“THERE ARE ALWAYS GOING TO BE WOMEN IN RUBBER FLIRTING WITH ME, GIMME A BREAK!” Is something a professional actress just screamed with total sincerity in front of an audience full of mesmerized, giving-a-shit people, none of whom immediately exploded with the kind of laughter your brain reserves only for when you accidentally walk into a mortuary and see Barney the Dinosaur giving Ronald McDonald the most enthusiastic blowjob he’s ever received, and who were taking her, and the rest of the cast of Rent, completely fucking seriously, and relating to them big-time.

Please somebody explain Broadway musicals to me. Because I obviously don’t get them. At all. It’s not their fault, it’s mine. I am either physically incapable of feeling the emotions these people are clearly trying very hard, loud, and with maximum cartoonish flamboyance to make me feel—because trust me, it isn’t poetry when I say that all I can think of when I see them is Barney the Children’s Dinosaur—or I just don’t get it on even a basic level. What EXACTLY am I supposed to feel. And why don’t I feel it. Am I feeling it? Are you sincere. Or a joke? Because nobody besides me is laughing. Who has these emotions. How does what you’re doing right now evoke, then satisfy, these baffling emotions in others. How is what you’re doing right now not a hilarious parody of just the most embarrassingly stupid thing there ever was. This isn’t criticism or judgement, this is me asking for help. Google won’t help me. I am not at all ashamed to admit in public that I am too stupid to understand and enjoy the vocabulary of one of the most popular artforms in America.

And it’s not a gay thing. Everybody loves musicals. Gay, straight, it’s a secret, who cares. It’s not that. I am perfectly capable of communicating with gay people without cringing after just twenty seconds and clawing the sensory organs right out of my very body, and I do so with great relish, pleasure, and satisfaction as often as I can with the many bouncy homosexuals I am thrilled and honored to call my dear friends. OK? So it’s not that. And I know all musical theatre is not the same as Rent. I love Gilbert, Sullivan, and Sondheim every bit as much as I love making love on women, the boobs of which I squeeze with great relish as I recite the entire Modern Major General song TO THE FUCKING LETTER because that’s how much I love it. Yes. Enough to memorize the whole thing. And it was one of the very first things I did as absolutely soon as the cartilage of my baby brain matured into the kind of brain meat that is capable of memorizing the daffiest fucking tongue-twister in the world set to music. It has nothing to do with where I pay to bury my face every Wednesday at La Quinta. And again every Thursday, next door in the Denny’s restroom.

So. What have we learned: Broadway musicals present emotional stimuli on purpose. That information is presented, as far as I know, with full sincerity. Everybody I’ve ever met or heard of is capable of receiving that information, effortlessly processing the information, ruling it sincere without a moment’s doubt, then continuing to watch the musical like it’s Death of a Salesman. By which I mean, NOT screaming in Planet Of The Apes: The Musical style hysterical laughter, or wishing they were Helen Keller. Broadway is a billion-dollar—yes, with a “B”—industry, so obviously it is not irrelevant niche horseshit. Gay people star on Broadway. Straight people star on Broadway. Both gay and straight people enjoy paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for a seat on JFK’s filthiest, most noisily-clanking baggage carousel, where they pretend to watch the gay and straight stars of Broadway sing and dance like Barney the fucking Dinosaur through tiny opera binoculars. And lastly, I value physical contact with the human vagina above all other vaginas vegetable, animal, and mineral.

And that’s the end! Because that is absolutely the most sense I can make out of most Broadway musicals. Sorry.