Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"When Comedy Goes Bad" by Pat House

File Under the At Least You Got A Good Story Dept., from Pat House's Myspace:

Last night I performed at The Townehouse in Media, PA for Riots Comedy. It's a fantastic room with great crowds and a great staff. I've had very good shows there, and I was excited to return.

There was a couple seated up front who were extremely talkative. I had friends and family seated around them, and several of them had told me how loud and distracting they were.

I was the third comedian to go on, and as soon as I get on stage, they're talking. Loudly. I did my opening joke to feel the crowd out, hoping their conversation would by over be the time it was done. It wasn't.

I was polite, (but stern) and I asked them what the chatter was about. "French fries" was the answer. I said "OK, well I'm glad to know that my set is interesting enough that you guys are discussing food during it..." in the hopes to get a few laughs.

I told them they were being distracting and that it's not fair to the crowd because they paid to see a good show and they're making it difficult for me to give them that show.

The husband shoots me this how DARE you look and has the audacity to say to me "Look, it's been a long week..." My blood pressure skyrocketed at the fact that he was justifying them being disruptive and I fired back "I don't fucking care. Eighty people paid to see this show, no one paid to hear you..." To which the crowd applauded, which was great, because they were on my side.

The wife said something to the effect of "We're here every week, we bring people everytime..." I cut her off with weak retort, but I was so heated I didn't even know what to say, and I blurted out "They don't even have shows here every week so you're either high or stupid."

She then picks up the three beer bottles that are in front of her (I think two of them were full) and launches them at right fucking at me, completely covering me in beer. It's all over my shirt, jeans, face, glasses, the wall - everywhere. So I did what I'm sure other people in that situation would do. I immediately pointed directly at her and said:




Her husband rushes the stage, half pushes me/half punches me in the face, I fly backwards, off the stage, praying to God that I don't go through the window that's behind me. After a little more screaming, they left.

Let me tell you how awkward this makes a comedy show. I tried to make a few jokes about it, to basically re-start the entire show, and somehow after all of that, I still had a pretty decent set.

I think half the crowd were totally turned-off and appalled, thinking that this is how comedy shows are. But I appreciate the other half - the people that hopped back on board and allowed me to carry on.

All in all I don't even know what to think. Maybe I was out of line calling her a cunt, I don't know. But it seems like the appropraite response for when someone hurls glass bottles at you from six feet away. What I do know is that ALL of this stemmed from two people who could not keep their mouths shut during a comedy show.

One thing that was great were the people who came up to me afterwards and said it was 'great' and 'fucking awesome.' One of the waitresses thanked me for getting them to leave. It's great to know that people were on my side for this. I woke up this morning to about 20 emails and myspace messages from audience members and other comedians, so I thank them for that as well.

Who knew that telling jokes and trying to contain an audience would make someone the bad guy?

Oh, and lastly, no, I did not have a joke about a riot and Riots Comedy. I thought of that on the car ride home.


Kent said...

Stories like this scare the shit out of me. Obviously because I don't want bottles/assholes coming in my direction, but also because I think it would really shake my confidence and hurt my performances for a long while. I just hope I get as much stage experience as Pat before I encounter something as fucked up as this.

Matt said...

Inconsiderate people like that are the worst sort of scum.

Anonymous said...

Hi I don't wish to use my real name
so just refer to me as John K.
I was at that show. I was hosting.
I had to go up after Pat H.
Pat recovered and finsished out his set nicely
The manager a Benny M. was there with his baby son.
I shook Pat's hand and told the audience " welcome to UFC night at Riots comedy club. Hey Benny you son just said his first word "cunt"
and the crowd laughed.
I had my camera
I didn't tape for some idiotic reason.
I would have sent it to comic vs audience.

Ryan said...

That's the kind of situation you always come up with awesome retorts for after the fact. One to make you kick yourself:

Now that you're clearly finished with your drink, how about getting the fuck out?

I'm so funny. Sounds like you handled it well either way.