities are blindly prostituting out their identities everyday to globalization. But I try anyway: “I was smoking over the fucking railing! It’s outside! Jesus fucking Christ, can’t you see? It doesn’t hurt anybody! At all! It’s a big fucking lie! This is Shea fucking Stadium! The fucking Mets! What’s going on here?”

And then we get to the elevator. The first guard lets go of the arm he’s holding and presses the down button. I take the opportunity to pull out my phone. “I’m not getting on that fucking elevator until I call my friend and tell him what the fuck’s going on.”

They don’t answer. The first guard pulls out a walkie-talkie and starts speaking some mumbo-jumbo into it. So with my free hand, I dial Ben.

He answers, “Hello?”

“Hey, man,” I say, “I’m getting kicked out for smoking, can you believe this shit?”

“Are you serious?” he asks.

“Fucking ridiculous, man. What the fuck happened to this city?”

The elevator doors open and inside are four more burly orange and blue-jacketed guards waiting to escort the Long Island guy and myself downstairs and out of the stadium. Where they came from, I don’t know. I guess that’s the magic of walkie-talkie communication. Meanwhile, the Long Island guy, passively accepting his fate, steps on of his own accord and watches as the pony-tailed guard pulls at my arm and I pull back in an impromptu tug-o-war.

“I’m not going to get any fucking reception in there! You’re gonna have to wait!”

The first guard grabs my elbow, the one holding the phone, and he and pony-tail succeed in yanking me into the elevator. He lets go of my elbow again, presses the button and the doors close.

“Hey, Ben, are you still there? I’m probably gonna lose reception, but I got my bag up there and–”

Before I can continue, all four of the new guards start shouting at me almost simultaneously.

“If you come back in the stadium tonight, we’re going to arrest you for tresspassing!” shouts one.

“There’s no smoking anywhere in the stadium!” shouts another.

“We’ve got signs posted on every level!” shouts another.

“Didn’t you hear the announcements about not smoking?” shouts even yet another.

I’ve always hated it when people shout at me. My father used to do that when I was a kid. That used to really suck. But four security guards in an elevator at once is REALLY over the top. Especially when you’re trying to have a telephone conversation.

“I am on the FUCKING PHONE! Will you shut the fuck up?”

They don’t. They just continue shouting about smoking and rules and signs and announcements. So I shout into the phone.

“Hey Ben, can you still hear me? These assholes won’t shut up!” No answer. I close the phone. “See, I told you! There’s no fucking reception in here!”

One of the new guards shouts once again, “If you come back in the stadium tonight, we’re going to arrest–”

“I HEARD YOU THE FIRST FUCKING TIME! Don’t worry! I’m not coming back to this bullshit! What the fuck happened to this city? This city has no fucking balls anymore! Fucking castrated! Fucking California bullshit! No fucking freedom of choice anymore!”

I continue to rave on about castration and the “old New York” and anything else my self-righteous subconscious deems fit to hurl at them. And they return with more shouting about signs and smoking and rules and laws and getting arrested and blah-de-fucking-blah.

The elevator doors open and the Long Island guy steps off and I get dragged out by the first guard and pony-tail. Eventually, they let go of me and I keep walking into the open air just outside the press gate. They follow me for a few yards to make sure I’m actually leaving and I yell as I walk backwards–“Fucking castrated city! No fucking balls anymore! Fucking California bullshit!”

Two blonde girls in black Mets jerseys are watching all this unfold from the nearby parking lot.

I yell a few more times to the guards who are now turning away to go chase after more ner’do’wells and rapscallions.


One of the blonde girls asks, “What are you talking about? This is New York!”


The the Long Island guy comes up to me and asks to bum another cigarette.

“Aw, fuck man. I can’t. I only have three left now.”

At that point, I notice this hot Latina chick ranting on a cell phone about how she was kicked out for smoking. “They fucking threw me out for having a fucking cigarette!” she says into her phone.

I get really turned on. I start to wonder if she has a boyfriend. Angry young white men like myself who are involved in the arts don’t really get to meet a lot of chicks who believe in freedom of choice. So that’s pretty sexy. But then her boyfriend shows up and away they go, ranting about what bullshit this all is. Still. . .she leaves a nice visual impression of fiery Latina defiance to jack off to later.

I call Ben and he comes down with my bag and we head over to Jackson Heights to get a cup of coffee. I tell the ladies at the Dunkin Donuts that I was kicked out of Shea Stadium, hoping I can get a discount or a free donut for my misfortune. They express remorse at my story–but I still have to pay full price. I tell Ben that I should have told the guards that I had a baby in there. Not a bag. They probably would have let me go back in to look for a baby.

“Hmmm. I don’t know what happened. I left the baby right here under this seat. Hmmm. Well, why don’t I sit down and wait for him? I’m sure he’ll crawl back here during the 7th inning stretch.”

Motherfucking cocksucking asshole babies. Gotta do everything for the fucking children! Gotta watch our second hand smoke for the motherfucking children! Gotta curb our freedoms for the cocksucking children! Let’s all be little babies about smoking for the fucking children! FUCKING ROMPER ROOM BULLSHIT!

And you wanna know what’s really sad about this whole story? As Ben and I are walking away from Shea Stadium, I look back at the NEW STADIUM that they’re building right next to Shea Stadium. I don’t know what it’s going to be called. Dot-Com Park. Citi-Industrial Park. Money-Business Park. Who fucking cares? That’s not the point.

The point is–they’re going to TEAR DOWN SHEA STADIUM this year and build some piece of shit cookie-cutter corporate park in its place.

The same Shea Stadium that the Beatles played their legendary concert at in 1965. The same Shea Stadium of the 1969 World Series. The same Shea Stadium where Bill Buckner let Mookie Wilson’s slow roller roll right past him, helping the Mets roll on to a 1986 World Series victory two nights later. THAT IS BEING TORN DOWN!!!!!!

And that’s not important to anybody.

History being paved over by nameless, faceless corporate conglomerates is not important.

What’s important is that the air outside the upper deck concourse railing of the original Shea Stadium is kept nice and clean.

For all the hypothetical children that will grow up to attend the games in the nearby antiseptic, corporate-sponsored, “green friendly” bastardization of a real New York ballpark.




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