I should have known yesterday was not going to go as planned. Perhaps it was the fact that Friday I secretly went to go see Lottery Ticket, the uproariously boring and unfunny film that feels one-third Friday, one-third Tyler Perry and one third after-school special all jumbled up. For $6 the risk was very low, yet the film still underwhelmed. Let me put it this way, Mike Epps is the funniest part of Lottery Ticket. I did not realize that, like the old woman in Drag Me To Hell, Lottery Ticket placed an unfunny curse on me.
As Saturday rolled around I was very excited for Always Be Funny, my monthly show at the Village Lantern. The lineup was power packed and it looked like we were going to have a big crowd. So in preparation I plunked down for a few hours to play MLB10 The Show, the greatest sports game I have ever played. My Yankees team had been playing .500 ball since I restarted the season (I was 20-70 in the previous season, which meant I was creeping in on irrationally murdering my PS3), but post-Lottery Ticket viewing I got swept resoundingly in a three game series.
If there were an action-horror film about comedy this would have been the point where I go, “I gotta bad feeling about this.”
The show was supposed to be an 11 pm show, but the 9pm show went late for the 1,456th straight time so we ended up starting at 1130pm. Of course before then I was attacked verbally and physically by the cu*t of a waitress that was working that night. Here’s the play-by-play of the pre-show encounters with the waitress:
– The Village Lantern comedy room entrance is sort of a tight squeeze as it is as the bottom of a stairwell, which leads to a narrow hallway which also has the spot for the waitress to process checks (do we call those digital panels registers?). But there is room for a few people to stand and wait and not interfere with the waitress, if she is not a cu*t.
C.W. “Hey, could you tell people to wait before coming to the show so I have time to clean up from the earlier show.”
J-L – “Sure”
3 minutes pass – a couple of people are talking to me that I know, still out of the way, as much as possible an 4 people I do not know walk down the stairs.
C.W. (pushes me angrily) – I fu*king asked you to keep people out of here and you are just standing there talking to people (trail off into more insults and expletives)
J-L (to people on the stairs) – Sorry – please go upstairs and I will come announce when the show is beginning (inner thought) – does this cu*t know I am not her employee?
C.W. – Well if they’re already down here they can go in.
J-L (inner thought) – Were we engaged?
Now I don’t believe in hitting women, but I do hope that one day C.W. dates a man who does not share my upbringing and beliefs. There must be something on my face that ranges between “gentleman” and “bitch ass” because this is the second time I have been assaulted (in the legal sense) by a woman at a comedy show. Now the first time was a little understandable (but not ok) because the girl had heard my routine where I compared an ex’s vagina to a concentration camp, but C.W. was just a little flustered and she got physical (and then like a bipolar woman, also known as a woman, she apologized). Damn you Lottery Ticket curse!
So the show began at 1130 with Sean Donnelly emceeing and doing a nice job. First comic was Sheng Wang and he, unknown at the time, would have by far the best set of the night. The crowd was enjoying him and I actually thought the Lottery Ticket curse may not be true. Further confirming this was when Brian McGuiness, the second comic of the night, also did well (he updates his PS3-cyber-awarded trophies on his Facebook page so it’s not a slam dunk that someone that does that will also do well at comedy).
Then the clock struck midnight and the horse and carriage turned into a bunch of mute fu*king pumpkins.
Owen Bowness went up next and did a set that was very close to the one he did several months ago at Always Be Funny, that absolutely killed. But on this show he could have been Daffy Duck following Bugs Bunny for 2/3 of his set. It was as if the brains of our audience were swapped at midnight with the minds of a terrible comedy club audience in the panhandle of Florida (trust me, the worst weekend of sets of my life took place in Destin, Florida). They suddenly became slow to laugh, slower to get punchlines and not laughing at any funny setups to funnier punchlines.
Damn you Lottery Ticket!
The bloodbath then began. Comic after comic went up and received audience response ranging from apathetic silence to grumbling hostile silence. Sean Donnelly, as emcee continued to try to work the crowd hard. Keith Alberstadt, a clean comic who has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, was driven to curse and call out the crowd for their apathy. He sounded like a minister standing in the middle of a town being burned to the grown trying to plead with marauders.
Right before my set I asked C.W. for a bottle of water (hey my show packed the room, which means lots of tips you don’t deserve and the regular waitress always gets me a bottle of water if I ask nicely) and she acted like I had just asked her to blow a yak. So she brought me a tap water, because, like I said, she’s a cu*t. I resisted the effort to throw it in her face.
I went on after Keith and was actually happy with my set for the most part. Probably because my first line was “You people fu*king suck.” I think I owe Keith a debt of gratitude because he seemed to re-focus the crowd.
After me was the surprise of the night. High school classmate and 2008 Olympic Silver Medalist Tim Morehouse (fencing, calm down ladies) did a 6 minute set (he’s been doing comedy for 2 weeks) and he was pretty good (actually off the charts for a guy doing it 2 weeks, which proves that motivational speaking engagements for terminally ill children is great preparation for stand up comedy).
Ryan Conner closed out the show nicely for the 15 people who remained.
The next Always Be Funny will be on September 11th, obviously. I don’t know, even given the date of the show, if we could possibly match the apathy of last night’s crowd, but hopefully when I build a model of an Islamic Cultural Center on stage it will get a reaction out of people.
And in case you missed the point of this blog – don’t see Lottery Ticket.