A lesson in etiquette…or what happened at the second show.

Your patience has been rewarded.  It’s time for a rundown of the second show in Johnson City, TN, last night.  For those who missed the recap of show #1, scroll further down.  You’re looking for the next post.

There were three shows this weekend in Johnson City.  The first two were poorly attended, at least by the suggested standards.  Perhaps some of that was summer.  Perhaps some of that was it was such a beautiful day and people wanted to be outside.  Either way, the second Saturday show started with such promise.  There were as many people watching this show than the other two combined!  Things were looking up.

The emcee did fifteen minutes and several times during his set, a very drunk man at the bar yelled things.  Most were indecipherable slurs.  He had been drinking since 2pm.  Each time he would yell something, he would then go back to staring at his beer.

Quick note.  I know most of the extra details of this story because I was standing next to the manager and the drunk’s wife and overheard their conversation while the headliner was on stage.

It was the drunk’s wife’s 40th birthday.  How do I know that?  It was one of the few things he yelled coherently, unfortunately for her.  After all, what woman doesn’t want her man to shout that she just hit the big 4-0?  Answer:  All of them.

Soon, it was my turn on stage.  Things were grand.  Then from out of nowhere, the drunk yells, “You suck!”  Classic drunk heckle.  According to his wife, the man thought he was helping the show.  He thinks that the comics want people to yell things and interact with the audience.  He thinks this makes for a better show!  Of course!

Well, that guy is wrong.  Incredibly wrong.  If you’re a comic reading this, or any person of reasonable intelligence, you already know that.  But let me just give a quick etiquette lesson for those who don’t qualify for either of those.

It is never appropriate behavior to shout unsolicited comments to a stand-up comedian during a performance.  End of lesson.  I don’t mean to condescend.  After all, most of you reading this probably already knew this gem.  I’m just angry and frustrated that nothing was done about this from the part of the management.  This man should have been talked to during the emcee’s set and/or maybe even thrown out at some point.

What did I do?  You might ask.  I reassured the drunk man that I didn’t suck.  Many of the audience verbally agreed.  I even took a vote.  I said, “All those that think I suck, raise your hand.”  Guess how many hands went up!  Go on, guess!

None.  That’s right.  Zero.  I was confused.  I told the audience that I thought there would be at least one hand.  Didn’t you think so?  Turns out the man was so drunk, he wasn’t even paying attention.  Just randomly yelling.  Classy.  His mom must be so proud.  I wonder if he knew where he was.  I’m sure he didn’t.  Why?

I went upstairs during the headliner’s set for a bit and when I came back down, the drunk was waiting to get on the elevator.  The show hadn’t ended yet.  Do you know what he said to me?  Nothing.  He didn’t even recognize me.  I’m surprised he didn’t throw up on me the way he looked.  I imagine he’s probably still wandering around that hotel trying to figure out which room was his.

When I returned to the club, the wife was in the hall talking with the manager.  The headliner was still on stage.  She was explaining how they “didn’t think they were loud” and how they “come here all the time.”  Ridiculous.  I’m pretty sure they left on their own accord and not because they were asked, but I don’t have proof of that.  This isn’t how things should be.

The moral of the story is:  If you’re going to a live performance of any kind, act appropriately for that situation/venue.  Feel free to share this with everyone you know or are internet friends with so that comedy shows can improve on the whole.  Thank you.