A Lesson In R-E-S-P-E-C-T — Wolseley Style

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There is only one thing I don’t like about stand-up comedy.  It’s something that’s prevalent more than ever in our society today.  Without being able to narrow it down to one word, the best way to describe it is that in comedy you eventually see people for who they really are.

Comedy is a singular business where you have no teammate to fall back on or to blame when things go wrong.  It’s true that comics have insecurities, as do I, but you would think that the comics you meet would empower you and help support you.  Sadly this is not the case.

This is in reference to the Wolseley show.  The show and the events leading up to, and after the show were so bad that I’m glad for the experience because now I can take that knowledge and apply it to future shows. I will save the commentary for the end and just give you the facts.  

Haris Khan was asked to do a show in Wolseley which is about an hour east of Regina.  I picked up Haris and we went on the Saturday evening.  I knew it was going to be a long night when he started quizzing me about my gig at the Laugh Shop.  I thought he was smart, but for some reason he couldn’t comprehend the non-compete clause in my contract.  It simply stated that I was unable to do a show in Saskatoon three months before, or three months after the show date without written consent from the agency.  I get why they did this, it’s to protect the brand and the club.  Most times if you let them know they will work with the comic to figure something out.

Haris wondered if a friend of his wanted to book him for a big gig if he could just not tell the agency.  He kept asking those questions over a half hour span, like he was being arrogant and greedy, thinking he doesn’t need anyone to book shows for him.

We get to the show, and find that it wasn’t promoted, furthermore no tickets were sold and it was on Halloween night.  So, the regulars who showed up at the bar wanting to drink and party on a Halloween night had absolutely no clue that a comedy show was taking place.  This was gonna be a tough sell.

I knew this was a different kind of night when I saw their entertainment was hooking up a laptop computer and playing country music videos from a YouTube account.  Guess what?  People were more into the videos and the music.  Oh vey!

I taped it as usual, and started my set.  There were four long tables laid out that lead to the back of the bar. About a dozen young people moved from the back table to the front.  Some had their backs to me while most were sitting in front of me.  For the first five minutes I did some crowd work and managed to engage the crowd.  After the first five minutes I lost them, but still continued to do my material.  It took me back to an unfamiliar place when I first had started and got zero response from the crowd, but I had been through that enough to not let it bother me and keep on going.

So I sat down and Haris got up.  What happened next really showed me the kind of person he was.

He got up and did one joke.  That’s it.  It didn’t get much of a response because as I mentioned before, they were more comfortable with socializing at the local bar with their friends.  So Haris turned to crowd work and had their attention for a few minutes, then they eventually tuned him out as well.  The he took the mic, shut it off, placed it by the speaker and came to sit back down at our booth and told me to stop taping.

While I’m trying to wrap my head around what just happened (we both didn’t get paid for this either), we packed up our stuff and left about an hour later, as the bar was nice enough to make food for us.

Now, Haris and I have known each other since I started comedy more than three years ago.  I got the sense that at times he thought himself to be a bigger deal than he actually was, and the ride home proved it.  It got to the point where I came really close to pulling over on the highway and throwing him out of the vehicle.

I thought this would be a great opportunity to have a heart-to-heart with a friend.  I was 16 years older than him and had been performing in various capacities for just about 20 years, yet he always gave me advice in such a condescending tone that made it sound like I was too stupid to figure shit out on my own.

I tried to convey my disappointment in how he handled that situation.  The crowd wasn’t rowdy or ignorant, I’d totally get if he chose to end his set that way when the crowd was being completely disrespectful but that wasn’t the case.  They were good people.

I was informed that Haris thought of himself as a professional comedian and he said that he would have given a shit and performed through it if he had gotten paid.

You heard right.  I mentioned this story to the headliners after our Laugh Shop shows and they were surprised, saying that wasn’t the right thing to do at all.  I mentioned to Haris that we maybe could look at this as a learning experience, that we didn’t maybe have enough experience to be able to get the crowds attention and win them over.  I asked Haris if a true professional was in our spot, would they have done better?  I thought so, but Haris seemed to disagree.

Then he asked me if someone hired a comedy coach would that be a blessing or a disability (his words).  I went to answer then he said I only had one minute to answer him then he was going to tune me out, and I was told at least ten times not to mention anything about this show to anyone.

Apparently he thinks that doing his friends a favour by performing at their bar didn’t mean that he had to treat the customers with respect too.

Then I just posted on my comedy page that I was not going to talk about the show, that’s it.  Then he started texting my girlfriend and calling me names.  He asked if I saw the text she got that called me an asshole. When she replied yes, then he said that’s good because then he didn’t have to text me.

If you have a problem with me, you should be an adult and tell me to my face, not bring somebody else into the situation.

A couple weeks earlier, my girlfriend, Haris and I were at the Dennys and I was telling Haris about wha tplans my coach had for me, since Haris wanted to know.  Then he sat there for 15 minutes and bascially said that there is no way my coach can help me to the degree that I said, even though Haris has never contacted him for coaching.  I even offered to pay for a session for Haris, but he is either scared or his ego is too big to think that he needs any help at all.

Now he wants me to help him get on the Laugh Shop?  Ummmm….nope!  When you treat an audience the way he did that didn’t deserve it, there is no way I would ever give him a reference like that, ever.

It’s one thing to think you are a professional and that’s fine.  But to treat others like they are beneath you after you help them out time and again, to drag my girlfriend into this, and to ask me questions only to belittle my answers is wrong.  I got a little bit of a sense that at times he thought he’s a bigger deal than he actually is, and I was right.

Lastly, some may wonder why I am writing this.  Well, I have been bullied, belittled and talked down to by family, so-called friends, co-workers and bosses all of my life.  The last time I checked my drivers license the same did not say doormat.  I stand up for myself, I treat others how I want to be treated and if you get pissy then maybe you should take a look in the mirror, and stop belittling, being arrogant and rude to those you consider to be your friends.

Feel free to comment below.  Be blessed.

 

If a person is so concerned about their image that they don’t want me to write (or talk) about my experience with them, maybe they shouldn’t be an asshole in the first place.

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