Comedy, Dating, and Tourettes

Published by Rick on Tagged Uncategorized

No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to go to a comedy show and just be a spectator. Though I had every intention of doing so last night, somehow other forces jumped in and said “No, you’re going to be the center of attention, because that’s what you want, whether you admit it or not.”

Once a month, the Shaftesbury Pub, only about 100 yards from my house, runs a comedy night. This has been going since March, and I performed at the inaugural night a mere four days after my sweetie had passed away. It was an absolutely wonderful 10 minutes of comedy therapy I had onstage, and as a bonus, I got a gig out of the deal. The comedy nights since then have all drawn quite well, but last night was the first time since March that I was around and/or not working, so I decided I’d check it out, as one of the comics on the bill was a friend who had actually met Eileen a couple of times.

I wasn’t even sure I’d get in for free, though I have an ethic which says on principle that I don’t pay for comedy shows, even if I don’t know anyone on the bill. The last time I went to Edinburgh Fringe Festival (2003), I was there for four days, saw about 15 shows, and the only one I paid to see was so god-awful I walked out. That’ll teach me! Anyway, the girl taking the tickets at the Shaftesbury recognized me from when I was there before, so that wasn’t a problem.

My plan was to just be an anonymous spectator, but this whole night seemed to hover around the edges of insanity from the moment it started. Seated in the very front was a very attractive black woman with a very blatant case of Tourettes’ Syndrome. She continually raised her middle finger and muttered various obscenities, which raises the question: Does Tourettes always have to be identified by consistent profanity? It wasn’t as much a disruption as it could have been, since it more than once gave the comics something to work off of, and in her own way, she actually enhanced a few of the acts’ performances.

First two acts went up, persevered despite the interruptions from Tourettes girl. Then before the break, the emcee planned his own club version of the TV show “Take Me Out,” and it involved pairing up a male and a female not currently in a relationship, with the females in the audience picking the male contestant. Not sure why, with five or six younger, handsomer single men standing, they chose 62-year-old me, but there ya go.

I got up onstage to pick my “date” from the eligible bachelorettes, but in keeping with the comedy format, the emcee, once it was established that I did indeed work as a stand-up, gave me the opportunity to tell one joke, and I told my all-time favorite, which I won’t bother with now, but you can ask me later.  The joke worked as well as it always has, and then it was time to make a selection. That was more difficult than I thought it would be! I tried to mime blindfolding myself and picking at random, but that wasn’t going to work. Finally, I saw one of the ladies fiddle with her hair, and just said “The one playing with her hair!” So it was established that during the interval, we’d get acquainted over a bottle of champagne and see if there was any chemistry.

There was more chemistry than I expected given that she was less than half my age and stunningly beautiful, and felt at least as awkward as I did. But we made a go of it, and sat together the rest of the evening. At the end of the show, we were asked back onstage, and when the emcee asked if she’d see me again, she said “Oh absolutely!” Now before you think this is the macho in me going “Yeh, I still got it,” well, no. She was a mere 37 years younger, and while we took down each other’s mobile numbers, there’s not even a fantasy in the remotest part of my imagination that sees anything more than her coming to one of my future gigs, by which time she’ll probably have a boyfriend anyway.

I had a nice chat with Tourettes girl after the show, who by the second half, had graduated to repeatedly saying “Your mom’s cunt” to the performers onstage, and cracking up the comics as well as the audience. It could have been disruptive, but the overall vibe in the room was too good for that to be a problem. When we talked, she could be taken away from her affliction, and be coherent and focused. It was only when anyone else was talking that she lapsed into middle fingers and four-letter mumblings.

All in all, a fun night for me. I got in for free, got my drinks mostly paid for, got to perform, got to go on a blind date, and was entertained. And here my intention was to just sit with my neighbors and enjoy the show like anyone else. It’s just too hard to keep the ham in the fridge.



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