Monday, April 25, 2005

Did he just say what I think he said?

Last weekend, we went met up with our friends Laura and her daughter Justice. Justice brought along her friend Mirage. (Don't I know people with the coolest names?) We decided to go out for Mexican food and then take in a comedy show. There's a really good improv group down here called National Comedy Theater". They had a 7:30 show and are very family friendly. Laura has taken Justice many times before. As an added bonus, there was a special event going on as well. The Lifetime Channel, you know, "Television for Women", was going to be there filming something for a documentary they are doing about an engaged couple. The future in-laws have never seen their future son-in-law's stand-up routine, so he is going to be doing it in front of them for the first time. Sweet! Improv AND Stand Up...

I was pretty pumped for a fun evening. Dinner was good. The kids were reasonably well behaved, and the club looked like it was going to have a good crowd. The Lifetime folks were filming some of the people in the front row waiting for things to get started. Then a comic came out and starting doing a routine. He was pretty funny and we thought we were in for a treat. Turns out, he's just the emcee. So, he only did five minutes before explaining what was going on here. He gave a brief run down on what the comic has been doing lately and then asked us to give it up for TK.

I'm not sure why he decided that TK was a good name for a comic. Then I thought to myself, "If you're funny, why do you need a gimmick name?" It didn't take long to get the answer. He came out riffing on a variety of topics and wasn't getting much response. There were chuckles here and there, but not the kind of laughter you expect from a headliner. He asked if anyone was from Boston and we cheered. He did a bit on how "hot the Boston women were". Yeah, I know. Family, show, huh? He continued, "until they open their mouths. Then they all sound like Cliff Clavin from Cheers." Ok, fine, he wanted to do a Cliff Clavin impersonation. Plenty of more clever run-ups to it, but whatever. It got better. He started to talk about this group of hot chicks that came up to him and some of the other comics after a show in Boston and he invited them back to the suite for some beers. Cue the Cliff voice "Yeah. Let me go check back with Diane and Carla and maybe we'll come back to the hotel and suck your c*cks."

Blink. Blink. I turned to Laura because I couldn't have heard what I thought I heard. She looked back at me as we both recognized for certain the term "c*cksucker" coming from the stage. Laura turned to the children with a bright and cheery look on her face and said, "Who wants to go to the concession stand and get popcorn?" I grabbed my kids, she grabbed hers, and we headed for the lobby. My poor wife was left to endure his material to save our seats.

I do have to give the Lifetime folks a little credit, though. The producer met us in the lobby and apologized profusely. She bought popcorn and bottled water for the kids. We could still hear the show from the lobby, so we waited out on the patio and she promised to get us when it was all over. She didn't think it would be more than fifteen minutes.

That said, I don't want to give too much credit. I mean, there are any number of ways that things could have been handled differently. They knew TK's material and they saw us walk in. The theater is not that big. And even if it were, we were sitting in the second row. TK had to have seen us. This was being taped. All he would have had to do is ask them to cut for a minute and warn the people sitting in front of him with the four year old that his material might not be right for them. Failing that, they could have looked at NCT's promotional materials. They specifically say they are a family show. Their gimmick is competitive improv. The emcee is a referee and he calls fouls during the evening. One foul is specifically for off-color material. Hello? You'd think they had read that and realized this was the wrong venue for them.

Hey, wouldn't it be cool if us walking out on his act made it to the show?

We waited outside but it was a little chilly. I had to go back in for the kids' jackets. I was back in for maybe thirty seconds and heard the N-word four times. Here is a rough quote. "When a black guy says ni**a, he's just talking about one of his friend's. 'That's my ni**a!'. When a white guy says ni**a, he's taking inventory."* I left quickly with the jackets, pausing only to apologize to my wife.

Back outside, I saw that we had been joined by the people sitting behind us. The three of them were on a field trip together. The parents of the two early teens had bin on this night out with their teacher during their school fundraiser. Their CHRISTIAN school fundraiser. Yes. The teacher comes to the show regularly and can name most of the performers. So, she assured the parents that it was wholesome. I commended the teacher, both for donating the evening and for walking out on it. We had a very nice chat whilst waiting.

While we were waiting for the interminable fifteen minutes to end, one of the guys from NCT came out to talk to us. He apologized far more profusely and looked miserable. He was clearly upset by this turn of events. He was taking this hit to their reputation very personally. He explained that the home office had set this event up and that nobody bothered to check on the material because it was Lifetime. They figured Lifetime knew what NCT was all about and chose them for that reason.

I told him that it wasn't his fault and that we don't think less of NCT for it. It seemed like an honest disconnect in communications. He apologized again and gave us eight free passes to come back and four to the other group. To me, that was above and beyond the call of duty and I thanked him. He chatted with us for a bit and then the doors opened and we were able to go back in. The improv show kicked serious butt and we had a blast. I'll post about that later.

My wife caught us up on the rest of the material. "It was all pretty much racist. When he wasn't being racist he was actually kind of funny." If only Lifetime had interviewed her like they were interviewing the future in-laws outside. My wife's theory is that they gave him this material on purpose to try for some artificial tension in their reality TV. If this was Fox, I'd agree, but Lifetime? I wish I knew the name of the show, because I am curious enough to watch it, just to see if it was contrived.

So, in conclusion:

National Comedy Theater - Class act. Two thumbs WAYYYYY up!
Lifetime TV for Women - Lukewarm, but needs a new slogan
TK - Stands for Total Kretin. Terrible Komic? Titanic Kotex?

* This quoted shite is the sole property of TK. If I knew his full name, I'd give him the credit he deserves.