Making ties with funny people
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
My new thing these days is meeting new people. And not just those run-of-the-mill, Average Joes, either. These are people who purposely go on stage to make people laugh. They don’t even need to trip and fall over an ottoman to get a chuckle.
These are honest-to-goodness entertainers. Jokesters. Clowns sans make-up. Crack-ups. Which are so much better than crack heads. Unless they’re borrowing money from me.
Then that’s not very funny.
Making people laugh – especially these days when everyone seems so tightly wound with stress – is no small feat. Hecklers lurk in the dark shadows of comedy venues, but mostly in the front row, with no other agenda than to humiliate the people they paid money to watch tell jokes. I don’t get that, but, hey, I’m not exactly a critical kind of girl.
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Heckling a comic makes as much sense to me as buying a waterbed. Then going to sleep in a pair of needle-covered footy pajamas.
Others aren’t necessarily relentlessly critical. Maybe they just can’t help but talk. Even when there’s a person on stage, with lights pointed in her direction, trying to make people laugh. Hey, and I understand that. I spent a lot of time in the corner in kindergarten because of my Chatty Cathy ways.
Hopefully I wasn’t that creepy.
Even more frightening than a talking doll with a distant stare and freakishly long eyelashes are intoxicated hecklers. These guys, and often gals, sneak up on a comic like Benny Hill behind a buxom blonde bending over to smell the flowers. They strike when funny people least expect it. Or, if the comic’s a closer, when she not only expects it but dreads it like a birthday party for cats. Or baby showers.
And I thought beer was supposed to be fun. Hairballs and guessing how many sheets of toilet paper it takes to reach around a preggo’s belly?
Not so much.
The best part about my new thing meeting new people is most of the time I’m out of my element. Until recently, I’d never sat around at the end of a comedy show, throwing jokes and insults around like a less heavy Larry the Cable Guy. I’ve also never been invited to try open mic in Denver – which honestly scares the bejeezus out me. I hear they’re calling me Tina Fey on that side of the hill.
But I have yet to confirm.
I’ve never known anyone to work on a Hollywood set as a grip. And now I do. Who knew they have to tie so many knots?
Well I do, now.
Outside of random celebrity stalking moments during the Aspen Comedy Fest and Dan Quayle, I certainly have never met anyone listed on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Although I’m wondering if my work as a screaming pre-teen basketball fan in “Hoosiers” counts for my own IMDb listing.
I still haven’t found myself in the crowd.
If my memories of being a pre-teen serve me right, I probably don’t want to revisit that anyway. I was a goofy one at 13 and 14. Braces, bad perm, and no need for training wheels on my brassiere. Which reminds me of a joke. A grip, an orthodontist, and Benny Hill walk into a bar …
Maybe I should run that one by a few friends first.
April E. Clark is emceeing a benefit for Haiti Friday night at the Church of Carbondale and hopes everyone comes out to watch some of her new friends make people laugh. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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