Who knew that amateur stand-up comedy was worth starting a gang-war? I certainly didn’t. And I love comedy. I work my butt off for the sake of comedy – and yet apparently, since I am not willing to “Throw down” in order to start a comedy-turf-war, I don’t care as much as other people.
Last week’s open-mike night at the club turned into something out of an awful parody of 8 Mile when one of the last comedians for the night got on stage and starting laying down his mad, hatin’ jokes – making fun of the other the comedians of the night and the audience. Once off the stage he started calling out for one of the other comics that occasions our happy little ha-ha hut only to find that he wasn’t even there. The host then took the stage, or should I say soapbox and starts in with what I have come to call his “I Love Comedy” speech:
“I don’t know about you – but comedy means something to me. I do comedy for comedy-sake. I’ll do comedy for an empty house – I’ll do comedy for the empty chairs, for the air – for myself! That’s how much comedy means to me. You may think that comedy is something you do to make yourself feel important. That’s where you and I are different. I do it for the love.”*
At that point, a single comedy-shaped tear rolled down his face followed by a smattering of applause. (I’m assuming the applause was from the audience members not terrified/confused out of their minds by what was taking place before them.)
Truly disgusted by what we were witnessing, my joke-buddy, Liz and I made a beeline for the bar. While there, someone was able to explain the background behind the ensuing comedy battle taking place in the theater behind us. It seems that the new comedian (we’ll call him “Fighty”) was wanting to fight this other joke-smith (we’ll call him “Careless”) over a joke that Careless does in which he uses the N-word. Now, I went to an extremely liberally minded – hence quite politically correct – college, and I think that I have heard the questionable joke before. While I thought it not particularly funny, I did not notice it being particularly racist.
A few minutes later, the comedy was done, and the theater was emptying out. One of the comedians of whom Fighty made fun (we’ll call him “Yelly”) was talking to Liz and me when Fighty and his comedy posse stepped through the bewildered crowd leaving the club. As Fighty and co. headed towards the door, Yelly gives him a sassy “Goodbye.” Oh course Fighty turns around and starts threatening Yelly, which lasts only a few seconds before Fighty turns again to leave. Yelly again says something smart-alecky causing Fighty to once more turn and threaten. At this point, Liz gets panicked and jumps up to hide in the nearby hallway. I, however, sit stuck in the middle of this escalating comedy throw-down. Finally Fighty turns to seems to toss out his last cut-down – first sarcastically complimenting Yelly on his jacket then telling him “When I’m done with you, I’ll make that jacket fit tighter!”
I sit hoping that Yelly will not say exactly what I know he wants to say.
Yelly: “What does that even mean??”
More threats. More puffed up chests and ideal threats. And scene. Fighty out.
*This speech is totally paraphrased or rather the way that I remember it/want it to be remembered.