I waited a week to write today’s entry, because I simply couldn’t fathom having to write such an article, but after a week, I still haven’t been able to make sense of the incident, so I’ll write about it anyway, and see what you guys think. Here’s the story:
So, last week I’m driving around Mobile and I pass by a nightclub with a marquee advertising a comedy show every Thursday night. Well, that week I had been researching regional booking agents and actively scouting for clubs that have an “open mike” within a few hours drive. (My current act is about ready for some previews) Now, to discover simply by accident that my own city is experimenting once again with a comedy night at a club was music to my ears. (okay, it was more like music to my eyes…Poetry to my eyes…well, whatever)
Anyway, I decided to visit the club the night BEFORE the comedy night; just to check out the atmosphere, the stage, the crowds, etc.
I dressed in my favorite “going-out” clothes, (Admit it, you have some too)and headed to the club a bit early, hoping to maybe even speak with a manager or bartender and do some reconnaissance.
I pulled in to a virtually empty parking lot at around 8:30PM. (that’s still early, so I wasn’t too worried) and barely noticed the car that pulled in behind me as I was parking.
I got out of my car and went to the door of the club.
I noticed another entrance to the side of the club and thought, “Okay, wrong door” and headed to the side entrance.
By then and while I was headed to the side entrance; the guy and his girlfriend/wife? had emerged from their car and approached me.
“Can I help you?” he asks.
I said I was planning on going in the club but the front door was locked and I was trying the side entrance.
“We open at 10”, he said. And then he added, “we are under new management now, we ain’t a sports bar anymore, we are strictly ‘A Club'” And he said it with somewhat of an attitude; like a sports bar was bad, that the old management was bad, and that now that they are a “CLUB”, they were somehow much, much better.
By now, I notice that the guy is kinda looking at me suspiciously; inspecting my attire. (Were my jeans unzipped?)
I tell him I’m interested in the following night’s comedy show and I assumed by now he was the manager, employee, etc, so I ask him about the comics that would be performing.
“Are your comics local or regional?” I asked.
Then he did it again. He looked me up and down, again and paused before he answered.
“Okay” I say, “that’s cool, I used to do some comedy and I’m getting ramped up to do it again; will you be doing “open mikes”, as well?
He looks at me again. (What’s wrong with me, do I have a “booger” on my nose?)
He said. “We are just doing this one night a week, we WON’T be doing ‘open mikes'”.
And then it dawned on me. Some days I’m way to slow or naive’.
I’m a WHITE guy.
Here’s this nice, well dressed African-American male, telling me that:
1) This ain’t a sports bar. (obviously I appeared to be sports-oriented; I’m not)
2) Our comics are from Black Entertainment Television
3) We aren’t interested in new comics that apparently look and dress like you.
So, I thanked him for his time, told him I was just dropping by that evening to check out the “CLUB” and have a beer, but I wasn’t going to hang around till 10PM , ’cause I had “work” the next day. But, I said, I might drop in and see “the show” the next night.
He looked at me again with somewhat of a sneer and said “Okay dude, alright.”
I never went to the show.
I’ve been to all kinds of bars in my life; “dive” bars, sports bars, “gay” bars, biker bars, disco bars, redneck bars, and yep, even “urban-hip-hop-rap-predominantly black-and-I’m the-only-white-guy-there” bars; but I didn’t go back to this club.
I like discriminating comedy, but I’m just not ready for comedy clubs that discriminate.