I’ve worked at Cobb’s Comedy Club for a few months now and the performances tend to be a mixture of stand-up, sketches, and podcasts. But once a year Australia sends its finest, oiled up, muscle-bound men to Cobb’s to pelvic thrust the women of San Francisco into a pheromone fueled frenzy the likes of which I’ve never seen before. The first act was Tarzan in a banana hammock joined by an elderly woman he selected from the crowd and brought on stage. As he performed a series of potential hip-breaking maneuvers on her, a co-worker came up to me and said, “Are you ready for the rookie tradition?”…Pardon? He went on to explain that every year the new guys at Cobb’s go on stage at the end, have a 30 second strip-off competition, and the winner usually takes home $250 – $500 in menopause money. At first, I thought he was just messing with me, but then everyone at work backed him up and talked about the time they went up on stage. Even my manager came up and said, “You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to but you do tend to make decent cash. Totally your call.” I didn’t want to be a wuss, and I certainly needed the cash, so I decided to go for it. I was the only new guy, so my co-worker Mikey said he’d do it again with me.
There was about an hour left in the show, and I was a nervous wreck. I stood towards the back lost in a sea of ovulating women that screamed with wild intensity each time an article of clothing was removed on stage. I became a Thunder Down understudy, meticulously watching their every gyration, trying to find moves I could copy for my stage time. Hmm, that slow-motion-worm-to-ground-hump-manuever seemed to get people pretty fired up, but do I have the core strength for it? Interteresting, he just put that lady’s hand on his dick, probably won’t go for that move.
As I tried to channel my inner thunder, another co-worker came up to me and said, “Do you want a G-string? They said they have an extra.” Do I want a G-string?! I’m just glad I chose boxer-briefs over boxers so there’s no chance of a dick-slip or ball-drop while I flop around on stage. “No, I don’t.” He replied, “You should go for it, I did last year.” He then proceeded to take out his phone and showed me a picture of him in the bathroom wearing a G-string before he went on stage.
Unbelievable. Is everyone that works here immune to stage fright? I declined again and stuck with my gray Hanes boxer-briefs. But I needed a drink if I was going to get myself up there.
Over the course of the next 45 minutes, I had 3 double-shots and wasn’t shitting myself so much mentally. But the shots were running through me and I did really need to shit. Mikey came up to me, “Yo we’ve got 7 minutes, let’s get backstage.” I had terrifying visions of me dancing on stage with a brown streak on my Hanes. “Dude, I’ve got to shit first.”
I sprinted off to the toilet and sat down. As I did my business, the nerves returned and I considered just staying on the toilet for the rest of my shift. They wouldn’t drag a shitting man on stage, would they? I mean, if a group of those Australians with man god bods came in here and wanted to take me out of the stall there wouldn’t be much I could do to stop them. It’d be like that bathroom stall scene from Jurassic park just more oily and I’d die from embarrassment instead of a T-Rex. Fuck it, let’s just do this. I finished up and made my way backstage where a glistening Australian man said, “You boys almost ready?”
I started preparing my set-list. First, I’d take off my shirt and then fling it at someone in the front row. I briefly toyed with the idea of doing an arched-back-sit-on-a-chair-water-pour-down-from-above maneuver, but I realized there wasn’t time to prep. Once I’d taken my shirt off, then it’d be pants time. When the Tarzan man took his belt off, he swung it really fast around his neck, caught the metal part, and tightened it to wild applause. I felt like I’d hit myself in the face if I tried this, so I decided I’d take the belt off then run it through my legs as if I were drying off with a towel. Then I’d slowly take my pants off in an old school Usher-like fashion. Once down to the gray Hanes, I’d run over to Mikey and he’d lift me up in an ode to Dirty Dancing move.
Mikey “Alright, we’re up next.”
Oh shit. Oh shit. What if when I went to the bathroom, I wasn’t paying attention and got little pee droplets on my gray hanes? Everyone would be able to see. Oh shit, oh shit, I’m up next, oh shit.
And then, from on stage I heard, “And that’s the end of the show ladies. Come line up over here if you want pictures.”
No way, did they forget to bring us up? I turned back, and my co-workers were all dying laughing. Those mother fuckers. It had all been a lie. There was never a chance of my hairy Greek self strutting it on stage. My hands were shaking. I didn’t know what to do with all my pent up energy, but fortunately we all went to a bar next door with the Thunder and their flock of female followers. There were 6 of them and about 30 girls. Not bad odds, but I felt like one of those little fish that hang on the side of great white sharks scrounging for scraps.