Open Mics and Flashing Lights

July 18, 2010

Once you have performed at enough comedy shows, you can pick out the troublemakers in the audience before they even do anything noteworthy.  There’s a special twinkle in the eye of someone who you know is going to be a problem later on.  You can almost see through their head all the way to the back of their skull and there’s nothing inside of it except alcohol-soaked dog meat.  There’s dullness in their face, unresponsive to external stimuli.  They’re probably stupid in day to day life but the fifth Crown Royal they fire down the hatch turns a probability into a certainty.

“Yo, I ain’t seen nobody funny on this stage yet,” he calls out to no one in particular as the show progresses. A few of us comedians are trying to wrangle in a strange crowd at the Firehouse Lounge on the Strip District.  He’s not helping anything.  He’s drunk.  He’s gigantic.  He looks like Kimbo Slice’s younger brother.  He’s terrifying.  There’s nothing any of us comedians are going to do if he starts acting out.  Most of us will probably just lower our heads and take it in the body.

I have to go on stage with only three more comedians in front of me.  I notice the giant pestering some skinny white guy who looks like a thugged-out version of me.  I can read the body language. The white guy is being subjected to some vaguely threatening questions i.e “Why don’t you drink your drink, man?”  Skinny Guy can only answer with “I don’t know,” and laugh nervously.

As is typical before any show, I become a race horse with a prostate condition.  I go to the bathroom constantly even though I haven’t had anything to drink.  I’m finishing up my business at the urinal when in comes the giant holding the skinny guy by the scruff of his neck.  Skinny guy looks extremely uneasy.  The giant stops him in front of the sink and commands him in an even-toned but chilling manner, “Wash your hands.”

I don’t want to be an accessory to whatever weird felony is about to be committed in this bathroom.  Luckily, I am out of their peripheral view, so I zip up and slip out unnoticed.

Two comedians left before I go on stage.  There’s a commotion in the back, bottles breaking, a little bit of yelling.  Now selected audience members are glancing back.  This show is going to meltdown any second.  I’m envisioning myself walking up on stage right as someone in t he back screams “He’s got a gun!”  In my daydream, the giant starts taking hostages.  Tear gas canisters roll through the windows and explode as I hit a punchline.

One comedian left.  I see red lights dimly flashing through the second story window.  Perhaps someone notified the bar owners that two men went into a bathroom and only one came out.

The comedian in front of me is finishing his set.  I see a police officer in the back asking the giant to come with him.  I walk on stage with a new level of confidence.  The giant has been slain or at least distracted long enough for me to get in 8 minutes of new jokes.

I ask afterwards if anyone knew the story.  Danny Palumbo, another comedian, says that he had gone outside before the cops showed up and all he saw was the giant sitting on the curb lonely with his hand bleeding.

“I asked him ‘What’s happened?’ and he just stared at me.  So I ran inside.”

We believe that the Police took away the violent giant.  No one knows where the Skinny White Guy went.

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