Saturday, December 19, 2015

Nothing's More Than Words

Don't talk to me about the local economy.

Local is winning $10 (and a VHS copy of "Ernest: Volume 1", but that's another story) playing bingo (third win in as many months) at Gallery 5 and days later turning around and giving those same ten bills to Richmond Comedy Coalition two blocks away for "Musical, the Improvised Musical."

Just keepin' it in the 'hood, which, by the way, is uncharacteristically low-key with nary a band practicing or porch of beer drinkers to be seen as I walked from place to place in the windy cold. The liveliest thing I passed was a bunch of West End types hugging and saying "Merry Christmas" to each other in front of Max's on Broad and that's a pretty sad state for affairs in J-Ward.

For the record, it was a distinctive crowd at RCC because when asked how many people had already seen "Star Wars," very few raised their hands. "Oh, wow!" our host exclaimed, clearly surprised at the absence of pop culture slaves. "Don't say anything!" a guy in the front row admonished.

Don't spoil it, in other words. The theme for the evening, as it turned out.

Few evenings have gotten off to as fine a start as hearing earnest duo Chet and Steve do the unlikeliest of power ballads considering they were a couple of high school sophomores. Midway through Extreme's "More Than Words," I was sorely regretting not having a Bic lighter with me to show my devotion 1990-style, while fully cognizant that no one in the room would have any idea why I was doing it.

Best line afterwards was Chet asking rhetorically, "This is a comedy show, right?"

Because the audience's first suggestion - Ebola - had been used just last week, the improv musical cast solicited a second and that's how we landed on "Star Wars Spoilers" as the name of the musical they were about to create before our eyes.

That meant everything from a waiting room full of mothers singing "Moms Can Be Bitches" to a couple of guys who spend their lives putting TV show and movie spoilers out into the ether. Their motto was, "How can we ruin it for others?" so their song was "We're Trolls" with accompanying hand and facial gestures.

The goal is comedy, after all.

The entire cast joined together for the musical extravaganza, "It's Like They Don't Know Us," a lamentation for the significant others who are clueless about present-buying come Christmas time ("It's been three weeks and two dates! Come on, check my Tinder profile!").

Most importantly, we all got through the evening without finding out how Princess Leia wears her hair in the new movie. Now that was a close one.

Childhood flashbacks followed at Comfort where I arrived just in time for their new late night burger, a masterful layering of burger, fried bologna and cheese, grilled onions and Duke's mayo, along with some Espolon.

While there was no tequila in my childhood, there were scores of fried bologna and cheese sandwiches and all my memories are good ones. Tonight's match and even exceed, probably thanks to the onions. Along the way, the barkeep and I agree to have no more awkward moments.

Honestly, I didn't even want the burger, just the other ingredients on a bun, but the late night burger comes as a matched set, a fact disappointing to the Philly woman next to me who doesn't do dairy. Too bad, doll. I did share a bite with the couple at the end of the bar because I'd heard her asking about it  and now she's my devoted slave.

As if that wasn't enough to make me blissful, the music was way too good to be satellite or Spotify, so I had to ask and got a story as good as the tunes.

Former cook and enormous music nerd (and by music nerd, I was told he had an entire room with shelves on all four walls for albums so when his girlfriend insisted he stop buying music, he began having his purchases sent to Comfort) makes multiple play lists for the restaurant, then quits and leaves various mixes.

We're listening to the dance mix, notable, I'm told, because the cook was a shy, awkward guy you'd never imagine dancing. "I had to know what his idea of dance music was," the bartender tells me. Now, he admits, it's easily his favorite mix.

Mixing lesser artists with great hooks (When In Rome's "The Promise') with classic grooves (Talking Heads), it's the best kind of dance mix, not dance music per se, but songs that make body parts move involuntarily.

A fabulous enough mix to accompany a fried bologna and cheese sandwich and that's saying something. In words, no less...'cause sometimes you need more than a Bic lighter.

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