Yesterday night, I did a stand up show. I went up right after the host, which was delicious, and rightfully so. He had warmed the crowd to a nice, golden crisp, and they were primed and ready for my joke droppings.
I wanted to start off with something I thought up right before I went onstage, which is always a gamble. (Does that make me a gambler? I can only hope!) I asked another comedian for a confirm on the premise a couple minutes before I went up, and he was all, “That has never happened to me. I have no idea what you are talking about. You might as well be speaking in tongues.”
But, against my better judgment and his, I decided, It’s settled, I’m doing it. I mean, I am in the prime of my relatability, ladies and germs!
So I get onstage and I try out the newly devised bathroom bit, complete with “Am I right, ladies?” and requisite twirl, and it gets a hearty reaction. I become overpumped and launch headfirst into my set.
It is going smoothly, more or less, and that’s when I spot one Mr. Frowntown USA in the front row. Most of the crowd was not visible due to the bright lights, but he is a beacon of glowing despair, front and center. He is sipping a drink and looking altogether removed, though his intense stare conjured up ideas of committed hatred and stark enmity at first sight.
I tried to continue as if nothing had happened but something, a very real something, had occurred. His stony countenance (Lisa Fine would later, without irony, comment, “He could’ve been a face on Mount Rushmore!”) bored itself into my brain like a night demon, and amid the scattered laughs and yelps of joy, it was all I could see.
He didn’t laugh, let alone smile, not once! If anything, his stare got more frigid, his demeanor more dissatisfied. And those eyes! They still visit me in my most vindictive daymares.
He was such an angry statue!
photo courtesy of Flickr and victoriapeckham
I tried to just coast through the remainder of my set. Make it all go away, but the memory haunted me even after I relinquished the now clammy microphone back to the host.
I had to leave the show right away for another engagement, but when I followed up with my comedic colleagues, they all avouched the same. That one guy, perhaps a visitor from beyond, testing our mettle, making us question ourselves with his presence. He hated me, they all said, echoing my own sentiments. I couldn’t crack him, was recalled with shuddering, acute flashbacks.
I realized, in retrospect, that what I should have done was addressed the gentleman at hand. Sidled up, crablike and cocky, to his table and proclaimed, “Why so serious?” (Dark Knight reference! Trust me; it works). And then launched full throttle into, “Do you wanna know how I got these scars? Emotional scars, I mean!” A cheap parlor trick, but what else can one do in the face of impending doom? Besides crying, I mean.
It could have been worse, this could have been the audience…completely unreadable!
Ghost audience! Scary!
photo courtesy of Flickr and peasap
Well, good people of the Internet, there’s a happy ending to this story, believe it or not. Apparently, after the show, said member of the audience, we’ll call him Staid McSomberpants, approached a few assorted comics, and said that he greatly enjoyed the entire show and, in fact, loved everyone on it (and he wasn’t kidding*). How do you like that? I wish I had gotten my picture with the man whose smile is a frown.
*I mean, if we can establish anything, it’s that this guy is serious about his sense of humor. *rim shot* Wakka Wakka!
I made this, in honor of the election:
original photo courtesy of Wikipedia