By Al Bahmani
It’s not often true friendship and show business combine. No matter how hard you try, you really can’t like everyone. Everyone you like might like you less. Especially when it comes to work or the possibility of future work. Who needs 30 pieces of silver when you have a spot to perform at a pub? Alliances and rivalries come and go at the drop of a hat. Despite all your cynicism, and self doubt, you meet someone and you make a friend.
No longer do you watch other comics with a sniper’s eye view, hoping and praying for them to trip up, bomb and die a horrific death on stage which would hopefully that leads to nothing short of a good old fashioned lynching. You start to see this person’s artistic and professional advancement as a good thing and well deserved. You catch each other’s shows when in town and not doing anything else. When the chips are down off stage, you got each other’s back. Help each other move, crash on the couch, share rides to gigs, mics and just hang out. And then, the unexpected happens.
Laff Stop, Houston, Texas late Saturday night, Outlaw comic, Carl LaBove has a restless sold out crowd and my good friend Theodore M.E. Taylor is opening tonight. This is the third and final show of the night. Feeling claustrophobic, Theo heads to the green room and chills out. Minutes pass, the straggling drunks from second show finally settle their tabs with the wait staff and get out. Seating begins and ends with military like precision. I decide to get my stage right peanut gallery view of the stage.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN WELCOME TO THE LAFF STOP! THE OLDEST COMEDY CLUB IN TEXAS, TONIGHT WE HAVE ONE OF THE ORIGINAL OUTLAWS OF COMEDY, JUST RECORDED A COMEDY SPECIAL SHOWTIME AND WILL BE SEEN ON BIOGRAPHY! GIVE IT UP FOR CARL LaBOVE!
The audience goes wild with applause.
ALSO GIVE IT UP FOR YOUR FEATURE, HE’S A REGULAR ON BOB AND TOM GIVE IT UP FOR DWIGHT YORK!
The applause gets louder.
AND NOW GIVE IT UP FOR YOUR HOST AND EMCEE FOR TONIGHT! THEODORE M.E. TAYLOR!
I realize Theo is still in the greenroom.
THEODORE M.E. TAYLOR… THEODORE M.E. TAYLOR!
Applause turns to confusion.
WILL THEODORE M.E. TAYLOR PLEASE COME TO THE STAGE!
Split Second, I think to myself, Aw Screw it! Opportunity knocks and I run up to the stage.
I got this friend that wants to fuck a midget.
A wave of laughter devours the stage.
Alright it’s me. Hold on. Let me explain. I’m just in it for the story. Just about every hack comic has their I screwed a midget story. They’re all pretty much the usual I fucked a midget please insert small joke here. (Little hands made my knob looked huge, etc.) Doug Stanhope actually claims to have fucked a midget and he doesn’t even have a story or joke for it. There has got to be more variations on the genre of midget fucking? Is there a Jack Kerouac beat inspired story popping with confusion, jazz and Benzedrine? The young dwarf coming of age tale? The Anne Rice midget fucking story spending 5 pages detailing the stitches of clothing on the midget’s dress. There has to be more midget fucking subgenre.
Applause get louder. Well, at least for a split second inside my head.
Instead, reality crashes in and I bolt to the green room, shouting, “THEO! GET YOUR ASS TO THE STAGE!”
“I’m coming! I’m coming!”, Theo shouts as he runs to the showroom.
Theo sprints to the stage and has an awesome show.
“What The?” I tell Theo after the show.
‘You know, Al if it were you late for the stage, I would of taken your spot.’ Theo tells me.
In a New York minute? I ask.
“In a New York Minute!”, Theo assures me.
Trust me the thought has entered my mind.
Yet, I feel content. Something must be wrong with me.