I went to a comedy show this evening with a friend. I didn’t know many of the comedians performing that night, but the friend was a good judge of comedy and I always trusted his taste.
The host of the night was fantastic and each of the comedians that performed were great, but the final comedian of the night was one whose work I’ve been following.
He’s a fantastic comic who my brother and my other friend David adore. Hearing he was on the bill made it so that even if the other ones sucked, this guy was going to fucking kill it.
And he did. He killed it so hard. I thought I didn’t have any laughs left because I was close to tearing up earlier, but this guy just fucking brought more and more of it out.
Then, midway through a great bit about a bachelor party, someone uttered some words at the comic.
The words were my third favorite food on this planet.
In any other situation, I would have asked for some, but the comedian performing at the time was black.
The comedian paused. The heckler had said shit earlier, but it was unintelligible. When the comic pushed the heckler to say it again. He stayed silent.
"Man, I wonder how bad you day was like for you to say that. I hope you get better.”
It was great, it was sublime, it was real, it was funny. It was worse than a knock out punch. The guy shuffled off into the night, never to return.
The comic then went back to his job which was making us laugh. Which he did.
After the comic, was a musician who my friend Amy loved. I never liked his albums but I was jazzed to see a live performance by him.
The musician did really good. He played a great set of songs. But I felt bad. Even though the comic had given hands down one of the best responses you can give when someone says shit like that, I still felt terrible.
I couldn’t get into the music, even if the performance in front of me was fucking solid. It’s a testament to how good he was, that as he finished his last song, I was almost in there even though I was devastated.
I hate feeling this way. Having a great night, paying to see a bunch of artists do their best work and getting knocked out of it because of something that I’m so happy I taught myself how to cook.
I wanted to get up mid-song, go home and return to my secret brown place and cry cause it fucking sucks to tore down.
I joke about going out to these shows and being the ‘darkest’ one there, because it’s a way to deal with my anxiety. I don’t know how I feel about race. I’m at ease with it and terrified with it. Deathly serious about it and ready to crack jokes about how I only play a black guy on tv. Even though it’s probably not out there, I still have that fear in my head that it just takes one drunk asshole to rear it.
I live in this brown bubble where my family is some hodge podge of Dominicans miscegenating with the asians, blacks, and white people we pull into our charismatic sphere. It’s a safe place. When I’m home I don’t have to worry about having the lingering after effects of disgusting bland boring racism dropped on my day like a smelly shit in a subway platform.
It’s just us here. We’re just us.
I know I can’t be like that. I know I can’t just hide away because the people love me.
Well no, that’s not true, i’m an asshole, the people barely tolerate me, but it’s not the way to live.
I can’t tell my daughter to hide.
I’m going to go to sleep and not let this day make me hate people. Instead I’m going to do what the comedian told the drunk racist guy to do.
I’m going to get better.