I'm the man of this house! . . . until you get home.
What I say goes around here! . . . right out the window.
This excerpt is characteristic of "The Man Song," a much-requested radio hit by comic Sean Morey, who plays a two-night stand at the Tempe Improv on Tuesday and Wednesday. It's also characteristic of Morey's Barcalounger-comfortable comedy, most of which is built on that standup staple, the Détente of the Sexes.
Morey started out in Boston in the '70s, working his way to a regular Friday gig at the Charles Playhouse before trying his luck in Los Angeles. After winning the Southern California Comedy Competition in 1979, he ended up on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show -- he's since appeared on Jay Leno's version -- then spent the '80s sharing bills with a wide assortment of performers, ranging from Crystal Gayle to Ray Charles to Richard Pryor to George Carlin to Jewel to Robert Goulet. He's also appeared on TV on America's Funniest Home Videos and NBC's The Big Show.
Morey's main claim to fame, however, is one of his more conventional pieces, "The Man Song," a list of machismo assertions followed by dying-fall deflations that lights up phone lines with requests at radio stations all over the country whenever it's played. He's even written a sequel, "The Woman's Song," with lyrics like:I am woman hear me roar! . . . if you don't open the door.
I can do anything that a man can do! . . . but I don't have to.
or:I'm not afraid to ask for directions! . . . because I can't fold a map.
Pretty standard stuff, of course, but there are some inspired bits in the Morey oeuvre -- like his riff on the injustice of life's arc: "The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A death. What's that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you live in an old-age home. You get kicked out when you're too young, you get a gold watch, you got to work. You work 40 years until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement! You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school! You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months floating . . . you finish off as a gleam in somebody's eye!"
Sounds good, at that.