02x13 - Van People

Adult Adam: Back in the '80s, stand-up comedy exploded.

We'd spent hours watching the greats like Sam Kinison, Garry Shandling, Billy Crystal, and, my personal favorite, the Diceman. [Laughter]

I can't believe he said that!

I know! [Laughs]

They weren't just my heroes.

They were my inspirations.

Sure, I never stood in front of a red brick wall with a microphone. [All gasp]

But I still fancied myself quite the comedian.

Nothing but rim.


Yep, I wasn't afraid to get my hands dirty to get a laugh.

Oh, you got a little something.

Uh, right here?

Right here. Oh, right... Right... right here, yeah.

[Laughter] And I knew one day I'd get the get the ultimate achievement in comedy...

Class clown.

Sorry I'm late. Yearbook is killing me.

Here, let me carry that for you.

So you can see who's getting voted class clown?

Nice try.

Please. Just let me see it.

For your sugar bear?

[Sighs] Just take it.

Yes! I got best hair on a man.

Oh, yeah.

Shut up, Dave Kim.

Read it and weep. I am...

Unfortunately, I got the opposite of that.

"Nicest guy"? Are you freaking kidding me?

What? It's a good thing.

Dave: No, it's not.

"Nicest guy" is code for "boring guy who just has okay hair."

[School bell rings]

So, who's getting class clown?

Better not be Mike Levy 'cause he didn't choose for milk to come out of his nose.

He has a deviated septum. So lucky.

David Sirota... by a landslide.

Are you kidding me?

People think that putz is funnier than me?

[Imitates fart]

[Laughter] Mr. Woodburn: Okay.

Whoever's doing that, just stop it!

Just stop right now.

David Sirota isn't funny. He's ridiculous.

Always dancing in the halls and talking trash at gym.

And this bit with Mr. Woodburn...

Amateur hour.

Everyone knows making poots is cheap.

[Imitates fart]


I am an adult and an educator, and I command you to stop right now in the name of Stephen Hawking.

Just stop it!

Is Sirota funnier than me?

For sure, bro. You're not funny.

Of course I am! It's a fact.

Like Africa's hot or the sun sets in the west.

I don't know about that stuff, but I definitely know you're not funny.

Erica, back me up here.

I'd like to, but Barry's right.

You use comedy as a defense mechanism, but that doesn't make you a funny person that people laugh with.

It makes you a lame-o that people laugh at.

But funny's my thing.

I mean, I'm not an athlete or a brain or a theater star.

So, if I'm not funny, what am I?

You're really nice.

Stop saying that!

I'm funny, and there's nothing you or anyone else can say that can change my mind.

That's right, squishy.

I think you are the funniest boy in the whole wide world.


We rest our case.

You're a wild and crazy guy!

Again, we rest our case.

♪ I'm twisted up inside ♪
♪ but nonetheless I feel the need to say ♪

The Goldbergs - 02x13 "Van People"

♪ I don't know the future ♪
♪ but the past keeps getting clearer every day ♪

It was may 10, 1980-something, and my dad was pondering the number-one issue plaguing all fathers.

Okay, I'm going to Lainey's.

Not so fast!

You didn't fill up the car last night.

I want a full tank when you get home, no excuses!

Like all dad's, mine was obsessed with the gas tank.

I drove the car this morning. There's a ton of gas in it.

All right, let's take a walk, shall we?

Look at the gas gauge! Look at it!

Yeah, so? It's half full.

Which is as good as empty!

Ugh, not this again!

We never break the half-a-tank threshold.

My car, my rules!

Fine, then I'll just walk everywhere for the rest of my life!

[Garage door opening]

Ho, ho!

Yeah, go out walking in that.

This is how it went with my dad and my sis.

They were the two most stubborn people on the planet.

I told you, no chewing gum with your braces!

God, it's just a pinch! I can do what I want!

My gum, my rules.

Yep, the tiniest of arguments could last months.

Both had to win, and neither would ever back down.

Ha! I win!

Even if it meant going to the hospital with a bubble-gum-related injury.

Erica, please.

There might be lightning outside.


I would rather get struck by a bolt of red-hot sky fire than cave to his stupid will.

Okay, you know what? I'll fill up the tank.

No. You got to back me up on this.

My car, my rules.

I support you on every stupid, little thing.

You mean sit in your chair and blindly yell, "listen to your mother"?



Do not back him up on this. He is wrong, and you know it.

Just do what your father says.

I can't deal with you people!

It seemed round one went to Erica.

[Thunder crashes] [Screams]

God, I can't wait to get out of this house and get away from you!

But actually, round one went to my dad.

And that is how you parent.

Man, Barry and Erica have really got in my head.

Am I unfunny?

Are people laughing at me, not with me?

Absolutely not.

You got your sense of humor from me, and I'm hilarious.

♪ My girlfriend had a kitty ♪
♪ she came from Kansas city ♪

Oh, my God, stop.


But I still need to find a way to beat David Sirota for class clown.

Well, then, let me help.

You know, when I was your age, I was busboying in the catskills.

I saw all the greats.

Really? Like who?

Harry "Bottles" McNaughton, Stubby Kaye, the Kippleman Brothers.

One would talk and then the other one would talk, and then the first one would talk.

Their act was actually just okay.

Yeah, it doesn't sound very current.

But I've, like, memorized tons of jokes from all my favorite comedians.

Maybe I can bring some of their stuff into school.

Yes. Let others do the work for you.

And so, I pulled out all the greats.

Great Wall of China!

First, Sam Kinison.

Aah! Aah! Say it! Say it!

Aah! Aah! Aah! Aah!

And then I sprinkled in a little Gallagher.

And then finish them off with a classic poem by Andrew Dice Clay.

Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard to get her dog a bone.

When she [Bleep] rover took over and gave her a [Bleep]


Go to your room!


I'm sorry I yelled and punished you.

Yeah, I hadn't seen that side of you before.

I just don't understand how you could say those horrible things about old Mother Hubbard.

That's her dog. They're friends.

I guess Barry and Erica are right. I'm not funny.

Pal, you're funny, but comedy is personal.

Think of jokes from your world, stuff you know about.

You think?

Of course.

Take my favorite comedian, Don Rickles.

He tells jokes about the people in his world.

And he keeps it personal.

Keep it personal.


Yeah. I think that could work.

Thanks, pops.


Old Mother Hubbard just wanted to feed her poor dog, and he...

Got to let it go, man. Got to let it go.

Meanwhile, Erica had a plan on how to defeat my dad, and it required stirring up the most easily stirred-up person on the planet.

Damn it! I'm so mad at dad!

Aren't you mad?

No. Why? Should I be? What did he do now?

Well, he's always saying, "my car, my rules," and forcing us to fill up his gas tank like we're his slaves.

He is always talking about that stupid gas!

It makes me very angry.

Well, we can fight back.

I say we pool our money together and buy our own ride.

That way, dad can never say "my car, my rules" ever again.

Yes! Let's fight!

God, I have so much rage in my body right now.

Well, let's do this.

I only have 60 bucks. How much you got?

Oh, I have to move some stuff around, but roughly $1,200.

Dollars? How?

Basically, you've inherited dad's stubbornness, and I inherited his cheapness.

You see, every day for lunch, mom gives me $2.

I spend 25 cents on chocolate milk and eat food scraps off friends' plates and random tables.

We can get any car we want.

See? Right here. Look at this sweet, little Cabriolet.

No, no, no!

It's my cash, and I know exactly what we're buying.

A crappy van?


Better, indeed. Like every kid back then, Barry dreamed of being part of the A-Team.

They were soldiers of fortune who drove the toughest, most badass, most red-striped ride to ever hit the road.

Barry, we are not buying the A-Team van.

It's not happening.

Oh, it's happening.

And I'll be Hannibal 'cause I'm the smart one.

We're getting my sporty little soft-top, understand?

End of discussion.

And with that, Barry did exactly what he wanted.

He bought the van.

[Theme from "the A-Team" plays]

♪ Duh-duh, duh, duh ♪
♪ Duh-duh, duh ♪
♪ Duh, duh-duh, duh, duh ♪
♪ Duh, duh-duh-duh, duh ♪

[Tires screech]

Stop sign! That's a stop sign!


What's that smell?

The smell of action.

[Tires screech]

What the hell is this thing?

Freedom. My van, my rules.


This is why I eat garbage.

In the standoff of stubbornness with my dad, Erica had taken the upper hand.

What's wrong with you?

Who buys a crap van with bald tires, a broken headlight?

And look... it's leaking oil on my driveway.

It's even worse in here. No way!

You're not driving this. It's a death trap.

Forget about driving it. They're not keeping it.

Oh, yes, we are. Face it. I won.

My van, my rules.

Oh, that's too bad because it's my house, my rules.

House trumps van.

You can't do that. You can't just change the rules.

Well, that is a valid point, but, uh, tough crap.

This isn't fair. We paid for it.

Paid for it!

With our own money.


And if it's your house, your rules, then we'll just move out and live in the van.

Live in a van!

Wait, what?

Don't think of it as a van.

Think of it as a studio apartment of freedom.

I don't think I can agree to live in a van.

Well, I love this idea.

Murray, no!

Our babies can't live in a van.

They could get snatched by a kidnapper who wouldn't need a creepy van because he's being conveniently provided with one.

But none of that matters 'cause you completely back me up, right?


Blindly and without question?

Fine, I'll back you up.

Even though I did make cobbler à la mode for dessert tonight.


That's French talk for "pie and ice cream."

Stay with me, and I'll let you paint a red stripe.

How does that sound, Hannibal?

Erica wins!

She called me the TV character I like.

Both Erica and my dad refused to stand down, so I decided to lighten the mood with a little stand-up.

Hello, there, everybody.

Seemed like it was a good time for a little comedy.

No. No, thank you.

Go away.

So, I hear Erica is gonna be hanging out in the back of a van.

Or as she likes to call it, a typical Saturday night.


What is this?

And, of course, there's my mom.

Always saying, "I have failed as a mother."

Crazy, right?

Although, if you think about it, two of her kids are living in a van, and the other one's gone into comedy.


What is this?

And look... there's the Mur-man.

My dad is such a slothful sack of crap, even his armchair's like, "really? Again?"

What the hell is this?!

I bombed.

See, the problem here is you horribly misinterpreted my advice.

You said, "do rickles." I did rickles!

No, I said come up with personal material like Rickles, not do insult jokes about your family to your family.

The good news is, you had no problem coming up with the funny.

Now all you got to do is find the right audience.

Really? You think if I come up with something big, I still have a shot at class clown?


Now, don't misinterpret my advice again.

Don't be hurtful. Just be funny.

I 100% got it.

But I didn't.

Desperate for an easy laugh, I iced a hat box to give to my overly sensitive science teacher.

And it would be epic.

What's this? It's not even my birthday.

Trust me. You deserve this.

So, you just...


You don't know how much this means to me.

I...I honestly thought about quitting this job.

I thought you kids didn't care about science.

But this cake means the world to me, changes everything.

Thank you so much, Adam.

My new life starts today!

Who wants a piece? [Thudding]

[Metal clatters]

We're looking at what? A mean-spirited prank?

Pretty much.

Okay, then.

Everyone read chapter six. I'll be in my office.

I need some time to think.

[Door opens] Do not knock on this door.

Dude, that was brutal.

Come on, guys. It was a joke.

I-it's me, the class clown.

It's not official, but it could be, right, guys?

I don't know what that was, but it was mean.

Well, at the very least, maybe now I won't be voted nicest guy.

Just so you know, I was the one who nominated you.

What? Why?

Why not? Since when is being nice a bad thing?

Since we're in middle school.

It's basically the worst thing you can say about a dude.

Not to me.

Everyone is always trying to be funny or cool or someone they're not.

The last thing I want is to be with some clown.

I just want to be with you.

Or at least, I did.

I was no longer the class clown or the nicest guy in school, and it felt awful.

Meanwhile, Erica and Barry were feeling even worse in their stinky new home adorned with a poorly painted red stripe.

God, come on! Would you quit moving?!

You keep kicking me in the face!

Hey, you're the one who wanted to sleep head-to-feet.

Well, I am not sleeping face-to-face with you. It's super weird.

No, what's super weird is we're living in a fricking van.

Look at us. We're van people.

I don't want to be van people.

You should have just filled up his damn gas tank.

Barry, this is not about the gas.

It's about freedom, honor, and rubbing it in dad's face when I win.

But how long is that gonna take?

Until he cracks.

But dad's too stubborn, and I'm too hungry.

Can't I just sneak in and grab a giant hunk of brisket?

No brisket!

Our days of food and comfort are over.

This van is our home now, and this canned tuna, our brisket.

Now eat it.

[Impers] [Sighs]

Stop! What are you doing?!

I can't... I'm tilting it.

You're tilting it!

I don't belong here, okay?!

Stop tilting it!

Just take it outside!




It's me, lovebug.

What are you doing out here?

Eating tuna and getting ready to use the potty bush.

I hate being van people.

Shh. I brought you a home-cooked meal.


[Grunting] Yes.

Go to town.

Good boy. Like a little badger.

[Door opens]



What is wrong with you?!

You couldn't even last one night?

You were supposed to back me up, Bevy, and that doesn't mean bringing the boy dinner.

Dear lord, what did he do to that corn?!

Well, I'm sick of this, Murray. Adam was right.

I have failed as a mother, literally.

Our children are van people.

Please end this.


Barry, I will buy your portion of the van...

Full price, in cash.



My van, my rules! I win!

You will never win.

You see this face? This is the face of a winner.

And I don't care how long it takes.

I will crush you with the weight of a thousand suns.


I will douse your suns with a thousand buckets of water.

Stop. I hate how you two always do this.

Me? It's his fault.

No, it's both of you.

You both think you're so different, but you're exactly the same.

So, if you're not gonna end this, I will.

I demand that you hug each other.

Where are the damn huggies?

Turns out my fake cake for Mr. Woodburn got me in a very real amount of trouble.

Thanks for coming.

As you know, Adam's little joke has sent Mr. Woodburn to a very dark and horrible place.

I can assure you, Adam is very sorry for what he did.

I'm really, really sorry.

That's... that's fine.

But we may be dealing with larger issues here.

When a nice boy like Adam acts out, it's usually because...

Something's going on at home.

What are you saying, Earl?

Well, I'm saying it came to my attention that a couple of your children are van people.

No, no, no. None of our children are van people.

They tried to live in a van, but those morons didn't even make it through the night.

What my husband means is that there was a minor disagreement that resulted in our kids briefly moving into a carpeted vehicle.

What you doing?

Um, I'm just taking some notes.

Looks like a "V."

You better not be writing "van people."

I can confirm that the "V" is for "van."

How dare you question our parenting?

I'll have you know that we are very loving and kind, and each one of our little angels cherishes every moment spent in our home.

Barry: There you are!

Erica's at the bus station.

She told Lainey she's buying a ticket to New York so she never has to live in your stupid house again.

True to her word, my sister went to new stubborn heights by fleeing the state.

Beverly: We're blocked in by a bus?!

How is that even possible?!

It's a school!

[Sighs] We're never gonna make it in time.

Oh, yes, you will.

[Theme from "the A-Team" plays]

[Brakes screeching]

♪ Duh-duh, duh, duh ♪

Oh! Ohh!

♪ Ba, ba, ba ♪

Stop with that song!

Shut up! I love you, but shut up!

[Engine sputtering]

[Theme slows, stops] No, no, no, no, no, not slower! Faster!

Hit the gas, Barry!

What's happening?

Why isn't my "A-Team" van working?

Look. You ran out of gas.

But there was half a tank this morning.


Okay, we got to mobilize and track down my little girl.

I'll call the police and set up a roadblock.

Murray, you call all your new York city furniture contacts.

Honey, she's right there.

Ohh, my little munchkin. I got to go squeeze her.

No, no, no, no.

I think I should be the one to talk to her.

[Bruce Hornsby and the Range's "That's The Way it Is" plays]

Well, if you were trying to kill us from worry, you're the big winner here.

No, you are.

I know I always talk about how much I hate this house and your dumb rules.


But when I actually got a chance to go, I couldn't do it.

Yeah. This one really got away from us.

I am so damn stubborn that I almost ran away because I didn't want to put gas in the car.

All right.

So, you and me, we don't back down.

I don't see that as a bad thing.

You don't seriously believe that, do you?

Oh, yeah.

When I was your age, I was a crappy student.

There was this guidance counselor who told me that I should take up a trade 'cause no college would ever take a guy like me.

So out of spite, I worked my butt off.

I got into penn state, and that's where I met your mother.

So, I literally wouldn't be here if you weren't such a pigheaded jerk?

That is correct.

And mark my words, when you do finally leave this house, the world better watch out.


But give me a few more years.

I'm not ready to let you go just yet.

As my dad and my sister finally embraced who they were, I realized it was time for me to do the same.

Mr. Woodburn, I made you this.

♪ 'Cause the law don't change another's mind ♪

I don't get it. What's the joke?

No joke.

Just wanted to show my favorite teacher that I'm sorry.

Favorite? Wow. Thank you.

'Cause in the end, it's not about labels people give you.

It's about being okay with who you really are.

That was nice, Adam.

Yeah, well, that's what I was going for.

And I may not have been the class clown, but lucky for me, nice guys don't always finish last.



Please welcome David Sirota!

Okay, enough with this potty mouth in the leather trousers.

I'm gonna show you what funny was back in my day.

Pops: ♪ Oh ♪
♪ I took my new girl to the fishing hole ♪
♪ I gave her my jacket 'cause she was cold ♪
♪ I puckered my lips I offered my tongue

♪ And that's when she said, "No, thank you we're done." ♪


That was...


Yeah, I liked the part about the...

What was it? The fishing place?


He said "hole"!