The Comedy Club
(Where I earn my "Mother of the Year" award)
This weekend my husband Bob, daughter Melissa, and I journeyed up the New Jersey Turnpike to that great island nestled between the Hudson and East rivers. Yes, my friends, I am talking about Manhattan. The original purpose for our mini-getaway came thanks to Bob's ongoing desire to nurture my obsession with Harry Potter. He surprised me on my birthday three months ago with tickets to a theatrical parody called "Potted Potter", where two very talented performers tell the story of all seven books in 70 minutes, compete with audience participation.
Our original plan involved a day trip on Sunday, however, a chance encounter with a discount hotel website allowed us to stay overnight for a third of the usual cost (unbelievable). So, on Saturday morning, with bags packed and the cat fed...off we went, encountering limited traffic (unheard of), and arriving at our hotel in less than two hours (uncanny). Anxious to pound the pavement, we set out on foot for the few short blocks to the center of it all, joining every man, woman, and child who currently inhabit the planet in Times Square, where the crowds, coupled with 90 degree weather and oppressive humidity, added to our enjoyment.
As we navigated our way around strollers and street vendors, two men selling tickets to some kind of show approached us in the hopes of snagging a sale. Intrigued, I stopped and listened to their spiel. Seems a comedy club on the upper west side promised an inexpensive evening of side splitting laughter courtesy of seven talented comedians who the two sales guys assured us were quite famous in their own right. I looked at Bob who seemed somewhat indifferent to the proposal. "It's up to you," he shrugged.
I wanted to go, but, having attended comedy clubs in the past, worried that Melissa, at the age of 15, would be too young to get in. After expressing this concern to the ticket salesmen, they assured me the club allowed entry to people 15 and older. In retrospect, with their desperation to make their commission, I suspect they would have said the same thing to parents of children age 12, 8, 5, etc.
The only caveat...the club imposed a strict two drink minimum charge per person. Ok, no big deal there. We are not heavy drinkers, so a Shirley Temple for the kid and a couple of diet cokes for Bob and me, how bad could it be?
We made our way to the subway and joined the majority of the world's population in the crowded, NON-AIR CONDITIONED station. We boarded the train and stood for the brief ride uptown to the neighborhood that played host to the comedy club. Once we had staked our claim at the end of the line, Bob glanced at the age restrictions written in small, fine print on the ticket.
"Melissa," he said quietly to our innocent offspring. "If anyone asks, you are 16."
She rolled her eyes and nodded, not really caring about our secret plan to outwit the comedy club.
After a half and hour wait, a rather large man finally escorted the crowd of about 100 people into a room no larger than my kitchen, and sat Bob, Melissa, and me at a table tiny enough to fit in a doll house, that, lucky for us (or unlucky depending on your perspective) placed us directly in front of the soapbox-sized stage.
Melissa had worried she'd be the only teen in the room, and I reassured her that there would most certainly be many, many children accompanying their parents to a comedy club where alcoholic drinks are consumed by the gallon. Yes indeed, a regular family-friendly establishment!
Of course, one glance at our fellow comedy seekers proved me a liar. Oh well, so she might be the only young one in the room. Still, how bad could it be?
We had not eaten dinner, having been told by the ticket salesmen that the comedy club offered an array of good eats prepared by award winning chefs. One glance at the menu and Bob and I decided that an appetizer would have to suffice, as a full course meal might mean a second home mortgage.
Cobb salad: $1,265.72
Chicken Parmesan: $9,467.82
At least if we only ordered appetizers we'd merely have to take out a small loan.
Chicken fingers: $672.33
Now the drinks, that was a different story. Seems a "two-drink" minimum in reality meant $15 a person. So much for the cheap entry fee, they kill you with the drinks.
After our waitress dutifully took our order and much too obviously expressed her annoyance that our under-age daughter only ordered a Shirley Temple and that Bob merely asked for a diet coke (I actually ordered alcohol) the show started!
Out came comedian number one who immediately began poking fun at the couple sitting to our right. Despite our worry that we'd have to look for a second job to pay for this night out, Bob and I found ourselves laughing....and so did Melissa. Then, things took a turn for the worse. I don't remember the comedian's exact routine, but it went something like this:
Yada yada yada yada yada yada f-bomb f-bomb f-bomb, sh_ _ , yada yada yada f-bomb sh_ _.
I looked around the room, knowing that everyone only pretended to be laughing to hide the fact that they were thinking, "How could that man and woman bring a child so young into this establishment. What kind of parents are they!?"
What kind of parents indeed?
As the comedian dropped a few more f-bombs, I glanced at my daughter, who delighted in every expletive. I suppose reaching over and covering her ears would attract unnecessary attention at this point. I resigned myself to enjoy the evening, and hoped the next comedian would be a tad bit "cleaner".
After 15 minutes, comedian number two took the stage and launched into a side-splitting story involving very specific male and female body parts, therefore reaffirming my place as mother of the year. Ear plugs! Please! I need to buy ear plugs RIGHT NOW!
I stole a glance at Melissa, who laughed along with the rest of the crowd.
Comedian numbers three and four proceeded to take the stage, and again, although I don't remember their routine word for word, it went something like this:
Yada yada, f-bomb, f-bomb, sh_ _, f-bomb, yada yada, male body part, female body part, f-bomb.
My child, my baby, my sweet young innocent offspring who for years admonished Bob and me every time we used a seemingly tame curse word such as "damn" or "crap", now sat in the company of, I admit, some of the funniest guys I'd ever seen, who, despite their talent, were corrupting my young daughter.
Comedian number five took the stage and, halfway through his routine, suddenly noticed Melissa sitting dead center. "Aren't you a little young to be in here," he asked as her face turned bright red. "Aren't you only in college or high school?"
"I'm in high school," she nervously responded, as everyone in their room pulled out their cell to call the Department of Youth and Family Services.
About 50,000 f-bombs later, the show came to a close, but not before the MC took the stage and handed me my "Mother of the Year" honor (I'm kidding).
The next day we saw "Potted Potter", a hysterically funny theatrical performance that mercifully, was devoid of any unsavory language.
After finally arriving home on Sunday evening, we got out of the car, grabbed our luggage, and slowly made our way to the front door, where representatives from the Department of Youth of Family Services stood waiting for us.....
I tried to convince them, "I'm REALLY A GOOD MOM, really good, really, really, really....except when we go to comedy clubs!
(If you enjoy my stories feel free to tell me in the comments below!)