We barely managed to clear the minimum number of patrons required to run our first show on Thursday. They trickeld in like little angels; five couples sat in opposite corners of the room to form a star shaped audience. They laughed just enough, snorted quite a bit and heckled by repeating what Gabriel was saying. He responded, "it's like this show has closed captioning."
This is my fourth time hosting a comedy club, so at this point I know what I am getting into and didn't let the audience paucity zap my genuine excitement to work with feature Ella Gale and headliner Gabriel Rutledge. Of course it also really helps to have the support of a professional and good humored club manager like Sophie Hughes.
My favorite line of the night was when Gabriel was being heckled by a coulee of women wearing brightly-colored wigs. He goes to set up a joke by introducing a premise and then one of them yells, "What happened?!" He said something like, "I don't know if you have been to a comedy show before but usually when a comedian bring something up the are usually planning to tell you what happened."
Something happened for me this weekend; I realized that one the first jokes I had ever written, one that I could always count on to get a laugh- died! RIP Waitress to Bartender. I wrote W to B back in Vermont when I had gone from waitressing at a local music joint to bartending at a brewery. I set it up like, "It's more money, less work, I don't have to smile all the time... maybe this is what its like to be a man!" And when audiences were tight the joke would at least get a chuckle and if they were feeling generous it would get an applause break! I counted on that joke probably more then my job. But in the last month I noticed that while some were still laughing and clapping I was also increasingly getting groans. GROANS!? And even losing the audience from there.
At first I blamed the media, of coarse, for berating us with sexual harassment and misconduct stuff this past year, maybe everyone was tired of hearing about it. The more I thought about it the more I realized that the reason that joke actually died was me. Figures. I was not feeling the elation of being a bartender that I had when I wrote that joke. And I stopped wanting to be a man. Actually while the country has been reckoning with the sexual abuse of its women, I just happen to be reckoning with my own, with professional help. So talking about beer and being in the constant line of sight of men was becoming increasingly difficult.
Ella has tag to one of her joke which she imparts the phrase, "Sometimes life imitates art." I heard that seven times over the weekend and by Monday I was thinking about quitting bartending and hoping that my life would imitate my art. And then, on Friday, the brewery I worked for laid me off- effective that day! I've been unemployed before but this is the first time its felt like a set-up.