If you ever wanted to see a fiery crash, you should have been in Spokane Thursday February 23, 2006 at the Brickwall Comedy Club. You would have witnessed one of the worst shows I ever had.
I have a little recipe I'd like to share with you ...
What is "Combat Comedy" you ask? Well that is when yours truly has to go up in front of a group of drunken stupid people and try to entertain them. In short it is a train wreck waiting to happen.
Now I need to set up a few things first.
I flew in from Jacksonville Wednesday (the night before). I had only 4 hours sleep because I had to get up at 6:30am Florida time to get to the airport to catch my plane home. It left at 10:45 with a 1-hour layover in Atlanta. I got to Denver at 3:30pm and was lucky enough to have "Mr. Stress" pick me up on his way to the club. I got to the club (where my car was) and was on the road to Spokane Washington by 6:30pm.
I drove through the night and arrived in Spokane at 12:30pm Pacific time. That's 18 hours of driving. It would have been shorter except I took two half hour naps in Montana on I-90 and did two 360s 75 miles south of Billings Montana on I-25 when I hit a patch of ice at 1:30 in the morning. It was lucky for me that I hit no signs and the median was wide and shallow with 2" of snow on it. Otherwise I could have very easily flipped my car several times and been seriously injured or killed.
Once I got into Spokane I was only able to get 2 more hours of sleep. By show time I'd been up 41 hours and had 3 hours of sleep. To say I was tired was an understatement.
So back to Combat Comedy.
Tonight we are going to add and additional ingredient for a little extra spice ...
20 attractive young women.
First, I don't want anyone to get the idea I dislike women. I do not, I hold them in high regard and am very respectful of women. I will also say that the most positive experience I've ever had in my life came from a woman. And no it wasn't anything sexual.
So here is what happened.
The Brickwall Comedy Club is a converted bar located in the basement of a Travellodge Hotel. It is owned and operated by my fellow comedian Chris Warren. It seats about 120 people and on this night we had somewhere around 60 in the show room. Unfortunately 20 of them were a group of attractive women, most between the ages of 21 & 25. And these young women knew they were good looking, that makes them very dangerous indeed. They are used to having their way and being the center of attention. Very bad when you mix in alcohol and put them in the front row. Making them center of attention it is like throwing gasoline on a small fire at the edge of the woods. It doesn't take long for that little fire to burn the whole place down. That is what happened last night.
Add to that the 2 comedians before me that either didn't care about the show, were too inexperienced to understand what they were doing, or wanted to get laid. As if they would have had a chance with any of those women.
The opener went up and for 15 minutes and was chatting with them on and off. This was followed by 25 more minutes of the feature act doing the same. He was supposed to do 30 but he bailed early because he was stinking up the joint and the reason why was simple. He was only playing to 1/3 of the room, the 20 girls in the front row.
So by the time I got up there they were not only drunk, they had been a part of the show since the beginning and totally expected to be a part of the show until the end. I was not having any part of that; there were 40 other people in that room that were not enjoying themselves. They deserved a show and I was planning on giving them one.
So I went on stage and started my set. About 5 minutes in they started talking. Once they figured out I was not going to make them a part of my show they decided they were finished with the whole thing. But why leave? They could still get alcohol and talk amongst themselves. My little show was only a minor distraction.
So I continue for 35 minutes until it just got unbearable and that is when I made it worse. You must understand that even though I may look tough I really will do just about anything I can to avoid conflict. I've never liked it but I am not afraid of it. But I will also not allow you to push me too far and that's what these women did. They managed to disrupt my entire show and not only make the situation bad for me but they ruined a perfectly good evening out for everyone else in the room. People that paid with their hard earned income to come out and have a good time.
So I stopped my show and engaged them. At first they were happy about that. It was as if they were thinking Finally! He recognizes us and now we are going to get the attention we deserve! Well, they got just that but it wasn't what they expected.
Let me just say that by the time I was finished not one of them was happy and the rest of the crowd had seen justice administered. I also doubt I will be on any of those girls Christmas card lists.
After the show I received good feedback from people that were in the audience. They felt I did well and couldn't believe how long I held my temper. Then one of the girls stopped by and told me something that just floored me.
She was actually an employee of the club! She will be working over the weekend as wait staff. I was astounded! Then she dropped the rest of the bomb on me; there were a total of 3 waitresses in that group. There was absolutely no reason for that whole situation to have happened. They know what makes a good comedy show and should have leaned over to their friends and told them to be quiet, that it was inappropriate for them to interrupt the show. But they didn't. Unbelievable!
So once again these girls have proved that there is no limit to some peoples ignorance.
Unfortunately I didn't need to be reminded.