Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Just a suggestion to any potential comedians out there, rape is NEVER funny. Ever ever.

One thing I absolutely love about blogging, is it allows you to take a step back and appreciate things as a potential story for future writing. Perfect example: tonight.

My friend "S" is going through a really tough time.  Today was a particular day that would have marked what should have been a happy occassion in better circumstances.  I had gotten home an hour or two before, and had been chilling out reading a magazine and watching a movie.  "S" called while I was out of the room, filling doggie dishes with dinner.  This in itself is unusual, because "S" and I are relatively new friends, and we've never done the "call just to chat" thing. We've hung out just the two of us on only one other occassion, so I immediately called her back, thinking that something might be wrong.  She wanted to meet up for food and drinks somewhere, and even though I was a bit tired, I wanted to spend time with her.  After a lot of calling around, seeing what time restaurants closed, it was settled that we would go to Hennessey's in Dana Point.

.........sigh.........

Apparently Monday nights are comedy nights at Hennessey's. Presumably, open mic comedy nights, judging from the "talent" that was there. First, let me say that I give FULL props to anybody who has the guts to get up there on stage and put themselves out there, for better or worse.  Especially comedy. Comedy is such a subjective thing, and it's VERY hit or miss with your audience. What you think is funny might leave a room full of crickets chirping, or the worst joke you know leaves everyone howling with laughter. Your ego usually rides on the tenuous mood of the audience on any given night. Full props. THAT BEING SAID.........

Most of these guys were NOT funny. Not only NOT funny, but offensive. Not the "Family Guy" kind of offensive where you're snickering, but kind of ashamed of yourself for snickering. We're talking about SO crass and offensive that it makes you squirm in your seat, embarrassed for the guy on stage. One guy was making jokes that were so incredibly racist and offensive, he managed to offend

  1. Black people
  2. Hispanic people
  3. Asians
  4. Transgender and the entire LGBT community at large
  5. Disabled people
During the next guy's routine, an older white guy interrupted, taking issue with the white comedian's black culture and history degree he earned in college. Then he proceeded to sit in front of the stage at a small table that a black guy and his white, blond girlfriend were sitting at and STARE at them. He rested his hands on his chin and STARED at the black dude. Just stared. He stared with this infuriating smug smile on his face. As far as I could tell, he didn't say anything, he just made him very, very uncomfortable.  S and I couldn't believe what we were seeing. She said "are we going to witness a brawl break out or something?" "I was just thinking that..." I said.  The black guy and his girlfriend just got up and left, not engaging or saying anything. The jackass white dude just waved his fingers condescendingly at them as they went out the door. My jaw was hanging open and I couldn't help but say "whaaat an aaassshoooole" a bit louder than a whisper. S and I kept looking at each other and wrinkling our foreheads and eyebrows, wondering if we'd just stepped into a bad movie. This was bizarre.  Really, really bizarre.

The host of the evening (and the first comedian to go on) heckled S and I because we weren't laughing, and were just keeping to our own company, enjoying our drinks and food.  He wasn't funny. Like, *really* not funny.  You can't win! If you laugh, you're encouraging them. If you don't laugh, you're singled out and heckled. I just wanted to get out of there. Two of the comedians knew when to git while the gittin' was good, and got off stage pretty quickly. One guy was actually kind of funny, but he packed it in early too. Rough crowd, I guess. *innocent look*

Anyway, when the fourth "comedian" took the stage, we had about had enough. S was still willing to giggle at the jokes that were kind of funny, but I've always been a tough critic when it comes to comedy. I don't laugh as readily as some, and as a general rule I don't enjoy standup comedy unless they're really REALLY good. (ie, Eddie Izzard, George Carlin, etc) There are many times I wish I had a more sensitive funnybone.  SO. Fourth comedian. *sigh* First of all, he started making VERY sexist jokes (I just had to delete a bunch of stuff I'd written about his routine, because I want to keep it somewhat clean. And he wasn't. At all. Sorry, use your imaginations - think of the most offensive, sexist crap you've ever heard in your life and I'm sure he said it). Then he made jokes about wanting to kill himself. Repeatedly. Side note: S has been studying forensic psychology, going for her Master's degree. She doesn't find any of this amusing at all, because it's something to be taken very seriously and reported. He must have seen me rolling my eyes and S's blank face, both of us clearly exuding "dude, you're really not funny." At one point, I leaned over and whispered to S, "it's like a wild animal - don't run, you'll only attract their attention". This is exactly what happened. I wish I could remember precisely what he said, but the disgust and rage pretty much wiped my memory except for the bare bones.

Drumroll..........

Wait for it.......

He said something along the lines of "Hey, you're not laughing. That's okay, 'cause these guys over here are probably going to RAPE you in the parking lot as you're leaving in a back alley."

Total disbelief. He did NOT just say that. I said "exCUSE me?!" I turned to S and said "that's it, we're leaving right now." S said "let's pay our bill, then we can go". Dude wouldn't let it go though. S said something like "Don't make me 5150 your ass" (something to do with psych social code reporting, I hope she can clarify this sometime) and he said "How do you know police codes?". Before I could stop myself, I said "how do YOU know police codes?" The audience thought this was pretty funny.  I kept getting more and more enraged at his chauvanistic, pig jokes. He said something about us being all offended, and I said "yeah, dude. You just told us we're going to be RAPED outside. Really NOT FUNNY."And when he ran with comments like "you should be thankful you got a warning! Usually there's no warning for that! Here it comes, I'm gonna shove it in you!" it took every ounce of my self control not to go up there and kick his testicles into his brain. Really. I can't make this up.

I pushed my hand toward him and said "you need to stop, RIGHT NOW." The audience was howling at the "warning" part of his jokes, and I'm sure my face turned beet red with my immense rage. Rage at the audience too, for thinking this was acceptable. Jokes about rape? NEVER okay. Anyone who knows me knows I usually don't speak up, I HATE confrontation, and will do anything to avoid it. But this guy.........this guy brought all the rage I had ever felt toward sexist assholes to the surface and I wanted to pound him into oblivion. Our server brought our credit cards back with the receipts, we signed them, and started to walk out.

S got in a parting shot "Good luck with your career, dude!"

His retort? "Good luck with your LIVES!"

Good one, dude. Snappy comeback. Really. I flipped him the finger.


Post mortem: In the car, S talked about his comments about suicide. She said they really weren't funny, and if she were his psychiatrist, she would be obligated to report him as being a danger to himself. I agreed, because I got the feeling that part of him wasn't kidding. There was something desperate about him. Maybe he was up there on stage seeking social approval, wanting attention he wasn't getting otherwise. I felt a bit sorry for him, because he was so UNfunny, and because I could see him in my imagination. Sitting at home alone, incredibly depressed, wondering if it was worth even living. I got where he was coming from, and for a moment I understood him, and felt sorry for him. But.........

Any man (I don't even want to call him a man....) who thinks that making jokes about rape (directly TO women in the audience), crass jokes about objectifying and belittling women "I was SO drunk, I wanted to tell her to 'suck my **** and I'll lick your *****', but all that came out was 'suck my ******') is funny and great comedic material doesn't deserve my pity. Go play in traffic, dude. Wearing black. At night.

I can't even remember the last time I was this angry. This is the type of angry that comes in my dreams sometimes, when I'm dreaming about beating the **** out of school bullies I wish I'd had the guts to stand up to all throughout school. Those rich, satisfying dreams where I'm grabbing their arms and heaving them over my back and slamming them to the ground repeatedly. Issues? Me? Nope. Just a "nice" girl who never had the guts to stand up for herself. But you know what? I'm pretty damn proud of myself for telling that guy off tonight, even if he blew it off as comedy fodder. At least I had the guts to try and put him in his place, and S backed me up beautifully. Even as I'm writing this, I'm so angry I need to go watch a movie about puppies, or fish getting lost, or some other movie that will diffuse this acid eating away at me.

Moral of the story? Rape is never funny, people. Never.

*ETA* after I wrote this last night, I fired off an email to the contact on Hennessey's website, just to let them know what had happened and how I never wanted to go back there again. A friend on Facebook suggested linking the contact here, and for a brief second, I was tempted to. After some thought though, I decided not to. If you guys had been there and seen/heard it too, I would totally be behind you guys 100% bombarding them with the wrath of Khan. Of course, if you wanted to go to their website directly and send an email anyway, there's really nothing I could do about that. ;) Even after a good night's sleep and a fresh perspective, yep....still pissed. Not in that "it's going to ruin my day" sort of pissed, just the "yeah, there really was no wrong way to interpret that whole debacle, and it's never going to be funny" sort of way. But I've had my tea, done my yoga, and it's a beautiful day. Life is good.

7 comments:

  1. 51 50 is a crazy person it is a mental patient code

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  2. 5150 is a Welfare and Institutions Code...to civilly commit an individual for a 72 hour hold in a psychiatric facility. And spot on B Dude had ish. Love S.

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  3. Oh man. I'm sorry this happened. That's one of those thing that will stick with you and piss you off repeatedly if you let it. It's pissing me off and I wasn't even there! She totally should have 5150'd him. What an ass. Good on you for sticking to your guns and tell that prick off.

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  4. Dear Bonnie: You are AWESOME. I hate when so-called comedians use their moment in the spotlight to endorse misogyny or physical assault on women. He was clearly a coward, and even worse (to him, I'm sure), NOT CREATIVE. I'm so proud of you for sticking up to him and not taking his misogynist crap. Go you! Hugs, Otter.

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  5. Thanks, you guys. You're all awesome. S, I loved your heckling right back, you're a sharp cookie with a quick wit. :)

    When we were driving home, S and I agreed that we were glad we went out, because it was so surreal and bizarre that you're glad there's a good story to tell now. Especially when redneck guy sat at that table just staring at the black dude and his girlfriend. SO weird, we couldn't believe what we were seeing! That's the joy of writing though, it allows you to take the weirdest or worst experiences and make a good story out of it. :)

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  6. I would never gave paid for that meal, if the restaurant's choice of 'entertainment' was a guy telling you that you were going to be raped - it would be entirely justified and might have gone further towards ensuring that he didn't get a repeat gig.

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  7. Claire - I know, right?! I just wanted to get the hell out of there. I did write to Hennessey's the next day, but never heard a word from them. I'm torn whether or not to pursue the issue, or just boycott it in the future. Bummer too, because they have prime rib sliders to die for!

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