a stand up guy
The comedian strode out to the microphone slow and confidant, like a young Chevy Chase but without the abusive past. That was to say he was somewhat diminished but still comfortable in his surroundings.
The applause was lukewarm at best from the sparse crowd, which was to be expected given that nobody knew who the hell he was. His style of dress gave them no idea what to expect, he didn’t wear a Jerry Seinfeld suit or a Larry the Cable Guy torn flannel shirt. In fact, there was nothing about his physical appearance that would indicate that he would spend any amount of time talking about how fat/thin/tall/short/Jewish/Arab/liberal/conservative/fit/lazy he was.
He stared out at them and let them wrestle with their complete lack of preconceptions for awhile.
“You know what expression I hate?” His delivery was straightforward and he held the microphone in both hands. His voice almost hushed.
“I hate when people say ‘I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy'”. His eyes traveled up and down the first row of people and finally came to rest on a middle-aged brunette woman who was almost as non-descript as he was.
“You fucking LIAR!”
The place exploded in a loud and nervous laughter.
“Of course you would. You sit squirming in bed late at night, under the covers, and wish that shit on people who cut you off in traffic. Your worst enemy … are you serious?” His eyes never left the woman and she grinned a guilty grin and it was obvious that she couldn’t wait for him to find someone else to look at.
“Where does the urge to lie come from? You want someone to believe that what you went through was so completely horrible that no other human being could live through it?” He continued to stare at her and paused as if waiting for an answer that wasn’t going to come.
“You would wish double ball cancer on the guy at work who used up the last of the copy paper in the machine and didn’t replace it! You are petty and spite drips out of you like a leaky faucet and yet you smile and say this shit as if it will somehow make you look better in the eyes of the equally horrible person in front of you.”
Obviously the more savvy people in attendance would guess he was talking about himself and, like so many comics, was spewing his self-loathing for all to hear so they could bask in the reflected shame and humiliation. These were the people he disliked most.
“Of course I’m talking about myself but I’m also talking about you. Sitting there thinking about the times you’ve said ‘I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy’ and then laughing because you had wished far worse.
His eyes remained focused on the non-descript brunette and now she was looking at her lap and fidgeting with her hands and wishing she hadn’t decided to sit so close to the stage.
“I don’t even want to know your name lady. You’re just a nasty little woman and if I were to guess I would guess your name was small as well… like Amy or Tina. Maybe it’s Samantha and you shorten it to Sam because you’re just so fucking rotten inside that you hope and pray that the new girl at the health club drowns in her own vomit soon because her tits are bigger than yours or maybe your name is Katherine but everyone calls you Kat and you think it’s cute but you don’t realize that it’s because they know! They know how coalmine-at-midnight-black your heart is.”
Sensing that this woman could take no more he abruptly turned and slowly walked across his little bit of territory not saying a word. The well-worn floorboards where so many of his contemporaries made their living. The single little spotlight following him. He wasn’t even aware if people were laughing or not.
There was so much more to say …