Friday night brought my first live comedy show in a couple of years and a renewed case of the “I’m Funnies” for me. There was a brief period in my life when I would set up shop at the local 24-hour diner and jot down observations in newspaper column-style rants. It wasn’t my best writing phase and it surely won’t be my worst. I have a general sense that I amuse others, but occasionally I have a fleeting thought about making people laugh professionally. Those thoughts crash and burn about as quickly as my cravings for writing novels, starting a fashion line and going to law school.
Back to the night at hand. Anthony Jeselnik did four sold-out shows this weekend, the first of which I was able to catch. The venue is no more than a mile or so from my apartment but it is cold outside and I’m lazy. My friend opted to meet me at home so we could pre-game while waiting for a cab. We called a local cab company and were assured someone would be picking us up within the next twenty minutes. One hour and a bottle of champagne later, we were huddled on the street corner like two out of shape prostitutes, muttering about the lack of decent cabs in our city. Thoughts of perhaps staying sober and driving downtown crossed our minds, but of course, we moved through that quickly and called to complain. Eventually a cab did sidle up to bring us downtown and we made it with plenty of time to spare, ending up in the second row of the venue. It was close enough for me to see his adorable face without my glasses and far enough away to stay out of the line of “audience interaction” fire. If you’ve seen Anthony on the Roast of Donald Trump or Charlie Sheen, you know his goal is to offend the audience and then make them feel uncool for being offended. Lucky for me, the more my peers groan, the harder I laugh. I almost peed my pants when he expertly steered a joke about women and shoe collections into a hilariously Holocaust climax. Between those Holocaust jokes and the many about AIDS, suicide, dead babies and rape, I should have seriously considered an adult diaper or at least a panty liner. Smiling Anthony said his goodbyes and moved offstage to set up for his next show of the evening. We walked past him and decided it would be silly to pass up the photo opportunity and give a nice scale by which strangers can gauge his height. My friend left him with a non-sarcastic “you were very funny” (she’s a teacher) and frankly, I’m surprised she didn’t pat him on the head.
After leaving the site of the comedy show we decided to head down to the go-to bar and visit our friend the bartender. She served us up some drinks and we struck up a conversation with an older lady about how one of the local nightclubs both terrifies and intrigues us. The older lady (who is probably only five years my senior) made a joke about going in with white pants, which I replied to by making an incredibly off-color joke about incorrectly using condoms as a precaution against dance-floor-herpes. This is where the “I’m Funnies” start to take effect. I made a few more crass jokes and then befriended a group of wayward Indiana boys who were in town for a brewery unveiling. That friendship was short-lived as they declined my invitation to join us at the gay bar for karaoke. Like, what?
When we got to the karaoke bar, I was slapped in the face with the realization that not everyone is pumped about mediocre singing on a Friday night. I set out to do some recruiting to fill the 5-person minimum they arbitrarily assign so that they don’t have to listen to me sing. I was successful and sang no less than 4 songs. All of them badly. Some of them straight up incorrectly. Between murdering the likes of “All Saints” and “Salt N Pepa” we made friends with a nice lesbian couple, at least one half of which tried to feel me up under the table. I’m not getting a big head about it, because about ten minutes later I found her vomiting in the bathroom. Following the grope-twins were two guys who insisted they were “just friends” until one of them left to get a drink and the twinkier of the two divulged that he was head over heels in love with the other. I took it upon myself to cupid them and suggested they make out because, “wouldn’t that be hilarious?!” They did, and it was. Shortly after that I ran into a girl whose face looked familiar. She said we went to the same high school and I asked her if she was “legit a lesbian”. My drunk self couldn’t figure out how to ask politely if she was the real deal or just a fan like myself. She gave me a look and returned to her group of friends while I slunk back to the bar.
This drunk bravado would come back as soon as my friend and I grabbed our last cab of the night. He greeted us with a thick Russian accent and I made a comment (hilarious, I’m sure) about the ol’ Redcoats. Then he insisted that he was Asian, and not Eastern European at all. I asked him to prove it and he told me he was from Siberia. I’m no geography expert, but I was pretty sure we learned that Siberia is a region of Russia. Ignoring that this was the man’s own heritage, I argued his birthplace until he pulled up outside Yesterdog. It was hotdog time but I didn’t let that stop me from being culturally insensitive and borderline racist. He agreed to keep the meter running if we’d hurry. Once we got to the ordering line I realized it may take longer than we led Asian-Russian to believe so I passed the time by letting one of my line-mates know that he looked like Jay-Z. One of his friends told me it was racist of me to say that, so I let him know that if I was racist, I would have just closed my eyes, pointed randomly and yelled out, “Eddie Murphy!” He seemed to like that and decided I was “real”. Hotdogs in hand and street cred intact, we hopped back into the cab and called it a night.