Sometimes you get lucky, and the stars align so that you can do fun things. I recently (as in, last week), I got incredibly lucky, and a few things fell into place so I could go out on a Friday night and see some comedy. And not just any “some comedy” – Ali Wong, who I recently gushed about, and still cannot believe I saw live. What happened was a classic case of everything coming together perfectly at the last minute, and I’ll explain how that happened, and then the very interesting things I experienced at the show.
So imagine you are me. You are sitting at work, minding your own business when you notice you have a new email in your personal account. This is slightly more exciting and interesting than getting a new work email, but chances are it’s another marketing email from Carters (they know me too well over there now), and not a fun email from friends. I pop over to gmail, and am about to dismiss it as another tedious email to read and dismiss from the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse email newsletter when I see “Ali Wong” in the subject line. I open the email – “One Show Only!” it proclaims, with no further information. I click over to their website, find out that she’ll be performing at 7:30 on Friday night, and check my calendar. It’s clear. We have the girls (and always the baby), but…7:30 is totally doable.
I immediately text the Boy:
Friends, the last word that’s missing on the bottom is “baby”, and that’s why I married him. He knows that while he enjoyed her, this is not so much his thing as it is mine, and I don’t even need to say the words “can you watch the baby that night so I can go out?” I say I want to go, that I’m trying to find someone to go with me, and he steps up. So – thank you sweetheart. May all men live up to your example of what being an equal partner in parenting looks like.
So that was childcare set. And as you can see, at that point, I’d posted to facebook putting out a call for friends in the area who might be interested in seeing her too. About 30 minutes after I posted, my friend P hopped on the discussion thread, and we were off to the races. It became a matter of just confirming that we were both interested, and making sure we bought tickets right away (since we had a feeling they would sell out), and then meeting up at the show. And sure enough, hours later the show was sold out. Thank goodness we pulled the trigger on tickets when we did, or else I have a feeling I would have missed out, and that would be sad.
So at this point, I was all set. Ticket. Friend to sit with. Childcare. Free evening to laugh my butt off. I got to the theater, showed my ticket and ID (they sell booze, so since I was planning on drinking, they needed to know I was legal), and then was directed to another table. It turns out we wouldn’t be allowed to have our phones during the show. Or rather, we wouldn’t be allowed to have them out of a special neoprene bag. I’ve never seen this before, but apparently it’s a new technology where it locks the phone away while allowing you to hold on to it during the show (or school, or whatever), but also means that you’ll be more engaged in the comedy, and less with looking at your screen. In discussion with P at the show, we also decided it was likely a necessary evil in this age where people record EVERYTHING so that artists could try out new material without fear of it leaking to the public before it’s ready.
And considering Ali just released her special back in May, she’s having to start over – all the jokes we heard were new. But some of them were obviously a little rough around the edges, and works in progress. She had a page with notes on it up on stage with her, and referred to it occasionally when a line of thought petered out. But being able to see the process of jokes refined is a fascinating one. There are very few people who write things perfectly and in their funniest form the very first time. It’s why I’m not a comedy blog, because more often than not, I don’t have more than one draft of each post. It’s a first shot attempt that gets spewed out onto the internet with minimal refinement, and so it’s not in it’s funniest form. So while the show was good, I can definitely see how this is the basis for something, and not the polished end product.
We also had the pleasure of seeing a great opening act that I’d never heard of (which feels like a standard thing with openers). His name is Sheng Wang, and apparently he wrote (writes?) for Fresh Off the Boat, and has appeared on 2 Dope Queens, and other places. He had a bit about printing at the office that killed. And that’s the awesome thing about comedy, thinking it’s all been covered before, but being able to tap into some small, unnamed thing that is universal? Hell yes.
Anyways – it was a great show. I felt so lucky being able to go, and it made me thankful I still subscribe to the Cinema Drafthouse newsletter despite not having gone there for much in…years? It made that choice not to unsubscribe worth it. And frankly, it will keep me subscribed for another few years at least until it has been so long since I’ve been that I won’t see the need anymore. But yeah – friends, stay on those lists a little while longer. Keep your evenings clear and your childcare options open. And maybe you too will be able to take advantage of a last-minute something or other that makes you remember how great it is to go out and be social among the people.
Details: Ali Wong will resume touring in 2019. Arlington Cinema Drafthouse movies and comedy events are listed here.