As a comedian, I’ll admit it: I’m a big, fat whore. If you have money, I will gladly come to you and service your funny bone. Usually, I’ll be whoring myself out at clubs and bars. Occasionally, like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, I get to turn a trick in a swanky five-star joint. (Look for me in such a place, the 3000-seat Plenary Hall at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center, this November 18 & 19!) But sometimes the unexpected happens and I’m thrust into a situation that will leave me curled up on the shower floor like Elisabeth Shue after nonconsensual butt love with the frat boys. Though the list is lengthier, here are five weird places I’ve done comedy:
5. 300 Non-English-Speaking Teenage Foreign Exchange Students
A fellow comedian offered me a booking at a college, and I took it because it was a show at an American university. What could go wrong? Um, everything. Turns out these weren’t college students, they were teenagers. Okay, not bad, I can still do pop culture references that they’ll get, right? Nope, they’re from NOT America. As in, if you looked at a map of the places in the world that use the metric system, these kids were from there. (I’ll help you out. The US, Liberia and Mauritania are the only ones who don’t.) Great, but at least I can explain the things they don’t get? Splort! (That’s the sound of fate putting its steel-toe shoe up my chocolate box.) None of them speak English. And, as it turns out, they are all assholes that left their Adderall at home. What it all means is that for a solid hour, I tried unsuccessfully to be the Anne Sullivan to this Eurasian puberty-tornado’s Helen Keller, doing silly Jerry Lewis voices and wild pantomimes while they carried on doing everything except defecating into the light fixtures. (There were no German kids.) On my way out, the advisor thanked me profusely for relieving her for an hour as this group had made her cry every night for a week.
4. Laundromat at a Comedy Festival
HBO’s U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, or simply, “Aspen,” as it was known, was the launching pad for many a successful career in show business. Here, in the falling snow drifts, Hollywood executives came to watch the stars of tomorrow and reward them with a Wonka Golden Ticket that read, “In your wildest dreams you can not imagine the marvelous surprises that await you!” Anyway, while this was going on, I did a show 200 yards away at a laundromat. Amid the plinking of coins and churning of machines, I stepped aside mid-joke to allow a person with a basket full of crusty unmentionables to pass by. Not a bad show, in the end, and I also found a quarter.
3. The Governor’s Mansion, Honolulu, HI
Much like Wo Fat in the new Hawaii Five-0, I arrived under cover of darkness at Washington Place, the Hawaii Governor’s mansion, to do my dirty deed. Then I proceeded to attack the Governor. Let me explain. The two houses of the State Legislature and the Governor’s office were having a talent night at the mansion. I guess this is the kind of thing that goes on when you don’t care about solving Hawaii’s real problems. The Senate, the House of Representatives and the Governor’s cabinet each were to put on some kind of performance. But the Senate, bereft of talent as it was, made me an Honorary Senator of the State of Hawaii, and trotted me out as one of their own. Much like Wo Fat, I then proceeded to shoot verbal bullets at the unsuspecting executive branch of this nation’s 50th state. Also I was able to pin the blame on others (in this case, the Senate) and make my escape. Call me Wo Chubby, I guess.
2. Hitler’s Old Nazi Officers Club Ballroom
Baumholder, Germany, 30 miles east of the French border is where Hitler decided he wanted to set up a huge military training camp. According to some, it was his favorite. It is now a US Army Garrison, but many of the original buildings still stand, including a huge, former Nazi Officers Club. The club has an enormous ballroom, and that’s where I did a show. I don’t know how they utilized the space back in the day. I can’t imagine that they were a very fun-loving bunch, dancing the nights away. Granted, they were the Nazi Party, but still. It seemed like entirely too much ballroom for their stodgy, rigid demeanors. [*Here’s a fun fact, Hitler only had one testicle so he really had lots of ball room too.] I guess I always thought the Nazis hung around in small spaces, yelling, like in Downfall.
1. At a Chemical/Biological/Nerve Agent Disposal Facility
Let me preface this by saying that as much as I love performing in clubs, I love performing for the military that much more. Now then, on with the story. Before you get to a club, the booker sometimes forwards an orientation email containing things you should know. Whether breakfast is included at the hotel, what time the radio interviews are, how many drink tickets you’ll get at the show, that sort of thing. Upon arriving at the US Army’s chemical weapons and nerve agent disposal facility at Johnston Island, nearly 900 miles southwest of Hawaii, I was immediately ushered into a room for a safety briefing. A thick binder of information was given to me, and it was all to be read before I was allowed to even leave the room. Then a gas mask and packet of syringes were given to me, to have on my person at all times. If I heard the warning siren, that meant something had gone wrong and I had just minutes to head to the safe building. Failing that, I was instructed to don my gas mask and STAB myself in the meaty portion of my leg with one of the syringes, or I would quickly experience the symptoms of twitching, vomiting and death. Wait, death is a symptom? I thought it was the effect of chemical weapons and nerve agents. (These were some pretty heavy duty compounds, like the VX gas in Nicolas Cage’s movie, The Rock. And you saw what that did to Captain Frye, so “you know how this shit works.”) So far, it has been the only show I did with a gas mask and syringes of antidote strapped to my leg. But I’ve yet to do shows in France, so I suppose I can’t stop counting just now.
Pimping ain’t easy? Nuh-uh. Whoring ain’t easy.