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Paul Reiser: A Funny Thing Happened ...

Paul Reiser, A Funny Thing Happaned, humor

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Comedian (or magician?) Paul Reiser had a funny thing happen going through airport security.

So I fly into Boston, and rushing to get ready for a performance that evening, I check into my hotel, kick off my jeans, shower fast, throw on my suit and just make it to the show.

Early next morning, not yet fully alert, I throw on a clean pair of underwear (which I mention for a reason), grab my jeans from the floor, climb into them and catch my flight home.

But on line at airport security, I notice something funny in my pants. A soft clump around my ankle. I realize that in my haste to shed my clothes the night before, I hadn't done a very good job separating, so yesterday's underwear was still squooshed up inside today's pants.

Hoping not to cause any undue attention, I pretend to tie my shoe while trying to subtly extricate the balled-up underwear so I can toss it in my carry-on without anyone noticing.

As luck would have it, the fellow behind me recognized me. "Hey, you're that guy from the show. I always liked that show. Although, you know what episode I didn't care for?"

And he proceeds to tell me. So now I can't deal with my underwear dilemma because this nice man wants to criticize my work from years earlier.

"Next!" the security guy shouts at me. Realizing it's too late to take out the underwear, I now try to push it back up into my pant leg as I approach the checkpoint. Nobody has ever looked more suspicious.

"You want to come with me, sir?" says Security Guy.

Now, if the gods were smiling on me, it would have been this guy who recognized me and just waved me through. But no such luck. Chatty Passenger With Notes? My biggest fan.

Security Guy Who Can Actually Cut Me Some Slack? Never heard of me.

So now officially a suspect, I'm escorted over to the side and patted down in full view of everyone — none more intrigued than Chatty Guy With Notes.

Security Guy pats my entirety and gets to the soft bulge around my ankle. While he may not find it dangerous, he's certain something's not right.

"What is that in your pants, sir?"

I hesitate, but tell him the truth.


He looks at me.

"Would you mind retrieving it, please?"

Not thrilled to be doing this at all, let alone in view of every passenger in the terminal, I reach down and from out of my pant leg pull a pair of wrinkled-up underpants.

There's a quiet moment. Then:

"You a magician?"

"No," I said. "Comedian."

Not wanting to deal with me — or my underwear — a moment more, he decides to risk the nation's security and sends me on my way.

The lesson: Take off clothes more carefully. Barring that, be more famous.

Paul Reiser stars in the movie Whiplash, opening Oct. 10.