Many years ago, while I was a student at Santa Clara University, I attended my very first open mic, as an audience member. A voyeur, if you will. One of my good friends at the time, we'll just call him Boe Jrady, you know, to protect his identity. He wanted to test out some of his material. Why not, right? I love supporting my friends, especially my funny friends and Boe was funny. So Boe, his girlfriend Slissa Etebbins(to protect her identity) and myself all headed out to a bar near Stanford University. Little did I know I was about to have the most awkward and painful experience of my life. And I wasn't even on stage.
It was a tiny room, in a tiny bar, with a tiny stage. The entire audience was basically in the performer's lap, which is just unsanitary, if you ask me. You know how comedians are. Dirty. Boe did his set, and it was funny. To be honest, quite a bit of it went right over my head, but I do recall laughing at least once. After Boe went, we kind of had to stick around, because the place was so small it would have been too obvious and rude to just leave. Even though that's what I really wanted to do, and probably should have done. So, a very skinny, Middle-Eastern looking man gets up on stage, and he was clearly handicapped, which is HILARIOUS! Okay, no, it's not hilarious, so stop judging me, but it made us all go "Hmmm...something is wrong with him. What is it? What is wrong with this guy? Because something is definitely wrong with this guy." Then he proceeds to lean against the back wall, because he literally could not stand without any support, and I am dying, I am so uncomfortable and distracted and I just NEED him to tell us what's wrong so I can stop feeling so awkward. And thank God he did. He had Cerebral Palsy, I think. Okay, I actually can't remember. But the point is he told us, which relieved some of the tension. But then he started his "set." And it was...not good. In fact, it was so unfunny, I got really angry. And then I felt guilty that I was angry at this handicapped man. And there was so much silence. And you know it's bad when the silence is painful, but then the man who breaks the silence makes it even worse. He did this thing where he would look out at the room, realize a joke didn't work(which was all of them), and then he would say "Mmmm, segue. Traaaaansition." Over and over and over again. At one point he even turned all the way around and stared at the wall while he said it. It was strange.
Naturally, because I had no idea what to do, I started passing notes to Boe's girlfriend, and we started giggling, which is terrible, but I just didn't know what to do with all my ANGER. Alright, fine, so it was not the most mature thing to do, but give me a break. So, this guy, the one on stage, who may or may not have had Cerebral Palsy, saw this. He saw me passing a note. He SAW me! And he had a mic, so he started asking my friend and I about said note. And I was mortified. I felt like the biggest piece of crap on the planet. All this guy wanted to do was get up on that stage and perform. It was his DREAM! I mean, it shouldn't have been, but it WAS. And there I was, passing notes. Crapping all over his dream. It finally ended and we got out of there real fast. Not that we had to run away, because let's be honest, a handicapped man probably wouldn't be able to catch up. And even if he somehow DID, I am pretty sure we would have won the fight. But I am almost positive I saw Wes Bentley, the beautiful neighbor boy from American Beauty, sitting at the bar. And he asked me for my number. And we fell in love. And I'm lying. Again. But I really think I saw him at the bar. That part is true.