On the cynic's side of the street
"Street musicians are a treasure. Make a small donation, then tell them they suck."
"Learn to fake enthusiasm."
"Make yourself a hot fudge sundae, then eat it in bed. You fat piece of shit."
If these sentiments strike you as perverse twists on the sort of syrupy exhortations found in all those so-called inspirational tomes clogging up the nation's bookshelves, then you're on the wavelength of comic Mario DiGiorgio. Or perhaps you've already picked up his self-published A Cynic's Guide to a Rich and Full Life at BookPeople, Flipnotics, or another local outlet. Some 1,500 folks have in the last 10 months not exactly New York Times bestsellers list numbers, but enough to interest a legit press in a sequel and to draw new fans to DiGiorgio's stand-up gigs, such as the one this week at Cap City Comedy Club, where the 1999 Funniest Person in Austin is co-headlining with Minneapolis rising star Kjell Bjorgen. The Chronicle caught up with the self-described cynic for some tips on looking at life through coal-colored glasses.
Austin Chronicle: What act of human inadequacy pushed you to write the guide?
Mario DiGiorgio: Well, let's see when's the last time you went out in public? I waited tables for nearly a decade. That much hard time in the service industry would make Gandhi lose faith in humanity. Especially in school, when I would wait on spoiled future Republicans spending Dad's money and treating you like a servant. People would actually snap their fingers to "fetch" a waiter.
AC: What advice do you have for the budding cynic?
MD: Get a job at Vulcan Video. I'm kidding. I love getting judgmental sneers and scoffs from bearded emo kids when I'm in the mood to rent tragically unhip flicks like Back to the Future. Seriously, though, nip the urge right away. It's become cliché to hate everything, and you'll make yourself miserable.
AC: Let's see: a popular book, headlining at Cap City, exposure on Comedy Central, for a cynic, your career is doing all right. Where do you see yourself in, say, 30 years?
MD: Out of breath from complaining.