Standup at the Mock Cafe, Tony Clifton style

Standup at the Mock Cafe, Tony Clifton style

A wacky show last week at the Mock, I just have to say, 'wow'. For those of you who weren't there, it was quite an event. First of all, this 'Tony Clifton' guy walks up to the Mock, and is the 11th person there, makes a very big stink because there are only ten open mic spots available, complains how all his friends are here to see him1, and eventually he gets on the list. Before the show starts, all the comics are hanging out in the back, and I sneeze.  Like four people say, "Bless you."  Colin Mahan says, "That must feel like a big group hug." It does.  I love comedy.

So but then 9 pm arrives and about eight drunk (and drinking, and booze-offering) frat friends of his arrive, sit in the back, obviously not interested in comedy, per se, except for this guy's straight-from-the-movie ("I'm Andy Kaufman" I think) recitation of the Tony Clifton monologue (he can't even write his own insults?), which he supposedly first did at a Halloween frat party, and everyone thought it was so clever (and who wouldn't when they're all pissed off their asses) that he absolutely had to make his professional debut as the Lounge Lizard the very night that actual people were also scheduled to be in the same room. 

I won't speak for the other people who went up, but I followed Dan Rothenberg2 (who I'm kind of in love with, but whatever) so but now the crowd is really riled up, and totally blitzed. Some chick in the front is asking me about 'that thing on your lip', which is my lip ring. And she won't leave me alone, so I get her up on stage, and she's taking pictures of me with her own personal instamatic disposable camera, and she's clad in hip-hugging stretchy pants and a revealing blouse, very suggestive, and so Clifton yells something about pussy. And the whole crowd cheers at his dyke reference, so I just start flirting with the chick, which gets more laughter, send her back to her seat, and lead into my bit about how stupid it is that people just assume you're a lesbian when they see you sticking your tongue down a girl's throat. More heckling from the Instigator and his 'friends'… (i. e. more lines from Man on the Moon–I think he brought the script because he talked like he was reading.) 

I don't believe I've been heckled as much at any other show3, which is fine, because I like a challenge, and now I've got motivation to write some nifty comebacks. Oh, and by the way, I think a brawl started during Hoogie's set while I was standing outside. 

1 So but then where are they? 

2 Who, I might add, had decided to take the triumphant spirit of Tony Clifton to the full extent and meaning of why the character was invented in the first place*. At the end of his set, Rothenberg, in a pre-approved move, just started to question what Clifton was doing there, and shouting 'Fuck you!' a few times to the guy, whose mustache was beginning to peel off in one corner. The dork didn't recognize Dan's confrontation as a reference to the 'real' Tony Clifton act, i. e. how his whole act was about confrontation, aggression toward the audience, and the unsureness of whether the performer is really seriously trying to pick a fight, or is it comedy? So Clifton responds with a 'yeah, whatever'-type gesture, and the show goes on. 

3 With the exception of, like, the Odeon, which is more like a "show" than a show, and also a whole other can of worms all together… * If Andy Kaufman was a student of Artaud's Theater of Cruelty, then this guy was the kid in the back of the class pulling on girls' ponytails.

About Administrator

Alicia Dattner is a comedian and speaker who jousts with such topics of love, time-management, money, environmentalism, politics, spirituality, and creativity. Her first solo show, The Punchline, recently won Best of the Fringe in the San Francisco Fringe Festival 2008. Her second show, Eat Pray Laugh won Best Storyteller at the NY United Solo Festival. Her company, Making Light, is dedicated to bringing humor and lightness into spirituality, relationship, and every day life.

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