One evening about a month ago, Jan came home and asked me if I'd like to see Second City at the local community college on a Saturday night. Several thoughts went through my mind in less than a second. With my on-again, off-again ADD would I be able to sit still for several hours? Hey, I'd miss my Saturday night meal followed by watching a movie from Netflix? And last, would Jan think I was a cranky old fart who never wanted to do anything and go out and find a real man who liked to do fun things, was not afraid to take chances and might be better looking than me.
The last thought took control and I said "Sure, I'd love to".
And so, on a breezy Saturday night several weeks ago, we drove over to the College of Lake County's James Lumber Center (I thought that some company named "James Lumber" underwrote the building, but apparently, there was a guy named James Lumber. In my mind, this would be equivalent to my being named "U.S. Steel") to watch the Second City Troupe do their thing.
I guess when most people go to a comedy venue, they set their brains to "Laugh" no matter what. I'm not wired that way and I always figure people who bill themselves as comedians have to earn it. But 90 percent of the people at this performance were primed to laugh, which I guess is a good thing, otherwise it might have been kind of awkward.
When the show started the five Second City people did a series of sketch comedies, which were all right, except for the one about the father and son talking on the son's wedding day about how shitty being married is. This one is right out of 1900's vaudeville and I thought that at the turn of the millennium, it would have become obsolete, but apparently not.
But then, the performance changed ... changed to my very, very least favorite type of comedy. Improvisation and audience participation.
Improvisation. The bane of comedy in my mind. It shows lack of imagination and preparation to put on a full show and makes me embarrassed for the performers. They did three sets of these, interspersed through the show. Each one was cringe worthy and the audience only managed a few forced laughs.
And then ... Audience participation. You know, where some poor schlub is pulled from the unsuspecting audience and is made a fool of. I won't go into details, but I did notice that the guy who was picked left at intermission and never came back. I figure he headed straight for a psychiatrist for the first of two hundred sessions to try to get his head screwed back on straight.
This is the way I see it. If I'm going to pay 30 dollars for a ticket to see a live show, I don't want to be keel-hauled up on the stage and humiliated, unless I'm getting 60 percent of the house gross.
There were two "audience participation" sets and all it did was make me edgy and pissed off.
And then it ended. Yay. The best part of the evening actually happened in the parking lot. A grey haired lady (about my age) and her husband/boyfriend roared out of the lot in her Porsche Boxter convertible in a haze of blue tire smoke ... which I thought was awesome.
Yeah, I liked the evening. But the really best part was yet to come. Trying to find a place to eat in this backwash county I live in after 11 p.m. on a Saturday night.
Next Post: Why I Have Hated And Always Will Hate Bill's Pub ... And How White Castle Turned Into A Hillbilly Gangster Hangout.