Comedy lesson #1: we all have our own reality.
For a unique way to spend St. Patrick's Night, I joined a crowd of laugh-hungry people in the upstairs loft at Steady Sounds.
In case you don't know the space, the ceiling is barely over 6' high and the air conditioning was non-existent.
A friend chose to sit on the floor because "the air's a little cooler down here." I braved it in a chair.
In a fortuitous stroke, the organizer of the event brought in two fans to make the cozy space oh-so much more pleasant.
On tap were comedians of all kinds, beginning with Katrina Jones and her brand of female humor.
She was especially funny when parodying Mo'Nique and talking about her coochie.
Next up was Middle Management, comprised of three of the funniest members of the Richmond Comedy Coalition.
With prompts from the audience of "cat penis" and "macrame" (although none of the three knew exactly what macrame was), they were off and running.
Their improv took the form of a redneck couple and his distraught brother who'd buried his hot polio-stricken wife in the backyard.
Along the way, she spouted off pseudo-psychology learned at a community college course (dreams, Jung and reality all came up) and the brothers fought over penis size and what Mom wanted.
Like they reminded us before starting, they had no idea what they were going to say and it would never be repeated again.
You know, sort of like life or love.
They were followed by Corey Marshall, who hysterically played the race card, first reaching into his pocket for notes while warning us what he was doing.
He riffed on a guy sitting nearby who looked eerily similar to a painting hanging on the wall.
"I see you shaved off your moustache," he noted. "You trying to impress your girlfriend having your picture on the wall?"
The main event was Kyle Kinane and his low-key delivery belied his razor-sharp observations.
He promised to share some dum-dum jokes and then release us to our shared holiday.
Using his best Peter Pan attitude, he explained how liberating turning 35 was because you no longer worried about how you looked to other people.
In a related story, he admitted to finally moving out on his own just recently.
What he couldn't decide was whether the motivation had been because no one else wanted him or because living alone afforded the opportunity to do what he wanted unobserved.
The example he gave involved Twizzlers and orifices. 'Nuff said.
He talked about grocery shopping and abandoning TV dinners in the beer aisle; he called it his contribution to street art.
His main monologue began with a stranger in a van asking him, "Do you like Halloween?" and involved him buying a life-size male doll using the $1.63 left over from buying his crappy bargain cigarettes when he was trying to quit.
The van owner had found the doll in a trash can, for what that's worth.
As a kick-off to St. Patrick's Day revelry, I couldn't have asked for a funnier way to spend my evening.
Thank you, Midnight Suggestion.
Afterwards, I strolled down to Bistro 27 to say hello to two of my favorite bartenders, and found a birthday dinner in progress.
Heading to the loo, I came across the charming and handsome guy (and neighbor) I had interviewed only yesterday and got to meet his beloved and discuss all things J-Ward.
Back at the bar, I ordered a glass of Gavi (one of the bartender's prediction for the next big white wine) and the mozzarella salad.
The pinwheels of house-made mozzarella, two layered with pesto and two with sun-dried tomatoes, over mesclun were new to me and just what I needed.
Comedy makes you hungry.
Eating away, I heard about the pre-Elton John crowds, the Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters, the sons of bankers and sons of lawyers who had come, eaten early to a Candle in the Wind and left for the Yellow Brick Road.
I was surprised to hear that easily a third of them had been under thirty. As in, born after he'd already put out over a dozen albums.
I'm not even going to say how long ago I saw E.J., but let's just say he was till a tenor.
The new cocktail list is impressive, emphasizing, as it does, things like Campari and Aperol over certain more obvious components.
But that doesn't interest me nearly as much as the new extended night hours, meaning I'll have a final resting place after a late evening of music or comedy.
I'm thinking I'll be able to finish up right in the neighborhood more often and walk home from there.
Or wherever I'm going to create my own reality.