I’m going to be a little vague here on time and place but want to share a story of a recent show. I was doing a comedy tour which was packaged with me finishing at a weekend comedy club. The Thursday night had me performing in an incredibly small little midwest town. We are talking about 1000 people, which is the smallest place I’ve ever had a gig. The room though was good, as the bar has bands play there on the weekend, so there was a good stage and sound.
A couple hours before the show, I stopped to check-in and a woman at the bar asked if I was the comedian. I spoke to her for a couple of minutes and she seemed like a bright, but brash woman. The profession she was in (she told me) only backed up what I thought about her. She told me that she was planning on bringing her 15 year-old son and wanted to know my opinion on that. Here’s verbatim what I told her.
I’m sure he would be able to handle it fine, as my show is PG 13, but I would prefer you didn’t have him come as some people there would feel uncomfortable hearing some of my material that they didn’t think a kid should hear.
I wasn’t surprised that she brought him because she isn’t the type of person who gives a shit about anyone but herself. They were sitting smack dab, right in the front row. (where did smack dab originate from?) In this tiny town, there were over 50 people in the audience and they were all great, well except for one. This bitch (and when I say bitch I mean as in the C word) would not shut her yapper. I went at her a few times, but tried to be gentle as I didn’t want to disembowel her in front of her family. (The rest of her family, who were actually of age, were there as well.) The show went great and only one person from in the audience did not come up to me after the show and tell me so.
So I’m sitting at the bar after the show talking to a couple people, as there was only a few still there. At this point, the drunken mother came up to me and started to yell at me for being a “Liar!” One audience member tried to respond to her, to which she told my defender to shut-up, as this has nothing to do with you and no one wants to hear what you have to say. I responded with “you can come at me, but you don’t have to be vile to anyone else.”
This continued on for about 5 minutes, with the drunken mother saying worse things to me than anything I said at my show. I told her that no one seemed to have a problem with my show, which she said was a lie as her family was offended by my act. I responded to this saying I found that hard to believe considering her husband and son came up to me after the show and bought my DVD.
She just kept getting angrier saying how could I say my show was PG-13? I told her that I did nothing that couldn’t air late-night on Comedy Central. She told me if I needed an extra 10 dollars so much (the cover charge), she would have given it to me. I told her the truth that I would have made the same money if 1 or 100 people were at the show, as I was paid on a flat fee.
Now you might ask why I was so calm with this raging witch? Well, I realized that she was a major customer of the bar/restaurant and didn’t want her to become so hateful that she didn’t ever come back again. I finally just walked out to my car and the owner came out to apologize and say that numerous audience members had discussed how much of a bitch she had been during the show and wished I would have went at her harder. He thanked me for keeping my cool. A decade ago I wouldn’t have, but having a family has given me more perspective on my actions and how I’m in this comedy biz for the long-term. I defended myself enough to keep my own dignity, but walked away after I could no longer hold my temper. Call me Zen Buddhist Scott.