Dictatorship

Three years ago Kristin and I saw John Heffron at the Comedy Works downtown. He put on a reliably good set as we’d expected considering this was the second time we’d seen him. And then a fight broke out in the audience.

Do you have any idea how trashy you have to be to get in a fight at a fucking comedy club?

That’s why it’s nice to see the Comedy Works upping its game and doling out swift, Taliban-style justice to any and every fuckstick who acts too obnoxiously at one of their shows. Living under that kind of temporary dictatorship makes one feel good, y’know? And it makes it much easier to enjoy the hilarity of Kyle Kinane.

Going to a comedy club is already a gamble, because like blackjack, your enjoyment of the proceedings is largely dependent upon your teammates. The world is filled with dickheads and like the guy who splits his tens, hits on 13 when the dealer is showing a 6, or is too much of a weenie to hit his 16 against the dealer face card, you’ve got the potential to sit next to loudmouths, annoying laughers, and drunks.

In the case of John Heffron, the whole audience felt the sting of some mouthy bottle blond there for her 55th birthday party as she partied with what appeared to be (based on looks and attitude) Brooks & Dunn’s road crew. She ordered drinks LOUD. After disrupting the show for like the 8th time, someone from the staff finally confronted her, and one of her white trash fuck buddies jumped up, got in the staff member’s face, and then it was on.

Chaos. People getting dragged out. Audience members gasping. Cops running down the stairs. And poor Heffron left on stage. He was recording a live album that night and he brought the mic to his mouth and said calmly, “Whatever happens. Don’t turn off the recording.”

Last weekend Kristin and I found ourselves in nearly the exact same seats we had for Heffron. And right down front was another self-involved blond who was loud as shit. We’ll call her “Almost Chelsea Handler,” and the man candy with her “Johnny Lawrence at 40.”

So the show hasn’t even started yet, and Almost Chelsea Handler is at least three drinks deep. She and Johnny Lawrence at 40 are playfully (but loudly and garishly) disagreeing about something. Before they’re even finished, a staff member is up in their face giving them a warning about their volume. Sweet…

He leaves and they begin to mock him. They spill one of their blue martinis because of course they fucking do. More drinks come rapid fire. They’re basically shithoused. And then Almost Chelsea Handler turns into my least favorite type of comedy club jerk – The Other End of the Conversation.

This is the person who thinks the comedian is having a conversation with her and her alone. They think it’s a call and response exercise. Every joke invites comment, agreement, or affirmation. I fucking hate this person with the power of a thousand suns. The opening act does his best to ignore her, but no one else can.

The ushers swoop in like the SS finally capturing Anne Frank. She’s admonished again, and finally shuts up. And then she vacillates between looking like she’s going to hurl and/or pass out and remembering there’s alcohol around her which can be used to drown her self-pity and wash away the pain of her stepfather’s mistreatment from her youth (presumably).

After piping up again a couple of times and getting verbally smacked down by the middle comic, the coup de grace finally occurs when the bill comes and she looks at it like it’s written in cuneiform and starts audibly trying to figure it out. One last usher joins the party, and she’s gone. To where? I don’t know, but I like to think it’s one of those little jails like they have in stadiums.

Johnny Lawrence at 40 looks sad, but bafflingly stays until the end of the show. Kyle Kinane absolutely demolishes the crowd with a killer bit about pillows and a closer about getting a blowjob from an underage chick with brain damage.

And then I realized that sometimes a police state is the only way to enjoy comedy. Ask John Heffron.

John Heffron

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