This weekend presented a diverse array of comedy exposure. I featured at a country and western bar in Danbury, Connecticut on Saturday night, but the undercard for the weekend was going to see Dave Chappelle at Radio City Music Hall on Thursday. I have not been to Radio City Music Hall since I was a child and I forgot how big and beautiful that place is. It really looked too big for a good comedy show. But being a huge star that the crowd has been missing for a decade has a way of taming an intimidating room. The DJ started the show with a tremendous slate of hacky jokes, but he’s not a comedian and the crowd enjoyed them so as usual… I’m the asshole. The show started late, which led to numerous people standing in front of us (what happened to places like Broadway and Radio City? It used to be if you were late enough you didn’t get to sit and especially a comedy show with an intermission there is no reason to allow late people to disturb the experience of people who paid substantial money for tickets (they were a gift to me for my birthday but I am never above acting indignant).
So the show started with an immediate J-L Cauvin connection. Tony Woods, a well known DC comic, was the opener. The difference between DC comedy and NYC comedy is at some point NYC comedians decide they are above open mics and some bar shows, whereas in DC Tony Woods, who was already an established headliner, showed up all the time to any decent bar show or shitty open mic to work on his stuff. And he always killed. And I remember the first time I saw Dave Chappelle and Greer Barnes at the DC Improv, after seeing Tony Woods enough times, and it didn’t seem hard to guess who one of their inspirations was. Whether that is true or not I do not know, but when you see two younger comics with a similar style to an older, funny comic your brain cannot help but make connections.
Woods did very well and then after an intermission Donnell Rawlings had a set that had me laughing at a few moments harder than anything I would see that night (this is only meant as a compliment, not as an insult to any other performers). Then it was Chappelle time. I enjoyed his set and I also enjoyed the fact that he was wearing a suit and not a sleeveless shirt. One of the few areas where black people are given a pass that white people are not is fashion (#blackprivilege?). This is why Dwyane Wade and Russell Westbrook feel so comfortable walking around like morons after games wearing clothes that the Emperor would not be caught in. And this is also why when Chappelle wears sleeveless shirts on stage to show off his new muscles people marvel at his guns. White comic with muscles does it today I guarantee other comedians are chanting douche-bag at him (the way we all did at Dane Cook – unless we were the chick he was banging that night – and he didn’t even have muscles to show off).
The set was fun, fairly light and enjoyable. I was more impressed with the ability to control a room that large with standard stand-up. Obviously his fame and devoted fans buy a longer attention span, but he also delivered. If I had to grade it I would say it was a B+/A-, but I am sure that is “hating” to most people. Oh well. It was a relief to me though, because he washed away the memory of when I saw him in DC a decade ago, for top club dollar, and he delivered what amounted to “Hey man, I’m Dave Chappelle and I’m famous, rich and just me talking about anything is worth the price of admission.” I left with a much better impression on Thursday.
But this was all prelude to my soon-to-be legendary performance at Coyote Maverick Bar in Danbury, CT on Saturday night. I was featuring, but still brought 10 CDs because you never really know if you are going to sell zero or all of your CDs on gigs like this. When I arrived at the location about 20 minutes before showtime I saw that the room was pretty small (roughly 100 capacity). That is a good thing, unless you consider that 20 minutes before showtime and there are still approximately 98 seats left to fill. I was informed from the smiling manager that the advertisement for the show (which was jam packed the week before) was placed in the wrong paper in a different city. So now I had to deal with the fact that people in Bridgeport, CT were intentionally ignoring my show, instead of the good people of Danbury intentionally ignoring my show. Now they just had to indifferently miss my show.
When the show started the crowd was about 25 strong. I worked my ass off and felt good about my set, but pretty bad about my life. They were a solid crowd (though with the average age being Crypt Keeper I had to dump a bit of my 40 and under material) and I did some of my best crowd work ever so at least that skill set got some exercise. However, the biggest laugh of my set came with “I am selling CDs after the show…. oh who the fu*k am I kidding…” But the gig was fun, the bar is cool and the check cleared despite having my last name spelled incorrectly. So great job Dave Chappelle opening for me for the weekend. You really set the comedy table nicely.
But like any weekend of comedy it ended on a down note because after the world cup USA game yesterday, which was great and with an objectively incredible ending, I tweeted “That was some George RR Martin shit! #WorldCup”” It got 5 retweets and 7 favorites from my 1700 followers. 20 minutes later I saw a retweet, from someone I follow, of a tweet by some tech geek with 11K followers who tweeted 1 minute after me (he doesn’t follow me so I doubt he saw mine) that said “George RR Martin wrote that game” and it had over 3200 retweets. And I shut off twitter and felt a renewed sense of hate for all things comedic. Sorry Chappelle and Danbury, but hate is stronger than any joy you can provide, but thanks for trying. #Blessed