March 17, 2009
Prepare yourselves, dear readers, for another installment of Incredulous Tales of the Open Mic. This week we find ourselves back a year ago at PD’s Pub in Squirrel Hill.
The night started out very typically for PD’s pub. There were quiet a few comedians and about three audience members. The problem was that on this night we had expected a larger turnout. We were running an open-mic contest, hoping to draw in a bigger crowd.
It didn’t work. But there was $200 dollars on the line if I remember correctly, which gave it an air of importance that was not present on any other night. There were two brackets; Bracket 1 was performing that night. I was in Bracket 2 which was competing the following Monday, but I was still going to do a “guest spot” to fill in some time.
But the audience was the most interesting part.
There are some times in comedy when not having an audience is the most depressing thing in the world. “What am I doing?” you are forced to ask yourself. “No one cares about what I have to say.” But there are other times where you’d like nothing more than to pull a Dr. Manhattan and make an unruly crowd vanish with a snap of your fingers.
The three aforementioned audience members were not ideal listeners or ideal citizens. They were meth-heads. At least, we’re pretty sure they were meth-heads. My fellow comedians and I based this on a number of things:
1) They wore clothes that looked like they shouldn’t even be used to wax a car,
2) They’re dental hygiene standards were about on par with those in rural Mongolia (take that Genghis Khan!).
3) They were so messed up and incoherent that they were practically speaking their own language: Meth-Speak
There was one short black dude (he was the leader) and two skinny white toadies.
Throughout the entire night they were interrupting the show, something that was not uncommon at PD’s. But they interrupted in Meth-speak, which made it impossible for comedians to make a witty retort. Their heckler’s blurtings used a haphazard sentence structure and made use of imaginary verbs and nouns.
Jeff: Oh man. Rap music is pretty bad nowadays…don’t you agree?
Meth-Head: F*cking pool is about really bad the name, man!
Jeff (trailing off): Yea…I don’t come down to your job and…make…noises…uh…
Meth-Head (nodding off): Yea? Tillburton a glass with scrapes my knee bone.
At one point I think I lost it and I just started jiggling my keys at them because I thought it might get a laugh. It didn’t.
Now it’s one thing to heckle me. My only weapon while I’m on stage is my mythically over-hyped wit. I had no physicality to back it up. If it came to blows with them, I knew I couldn’t take on three doped-up scapegraces at one time. Really only one comedian I know could.
Rico is one of the first comedians that I ever met doing comedy. I met him at a Funny Bone open mic and we hit it off despite being completely different in every way. He is a half-black, half Irish, M-80 firecracker of a comedian from the mean streets. I’m a half-white, half-white sparkler from the grassy suburbs. Rico is one of those people that you are glad to have in your corner; tough as nails, will fight at the drop of a dime, and funny to boot. Despite being one of the most terrifying men I know, he’s actually very nice.
Well, Rico saw what was going on with the audience members. I was not the only one they had interrupted and disrespected. They were like Stadler and Waldorf of the Muppets, that is to say, if Stadler and Waldorf chugged a whole bottle of Robitussin before they went to a bar.
Rico took the stage and the idiots tried the same thing with him. Rico proceeded to let them have it: cutting them down, ridiculing them, etc. All of the comedians were laughing because finally someone had the balls to call these idiots out and wasn’t afraid of any retribution. Rico won the contest that night, a well-deserved victory.
He got off stage after the victory was announced and the ringleader, Mr. Meth-Head, approached him. He leaned in to Rico to whisper something to him. I couldn’t hear what was said, because I was busy breaking down the stage equipment. I had my back turned to Rico and Mr. Meth-Head when I heard what sounded like the break of a cue ball on a rack of billiard balls, accompanied by a collective “Ohhhh!!!!!!” from the other comedians. I whipped around to see Rico standing triumphantly over Mr. Meth-Head who was snoring peacefully on the ground. Rico knocked the dude straight into Slumbersville with a brutal elbow.
Apparently, Rico was about to leave when the guy whispered something derogatory to him, I can’t remember what the inciting phrase was, but Rico decided to walk away. That’s when the guy grabbed his shoulder to re-iterate what was said previously. Rico took a step back and said “What?” acting as though he hadn’t heard. When Mr. Meth-Head leaned in to repeat yet again, Rico, who had some mixed martial arts training, landed a sweeping elbow strike across the dude’s face. That was the crack I heard, bone on skull.
Rico decided, correctly, that it was time for him to skedaddle. The two skinny white guys looked dejected as they followed the bartender who was dragging their groggy leader out onto the sidewalk. Mr. Meth-Head woke up a little bit later and everyone agreed that it would be a good time to leave, lest he come back with an army of Meth-Zombies looking for vengeance. We did learn a few lessons that night:
1) Don’t heckle Rico Cooper
2) Meth-Heads and elbow strikes don’t mix.