Cops and comics

Venue: Bar None
Date: 2/22/07
Length: 8 minutes
Crowd: 25 people

Q: What's kryptonite to a comic?
A: A room full of drunken cops!

The place was crawling with 'em. Really drunk ones too. Show started with one of 'em, black dude, grabbing the mic and riffing and joking around and generally being unwilling to give up the mic. He was actually kind of funny. His cop buddies were loving it and egging him on. Problem: The show was supposed to begin and he wouldn't get off the mic. Finally, one of his pals gets him offstage and they all start taunting the comics and yelling shit like "You better be funny, NYU boy."

Victor was hosting and had the rough job of trying to grab the reins. Half the room hipsters and comics. The other half drunken cops talking to each other, yelling at the stage, and acting rowdy. The energy was actually pretty intense and, if judo'd properly, it might've segued well. But Victor took the bite and started getting antagonistic back at them. Shit nearly got out of hand at one point when one of them bumrushed the stage but then got held back by his buddies. I talked with Victor later and he said he's gotten rushed a couple of times while onstage but friends *always* hold the cockmouth back.

Anyway, Mike O'Rourke was the first comic and entered the lion's cage. He's fucking funny. Took it to 'em. The cops kept pretending they weren't cops, claiming at various points to be FDNY, Sanitation, dodgeball teachers, etc. But when Mike joked about having warrants one of them got all up in his face and he had to explain, "I'm fucking joking!" Mike's got a great style, acting kinda street/thuglike but being really intelligent with the shit he says. I dig.

By the time he got off, the room had been somewhat corralled. Actually, I might've helped a bit by yelling at one particularly loud table to shut up so we could pay attention to Mike. See, it's one thing if people are yelling at the comic and interacting. But if they're just talking loudly to each other and facing away from the stage, it distracts from the whole room. It's like a leak in a bucket. Energy keeps getting sucked out.

Still, the vibe of the room was really tense and bizarre. Cops and comics operate in a similar way, they always need to be in control. And that's where the clash happened. Neither side wanted to give an inch.

So another comic comes up. Kinda quiet white dude doing smart jokes. He's not bad but too timid to handle this crowd. Then, apparently another comic who was booked on the show decided he didn't want to go on. So the gals who do the show ask me if I want to go up. I was just at the show to get some cheap drinks, didn't expect to perform. But I think my yelling at the cops showed I was game for whatever and could maybe handle the situation.

So I went up. Started just chatty without really telling jokes. Tried to build some familiarity. Then I went into my bit on slutty girls. Right move. At least got the train rolling. I had one table talking back, with a really drunk cop on the verge of passing out and some chick who I assume was also a cop. Then I went into white collar comedy tour. Didn't really fly well. I was sloppy and slow 'cuz I was drunk and thrown off by the room a bit. Tough to concentrate when there's a dude about to pass out right in front of you. Everyone else in the room sensed it too. So I started chatting with him. But he couldn't even form a sentence. It was like trying to run a race against someone moving in slow motion. Whole thing descended from there. I just went off from any material and tried to comment on the room. Made fun of that girl's clothes (Filene's Basement in '97), the bar (the bucket collecting piss under the urinal pretty much summed it up), and the fact that the drunk dude tried to compliment his galpal by saying, "She's been around a long time." Just what every girl wants to hear, right?

It wasn't a very funny set. I wasn't prepared, I was pretty drunk, and I barely got any jokes out. But it was compelling to watch. And in that situation, if you can tread water, you've done pretty well. Another buckeye earned (or whatever those things on Ohio State's helmets are).

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