Monday, March 03, 2003

Sing-Along Savagery

I wasn’t supposed to go out the following night, but the high school gang demanded that I catch up with them at 22nd Street, the comedy club/sing-along joint along Marcos Highway. I gave in, knowing that Pong would be leaving for Canada weeks from now.

It was the first time I’d set foot in the club’s new location -- they were originally closer to Imelda Avenue. The first incarnation of the club was this dismally dark place. This new upgraded version sported more pleasant interiors, with ample lighting and space to move around.

Now for those who’ve never been to a comedy club/sing-along joint, this is what to expect. The mostly homosexual hosts hurl political correctness out the window and crack the meanest jokes. Victims include everyone – themselves, each other, the audience in general. There’s an unending stream of invectives of all shapes and forms. The acidity levels vary per club.

Despite this threatening set-up, comedy clubs are usually packed on weekends. And the hosts are a really talented lot ‘cause they can really sing, they perform with gusto, and most of them are incredibly funny.

Audience members are allowed two songs a turn. You write your ‘requests’ on a sheet of paper and wait for the hosts to call you onstage.

Once you’re there, you become the victim. Everyone is encouraged to laugh at your expense. If you have a particular physical disadvantage, beware. If you’re a woman, beware (especially if you’ve a boyfriend). If you’re a cute guy, beware. If you’re an effeminate homosexual, beware. If you speak with an accent, beware. If you look too bland, or boring, or if you look too eccentric, beware. If you’re too fat or too thin, beware. If you look ‘normal,’ beware. They’ll find the barb to poke you with.

If the audience loves the way you sing, they could ask you for more, and you’re given that bonus.

Now I’ve found my way quite a few times on the comedy club stage (Nikolai in Remedios Circle, Punchlines along Quezon Avenue, Green Planet along Jupiter St.,) primarily out of chutzpah, and I’ve been a victim, too. But I won’t detail those shining moments here. If you haven’t tried any of these places out, drag a friend and pay a visit. Unless, of course, you consider your ears virginal.

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