My companion needed a laugh.
Conveniently, Steady Sounds just around the corner was hosting the Midnight Suggestion #15, an evening of comedy.
They were all first-timers and they were there to answer the question, why do birds suddenly appear?
They longed to make jokes under an impossibly low ceiling upstairs at a record store.
We found seats on the sofa not long before Ian got up to amuse us.
That was accomplished with his deadpan delivery and by ending every joke with, "What's the deal with that?"
He had a habit of turning the mic side to side in between jokes, as if to point out how quiet it was.
One of his funniest rants was about Billy Ray Cyrus, apparently a man of excesses, pimping out his daughter.
"That's it," he announced when he was done and sat back down.
Chris lives in Church Hill, so he began with a story about walking the neighborhood with a grapefruit and a knife to cut it with, the problem being once the grapefruit was gone, the knife was not a good thing to have on the Hill.
Everyone likes to laugh at neighborhood stereotypes.
He riffed on working in a frame shop and hearing offbeat requests.
Like the woman who brought in a bunch of odd pictures to frame and said they represented the years of molestation she'd suffered at her brother's hands.
"Do you have frames that would work for that?" she inquired of Chris.
I don't know how he kept a straight face.
From there he went to "automobile erotic asphyxiation" and to the first time he masturbated, April 25, 2002.
Claiming that he remembers only because he was watching a Lisa "Left Eye" Lopez video, the memory was all the more poignant because that was the day Lisa died.
I don't know how he ever masturbated again.
Next up was Josh, who was taller than the ceiling so he did his bit with his head cocked to the side.
He began by telling us he was a Taurus and that he thought star-reading was a bunch of crap.
It's why I didn't shout out that I'm a Gemini.
Calling himself an alt-comedian, he said the Midnight Suggestion was the show for alt-comedians to play.
I laughed when he told us he was human, meaning "we use tools like spoons..for the primary purpose of getting fat."
He tried to convince us he wasn't a word person, but that he liked word math, a way of arranging words.
Werewolf doctor. Doctor Werewolf. Bird cop. Cop bird. Two completely different things.
Cop cop went on indefinitely.
He assured us that OK Cupid is a terrible idea.
"You're asking to be rejected by a whole new generation of women," he lamented.
Cracking on himself a lot, he said he was too fat and had no courting experience, but then who in his generation does?
I bet he was glad to end his set just so he could straighten up again.
Walking out of Steady Sounds, the night was so warm and soft after the recent chillier nights, I was glad I had more to do.
And if I hadn't, I would have found something.
NO BS was playing at Balliceaux, it had been months since I'd last seen them and I knew someone who had never seen them at all.
It was time to join the sweaty masses.
The DJ led up to their arrival on stage by playing the "Rocky" theme, I kid you not.
Now, I've been going to NO BS shows since 2007 and I've seen them grow and develop as a band and as a stage presence, so I know what to expect.
People are going to dance. The horns are going to be stellar. There will be megaphones.
But besides all that, I got some nice surprises tonight.
Trombonist Brian sang. The trumpet section danced (mostly) in unison. And there was lots of new material.
In fact, during intermission, Reggie of NO BS and I got to talking and I admitted it had been many months.
"Oh, wow," he sailed, "Then lots of this should be new to you then."
Did I mention Brian sang, the trumpeters danced and there were some crazy good new songs I hadn't heard before?
And where else, I ask you, can you hear live sousaphone in Richmond?
And as always, the people watching was excellent, with my companion and I trying to figure out when the girl just barely contained by her green, strapless sequined dress (and red Chucks) was going to come out of it.
The second set began with an extended take on "Happy Birthday," but I honestly couldn't tell you whose birthday it was.
Not that it mattered.
That's the pleasure of NO BS; there's usually a good beat that'll ensure your backside moves.
The funny part was how the crowd reacted during solo and/or when more improvisational parts came in.
Phones came out, talking resumed and they acted like the band was on break.
Only when the beat kicked back in did they shut up.
Everybody dance now.
It's the only way the birds will suddenly appear.