Riddle me this

Riddles Comedy Club, 5055 W. 111th Street, Alsip, Illinois 60803

I often try not to think about comedy clubs. Then, suddenly, Riddles is put in my path. Why is there a comedy club here? I usually drive up and down 111th Street. A very mundane experience. I know all the usual landmarks by heart: Beverly Arts Center, Burrito Station, the fire station, Mount Greenwood Park, the  Oak Lawn Dolphin Club. All the usual landmarks that I begin to not see after seeing them so many times. But then one day, I see the Riddles Comedy Club! And I can’t avert my eyes. I’m staring at it with my mouth gaping.

Just a few years ago, I visited the Riddles club in Orland Park with the hopes of performing at their open mic night on Thursdays. I wrote some jokes. And you better believe that they were very, very funny. So funny that I was afraid that someone would die laughing. Anyhow, I went to Riddles a few times just to check out the ambience. My very first night there, I was told that I wouldn’t have to pay a cover charge if I was an open mic performer. As tempting as this invitation was, I politely declined. Okay, I admit it. I was afraid to go on stage! I had flashbacks to when I actually did go up on stage, once upon a time.

Anyway, when I was finally comfortable with the club, I decided to perform. I wrote some more killer jokes. I thought about rehearsing, but I was afraid to sound too rehearsed. So, I didn’t rehearse at all. But believe me, I was ready! Oh, yes, I was! Or so I had fooled myself into believing so. When I get to the club and tell them that I want to perform for open mic, they tell me that open mic has been cancelled. How disappointing! Well, not really. What I really meant was, “What a relief!” Especially, since I was invited to stay to watch the show without paying a cover charge. Well, open mic night was cancelled because the starring acts had arrived a day early and want to perform in order to warm up for their weekend performances. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed the show. I was also greatly relieved that I didn’t have to perform.

Whenever I get the urge to perform again, I get really motivated. But then, I lose the urge when I realize that I would have to leave the house about 8:00 pm and not return until after midnight. I used to enjoy that, but I didn’t have to get up early to go to work. I would usually wake up at the crack of noon, go running, and then relax before I went to the comedy clubs. I have become such a homebody lately. I really enjoy staying home! Of course, I occasionally leave the house. I not exactly a shut-in.

I plan on going to Riddles very soon. As a spectator. Luckily, they don’t have an open mic night. Yet!


Politically (in)correct

Riddle Comedy Club, Alsip, Illinois

I haven’t been to a comedy club for a couple of months now, but I keep thinking of one joke in particular that I heard while I was there. You have to remember that comedy clubs are the last bastion of politically incorrect jokes. So anything goes there. In a way, it’s very refreshing to be able to go back in time a couple of decades or so to when free speech meant exactly that.

Anyway, the joke I keep remembering makes me laugh every time I recall it. I don’t even remember the name of the comedian, but I saw him at Riddles at the open mic night. “Are there any Mexicans here?” he asked, I assumed he asked this because he was not of the Mexican persuasion. No one answered up–not even me. I wanted to say, “I’m Mexican,” but I couldn’t get the nerve to shout it out. Besides, I wanted to see what he would say if no Mexicans were present.

After a long silent pause, he asked, “How many Mexicans does it take to change a light bulb?” No one answered and after another long pause, he said, “One. They’re just like everone else!” And everyone laughed, but I think I laughed the loudest.

My comedy debut

Dr. D.’s debut at Sally’s Stage, Chicago, Illinois

Let tell you about my comedy debut. NOT! I stalled, I postponed, and I dreaded performing. Well, I actually wrote some jokes, I actually polished them, and I actually rehearsed them. However, I was not meant to perform at Open Mic night at Riddles Comedy Club this week. I honestly tried, but as fate would have it, Riddles changed their format on Thursday night to accommodate some comedians from out of town.

Last week when I went to Riddles for Open Mic, I sat in the back so I could observe. As preparation for my forthcoming comedy debut, I sat all the way up front near the stage. Just to get a feel for the stage. As you may have guessed, most of the comedians picked on me. I didn’t mind at all. Not that I usually like being the focus of attention, but this time, I actually did like being the focus of attention.

I think what I have always liked best about doing standup comedy was watching all the other comedians. You see, I love to laugh. So tonight was not a total waste of time because I got to observe again and learn. And I actually thought of some new jokes while watching the other comedians. On the other hand, I’m having second thoughts about actually going on stage and performing. Maybe I should focus more on my writing at this point. Some of the jokes that I wrote might actually come off better as something to read on the Internet.

As I was sitting in the front row during tonight’s show getting skewered by the comedians, I remembered back to a first date some twenty-something years ago. I met a certain Emily and we seemed to take a liking to each other. I really wanted to ask her out. At first, I didn’t think she would go out with me, well, because she was Irish and from Kentucky, and I was Mexican.

I finally asked her out and she said yes. Our first date was dinner followed by seeing a show at Zanies Comedy Club in Chicago. She loved comedy clubs and comedians. I asked her if she wouldn’t mind sitting in the front row with me. I told her, “I will never ask you for anything else again.” She agreed to sit in the front, and of course, we were picked on by all the comedians. I thought it was a lot of fun and Emily seemed to be enjoying the show, too.

I remember asking Emily at dinner if she knew any Rodriguezes. She said her grandmother’s last name was Rodriguez. Emily, it turns out was part Mexican, one-fourth Mexican to be exact. After the show, I took her home. And I never saw her again! I guess I never learned well about planning good first dates. But I did learn a lot about comedy and life that night.

That’s what I love about standup comedy. I learn so much about life!