The emcee for the night introduced her. That wasn't the bad part. The bad part comes later. The lady, whose name was scrubbed from my memory, came out, looking all confident. Too confident. Confident in the same way a guy with a barbed wire tattoo is confident. She looked like a used trophy wife. Like, a trophy a kid gets for trying hard at bowling. She came out, and introduced herself.
For two full minutes.
There were no jokes, just an itinerary of some of the places she had been, and a story how she lost her Australian accent in South Bumfuck or wherever.
This wasn't a set up, there was no punchline anywhere. Maybe she thought we needed context. Maybe she isn't aware that if a five minute set needs two minutes of humourless contextualisation, then the set might be flawed. Maybe she made the rookie mistake of opening with new material, rather than going with a proven opener. Worse, maybe she actually tried that material before, and decided to keep it. It wasn't her first time, according to her introduction, so it's possible that she just refused to scrap the stuff. To be fair, if she was the type to retire material, she wouldn't have a set.
So, after talking about her drawling accent, she talks about meeting her husband. She must've been secretly nervous, and forgotten all her jokes, and also how to talk, because she unleashed a horrifyingly long stream-of-conciousness piss stream into our mouths, which were open in disbelief.
'Ah met mah husband on a cruise shyeahp, mah friend said 'ah know y'all're' single so I'm settin' ya'll up on a blind date,' an' she had meh choose a'tween two gahs, one was a masseuse, and I thought 'bout that, ah guess a masseuse could be useful if ah needed a massage, ghyuck!'
She looks around and nods after each ghyuck, as if to infer that we all know what she's talking about and find it amusing.
'Th'other gah was Jewish! So ah went with the Jewish one, an' he was real nice. We gawt murridged an' ah called mah mawm. Ah told mawm he's Jewish with big feet, an she said 'maybe he's Jewish from the waist down!' Ah said maybe, ghyuck! Mah husband's 64, he's an accountant, any y'all know what MENSA is? No? Obviously none 'a y'all is in it, ghyuck!'
Aneh-whey, mah husband's sawn's in MENSA, he's real smart, he's, lahk, a year older then mahself. He's from a previous murridge. Mah step-son, ah mean, not mah husband, though he was murridged previously. Ghyuck! Ghyuck, ghyuck, ghyuck!'
Keep in mind, I'm paraphrasing her, here. Her actual set went well over her allotted time, meaning she cut into the set of the next performer. The lights flashed to signal her off around part one of the husband.
'Mah husband had a few previous murridges,' said the lady, as my friend pointed out a comedian we'd seen before.
'Look, it's [name redacted, because I know he googles himself]!' he said. So it was.
'So it is,' I said. My friend walked over and introduced himself. Then he introduced me, as someone who wanted to be a comedian. Before I can open my mouth [name redacted, because I know he googles himself] speaks, having only looked at me.
'You should be!' I'm taken aback and amused at the same time. This! Is quality. The sort of thing that I'll leave my house to hear. My friend, [name redacted, because I know he googles himself], and myself all turn our heads to observe the woman. Something occurs to me.
'You know, maybe she's actually really good. Maybe she's doing a really subtle Neil Hamburger thing.'
'Oh my god!' [name redacted, because I know he googles himself] said, 'did you see him when he came?'
'I missed him. Still kicking myself.'
The lights flashed a second time. [name redacted, because I know he googles himself] suggested we kill the lights completely. I wasn't sure that'd stop her. The lights flash again. She looks angry, as though she's Galileo and the lights are the Catholic Church. She finishes her set just as the lights are about to be killed completely.
She must've gone straight to the bar and ordered one of everything strong. Whiskey, vodka, turpentine. The good whiskeys and beers were in a separate part of the building. Someone must've told her, because she went wobbling out there really carefully, trying not to twist an ankle. I didn't see anyone help her. I felt like giving her a tip.
I wanted to tell her you learn more from bombing than from killing. Even I know that. George Carlin, Patrice O'neal, Louis CK, Mitch Hedberg, Keith Robinson, they've all bombed. She'd probably have seen the advice as condescending garbage from a nobody. Or, worse, she'd have appreciated it and found some way to give my syphilis as thanks (her method would probably involve the methylated spirits on her breath and a loss of inhibition/brain damage on my part), then her old Jewish-from-the-waist-down husband would get all sad.
Lady, if you have googled yourself and wound up here, I apologise for any inaccuracies. Like you, my memory has aged like milk.