Last night was another installment of my bi-monthly comedy show “Always Be Funny.” The West Village Edition on one Saturday a month has been consistently strong, even though it costs money, but the Free show on River Bar (located at 42nd and 10th in midtown) has been struggling for audience. It started out strongly, but with winter months and just general disdain fewer people have made the trek over to 10th Avenue (it might as well be west of the Mississippi). So last night was a pleasant surprise when I saw a decent group of people in the cozy Hells Kitchen bar. But looks can be deceiving.
When emcee Pat Breslin got on stage he may have felt like Bruce Willis in the 6th Sense because of the 12 non-comedian patrons, 10 continued their three respective conversations as loudly as possible. To be fair, they may felt like Malcolm X, i.e., “We didn’t land on Always Be Funny; Always Be Funny landed on us!”
But the show continued with Helen Hong doing strong crowd work to get them involved, included two condescending “stage manager,” who I think were just two lesbians who thought this tiny 10th Avenue bar was secluded enough to just have a quiet conversation about stage lighting and organic produce without being bothered by annoying mainstream heterosexuals.
Mick Diflo took the stage next and absolutely killed it. By killed I mean had all the comics laughing and people still largely ignoring the show. However, I think he did get the crowd’s attention when he began describing his bloody penile discharge. By this time the crowd was down to about 8, but a few patrons had come in and actually watched and started to appreciate the free entertainment, especially this older black couple who were enjoying the show so much and sitting at attention you’d think they were at a fancy bringer show at a soul sucking comedy club!
Jon Fisch took the stage next and started with a seemingly innocuous line. There was a small poster on stage for an upcoming Cancer benefit at River Bar and Jon Fisch said (paraphrasing), “Perhaps Cancer is not the best stage prop for a show.” To which a drunk woman (who is actually becoming our show’s first consistent patron) said, “Cancer is not funny!” and continued to berate Jon for most of his set.
After that I took the stage and did about 25 minutes of work on only 3 topics: the WNBA (16 minutes), relationships (5 minutes) and Obama (5 minutes). Women’s professional sports just baffle me in general, but i have devised a new video game – it’s called Conquer The Bad Sports. The first level will be men’s and women’s curling, but as you move up levels it just becomes women’s pro sports. First golf, then soccer and then the last level is the entire WNBA in one arena and you have to destroy them all to save the integrity of sports. Then, when you think the game is over, you have to face off against the game’s bosses – Serena and Venus Williams. And just when it looks like they are beating you – it is revealed that Venus is actually a man and she helps you defeat Serena. Next Play Station franchise – you are welcome.
So after my diatribe/set the show concluded with a solid set from Calvin Cato for the 3 people I had not exhausted with my comedic and legal destruction of the WNBA. I then went home to chug bleach. Hopefully our April Fools show does better at River or else I feel like it will be time to pull the plug on that location. At this point it basically feels like Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby.
But as if one bad crowd was not enough – this morning I attended a showing of Brooklyn’s Finest at the world famous Times Square AMC – with 25 screens and dozens of arrests each weekend. The movie was actually quite entertaining (think Training Day), but here were the real highlights:
- The movie started 25 minutes late for no reason.
- The amount of pre-show talk was at a level I have never heard before in my life.
- The talk during the actual movie was surprisingly low, except for when there were breasts on screen (which is when I and twenty other gentlemen of color stood up and ran up and down the aisle screaming “Damn them titties look GOOD!”) and the young Latina sitting next to me who took a 6 minute phone call during the movie for what actually appeared to be a job interview or set up for a job interview.
- The old white guy sitting behind me who just before the movie started said to himself, “I’m just glad this is not a midnight movie. This is not one I’d see then.” Racist? Maybe, maybe not. But 100% right.
- Per information I have been told by someone who used to manage at that location, there was definitely at least one plain clothes police officer at the movie. That is a job I would love to have. Carry a gun, shoot people who start sh*t at movies, watch movies while working, get a sick pension and cheat on your spouse a ton (I worked at the DA’s office so I have worked with cops). Maybe it is time I pursued that.
- The new trailer for Wall Street 2 is damn good.
The bottom line is if you find yourself on 42nd street on the west side of Manhattan there will be funny stuff happening. So catch a movie and come see us on April Fools’ Day at 830.