I missed the memo about moods, manners, and the high price of comedy.
The other night, on Valentine’s Day, no less, my husband and I went out. Without our children. This kind of thing almost never happens, but we braved L.A. traffic and the high cost of babysitting to treat ourselves to a performance by one of our favorite comedians, Demetri Martin.
The show started a bit late, but we were totally psyched when the opening act, Levi MacDougall, finally took the stage to warm up the crowd. We were up in the cheap seats, so I didn’t hear the whole exchange, but apparently some guy in the front heckled Levi, and they engaged in a little exchange. It didn’t seem like any big deal.
Cut to….a few minutes later, Demetri Martin takes the stage and the first thing he did was to ask for security to toss the heckler out. Since Demetri Martin is, after all, a comedian, the audience laughed. But this was not a joke. When security did not immediately toss the heckler out, Demetri Martin left the stage, then came back out, proclaiming that he “wasn’t in the mood” for the heckler’s antics. After another moment or two, the heckler was dispatched, and the show, as shows must, went on.
The rest of the show was…just OK. I really wonder how much more I would have enjoyed Demetri Martin’s material had he not opened the show with the whole heckler ejection episode. I presume the heckler, like my husband and me, had been hoping to have a great night out. What he got was humiliated in front of hundreds of people. It didn’t seem proportionate. It made Demetri Martin seem like kind of a dick. And the thing about Demetri Martin that I had always really liked was that he seemed bookish and boyish and nice. And not a dick. But because we had come all the way Downtown and paid lots of money to be there, we stayed through the show. I didn’t laugh that much, though. Dick jokes can be funny, but I don’t find being a dick that funny, know what I mean?
The thing that really bugged me, I think, was that Demetri Martin justified giving the heckler the boot by stating, “I’m not in the mood for this.” Oh dear Lord. How often are any of us truly in the mood for anything? But we’ve got frontal lobes and whatnot, and therefore get to exercise some discretion about when to act on our pissy moods and when to just suck it up. In short….
Although I enjoyed my husband’s company, and the $15 beer I had at the venue, I felt kind of cheated by the whole experience. It was an expensive night out for us that was kind of cheapened and tarnished. I wish I had had the courage to boo at the time, but I didn’t. But I’ll do it now….Boooooo, Demetri Martin. Boooooo! It cost us a lot to come to your show, but it would have cost you nothing just to be a little nicer. Trying to mind my manners and memo received.