Brian T Shirley Actor/Comedian/Writer

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Life/Road stories

My Perfect Hell Gig

Posted by briantshirley on July 22, 2011 at 10:59 AM

 Charlie Daniels sang about the Devil going down to Georgia. If the Prince of darkness visited the Peach State, I'm willing to bet he built a summer home in Forsyth. I did a show in Forsyth,Ga. several years ago and I still shudder when I drive by the area just off  I-75.

  The "Comedy Club" was located in a hotel bar. There was a decent stage with a good size dance floor in front of it and the dance floor was not for seating the audience. That meant that the closest people in the crowd were about fifty feet away. A long way for the lauhg to travel, but there would be none of that anyway. The club seated 70 or so and there were about 35 people in the place. Some of the folks were scattered around, but most of them were at two long tables near the dance floor. One table was full of drunk, off duty cops and the other table was full of tipsy 911 phone operators. This was not a good combination for comedians or crime victims in the area.

 I was the opening act and the emcee was the bartender/waiter. He must have been real busy at the bar because when he went to start the show and introduce me he did not go on stage. He stood on the dance floor out of the stage lights and said " Hi, are you ready for comedy, here's your first guy Brian T Shipley". I did not bother to correct his mistake with my name because I don't even think the "audience" noticed that the 'show" had started. They just talked right through the intro and were oblivious to me getting on the stage.

 My first few minutes on stage weren't that bad. I couldn't see anyone because of the stage lights so I was talking to the dance floor, which was paying more attention than the crowd. I should have kept trying to make the  dance floor laugh for 30 mintues, but NO, stupid me I tried to interact with the people. This only caused them to talk louder as I was interupting their drunken conversations. Then they started in on me with insults. There were so many of them yelling things like " you suck" and "say something funny" that I could not respond quick enough. I asked them how they would know if I sucked when they weren't even paying attention? My stating this fact only made things worse, so I pointed out a place on the edge of the dance floor for them to come and stand one at a time to heckle me. These fools actually did just that. They formed a line on the spot I had pointed out and one at a time would say their piece. Then I would slam them and they would stumble back to their seat. I finally told them I was leaving which got the best response I had all night. I ended my lecture by informing them that they may not have liked me, but if they don't give the next guy a chance the whole show would be a suckfest. They actually gave the headliner a chance and he had a decent show. He thanked me after the show for getting them to pay attention.

 When I got back to my hotel room I was highly upset which caused me to have a MAJOR panic attack. I still have them fom time to time, but this one was bad. My throat felt as if was closing up on me and I was having trouble breathing. I almost called 911, but then I remebered the last time I had done that. It had cost me $2000 to find out I was just having an anxiety attack and the 911 operators were in no shape to answer the phone anyway. It was about 12:30 am, but I decided to call my dad. Maybe he could calm me down, I had thought.

 I told him about the show and he knows about my anxiety problem. He told me not to call the hospital, but instead to call the front desk. I asked him why and at the same time started to relax a little.

 " Ask the front desk clerk what time the sun comes up tomorrow." Dad said.

 " What for?" I asked.

 " Tell them you want a wake up call before the sun rises because you don't want to see another damn redneck before you leave town!"  he responded.

 I laughed and relaxed even more.

 Thanks Dad for saving me $2000.

 Johnny rosin up your bow and play your fiddle hard....


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Reply Lisa Greenawalt
11:11 AM on July 28, 2011 
That was such a funny story! I'm sorry that happened to you and I have to say I admire your job and wish I had the type of courage it must take to stand in front of an audience who clearly does not deserve your time. Think of all the future jokes that can come of that performance though... :)
Reply Steph
1:35 AM on December 11, 2011 
HAHAHAHA Gea sory! scary, though!!!
8:08 PM on July 21, 2012 
I shared this one on facebook. Wouldn't you know I got that %^#$ captcha again! I am NOT a robot! Anyway, it posted and here is what I said: "This is one of the funniest 'stage' tales I have ever read. Want a good laugh? READ IT!"

You must share more stories but of course, SUCCESS stories! LOL:)
Reply Meg Scott
11:02 AM on August 26, 2012 
You'll make it!