I did a show in Park Slope last night – a show that I usually have fun at and always find interesting. It is run by the very funny comedian/Twitter-philosopher Yannis Pappas and there was a sizeable crowd most of the night at the small bar. I was scheduled to go last because they were kind enough to give me a little extra time as I prep for my CD recording. I started the set so-so, but then got into my quick bit about Fun. and Lena Dunham. It received good laughs from the crowd according to my recording of the show, but I lost three women in the crowd (separate women – they were not friends or sitting with each other). When I compared Dunham’s body to a manatee, which I assumed would elicit anger from manatee fans, I was shocked to hear these three women express displeasure. I moved on to a bit that did well (though I carried it for about 30 seconds too long) about subtle racism in pop music and then I made the mistake of asking the crowd,”Did I lose you guys after the Lena Dunham bit – is she the patron Saint of Brooklyn ( if you recall from one of last week’s posts – I got a similar reaction from some people at a different Brooklyn location)?” And then the three women spoke up. To introduce you to the cast of characters:
1) The unfunny woman trying comedy who bombed 20 minutes before I went on stage, a/k/a Ms. Unfunny. This woman is trying to do comedy and apparently the first lesson she learned was to save her best quips for a comedian who follows her. To put it this way, she was so bad the Huffington Post has put her on a list of women NOT to follow on Twitter. Her set was bad, but her comment that I had the same physique as Dunham (considering I am in the worst shape of my life and a man I am not sure how that is defending Dunham, but so be it). My response was to tell her “you are a suicide bomber comedian – you go into a room and not only destroy your own set, but ruin other comedians’ sets as well. Congrats.” I then told her she should quit and that her set would technically not count as a start in comedy anyway.
Now for anyone who thinks this is me complaining about an unfunny woman, I am not. A person trying comedy for what appears to be the first time should know enough not to heckle another performer – especially for the sole reason that he mocked the creator of an HBO show.
2) The woman who demanded napkins from me several times during the show without a thank you or a please because apparently I am her employee AND she had lengthy, unwanted conversations with multiple comics during their sets when she interrupted her nonstop texting sessions, a/k/a Princess. Her claim to fame at this point was that during the Dunham discussion she said, without taking credit, “Where’s the guy Yannis told to ‘waaaa waaaaaaaaaaaaa’ after a bad joke?” She did not take credit for it once I focused on her, but we eventually had a heart to heart at the end of my set (foreshadowing).
3) A woman with a very tough, big-chick-escorting-JamieLannister-on-Game-Of-Thrones haircut also chimed in – but she doesn’t get a nickname because after she voiced very brief disapproval of my joke about Dunham she said nothing else to my memory. So I guess thanks for respecting or at least tolerating 99% of my set like a civilized audience member.
Now there is a reason I generally do not engage hecklers. I have no moderation. I go from ignoring them to wanting to curb stomp them like in American History X. But during this first interruption I kept my cool and actually recovered nicely for another 7 minute stretch of material and laughter. I did throw in an “unlike Sam Morril (the comedian who was mired in a big blogosphere discussion on rape jokes last week), I am advocating violence against women” but we moved on. I actually did a new bit about how I put on too much weight, so in a move that would make feminist bloggers proud I took the insults from Ms. Unfunny and turned them into an empowering statement about how I often eat cookies out of my own garbage can.
For a while I was feeling really good because I felt like I had moved on from a very awkward phase and was getting laughs. And then with exactly 2 minutes left in my set I went Neil in Heat. What I mean by that is not that I started humping legs like a dog named Neil. I am referring to the concluding scene in Heat where Robert DeNiro’s character has narrowly escaped trouble and is on the way to the airport with his girlfriend about to live his life free and rich, but at the last second he makes a pitstop near the airport to kill the man who betrayed him in the beginning of the film. That decision changes everything and leads to his (spoiler of a 1995 film) death. And that is what I did in the last 2 minutes. Here is a sample of what I said:
“Who cares about rape jokes… I am wishing death on two people in this audience.”
“That Cleveland case was horrific, wasn’t it. The silver lining is that that 6 year old will grow up to either be horrible in bed… or fantastic.”
Now those lines were meant to horrify. The second line is along the lines of a well worked out bit I have (though it is not part of the bit), but I blurted out this clearly insensitive line just to elicit horror and oh boy, did it ever. I do not do this ever and do not advocate shocking comedy for shock’s sake, but I wanted to rile up the people I was pissed at in the audience. Here is the transcript:
Princess: I can’t even… that is disgusting…
Me: I know it is. So are you. Fu*k you.
Random Irish Guy: No man – fu*k you – everything else was fine, but fuck that.
Princess: That was disgusting.
Me: I know, but this is not my Comedy Central taping (random chuckles). Thank you for the time though Yannis.
Princess: Have some grace for that girl.
Me: Grace? You have been a rude cu*t this whole show. You demand napkins at the bar like I’m an employee. You’re cute and you have an iPhone that you have not stopped looking at the whole show, except to interrupt, but you are a piece of shit as a person so fu*k your grace comments…. Frank Gallo and Yannis Pappas than you for the time. Not sure if I picked up any Twitter followers tonight.
I then exited the stage and gave Princess a huge smile. The Irish guy tapped me on the shoulder and said “You were hilarious but that one line was too much.” And he was right.
So after reviewing this I apologize for last night to the audience at Bar 4, even though I am really sad only because I reflected poorly on myself. And I used valuable stage time to get into personal attacks instead of using it for working on other bits. So my advice to comics is use stage time wisely, try not to be too mean if it is not necessary, don’t heckle other comics if you are a comedian (or atempting to be one), and if you see the woman known as Princess in this blog, don’t let her in to your show.
Don’t forget tickets to my new CD recording May 18th in NYC can be bought HERE – http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/367876