Sunday, April 25, 2010

Inglorious Bastards at the Comedy Club.

Okay, I only just got back from Melbourne without being burnt at the stake in the public square. As a mangy old alley cat I know I'm notorious for flip-outs so I hate to report one more, anyone bothering to read me has to wonder, "What the fuck is this guy's problem?" I can only say I'm one more ratbag on the bottom of the heap, while getting the shit crushed out of me I refuse to be pushed around anymore, especially by deadheads with their one cent worth of power.

I was with my best friend of 40 years, Geraldine, and we wanted to go out Friday night for a good time and we settled on the Comedy Festival that had taken over Melbourne for that week. We went to the Town Hall to book tickets and I should have been warned by the sight of the crowd, thousands of nice middle class citizens milling politely, not a punk, goth or skinhead in sight. There were hundreds of comedy acts on offer and we couldn't figure out what would be cool. A well-dressed, handsome young man touting for various acts advised me to go up to the Portland Hotel to see an act called "Neanderthal Brow", tho it involved a guy called Adam Jerk(off) I was informed it was dark and edgy and would suit me marvelously.

"Dark and edgy, hmmmm, we'll see about that!" I thought. So we headed up to Russell Street, magic site of my childhood wanderings, the hotel was 2 doors up from a cineplex that was once called the Barclay Cinema, Geraldine and I sat outside it for an hour after a wonderful meal at the hotel and I reminisced about the one time my mother took me, alone, to the movies to see "Breakfast at Tiffany's" all those years ago. (Maybe I was stressed without knowing it, I had come to Melbourne to spread my mother's ashes in the parkland behind her beloved football club's ground at Collingwood.) We then waited outside the door of the small club for a half-hour, I spotted Adam Jerk(off) preparing to go back stage, he narrowed his eyes when he spotted me and I gave him the punk sneer to see what reaction I'd get, apprehension was the result.

I had expected the whole second floor of the hotel would've been laid out for the comedy club, all of us sitting comfortably at tables with the bar handy nearby. But no, THEY had boxed off one tiny corner with prefab walls hung with black cloth and after paying $22 each we were herded into it. Before the grand door opened I overheard a six foot usherette moaning,
"I'm reading 'Lolita' by Nabokov and it's got too many words, it's too long, I can't go on, how could he write such a thick book?"
Her fellow pea-brained usherette said, apropos of nothing, "I thought she was a leftie but after talking to her I realised she's no leftie at all, she's just a bullshit artist and I don't want to know her."
Nogod help us, I thought, the Comedy Festival is manned by frustrated pseudo-intellectuals.

I didn't know what to expect, certainly not to be squeezed into a fire-trap box the size of my bathroom filled with smoke-machine poison and fifty desperate to be amused suburbanites. I was the first thru the door and grabbed a good seat on the aisle, ready to flee thru the exit if "FIRE" was suddenly screamed. The stretched-out usherette barked like Lolita's frumpy mother, "You'll all have to move over as others come in" and I decided, "Fuck that, I've waited hours to get this good seat, I'm not moving!" The gas chamber filled to capacity, the 9.45 starting time drifted towards 10 0'clock and I waited impatiently for the show to begin, the whole set-up was getting on my nerves and I longed to go home and blow a joint.

Suddenly Lolita appeared and demanded in a gruff voice that I move further against the wall for a fat gronk who had just shown up. I knew this one cent power monger was gonna try it on me and I instantly decided to let the demon out, if they wanted "dark and edgy" I'd give it to them, I was dying to get out of there and breathe fresh air. "No." I mouthed. "Move!" she grunted. "No!" I said a bit more forcefully. She waved her flashlight about like a truncheon, one of the lumpen sheep had rebelled, the nerve! "Move!" she snarled, the gas chamber Nazi furious to be disobeyed. "Why the fuck should I move for a late-comer!" I snapped in a loud ringing voice that stopped all conversation in the pressure-cooker comedy club.

Lolita's jaw dropped, her flashlight drooped and she rushed out the door, no doubt to complain to her fellow marshals that one of the herd was out of line. The fat gronk had squeezed past us and found his seat next to the black-cloth wall, he could be the one to burn if disaster struck. Finally the great comedian walked onto the tiny stage with the smoke machine and squirted a few more blasts into our stupefied faces, just to make sure we were suitably tenderized for his edgy act. But before anything else he just had to be a smart-arse, I could feel it coming and stiffened my resolve. "Before I start I'd like to ask, who was it who said, "Why the fuck should I move for a late-comer?" All fifty of the mob-mentality audience pointed at me and shouted as one, "Him!" The fat gronk chortled, "I was the late-comer, haw haw haw" and I cringed.

Skinny-arsed Adam Jerk(off) got right in my face and said, like a cop speaking to a wife-beater, "Mate, how could he be a late-comer if the show hasn't started yet?" I saw my chance for escape, this jerk was not worth one hour of my life. "Listen arsehole, your program said the show was to start at 9.45 and it's now 5 to 10 so he was fucking late!" The mob groaned like a hundred-armed monster, like I'm some uptight stickler for rules and facts. "Woh, you're not giving anyone a break tonight." He's Mister In-control. "Come on arsehole, get on with the act, it's really fucking boring so far!" "Yeah, I guess I'd better." "Yeah, you'd better, I paid $20 for this and it's shit!" The audience moaned, hissed and pissed their pants. This guy's about 25 years old and apparently his spiel is philosophizing about life and death, like what the fuck would he know?

He was stuttering, the herd were gurgling and Leftie the usherette rushed up to me and spluttered, "You're being abusive, we'll have to ask you to leave!" Great, just what I wanted and, shock horror, abuse at the Comedy Festival, unheard of! Oh how I loved giving them the Andy Kaufman treatment, get the audience riled up and baying for your blood, that was fucking funny. Above their howling for my demolition I snarled, "Life's too short to put up with this shit. I'm happy to go!" and they collectively screamed all the more for me to go. With great relish, annunciating the words with the full import of their insulting meaning, I shouted clear above the din, "You MOTHERFUCKERS!" and rushed to the door.

The mob cheered at my expulsion and above the roar, standing in the cheap-arse doorway, I shouted in a loud, clear, ringing voice a curse of Carrie-like magnitude, "I hope this club burns down on your fucking heads!" and I projected from my third eye into their collective thick mind the ghastly image from the end of Tarantino's last movie, "Inglorious Basterds", of the crowd of Nazis burning in a cinema while a Jewish girl on the big-screen cursed them to Hell. And they got the message, a collective moan went up to heaven, "Let it not be so." Fuck them, I was glad to stick up for myself, as an individual against the mindless mob and against the small souls who rush for their one cent worth of power because that's all they get in life, it's why they volunteer to be "ushers" and "marshals", (they don't get paid), they love herding the plebs about.

As I turned from the door Leftie the usherette hissed, "And I hope you break your leg on the your way down the stairs!" "Go fuck yourself!" was my poetic reply. I made it safely down the stairs only to run into Lolita bitching to the box-office drones, "There's some bastard upstairs complaining about the gas-chamber experience!" I snarled, "Just cause I didn't want to move at your rude orders you set the dogs onto me. You can all go to hell!" The handsome young man who'd misdirected me to the dump scrambled to the rescue, "You've been abusive, we going to have to ask you to leave!" "Get fucked, I'm already leaving dickhead!" How I love the dumbstruck look you get on officious robopaths' faces when you punk them out. I made it to the front door of the pub and the bouncer rushed towards me with his arms outstretched, I skipped out of his reach and ran off down the street, gulping in the fresh air with great relief, freedom at last!

My friend Geraldine was in shock, she's a very polite, well-behaved lady, she stayed for the show, much to my ire, I went home alone, fuming. I decided it was good she remained as my spy, to report on Jerk(off)'s show. She said his black humor spiel was not a belly-laugh fest, more a smile smile nicely at his incisive philosophising, but the gronk who'd come late had moved into my seat and howled inappropriately at every word, and I thanked nogod I'd left, I can't stand howlers. After the show Jerk(off) approached her and apologised for my breakdown, he hadn't meant to hurt anybody. She probably told him I was under a lot of stress and, anyway, had an enormous chip on my shoulder. Fuck that, I'd yowl like two cats fighting over a fish-bone if I met him on the street, he used me as an ice-breaker for his shit shot at fame-whoredom, and the really sad thing about this guy is that I was missing nothing by splitting quick from his show.

I know I'm just another bastard in the crowd, an anti-hero in my own toilet-break and I don't give a shit, hopefully I'll never see those people again and they certainly don't put butter on my bread. I'm usually a polite, diplomatic guy, will help any underdog, until I get backed against a wall, and then I take great pleasure in lashing my torturers with my acid tongue. Nogod, it was magnificent to let fly at a mob of mindless gronks, much better comedy than the smooth delivery of glib jokes most arseholes come up with, and I pissed myself laughing about it all night as I lay high in my bed.

If you enjoyed this story please go to the WEB address above and consider buying my book of tales about growing up anarcho-queer, rock and roll punter and mystic adventurer in Australia and India of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.