Last night I went to see a comedy show at The Parlor on Melrose.
The comedy night is hosted and produced by comedian Jay Davis, whose notable credits include a spot on Dane Cook’s Tourgasm series. Before the show actually started, as the people were filtering into the bar and settling into their seats Jay takes the microphone and announces from behind the stage (sight unseen) a very heavy handed message almost pleading with the audience to behave themselves.
Paraphrasing, Jay went on to say “Please don’t talk during the performances, and don’t check your text messages if you are sitting in the front row. It’s considered rude and you shouldn’t do it.”
He went on for a solid two minutes outlining a sort of “code of conduct” for the patrons, and to me it sounded a bit strange. We get it Jay. It’s a comedy show not a Juggalos gathering.
Little did I know how wrong I was. This audience was rambunctious and rude in a way you wouldn’t normally expect to be rude. Talking and texting in a bar is normal. It’s completely abnormal when it takes place during a comedy show. And even in 2015 we still don’t get that. What’s more frightening is that these people CAME TO THE SHOW. That’s like going to Family Court and playing Candy Crush while the judge is delivering their verdict. Or more accurately going to the zoo and doing your taxes. You came to see the animals in an animal prison, do your taxes another time Gary.
I was told that last night was a bit of an exception, and usually the comedy night at The Parlor is a fun and fine night for comedy. To Jay Davis’ credit the show was very good. I would love the chance to take the stage there. But I guess something was in the air that night.
By the virtue of that now-not-so-heavy-handed preamble though, it’s something the comedians at The Parlor likely have to contend with on a somewhat regular basis. Otherwise why would Jay go on and on about the proper code of conduct? (Also: Don’t people know these things yet? It’s like finding that tag on your button down shirt that says “do not iron while wearing”)
And if you think we can just easily blame Los Angelinos, or Hollywood-types, or delusional self-important actor/model/wannabes, and general douchebags it’s important to note one audience member was from Miami, another originally from Las Vegas (I don’t know if that actually matters). Both Miami and Las Vegas are boom-towns for cocaine, which might explain their behavior. Or at least excuse it. (Not really.)
Overall the comedians ignored the rude behavior, even when some insisted on making contact with the comedians. This is the first show in a long time I saw people raise their hands to get the attention of the comedian. I know comedians ask questions, but they aren’t looking for a dialogue, just a segue.
At one point one young comedian completely ignoring Miss Vegas’ request to feel her hand for some bizarre reason eventually pulled her up by said hand and gave her the microphone to tell jokes. She took the mic, expertly holding the long black penis shaped object but seemed unable to speak when finally given her moment on stage. For those interested Miss Vegas wanted the comedian to note how soft her hand was to which an audience member verified it was very soft. To which the comedian responded “That’s because you’ve never worked a day in your life.” Bam!
And to think this was the worst of the night, it was not. In fact this incident happened AFTER the take down and throwing of Mr. Chatty, followed by the eventual leaving of his white-haired girlfriend whom I’ll call Buxom Daenerys Targaryen (BDT) and her friend Miss Miami.
Mr. Chatty was in the front row mere inches away from the stage just chatting away in his own world. To give you an idea how close he is to the comedian on stage — you have to crane your neck up to see the comedians. You sit there knowing full well you are the first one seen as the comedian takes the stage and your presence is felt as the comedians crotch is just a few feet away from your gazing eyes. As one comedian put it “You guys have a different show, you keep staring at our knees.” Anything anyone says or does right up front is noticed by the comedians and can be distracting to the comedians. It also didn’t help that BDT was wearing a tiny black tank-top over her surgically enhanced chest. Comedians are only human – and anything can sidetrack a comic from telling his stories, ideas and truth.
Then Amir K takes the stage. Within seconds Amir recognizes that the front row isn’t there for comedy, their talking is distracting and rude. But Amir believes it’s not only disrespectful but sacrilegious. It’s a comedy show not a Juggalos con– oh wait I already used that one. It’s a comedy show not a douchebag orgy. (I’ll work on more Juggalo metaphors.) Amir K rips into Mr. Chatty and doesn’t let up. He blasts F bombs to the entire front row for being miscreants and boors. He takes down Miss Soft-Hand Vegas, Miss Miami, BDT, two seemingly innocent women in the front, and Mr. Chatty himself.
Amir gets down on one knee and looks Mr. Chatty in the face and tells him he wants to kick the dude’s head off with one swift kick. Each and every word Amir drops, like two-tons of verbal shit kicking onto Mr. C’s head resonates with the audience. At some point you can’t believe it’s happening. There were a couple of moments I feared for Amir’s life, recollecting some stories of audience members attacking comedians during and after the show.
In the frenzy Jay Davis takes to the microphone behind the stage and calls on security to remove the douche-bag audience member. It was epic. It was also kind of nuts. And sadly, typical of comedy shows.
I think Amir saved the night. Not to give him too much credit but he didn’t let up going so far as tell Mr. Chatty “I’m up here trying to make my dream come true, and you are talking.”
There is that old joke about how hecklers go wild ruining a comedian’s set, but no one ever has that happen at their job. Seinfeld I believe did something about that. Good ol’ Seinfeld.
[edit: Louis CK had it on his show S01E06 – The Heckler]
But it’s true. Why is this acceptable behavior at a comedy show?
Which brings to me another story in the news from my home town of Toronto.
At an FTC Soccer game in Toronto a female news reporter was harassed on the job by (drunken) idiots yelling unbelievably offense things including F****** her in the P*****Y.
One person caught on camera was identified and fired from his job at Hydro One.
He is seen on camera saying that yelling that stuff is “hilarious” and something his mother would eventually find funny. Now some wonder if Hydro One has a morality clause and even has a right to fire him. But aren’t you glad you read that. The idiot was fired for his clearly unacceptable behavior.
Isn’t there some sense of relief that bitter-sweet justice was served?
While on Facebook I read Toronto comedian Dom Paré status and didn’t quite understand his point.
But after writing this out, and reading a little bit more on people’s reaction to the video, I think I understand it a bit more. Why is it unacceptable to harass a reporter while doing her job but completely “acceptable” to heckle a comedian while he is doing his job?
Where is our bitter-sweet justice to the Mr. Chatty’s of the world? They might get ejected from the show, but this guy won’t learn. I’m not saying Mr. Chatty should lose his job, but Dom’s right… why is it okay for comedians to get crapped on as if heckling isn’t seen as completely unacceptable behavior.
I can see that comedians many times get the last laugh. These sometimes drunk, many times small-penised, insecure jerks are no match for a comedians quick wit. And as you could read in Amir K’s response, Mr. Chatty was torn down to the delight of the audience to great comedic effect. But it can come at a great price. While drunken soccer idiots might lose their jobs, comedians might lose their lives. Comedian Attacked on Stage.
That’s completely unacceptable. It’s just comedy after all.
Good job to Jay Davis, Sina Amedson, Dino Archie, Thomas Dale and all the comedians that took the stage that night. You handled the crowd like the professional comedians you are.