Sit Down Comedy … March 27th, 2020

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Sit Down Comedy

 

Reveille

1. Eyes pop open, allowing the “sleepies” to crunch, break and fall into the crevices at the side of the socket.

2. Pause. Don’t judge how you feel. It will usually get better.

3. Find your toes and wiggle them slowly, then faster and faster, like you’re five years old on Christmas morning.

4. Pull one foot from under the covers. Give it a full ten seconds to look around.

5. Breathe the air deeply three times. Thank God, you still have oxygen.

6. Allow the leg attached to that foot acting as a scout to slide off the mattress and matriculate to the floor, coaxing the other leg to follow.

7. Immediately say, “I am not dead,” and then try to be glad about it.

8. Two feet down, rub them on the floor like they are learning choreography and this is the first rehearsal.

9. Think something funny.

10. Say it out loud in a funny way.

11. Think of someone who’s mad at you.

12. Grab your phone and text them to forgive, forget or apologize.

13. Stand and reach for the ceiling (ignore all creaking).

14. Go to the bathroom and enjoy Royal Pee (the piss of the gods).

15. Complete your bathroom ritual, known only to you and sacred through your birthright.

16. Emerge and put on the clothes you selected the night before. Never wait ‘til morning to choose your duds. Too much pressure from ignored footwear.

17. Pause. Think up your morning greeting. What will it be? Make it different every day. For instance, “The canary died, but I escaped the mine.” Or “I smell like a living person.”

18. Come to kitchen. Hydrate—drink. See what is available to eat. Choose two.

19. Converse in reverse. Don’t ask people how they are. Tell them how you are, with hopes they will join in.

20. Ask the family pet three humorous questions, but don’t pause for answers.

21. Text someone you love and confirm it.

22. Leave with friendly thoughts.

23. Start your car. Let it idle for one minute.

24. Take that minute to pronounce aloud two things you are grateful for and two things you desire to achieve.

25. Drive off, making sure you are the first one to let someone into traffic in front of you.

Things I Learned from R. B.


Jonathots Daily Blog

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Episode 6

Opening night for the musical arrived about thirteen days before the cast was suitable for public viewing.

Yes, another fortnight and we might have achieved “adequate” with the possibility of “passable.” But as the maniac once said, “The show must go on.”

The music was learned and the pitches, generally pleasing. But the vignettes that separated the numbers were filled with so much wooden acting that we could have built a fort.

As to the choreography, we should have put a disclaimer in the show’s program, warning parents to cover the eyes of their small children.

There was one saving grace:

Our homosexual producer had gathered all of his flair and had designed and purchased stunning costumes. They were accessible and colorful—and as we found out later, easy to clean. They gave the show the appearance of legitimacy.

During the final rehearsal, which blended chaos with over-optimism, R. B. appointed himself cheerleader for the troupe. Whenever a note was missed or a cue ignored, he stepped in and said, “Don’t worry, guys. We’re going to do great.”

I probably should have stopped him, but before I could, one of his fellow-cast members snarled, “Hey, R. B., just because they’re dance slippers doesn’t mean you need to slip up.”

R. B. laughed, completely oblivious to the fact that he was being critiqued.

During the time of preparation for the evening’s fiasco, I made two requests: don’t drink too much water or you’ll sweat like a pig; and under no circumstances were any of the cast members to go into the lobby in costume—so we could keep the surprise of the quality costumes from the audience until stage time.

R. B. ignored both.

Feeling the need to use the bathroom because of over-watering his hole and not wanting to stand in line with his cast members at the facility backstage, he drifted his way through the halls to the lobby, where he not only used the bathroom donned in his costume, but stopped off to talk to the audience members in the foyer, who were complimenting him for his appearance.

Then, under the influence of the fumes of appreciation, he walked down through the auditorium and jumped onto the stage, where we were all waiting behind the curtain.

I don’t know if I’ve ever been any more infuriated—yet it was hardly the time for a teaching moment.

I took a deep breath, channeling my Knute Rockne, and tried to deliver a pregame speech.

I think I did pretty well, but all the cast members knew there were so many gaps in the training for the show that it was literally impossible for anything to happen short of the Hindenburg.

I still held out hope that maybe the god of dance would send angels to join us. He did not. Instead, arriving on opening night were the devils of dunce.

And I didn’t even take into consideration that the lack of preparation would be further complicated by nerves—great stage fright. There were at least five times when the musical came to a complete halt while the cast members stared at one another, wondering whose turn it was, and the audience giggled uncontrollably at the mishap unfolding before them.

I wanted to run.

The advertising had been so good that the theater was packed. There were two nights scheduled for Columbus before we hit the road—and both performances were headed toward standing room only.

Of course, I realized that once the word was passed about opening night’s bedevilment that few people would show up for the second go-round.

The little boy in me arrived. I wanted to disappear, go back to the rehearsal camp and wait for the cast to join me later. The last thing in the world I wanted to do was stand out in the lobby with my fumbling thespians. For of course, I knew it ultimately would be viewed as my fault. But I came and stood among them.

Back at the rehearsal camp, discussing what to do the next night—how to quickly simplify the choreography so as to not look quite so inept—and which songs to go over, R. B. spoke up, interrupting my instructions.

“Excuse me,” he said sprightly. “Guys, I think we did pretty good for our first try.”

Now, I’ve never been in a room with a lynch mob. I can’t imagine what it’s like for people to become so enraged that they grab someone and rush him into the forest, throw a rope over a tree bough and hang him on the spot. But I would venture to say that the cast came close to putting R. B. in a “neck-tie” that night.

I stepped in to protect him, but also rebuked him.  “Listen,” I said, “there’s nothing wrong with stinking and doing a shitty job, as long as you don’t pretend it doesn’t stink and that it’s not shitty. It was my job to get you guys ready. I didn’t do it. But it was your job tonight to give your best performance. As you go to your beds, you can ask yourselves if you did just that.”

R. B. was offended.

Matter of fact, I found out the next day that he stayed up crying to one of the girls about my “attack.”

I worked with the cast all the next day, and by the time we arrived for the second performance, we were miles further down the road than we were the night before.

Of course the problem was, the audience had decided to stay miles away.

Things I Learned from R. B.


Jonathots Daily Blog

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Episode 4

A rehearsal camp.

It is what we called the thirteen-day period leading up to the beginning of the tour of our musical.

The cast arrived: Mittie, Dan, Ginger, Greg, Luanne, Dollie, R. B., Matt and Blythe. Unfortunately, we had to axe Blythe and Matt because we caught them sleeping together in one of the bedrooms. We had a “no fraternization” policy for the cast, and Matt and Blythe—well, they screwed it.

Somehow or another, we’d landed an amazing facility for hosting this little shindig, with six bedrooms, six bathrooms, a complete kitchen and a small gymnasium including a PA system for rehearsing. The owner of the location was so impressed with our endeavors that he only charged $150 a week. Unfortunately, I think we bounced a check to him. (We made it right.)

The mornings were spent learning music. This went great. Music was what I did. We also worked on some acting. Since all the members of the team had seen movies and television, we kind of wiggled and squirmed our way into understanding the characterization needed for their roles.

But afternoons did not go so well. They were set aside for choreography. Only one of our cast members could dance. All the others were either timid or inept, leaving our three choreographers in a constant, bitchy dismay. Two of this trio were fellows who had performed on Broadway—gay men (this was back in the time when the words “gay” and “men” never appeared in a sentence together.)

The other choreographer was a “mimist” from Miami (say that quickly five times). She was a Lesbian, though our cast was so unfamiliar with the term that they believed she was an immigrant from Lebanon.

So terrible was the movement portion of the play that a reporter from the city newspaper, who came to interview me and happened to sit in on a rehearsal, joked, “Hey. Don’t give up. You can always have the claim to fame that you came up with ‘collisionography.’”

I didn’t laugh. I should have. It might have kept me from crying.

The absolute worst of our dancers was R. B. He had two left feet, and that was just on his right leg. R. B. couldn’t dance. It’s not that he shouldn’t or wouldn’t—it needed to be forbidden.

The terrifying part of the situation was that R. B. was our most enthusiastic hoofer and believed with all his heart that he was heads and tails, if not feet, above the other cast members.

One day, in a fit of frustration, Gay Choreographer 1 screamed at him, “You dance like an elephant imitating a cow!”

The only reason R. B. knew to get offended was that the fellow was spitting angry. That night R. B. packed his bags, preparing to leave—and I consoled him into staying.

I lied.

I told him I had fired the choreographer who yelled at him, when actually the guy had quit in despair. So R. B. stood tall, stating to me, “That guy just doesn’t know talent when he sees it.”

I should have said something. I should have spoken up. But I was so afraid of losing a cast member less than two weeks from the start of the show that I remained silent and let a very cocky guy walk out of the room—setting us all up for a “Great Collision.”

Catchy (Sitting 16) Switch … October 1st, 2017

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Matthew was still so rattled from his meeting with Jubal that when he arrived back at his hotel on the Vegas strip, he couldn’t remember his suite number. So in his usual overcomplicated, confusing way, he explained his situation to the front desk clerk, who retrieved his number from the records and then said, “That suite, 772–your wife was here earlier to pick up the key.”

Matthew didn’t have a wife.

His face apparently communicated that thought, because the young desk person giggled and winked.

All the way up on the elevator, Matthew wondered if he was headed toward a surprise hooker hired by some of his clumsy friends, or if there was a serial killer waiting to end his brief and tumultuous life.

He took the key provided by the winking worker, carefully opened the door and walked in. Sitting on the edge of his couch–pensively, as if waiting for a dental appointment–was Soos.

“What are you doing here?” asked Matthew, quickly shutting the door.

“I followed you. Well, we followed you.” She said, rising quickly to her feet.

Matthew crossed the room, leaned against a chair and asked, “Why did you follow me, and who is we?”

Soos sat down, took a deep breath and replied, “We is Jo-Jay and myself, and why… Well, that’s why I’m here. You see, Jo-Jay has a crush on you and she wanted to follow you to Vegas hoping that something might actually happen in Vegas that could stay here. Well, she was too chicken to come by herself so she asked me to come along, and then when we got here, she was too scared to come up here. So she asked me to go first and talk to you to see if you were interested in her and if you would mind her coming to visit your room.”

Soos stopped speaking, as if she’d actually made sense.

“Are we in the fourth grade?” queried Matthew.

“No,” Soos answered. “But to be completely fair, it’s been since the fourth grade that we had to do stuff like this to find out if people like us…”

Matthew eased down into the chair. “Well, of course I like Jo-Jay. And I like you, Soos.”

“What do you mean?” Soos sparked.

Matthew paused. “Well, I mean I think we have a lot of history, and you’re an attractive woman, I’m a reasonably acceptable man with good grooming habits…”

“And nice eyes,” interrupted Soos.

“Thanks,” replied Matthew. “I don’t see them often. Basically the mirror.”

“They’re nice,” said Soos with a smile.

Matthew considered the situation. “So let me get this straight. You’re supposed to come and find out if I would …welcome?…a visit from Jo-Jay so she won’t be embarrassed if I wouldn’t? Do I have this right?”

“Sounds dumb, doesn’t it?” Soos inserted sheepishly. She continued. “It’s especially weird because I like you, too. I can’t tell her about that because it would make her crazy. So I thought I would just lay in the weeds, so to speak, and see if you rejected her, and then wait a respectable length of time…say four days…”

Matthew jumped in. “Four days, huh? Where’d you come up with that?”

“It just seems like a little more than three days,” explained Soos. “Anyway, I would then be able to tell you that I think you’re attractive also, but I wouldn’t feel bad about it because you would have already kicked Jo-Jay to the curb.”

Matthew stood to his feet and sighed. “I’m not gonna kick anybody to the curb. I’m just tired and I’m going to bed.”

Once again, Soos leaped to her feet and moved closer to him. “Would you like some company?”

She touched him on the cheek.

“So we’re skipping Jo-Jay…?”

Soos interrupted. “And the four days. I’m too damn young to be alone tonight in Vegas, and way too old to wait.”

Matthew chuckled and headed toward the bedroom. Soos pursued. She pulled him over to the bed by his belt and said, “Are you interested in me?”

Matthew, looking down at her hands, said, “I’ve always found it very difficult to be disinterested in any woman who had her hands in my pants.”

“Not very eloquent,” said Soos, “but who am I to be picky?”

She pulled him down to the bed, he fell over her, and she put her hands on his shoulders and kissed him. She started to remove her blouse when suddenly there was a commotion from the other room.

“Hi! The door was open. I hope everybody’s decent!!”

It was Jo-Jay. There was no time to reframe the choreography. Jo-Jay walked in the room with an expression she might have displayed upon finding herself as a time traveler arriving on the deck of the Titanic at about midnight.

Horrified.

Matthew felt the need to speak, but his brain disagreed. Soos jumped in to fill the awkward moment. She slowly untangled herself from her hold on Matthew as she self-consciously buttoned up her blouse and explained, “Listen, this may seem weird, but it really doesn’t have to be. We are all mature sophisticated adults. The atmosphere is here, the moment is understood and the participants are ready. Why don’t I just move away from the bed and Jo-Jay can come in and resume the action-in-progress? I know it sounds a little avant garde, but a few kisses, a couple of tweaks–and it’ll be a distant memory.”

At this point, Soos moved over and tried to push Jo-Jay toward the bed to create the switch.

Matthew was perplexed, intrigued and somewhat repulsed by the whole situation.

For a brief moment, Jo-Jay considered the extraordinary hostage exchange. Then she stopped in her tracks, turned to Soos and said, “I thought you were my friend.”

Soos replied, “I am your friend. But it’s also been a long time since anybody’s rung my bell.”

Matthew felt it was time to speak. “Listen, I’m not trying to ring anybody’s bell, or whatever euphemism you want to insert. I just came to my room to go to sleep.”

“So why is she in your bed?” asked Jo-Jay.

Matthew answered, “Well, if I was using sports terminology, I would say she tackled me for a loss on the play.”

“I don’t know what that means,” said Jo-Jay in a huff. “I liked you and wanted to spend some time with you…”

Matthew interrupted. “So why didn’t you just tell me?”

“Because good girls don’t cavort. That’s what my mother told me long before I knew what the word ‘cavort’ meant. Since I now do know, it would be improper for me to offer myself to you without knowing whether the offering would be acceptable.”

Matthew shook his head. “Hell, have we just gone Old Testament here? Please, ladies, nothing personal. No decision is being made about the future. But right now I need to be alone without the temptation of any lovely lasses.”

Soos said, “Well you don’t have to insult us.”

Matthew sighed. “I don’t know how I insulted you but if I did, I’m sorry, but since I don’t know what I did, maybe we should just talk about this later when we’re not in a room together playing musical beds.”

Jo-Jay turned on her heel and headed toward the door, stopping briefly to throw back a final comment. “I will leave the fornication to the two of you.”

Soos grabbed her purse and followed along. “Wait! I’m not gonna fornicate. I just came up here to represent you.”

Jo-Jay turned around and hugged Soos. “I know. The brute seduced you.”

Matthew lifted one finger in the air. “Let me point out that I am neither a brute nor did I seduce anyone. Just stating for the record.”

Jo-Jay responded, nearly in tears. “I thought you were different.”

“I am different,” said Matthew. “I thought you were not crazy.”

“Well, you were wrong,” Jo-Jay replied. She scurried out the door and into the hall.

“I wouldn’t call her for a couple of days,” Soos whispered to Matthew. “She’ll need some personal space to work this out.”

Matthew lay back on the bed, the memory of female hands in his pants still dancing in his head.

But mostly on his mind was what he envisioned to do with Jubal Carlos.

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