Monday, August 29, 2016

Are You Feeling Lucky?

My windfall amounted to what the Dutch paid the Native Americans to buy Manhattan.

After an abbreviated walk, a monster brunch and a semi-thorough reading of today's Washington Post, I sallied forth to TheatreLAB in the Basement, pausing only to chat up the handsome Gallery 5 curator along the way.

The Basement was bare bones tonight, sporting no more than a table with four silver Art Deco sconces, a mic stand and what looked like someone's AV Club set-up with a movie screen, podium with projection device and chair with laptop.

Next to me was a student quartet who aspired to do comedy and lived in Carver, undoubtedly a rich source from which to pull comedic material. The one next to me was a sophomore from Staunton, his major still undeclared.

I reminded him that few guys know what they want to do at his age. "So true!" he said seriously.

Tonight's host was Mary Jane French, whose comedy sprawled somewhere in the gender politics arena (vulva versus vagina was patiently explained), hardly surprising given MJ's birth as a girl in a boy's body.

Now on estrogen, she proudly showed off her new assets ("These are the newest breasts you'll see on a 22-year old") in a very familiar-looking black and blue polka-dotted dress.

"Does it count as privilege for a lady comedian to be able to talk about her dick?" she quipped. Yes, yes I believe it does.

Ken, a delivery guy for an unnamed Mom and Pop pizza joint, spent his time pacing while making jokes about 9/11, Kid Rock and Michael J. Fox having Parkinson's disease (his most offensive joke, he claimed).

"People don't like when I talk about tragedy onstage," he admitted. Not entirely true since we laughed at some of it.

Dimpled Mary Jane returned to show off her many talents, including playing harmonica and doing impressions.

Brandon wanted to dissect people who had both Trump and UR bumper stickers (both are good at spending their Dad's money) and praised meth as a hipster drug because it was made in small batches and crafted locally.

I thought that exceptionally funny.

He steered clear of white girls with dreadlocks, he said, because "they've already shown they make bad choices." Tell me about it.

During intermission, I went outside to warm up and it was there, in the stairwell, that MJ asked me and some other people if we wanted to buy raffle tickets.

A dollar a piece, ten for $5 or $10 for tickets stretching the length of MJ's leg (considerable, I can assure you, but also recently denuded by laser hair removal), so I dropped $5 on ten chances.

More importantly, I shared with MJ that the polka dot dress she was wearing was identical to one I wore in Aruba in '86. I have photos to prove it. "Did you donate it to Diversity Thrift because that's where I got it?" she asked. Negative.

Still, she liked the retro angle. "But that thrills me to know that."

The duo next to me were debating spicy options for his birthday dinner tomorrow, so I passed on some of my eating expertise. All in all, I think it was intermission time used wisely.

Back inside, the students in my row were talking about their band-in-the-making. One crowed about how they could all trade off instruments, but the one in the torn overalls demurred, saying he could only sing and write songs. His friend was quite sure he could also play bass.

"I could sing and play bass, but nobody does that," he said, admitting his lack of musical history knowledge. Um, hello Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy? Paul McCartney? Sting?

He was properly chastened. Once he learns bass, he's all set.

Next up was Sensible Comedy of which MJ was a part, but tonight her sole role was running AV. So we'd watch a brief film called, say, "The Homophobe" on the screen and then see a live skit about a game show featuring a young couple answering questions about each other.

For example, "Sarah, how many times has Alex come home and been distant to you?" was followed by, "Every day!" and they got 100 points. When asked if Alex still loved her (both said no), they won the grand prize for matching answers.

After a film called "The Bisexual," the skit featured a guy tasting a flight at a craft brewery, with each beer style described as this, that and "extra hops." The final taste came in a bucket and featured beer filtered through the brewmaster's kidneys, with the addition of a sweaty wife-beater and, you guessed it, extra hops.

Needless to say, it was served warm.

Chris from Ruckersville ("Twenty miles north of and 50 years behind Charlottesville") targeted the guy in the overalls next to me, inquiring of him if he was an Amish hipster. He tried for a quick butter joke and failed.

Since he was black, he could make jokes about Monticello glorifying its slaves quarters to make a buck ("They offer an emancipation fast pass for only $38 and I'm wondering where the friends and family discount is?") and when they got laughs, could say, "Ooh, lot of white guilt in this room."

Hilarious with great delivery, he talked Trump, throwing in some political references including mentioning Dukakis, which struck me as particularly funny. "Thanks, ma'am, for laughing," he said and turned to the crowd. "He was from the '80s, guys."

The only thing left to do by that point was for Mary Jane to pull a raffle ticket winner and it wound up being mine, making me the proud recipient of $24.

Not a bad score for an undeclared evening spent laughing.

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