Wednesday, November 23, 2016

This happened: More fun with guns

As a still-kinda-new comedian, I'm continuing to cross new experiences off the list. Sunday, I was able to draw a line through "someone getting shot at a show". I wasn't there to perform, just to watch and lend support, but the people who were there to perform didn't get to, so I think it counts.

"Tampa Police investigate nightclub parking lot shooting"

This happened at the Pegasus Lounge on Sunday and calling the Pegasus Lounge a nightclub is like calling McDonald's a restaurant. The Pegasus is a dive bar and makes no pretense otherwise. They've received local acclaim for hosting "Pornaoke" (which is exactly what it sounds like; people singing karaoke in front of a big screen showing porn) every Wednesday. The most notable aspect of that is the severely low quality of the porn. The participants look like they were signed up by somebody with a clipboard at the mall...
CLIPBOARD PERSON: "Would you be interested in making up to $6.50 an hour appearing in pornography?"
PROSPECTIVE PORN STAR: "Sure! But...$6.50 an hour?
PROSPECTIVE PORN STAR: "Yeah. Isn't that less than the federally mandated minimum wage?"
CLIPBOARD PERSON: "Sir, this isn't exactly the kind of enterprise that's going to send you a W-2."
PROSPECTIVE PORN STAR: "Well, all right. But I will get to have sex with a woman, right?"
CLIPBOARD PERSON: "You let somebody at the mall with a clipboard sign you up to do porn. All of a sudden you have standards?"
 I'm just saying that I don't know what the Pegasus Lounge's budget for porn is but they're getting ripped off.

Anyway, I was there with my pal Spike (of "The Spike On The Mic Show") to watch a comedy show headlined by our friend Rio Paris. It's a bar and they don't serve food so there was a guy with a BBQ grill in the parking lot. Okay, that's all the background.

Spike and I are sitting at a table waiting for the show to start. Rio comes up behind us and says "it's going down in the parking lot! Somebody just crashed into the BBQ grill". Of course we got up to go look because of course we wanted to see that. Motor vehicle vs BBQ grill melee, with sticky chicken parts flying around everywhere? Yes please! Before we can get to the door, a guy comes in yelling "He shot him in the head! He shot him in the head! I can't believe it!"

This slowed us down.

He's followed by a woman, who pulls the door shut behind her. "Get away from the door! Get away from the windows! He shot him in the head and he's still out there!"

This stopped us.

Now, I'd been to the Pegasus a couple times before. Spike never had. But somehow he instinctively finds the back door and is gone.

Maybe I should have mentioned previously that aside from the bartenders, I'm pretty much the only white person there. I'll mention that now, along with the fact that at this point, I'm pretty much the only person in there at all.

And in typical Only White Person There fashion, I'm thinking "maybe we should make ourselves available if the victim needs aid and comfort, or if the law enforcement officers need assistance with their investigation."

Spike comes back in. "Clark! What are you doing?!? We have to get out of here!!"

I snap out of it and I realize that I'm Gene Wilder in 'Silver Streak' or 'Stir Crazy'; I am hopelessly and completely out of my element, and I'm paired with Richard Pryor (Spike), who is only marginally better suited for the situation. Still: "Yes. Of course you're right. Leaving is undeniably the best approach to take at this time", I say.

We go out the back door and it's REALLY dark back there. He's running and I'm kind of tip-toeing. He looks back and asks what the hell I'm doing. I said, "I don't want to trip. What if I twist an ankle or rip my pants?" He replies, "do you want to fall down or get shot??" "Those are my choices? Fall down or get shot? That's it? I'd like neither of those things, please. Can I get a 'none of the above'?"

We make it out from behind the building and there are more police cars than I've ever seen in my life. I don't see a victim (apparently he drove himself to the hospital right after it happened) or an assailant so I'm just hanging out behind a van parked on the side of the building and watching. Spike is gone. He hopped into his truck and drove off, followed by two police cars for a couple blocks before they figured out he probably wasn't a suspect and went back. I find Rio and other friends and saw that they were okay and told Rio, "I'm going to leave before I can't." Because at that point, there was no end to the police cars pulling in. and the parking lot isn't that big. If I don't leave now, I may not be able to for some time. But I could so I did.

Bottom line: I guess I was never in any real danger (thanks mostly to the lady who was so intent on getting people away from the door and windows) but once again, I'm not a big fan of people pulling guns in my presence.