This photo was taken in the back room of Amarchi Lounge in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, over an hour before I would take the stage for my first stand-up performance of 2013.
I had been battling hiccups for something like eight hours. They started on the set of a Reservoir Dogs parody Greg and I had shot earlier that day. I have no idea how many takes my hiccups ruined, or if that kind of affliction was a good enough reason to pull out of a gig.
I was the comedy warm-up act for a night that was supposed to be part fashion-show, hip-hop performance—and maybe adult toys sale? I’m not sure. There were dildos and lubricants spread out on a coffee table in the billiards room…
I had showed up way too early. The show was never gonna start. And the only two other white people in the place were at the bar. White Dude #1 had a broken hand, which was being held together by what looked like torture pins. A bottle of Corona in his good hand, he was hitting on two women who had brought Popeyes to the lounge. The women, who were coincidentally offering massages in the same room as the dildos, were neglecting their drinks so they could strip the chicken bones of their meat, both dark and white.
White Dude #2—the injured guy’s friend—was being a shitty wingman, sipping his beer soundlessly, while eyeing down the women like a man ready to be charged with anything.
I wanted to bail—and was about to—when the audience was led in, and the host of the night, a man calling himself “Time of Your Life” introduced me to the room.
I don’t think the audience was expecting an opening act. I don’t think they were ready for comedy. I wasn’t either, apparently.
I opened with an impromptu line about Mitt Romney that I can’t remember, thankfully, because it was:
1) Not funny
2) A lame attempt to pander to the room.
I followed up that piece of shit improvisation with something that I actually thought would land:
“Man, I feel like President Obama up here. Because I have the opportunity to disappoint so many black people.”
And disappoint I did. But not without a little help from this ditty of a follow-up:
“But no matter what happens here tonight, I’d love to bring everyone back to my parents’ house. Because I want to see the look on their faces when I tell them I’m dating all of you.”
Yeah. I was supposed to do 10 minutes. I think I did seven. But I really hope it was five.
I turned the mic back over to Time of Your Life and walked out of the room.Apparently the PA system they were using fed into the main bar area, so the lounge’s patrons got to hear me bomb.* But at least I got through it without a literal hiccup.
Of course, White Dude #1 had to tell me, “Good job.” I thanked him nonetheless and asked about his hand.
“Long story,” he said.
Of course it is.
The boxes from Popeyes were gone, as were the two ebony masseuses. I looked over at White Dude #2, who was just sitting there, lurking…
I was gone before my hiccups started up again.**
* Although I must say that my porn observation—the one about black dudes always keeping their socks on when they fuck—did win the crowd over for a good part of a second.
** I think it was something like a day and a half of hiccuping.