Hi! I'm Jake!
If you know me, then you know, I am an upbeat guy, rose, rays of precious sunshine, poems, monkeys, cotton candy, jig-dancing midgets, warm Hawaiian rain. However, today was a crap day at the office. Tonight, I am a black cloud. I could rain mallard pate vomit on this tiny Southern Oregon hamlet.
Initially, I looked forward to the gig. I'd been here before and had a fun time. This time, I was working with Darryl Rhoades. Cool guy. He has been in the comedy and music businesses a long time. He recently played a drummer in the movie Crazy Heart with Jeff Bridges. We worked together Wednesday. He has a ton of great jokes, great music, and great energy. He's old school, but he still cranks out new, fresh material. I like his style. So, initially, I looked forward to the gig.
My drive into town was ominous. At first, I was lucky because I didn't hit any traffic passing through Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, or down most of the I-5 corridor. I saw hills, forest, light rain. It was a pleasant drive- until 20 miles outside of town. A viscous layer of dark white fog filled the air. It was smoke. I could taste it. It singed my nostrils. Something was wrong. Something was really really wrong.
You do 2 shows at this gig, a Friday show and a Saturday show. Friday's show was okay, not my favorite, but okay. The crowd left me hanging a couple times, but they went with me for the most part. Darryl had a great set. Afterwards was supercool. Darryl and I got pumpkin pie at a local restaurant. We talked comedy. We talked music. Richard Thompson, The Blasters, Reverend Horton Heat. It was good conversation.
Tonight, though... tonight was awful. Man, my stomach gurgles just thinking about it. I have been in the business almost a decade and I can count on one hand how many shows I have hated this much. Did you ever meet someone that just disgusted you right off the bat? Take that feeling and multiply it by 25. That was tonight's crowd. There were some cool people in the crowd, but most of these rockbrains just stared at me, judging me through the dim holes in their moon faces. It was creepy. The lights in their eyes flickered like a backwoods town hotel sign.
A lot of one-nighter gigs start as much as 10-30 minutes late. This show started an hour late, immediately after an Oregon Ducks football game. Post-game shows suck! The crowd is typically there for the game, not the show. Football games have a ton of hype and yelling and rooting and cheering and beer- and then the fans are somehow supposed to be quiet for 90 minutes while 1 person at a time does their little joke show. The crowd drinks too much because their team did well, or they drink too much because their team ate dook. The Ducks crushed their opponents by 30 points. Great for the Ducks. Great for the drunks. Bad for the show.
A meathead birthday party sat right up front. They were literally half the crowd. They had four tables connected together. Birthday parties can be really cool. They are typically in a good mood- because they are at a party. They are celebrating a friend's life. However, this birthday party was a bunch of entitled meatheads and their entitled meathead girlfriends. I'd celebrate their car wrecks.
I am totally cool with crowds expressing their reactions to my jokes. In fact, I implore them to do so. A live show is a beautiful thing, an organic process, an honest exchange between my words and the crowd's reactions. Like what you like, judge me for what you don't. Sometimes people don't like a joke here and there. That's okay: You don't have to like everything. As long as most of us are having a good time, I am happy. This is supposed to be fun!
However, one of the ladymeatheads had commentary for every single joke. I'm trying to think of a unnecessarily complex analogy to explain how obnoxious her commentary and groans were.
Here goes: Imagine watching a Primus concert on DVD. That's fun. Primus is cool. Now imagine having to simultaneously listen to the Girls Gone Wild wenches doing that DVD's bonus feature commentary track. Your brain would bleed. "Oh my gosh. What is Les Claypool doing with that pig hat and goggles? This is so dumb (frustrated sigh). Listen to these lyrics, 'My socks and shoes always match. Is it luck?' No That's just good fashion! I should have a band. I would wear my shorts that have the writing all over my butt. I'd be such a better musician," quipped the fictional Girl Gone Wild. I'd like to Brown Album all over her face.
I'm no Les Claypool, but to tonight's tittie-flaunter? I might as well have worn a pig hat and goggles. She did not get me at all. I was like one of her random pregnancies, unexpected and unwanted. She shamelessly let everyone know.
Also, I tell people I can find the bright side to anything. The douche meathead birthday boy said "My grandma is dying of breast cancer. Find the bright side to that." You gotta be kidding me! That's horrible! What a downer!
Turns out he was kidding. Oh, that's a great thing to kid about, you butthole! This is how awesome the crowd was: they busted up laughing about this guy's "My grandma has cancer boob riff." These people were wrong in the head- and not in a good way. They were serial killer wrong. They made no bones about how they weren't here for the show and they'd do everything in their power to sabotage it.
This crap storm was exacerbated because, prior to my set, the emcee's set consisted of 15 minutes of crowd work. He was funny, no doubt. But he spent that whole time striking up conversation with the meathead birthday party. This helped them think the show was an open forum, a city council meeting for all their meathead thoughts. Wonderful.
Also, the table next to the meathead birthday party featured a lady with a prominent rose-tattooed boob and her car salesman, trust fund, "daddy didn't give me enough attention," date. At first, he hated my guts. "I liked the show better last week," he quipped. Later, he opened up to me. He revealed that he had gotten a concussion by accidentally running headfirst into a firetruck. He had been playing football one day and he just ran right into it. How? It's a firetruck. It's big. It's red. It's shiny. It was stationary. Yet this lummox speedily perambulated into it- to the point of brain injury. And this guy judged me!
Anyway, tonight sucked. I feel like I should write more, but I am feeling a bit of ennui as I write about it. Normally, I feel better after getting something like this off my chest. However, the only way I am going to feel better after this show is if I get on stage again ASAP. I need to get that comedy show high again. I just got a bad dose this time.
I wish I had a time machine. Knowing what I know about these guys, I'd treat them differently. I probably should have wished the dude happy birthday. That would have been a good way to connect with his party. That would have been smart. It's an obvious move I should have made. Then, if they still acted like douches, I could have treated them accordingly and nobody would have blamed me.
In the end, though, I didn't wish him a happy birthday and I am glad. See... I had a birthday myself this week- and it was totally awesome. I did a show with Collin Moulton in Tacoma. We had a blast. He bought me some sushi. The ladies at the comedy house made me a cake. That's a great way to celebrate! I feel good knowing that I had a GREAT birthday- yet somehow, the douchebag tonight, well, I took his birthday party down a notch. Kind of helped end it on a sour note. Happy birthday, douche! I had only one crap night because of you and your friends. You have to live with yourself forever. Enjoy.
Bye! I'm Jake!