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Little Reid Big City #18

Oh, Reiders, I want to get frank and sexual with you. I want to write a poem with your ink.

There. I hope that’s non sequitur enough of an intro for you. How are you guys? Good? Oh, I’m alright. Thank you for asking.

Over the weekend I got to do my second real road gig since I’ve been here in New York. Did one before at Dartmouth College with Alex Fossella and Angel Costillo (who put on the mighty fine podcast called “The AA Meeting”, that a certain blogger/young man has appeared on/done the logo for (not the elephant one on iTunes. Is it up yet? The one with theirs souls escaping their bodies? Never mind)). It was strange, performing for college kids, all people younger than me; there was a freedom and confidence to it you don’t always get performing to your elders. This last show upped that ante: I performed at a children’s summer camp in Connecticut for a rowdy group of a hundred screaming eight to eleven year olds. In college I used to perform for children at grade schools as part of a volunteer comedy performance group, but that was in a school setting, for older children. This was not near as controlled.

As I took the stage, I came out to a chorus of children screaming, “You’re short! You’re short!” while smaller groups shouted, “You look like an elf!” One child, a nine year old boy, a cute kid with shaggy brown hair in the front, felt it in his heart to yell, “You look like a faggot!” I swear this is true. In his defense, he did not shout it with any malice, rather he shouted it like he had the right answer. It’s near impossible to do real material with kids of this age, let alone this level of hollerin’, regardless of the fact that one of my favorite jokes features phrases such as “shit in an open wound,” “smoosh your butthole into my butthole” and “my cock is so worn, withered, and calloused if I’m going to feel anything during sex it has to be pain.” So mostly I just led the kids in obscure animal impressions (a goat who’s afraid to get married) and fed a young girl a baby carrot from a baggie I’d been carrying around in my pocket all day. She ate the carrot –I’m not sure what it was I felt about this, but the closest word is “pride.” Performing for children is disconcerting in a way: they don’t laugh as a whole. There are pockets of laughter, but it’s as if they don’t know the social cues found in a joke to come together as one. A friend, Eli Sairs, who did the show before me, reasoned that all jokes to some level are a trick, and these kids simply didn’t enjoy being duped –they wanted to outsmart us. Every turn a joke would take they would try to avoid it, shout out the twist or their own punchline, anything to avoid the trick. Or maybe we just don’t know what kids think is funny.

Partway through the next comic’s set, a child ran on stage threatening to give him a wedgie. He agreed, on the condition he could give the boy one first. Not only did he give the kid a wedgie, he also enraged some of the parents watching, including the wife of the camp director. The next morning we were informed the second show was cancelled, we needed to leave the camp immediately, and that the camp counselor (and fellow comedian/friend Joel Walkowski) would be demoted. I’m not sure, but I think that means the trip was awesome.

Back in New York things have gone decently enough. I stopped hosting my open mic –it can be a good opportunity and a good service, but it was becoming tedious and seemingly worthless. I’m still co-producing Underbelly, and will soon start helping a friend produce her monthly stand-up show, so I figure two actual shows are worth at least one mic. I don’t really have much more to talk about.

I guess I just really wanted to tell you that a nine year old called me a “faggot.”

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