THESE WORDS ARE MY OWN AND DO NOT REFLECT THE OPINION OF HELIUM COMEDY
We all have those moments. Someone pisses you off, you react with a decent jab, they respond, and, unless you are both Neanderthals, you go your separate ways. As a comedian, it usually happens in the form of a heckler. As a person who roams the earth, this happens in my day to day as well. I am notorious for having the ability to go from low blood pressure to heart attack level blood pressure in about 1.5 seconds. It is just how I am wired. Nothing bothers me, UNTIL IT DOES. I have spent some time in the last year or so learning how to hold it in as much as possible, to avoid verbally browbeating someone in public. People tell me it is how you make friends, so I am trying. Here is the thing. I can do it, for about an hour. Then my brain just repeats the stupid thing you said to me, and then I spend 4 hours in my bed at night trying to fall asleep. I can’t fall asleep, though. Oh no. I need to recap that exchange from 7 p.m. and come up with 17 more ways to insult you. Some people use chamomile tea to fall asleep. I make up insults until drowsy. To each his own.
Enter What I SHOULDA Said (WISS). I hope to use this segment as half writing exercise, half decompression technique, half teachable moment. (I know that’s 3 halves, asshole. It’s a comedy website).
SCENARIO ONE: It’s your first time at open mic and you don’t know how to act. So you act out.
Last Wednesday I attended a Storytellers show, followed by an open mic. The newbie in question introduced himself to me outside the venue. This is where the word “homo” slipped the first time. I let it go. I knew by looking at him that he used the word. (Note to white folks in the majority: gays, Jews and black folks already know you are a bigot before you let the word slip out of your mouth; it’s part of our evolution, to recognize a threat in disguise). I figured I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. I assumed he was nervous and he just let an ol’ favorite slip out of his mouth.
The storytellers show went off without a hitch and near the end as I was onstage wrapping it up, newbie needs attention and babbles something incoherent. SOMEHOW he got back to “homo” again. I don’t even remember how that worked its way back in, other than his love for the word. I crack a few jokes, audience applauds, problem silenced. If only we could be that lucky. Open mic starts; there are a few chirps from his table, standard obnoxiousness. I could hear the waiter struggling to explain “inside voice” to them when ordering at a show. The idea that anything could be more important than them seemed to escape these fellas. Things were definitely getting worse, which usually happens when booze is involved.
I held out. I bit my tongue. I KNEW the offender was going onstage. I hoped this would give him the attention he needed and would teach him what it is like on the stage.
He went onstage. When he was finished he went back to sitting in the audience, and got even more annoying.
What did I do?
When I couldn’t take it anymore I yelled. “Shut up and get the FUCK out.”
(He did, and the audience cheered).
Listen buddy, I know it is your first time doing comedy and you don’t know how to act. However, I don’t think it is your first time at life because you can’t grow a gut like that overnight. When I first met you I let that homophobic slur slip, I gave you the benefit of the doubt. I too was once new at comedy. I let you figuratively jerk off from your chair into other audience members’ faces because I knew it would only be a few more minutes and then you would get the attention you so desired. Your FIVE minutes of glory! This should calm the beast, I thought.
I gave you attention, we all did. I gave you FIVE MINUTES (you took 6 ½, whatevs).
We amplified your voice, elevated you two feet above the rest of the people in the room! We shone bright lights on you. Lights SO bright, it is as if no one else existed BUT you. YOU GOT YOUR ATTENTION.
What did you do with that privilege? You said “fuck” 37 times, and “shit” 13. When not saying fuck or shit, you spit draft beer into the mic while making multiple fake “farting” noises. Like a fart noise was your “GIT R DONE”. I can’t wait to see your T-shirts.
You may be wondering how I, in the green room, behind a curtain, watching the show on a monitor, could tell how annoying you were? I would like to take full credit and say that it is because I am a pro and have a fine tuned ability to read energy in a room and react accordingly. While this is true, it’s mostly because THAT’S HOW OBNOXIOUS YOU WERE. I could FEEL it from another room.
Did you hear how people cheered as you left? If you ever want to hear that in a complimentary way, put down the booze, grow a set, and try to learn. Also, leave your asshole friends at home. They don’t help you. They are insecure because you are trying something out of your comfort zone and they are stuck in paranoid sameness. At least that is what I assume. Why else would your friend witness you being such an ass and then think he was going to “complain to the manager” and make sure we “knew who he was”?
You’re welcome. Please make recommended adjustments before returning.