Are you a couple?
You guys are a couple?
So you two are dating?
How’d you meet?
With only one exception, every single comedian who came out on stage asked us a version of the same question.
The first time I chuckled awkwardly and shrugged. The second time I said “Uh, we’ll see?”
At “How’d you meet?” I threw my hands into the air and with as much enthusiasm as I could muster answered, “The internet!”
“You fucking?” was met with silence, no smile. The performer didn’t care, it was a rhetorical question. What would he have done had I thrown my date’s feelings to the wolves and shouted back, “NO! NO, WE ARE NOT FUCKING! HE’S NEVER EVEN SEEN ME NAKED.”
I was on a third date. A third date with a guy I was still trying to decide if I liked. He suggested going to a comedy club on the east side of Manhattan, I said, “Sure”. I would’ve been fine with the barrage of Relationship Status questioning had some sort of comical pay off. But that wasn’t happening. It was run-of-the-mill crowd work. With so many comedians asking the same question, it was all to clear none of them were watching each other’s sets. That made me sad.
And the questions didn’t stop there:
Have you two tried shower sex?
How do you feel about morning sex?
Do you ever catch him looking at other women’s butts?
Ugh. Sorry, I was much more uncomfortable and bored than I was amused and entertained.
My date reached for my hand during the middle of the show and I’d pulled it away, No! They’re going to say something annoying about us holding hands! Don’t touch me!
It was 100% my fault we sat in the front row. The usher asked us, “Are you okay sitting in the front?” I immediately responded, “Sure!” I perform interactive theater! I know all about crowd work! I want to support performers on stage! Put me in the front and I’ll be engaged and laugh extra loud!
Fuck me and my stupid YES-AND improv tendencies.
The crowd work I know makes the audience feel more comfortable, warms them up to the performer. Sitting in the front row of the comedy club, being asked awkward questions, being stereotyped as a jealous girlfriend…it just wasn’t fun. The questions didn’t pay off with funny punchlines. It was small talk in front of a crowd. Who wants to pay to see small talk? Sexual jokes meant to make other people laugh at my discomfort. Come on, New York comics, I expect more from you than that! You master that kind of humor on the elementary school playground! You’ve grown since then, you’re doing this professionally for fucks sake.
Make fun of me and make me laugh! I’m totally cool with that! But make me feel awkward and uncomfortable? That just kinda sucks…
It was a Wednesday night. Maybe no one tries very hard on a Wednesday.
Maybe if I’d had more to drink, this would’ve been fun instead of feeling uncomfortable? Maybe if I actually liked my date everything would’ve been hilarious?
Guys- I get it- stand up comedy is an incredibly difficult type of performance. You are on stage all alone, with no one to support you but the audience you desperately want to laugh. It’s vulnerable as fuck. I understand all that. I can even understand choosing easy, lazy comedy on a Wednesday night.
So, here’s the important moral of my story: Don’t make a comedy show you’re third date. If you insist on seeing comedy, don’t sit in the front row. If your date is an idiot like me, and agrees to sit in the front row before you can stop her, make a pact: lie your ass off at any question thrown at you. It’ll make it way more fun and take out the level of awkwardness!
How’d you two meet? “At Disney Land!”
How do you feel about morning sex? “Super into it, we keep the coffee maker by the bed! Hahaha!”
Don’t make the mistake I did and take a comedy show too seriously. Also, definitely go with someone you know you’re into.
By the end of the night, I was done. I was ready to yell, NO! WE’RE NOT A COUPLE! In fact, I’ve done some soul-searching during this comedy show! You all helped me realize I really have no desire to have sex with him! Ever! So thanks? What a fun night, right?
That’s a first for me: ending it with a guy because of awkward stand-up comedy.