Twas The Christmassiest Night Before Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa time in Chad Riden's house

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

This is the first year since I converted. I’m Kwanzaa now. I figure: we’ve stolen everything else from black people, why not this? My family is still on Christmas and they expect material gifts, not the spiritual gifts I offer them. They say my gifts aren’t “real” and have no “value” but I think they’re “ungrateful” and acting like a “poopnami” (that’s a tsunami of poop, best expressed via the emoji combination: 💩🌊).

One year I offered my family the Gift of Song. I sang, “I have no gift for you ba-rum-pa-pum-pum. I am a broke ass comic ba-rum-pa-pum-pum. Lazy ass bum.” They enjoyed that about half as much as you just did.. but I believe it’s their fault for having materialistic expectations.

That was the year we started my favorite Riden family holiday tradition: a contest to see who ruins Christmas first. There’s no official score keeping, just a lot of passive aggressive, “well, it sounds like you’re trying to ruin Christmas” remarks and guesses as to who is in the lead. This isn’t constricted to Christmas, it works for every holiday or event. It’s like a rewards program for being awful.

I don’t think anyone who isn’t young enough to still believe in Santa Claus should expect gifts. When I want something, I just buy it for myself because I’m an adult (according to the court system). The expectation of gifts just because it’s a holiday leads to nothing but disappointment and debt. It leads to people rushing around on Christmas Eve, scrambling to buy stuff for people they barely know or care about.

$20 Gifty Gift Dipping SetThat’s why when you walk in the door, WalMart has a huge pile of Gift-Gifts – generic items that are focus group tested to let people know you spent $20 even though you put zero thought and effort into your purchase. It’s just $20 worth of Gift. Usually something like four crappy chili bowls with a packet of mix and a thing of oyster crackers. Stuff nobody wants or needs.

This includes the as-seen-on-tv novelty item. Snuggies, Singing Fish Plaques, Pocket Hoses, Pedicure Eggs, the Clapper. Whatever is piled up when you walk in the door at Walgreens. The modern day Pet Rocks that you give to people who you hope will think it’s SO dumb that it’s actually come full circle back around to being great.

All of these things are nothing more than a burden upon us, only benefiting our corporate overlords. Even brand new, still in the shrink wrap they’re nothing but Future Yard Sale Items. The best way to keep this crap from cluttering up your house is to drive directly to the Goodwill drop-off. If you’re lucky enough to have multiple Consumas gatherings with different groups, you could also re-wrap and re-gift immediately. Or if you have the storage space, you could save them and re-gift them next year right back to the same people.

A few years ago, my parents gave my brothers and I all the same gift: a dipping oil set with packs of bread sticks & some green bowls and an oil flask. It came in the classic Gift-Gift flat rectangle box shrink wrapped with all the items showing on one side so you know exactly how little the gift giver thinks of you as soon as the wrapping paper is off. I loaded it up in my car along with a pile of similar items and hauled it all home so it could collect dust and make me sad. This time, I busted the package open and used the stuff immediately. It was fine. The little dishes chipped very easily and were thrown away pretty quickly. I forgot all about it until next Christmas.

My brother Kirk had a better plan: he saved his dipping oil Gift-Gift. Next Christmas, we’re opening up gifts and our youngest brother Eric was delighted to find that he was now the owner of TWO dipping oil sets. Everybody thought this was hilarious except for my dad. “Now why is that funny? That’s a good gift!” Eric took the oil set home and packed it away.

The following year I was handed a nicely wrapped package – a box measuring about two feet by one foot by four inches. The shape seemed very familiar. This was a Gifty-Gift if I’ve ever seen one. The FROM tag said Eric was to blame. Guess what it was, everybody? The fabled dipping oil set. Again, everybody laughed except for my Dad. “You should be thankful! That looks cool!”

I stored the box and bided my time. Finally it was Christmassy time again and I couldn’t wait to do the Christmassiest thing I could Christmas up: I wrapped up the dipping oil in the most Christ-y wrapping paper I could find and stuck a bow on it and placed the gift under the plastic, snap-together artificial tree (just like Jesus would do). I sat down criss cross Indian sauce while the kids passed out the gifts to everybody. My dad was excited to see one from me, “Oooooh, this is from Chaaaaaaad!” He tore the wrapping paper away as everybody’s anticipation built.. but when he uncovered Ye Olde Dipping Oil Kit, the explosion of laughter confused him and made him a little mad. “Well I don’t care what people think, *I* appreciate it. Thank you, son.”

People continued opening gifts until everybody was all gifted out. Foods were being fired up left and right but before anybody knew what was happening my dad had opened up the dipping oil package and was attempting to eat it. He was crushed to learn that the bread sticks crumbled to dust at the slightest touch. The cork in the oil flask had rotted. The oil was nowhere to be found. Was it soaked into the cardboard? Had it somehow evaporated? None of us were science-y enough to figure it out. Dad just didn’t understand why were were all so disappointed that he’d opened the box. It was one of the only traditions we had and it was over. People started speculating about who was ruining Christmas the most.

Was it dad’s fault for opening the box? Was it my fault for giving it to my dad? Were my brothers ruining Christmas by trying to make ME out as the one ruining Christmas? Was I ruining Christmas by turning their accusations back around to them? Was my daughter ruining Christmas by pointing out that we’re all ruining Christmas? All I knew was Christmas was ruined and I could never celebrate again. So now I’m Kwanzaa. I spend the holiday drumming and reciting the African Pledge and the Principles of Blackness, lighting kinara candles and doing other fun stuff with corn and whatnot.

I tell people they don’t need to get me gifts and I really mean it. To me, the best gift is the gift of no gifts. If people insist on getting me something, I tell them: I take cash, PayPal, BitCoin and pictures and leave only footprints and the faint scent of cheap swill & beef jerky. Jack Frost chillin’, the hawk is out, and that’s what Chad Riden is all about.

Kwanzaa time in Chad Riden's house

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stand-up video: #lifehack: how to scam a new Nintendo 3DS XL for cheap

Chad Riden at Zanies 7/30/2014

Chad Riden’s story about scamming a new Nintendo 3DSXL on a minimum budget. Recorded at Zanies in Nashville July 30, 2014.

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stand-up video: I’m the reason America is F#@KED – 9/18/2013

Chad Riden at Zanies 9/18/2013

Recorded at Zanies Nashville 9/18/2013 for Comedy Central’s UP NEXT Competition.

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Chad Riden on The Daily Show – June 5, 2013

Chad Riden on The Daily Show

Here’s the video of my appearance on The Daily Show June 5, 2013: “Care Bearers: Jessica Williams investigates America’s “health belt” and its rejection of expanded Medicaid coverage.”

Some still photos from the video:

Chad Riden on The Daily Show

Chad Riden on The Daily Show

Chad Riden on The Daily Show

Chad Riden on The Daily Show

Chad Riden on The Daily Show

Chad Riden on The Daily Show

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stand-up video: guy puts plate of chicken on stage, comedian eats it

Chad Riden at Zanies Feb. 18, 2013

Don’t put stuff up on the stage. I’ll eat it.

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Scary Ghost (Halloween trick or treat sketch)

Scary Ghost – watch more funny videos
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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-10-06

  • Nothing like a car wash to remind you that little kids are terrible at washing cars & pretty much everything. #
  • you are delicious, @twix.. but when your commercial says, (blah blah) "..on to cookie.." I want to bash in the head of the voiceover guy. #
  • if you ever need to get pumped up on a Monday morning, just listen to the Team America soundtrack. #
  • When end-of-neighborhood'ers speed past my house, I imagine them crashing into their own houses and dying in the fire. #TheSecret #
  • I love this: The Phone Stacking Game // RT @HuffPostComedy: This game changes everything #
  • October 1, 2012 beard update #
  • I'm on this show RT @nsup: "the thinking man’s hillbilly" @BillyWayneDavis at @ZaniesNashville ONE SHOW ONLY! Wed, 10/3 #
  • Drew Barrymore named her daughter Olive. Future drink-garnish-named siblings might be called: Orange Peel, Lime Twist, Coctail Umbrella.. #
  • sounds like lunch at my house RT @bdonahueweedman: RT @NC5: Ky. Restaurant Closed After Bringing In Road Kill #
  • :( #
  • listening to "The Evil Empire Of Everything," the awesome new Public Enemy album. Good job @MrChuckD! Get it now: #
  • tonight at @ZaniesNashville with @BillyWayneDavis at 7:30! call 615-269-0221 & ask for the "Chad Riden discount" (none) #
  • after @ZaniesNashville, we're all going to @SpringwaterNash for the Dive Laughing mic at 9:30, which is consistently the funnest mic in town #
  • Tonight is my 3rd consecutive night of local comedy shows. Will I get drunk enough to tell the ladies to "drop that hero and get w/ this 0?" #
  • Someone asked me to be her sugar daddy. Answer is YES so long as you accept as a substitute the Sweet-n-Low packets I took from IHOP. #
  • Are "gingers" are the last group of people you can still get away with disparaging for something they can't control? @JAustinJohnson = bully #
  • Beard update, Thursday October 4, 2012: less homeless? #
  • I haven't seen any clips of this "Nashville" show on ABC, but I'm pretty sure I already hate it a lot. @nashvillescene #
  • I had a fun night last night.. right up until I saw @LeeRoyDiggler eat biscuit and gravy with his bare hands. Some things can't be un-seen. #
  • ads talking about how great the iPhone 5's ear buds are is like making ads about how great the floor-mats are in a new Mercedes. #
  • I need someone to dog-sit for me next week. if any of you stalkers wanna come in out of the yard into the house, this is the perfect chance. #
  • Turns out I'm going to need somebody's help keeping this Franzia nozzle in my butt-hole. I can't do that AND work the valve. #GoVols #
  • just remembered that I dropped the mic @ChrisRock style after a particularly satisfying round of Drunk DefJam RapStar Monday night. #single #
  • I'm at Red Rooster (Nashville, TN) w/ 2 others #
  • Prince's Hot Chicken Shack opens at 2pm today. Who is down, Nashville? Bring Tums and bring cash. #
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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-09-29

  • you tell 'em, sassy britches! #
  • yeay! @NashvilleComedy Comic's Lunch w/ @maryjayberger & whoever else shows up: NOON today at @NashFarmMarket. Be there, suckas! #
  • what's with these kids taking alcohol rectally? just an excuse for ass-play? BACK IN MY DAY we drank booze with our GD mouths like MEN. #
  • . @MittRomney reminds me of @DannyDeVito's character in "Other People's Money." (video) #
  • .@CalliaRiden just tagged the end of a Chuck E. Cheese commercial's: "where kids can be a kid" with: "..for $30 an hour." So proud. #
  • RT @PaulinaGC: Now I miss the trifectas at Steve's. #beard #glasses #hoodie // if you spot a trifecta wearing plaid, you automatically win. #
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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-09-22

  • I'm glad you guys are here to keep us all updated on how those sports events are going. HOW ELSE WOULD WE EVER KNOW? #
  • .@JesseIsTerrific you misunderstand! I'm being sincere. How would I ever follow sports if it weren't for the updates from random people? in reply to JesseIsTerrific #
  • I LOVE my TN Vols, but I HATE watching games live and do not enjoy them on tv or radio, so before social media I had no way to get updates. #
  • When I watch sports I wonder, "did that just happen? I better check social media for confirmation from people who saw the exact same thing." #
  • so Romney is addicted to porn. RT @radleybalko Anti-porn crusader says top Romney advisor told him Romney intends to "launch a war on porn." #
  • I don't hate sports as much as I LOVE it when someone is upset that their team lost. My dream is that they ALL could lose, all the time. #
  • Hey everybody who is all pissed off that their favorite sports team lost, try not giving a shit. Benefits: reduced stress & more free time. #
  • have people started equating having a HUGE phone with having a TINY penis yet? #
  • .@NSup's @NashvilleComedy Comics' Lunch! Today at NOON at the Farmer's Market food court thing! Be there, or suck it! #
  • Finally getting my ass implants! (@ Vanderbilt Health (One Hundred Oaks)) #
  • I'm at Hooters (Hermitage, TN) #
  • All of my dick jokes are for the glory of The Lord. // RT @Ashley_Corby: Telling jokes for Jesus with @ChadRiden #
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  • I have the fashion sense of an invalid chimp, but I do know that your high-waisted shorts look unflattering and stupid, Ladies. #
  • I've always heard Cokes were healthy! WTF! // RT @Reuters: Studies show stronger link between soda and obesity #
  • Guys! I just found a piece of papyrus that says Jesus thinks you're all ridiculous. #
  • Just found an outline for a YardFlix show 10 years ago when I did "Interpretive Christian Breakdancing" to a #
  • "Hookers plus champagne equals hilarious comedy" #
  • Look! A photo from way back in the day when the @nsup Tuesday mic had real AUDIENCES! #
  • Old publicity photos (from 2003?) of me pretending to cry and/or snort a microphone? Awful. #
  • I'm at Starbucks Coffee (Manchester, TN) #
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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-09-15

  • I haven't read Revelations lately but I'm pretty sure ‎"shirtless dudes" is one of the plagues of the apocalypse. #
  • It sounds like you guys have totally forgotten about The Alamo, Pearl Harbor and the Charmin. #NeverForget #
  • Why does everybody keep talking about 1991 made for tv drama "Never Forget" starring Leonard Nimoy? #TNTFORLIFE #
  • #fuhgeddaboudit #
  • They say, "everything happens for a reason." I think that's true, but sometimes that reason is: "because Daddy drinks." #
  • I need new pants. Fashion-aware people in Nashville, where do I go? I want to look nice but not gay or trendy. Goodwill is all I know. Help. #
  • .@Jest included me in this thing: "New Subreddit: Stand-Up Comedy In Screencaps (it's like Louis C.K. but faster)" in reply to Jest #
  • "All I want out of life is the new Wii.." #StandUpShots #Wii #WiiU #
  • no but my pals @stuckeymurray have the fuxedo: //RT @CorporateJugger point me in the direction of a crotchless tuxedo? #
  • I hope my anti- anti-Islam-film film isn't misconstrued somehow. #
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