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My Worst Show Ever
Pain plus Time = comedy. That’s why, years later, I find humor in these “I survived” stories.
In the early 1990’s, for three straight years I performed Christmas/New Years week at Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan. The shows paid well, but venues got progressively worse, and being the whore that I am, kept going back. My ego was running dry along with my few TV credits.
Each trip involved a series of 5 or 6 shows at various locations around the base, you know, any place they could plug-in a comedian. My last year there, I shared the bill with a Canadian balloon act named “Kernel Popcorn”. An older guy, he wore a yellow ‘officer’ outfit with buttons made of popcorn. I had fun ribbing him, but unlike me, Kernel Popcorn had no illusions about his place in showbiz.
Amongst the logistical stupidity that week, we did a Sunday morning brunch show at the Officers Club – kids dressed in their best church clothes. Then another at an empty theater, just the two janitors in the audience. I guess someone at the activities desk had forgotten to hang the crayon posters.
But the real funeral was at the Enlisted Men’s club. The balloon act was given a reprieve. I carried my stuff into a room blasting death metal, and made my way thru shaven heads to the DJ booth. I tried to explain over the noise who I was. Shortly later, he stopped the music – getting an uproar from the crowd. He attempted an intro over the shouts and handed me the mic, saying ‘Good luck’.
The booing reached a peak as I hit center stage, smiling, arms uplifted like a prize fighter, basking in the hate. I knew it wasn’t personal; I was just a guy interrupting their beer and musical brain-fuck. Throughout my ‘opening’ there was a guy shouting FUCK YOU at the top of his lungs.
I tried the therapist angle, shouting, “Go ahead, let it all out”, and “Feel the LOVE”, then went right to ‘A’ material. Nope. Then I walked into the crowd channeling Don Rickles. That stuff works much better when people are listening. I tried a faith healing on the ‘fuck you’ guy.
I went a couple rounds and left the stage to boo’s and the mob singing, ‘Na na hey hey Good-Bye now’.
I walked past Kernal Popcorn and he was smiling.