Erwähnen Sie nicht den Krieg
Sunday night had death written all over it, to be completely honest. I took over the hosting duties for Jason Blanchard at the Fox and Fiddle while he was out touring Dunderhead Falls, Saskatchewan or some such place west of Mississauga, and it just felt a wee bit weird. I arrived at 8:45 to set up for the show thinking I was way late. I got there and of the ten or so people upstairs, one was one of the booked comics, five were a table of suits right where the stage would eventually be, and the rest were folks just going about their evening enjoying wings. I set about the construction of the room, which as lofty as it sounds involves screwing legs into the stage and changing the one floodlight from a red one to white. That’s it, really. There used to be a black drape that hung from a contorted pipe apparatus, but that seems to have either remained in someone’s trunk or has just gone missing. Admittedly, I didn’t think the night needed that to tell people there was a show on. The bombing jokes and routines would probably suffice.
I got a text from Dave Paterson who was hosting Ein-Stein’s that night. His show was going well (At Ein-Stein’s!!! Yeah, I know…) and he wondered how the Fox was. I typed into the phone “Quiet. Too quiet” and continued about my work. Stage was set well before 9:00pm and with the show at 10:00pm and no other comics in the door yet, I set down to what the Fox and the Fiddle is really all about on a Sunday. Yes, there’s comedy. Sure you can get a $10 pitcher of domestic draught. But really, it’s the half-price wings. Exactly 12 comics including those already booked on the show arrived vying for a spot which means that not only does everyone get a spot (since there’s only 12 spots in total for the night), I don’t need to send anyone home packing and the running order for the night pretty much writes itself.
I have no idea how it all happened but I turned around and suddenly the room was packed. What the..? Okay, fair enough. Let’s see how the supply teaching gig goes this time. Historically, there’s always something that’s gone awry with the room. Sometimes the sound doesn’t work. Other times a table just keeps talking through the show as if nothing’s happening. Or maybe Bobby Mair gets assaulted on stage. You never know what you’re going to get. This night, it was the suits. The table of suits had not left and hadn’t really noticed that a show built up around them. I noted to them that they probably had no idea this show thing was going to happen when they picked that table. They wholeheartedly agreed. Turned out they were a table of five German businessmen in town for a conference to sell MRI machines. I asked them if they were going to stay for the show since they told me they don’t have stand-up in Germany (and really, if you think they’re lying, name me one German stand-up comic that you’ve seen…thought so) and they were happy to. Half-way through the show that by all accounts was doing well, I noticed they were shy on beer. One way to remedy that. I bought them a pitcher of Canadian which they graciously accepted. No idea why the crowd applauded the way they did, but it makes me think that I’ve got a reputation for either being friendly or miserly. I’ll go “friendly”. [Go “miserly”. – H!ITVA! Ed.].
Bobby Mair closed the show without any signs of assault. Lord be praised.