I Was There

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I don’t get out much. There are a few reasons for this, but the main one is that I don’t need to. I like my life. I like my work. I like my home. I don’t feel the need to distract myself with sporting events, concerts, and the like. In fact, I hate crowds, and I can’t stand the nuisances of going to some big-ass event with the long lines, the securities, and the strangers. No thank you.

I made an exception during the weekend, because a dear friend of mine invited me to join a couple of his buddies to see Dave Chapelle and Chris Rock. The tickets were $340 (and they were the cheap seats!!) but I jumped at the chance.

Long-time Slopers know what a comedy freak I am, and these two men are top-tier comedians. They’ve been doing this for decades, and I’ve listened to their classic bits, like those below, countless times.

I’ll share a few thoughts about the show as a whole, which lasted from something like 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.:

  • The show began with some warm-up comedy acts, which were warmly received. What a great gig to get, to be warming up for these two monster comics. So I thought it was great that some lesser-known comedians were getting some shine off this.
  • Then they brought out what apparently is kind of a famous Bay Area hip-hop duo, and we were subjected to about half an hour of REALLY REALLY LOUD “music” that I couldn’t stand. This is not what I signed up for, and it just cemented in me the idea that I should Not Leave The House. By the time they were done, my hearing was about 30% attenuated. It was awful, and as I looked around the thousand and thousands of people in their seats, I’d say 90% of them were just sitting there with a “When is this shit going to be over?” vibe.
  • It’s no surprise, but the food and drinks at the Chase Center were a total rip off: $16 for a beer, $22 for a “punch”, $6 for a water bottle. You know the drill. Captive audience.
  • As for the comedy, on a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give them both somewhere around a 6 to a 7. It was disappointing. See, there’s only one comic who got better every time, and that was George Carlin (peace be upon him). His last show was the absolute pinnacle of genius. Chris Rock, for me, probably peaked in the late 1990s, and Chapelle probably a few years ago. So it was kind of a “meh“, and if I had watched the same act on YouTube for free, I’d have listened once and never bothered again.

The highlight of the evening was wholly unexpected. And that was THIS guy:

At the end of the show (and I was itching to get out of there), Chapelle said something like, “Before I go, I just want to bring out one fellow who’s a special guest and who just made the worst investment of all time. Come on out here, man………..….” And after a long pause, Elon Musk comes out. So I’ll be lazy again and bullet point this:

  • First things first: the man boobs. Listen, I’m not any kind of Adonis myself, but Elon’s put on a LOT of weight over the past year. He was wearing a black “I Love Twitter” t-shirt, but the guy’s approaching a C-cup at this point. The reason is obvious: he sits a lot, he works all the time, and he probably is a nervous eater. He’s packing on the pounds, and it’s going to shorten the man’s life.
  • The initial reaction from the crowd was excitement and applause. It was definitely a “Hey, this is so cool!” moment. I wasn’t quite as into it, because I get to hear first-hand Elon stories all the time, but for 99.9% of the people there, I’m sure they had never seen this man in the flesh (whom Chapelle introduced as “The world’s richest man”, which actually isn’t quite the case anymore).
  • However, about 10% of the reaction was booing, which I think surprised Chapelle. And as the crowd died down, and Chapelle scolded them, and the crowd revved up again, the percentage of booing increased. So it went from 90% cheers/10% booing at first to something like 50% booing/10% cheers/40% awkward silence (the last one was me) by the end.
  • And “awkward” is definitely the key word here. Elon stood in the center of this enormous arena, holding a microphone (but saying nothing) and looking kind of clueless. Just about the only thing he said was, to Chapelle, “What do you want me to say?” It was actually pretty damned sad.
  • The monster irony to this whole thing is that the main theme of both Rock’s and Chapelle’s performances was that America is badly divided and it shouldn’t be. And yet, to end the show, we have this incredibly divided crowd, so much so that FIST FIGHTS actually started breaking out in the crowd. I never thought I’d go to a comedy show and see people punching each other.

The moment I got outside (and had my phone liberated, since they sequestered everyone’s cell phones), I sent out this badly-spelled, poorly-constructed tweet. Of course, MOST of my tweets are beautifully written and get 16 likes, but this piece of crap got hundreds:

I figured there might be a mention of this in some obscure news media somewhere, but when I got up Monday morning, it was an absolute flood………….

The “spin” of the media makes it sound like Elon stepped on stage and everyone began screaming at him, but that wasn’t the case. I think what I witnessed was a miniature version of what has happened to this country:

  1. Most people are fine but a portion are pissed off;
  2. A given topic or person is put on display, and the minority loudly express their feelings;
  3. Those in the majority, either through shame, awkwardness, or laziness, voice their opinions more and more softly;
  4. After a while, the minority SOUNDS LIKE the vast majority, just because most of us have stopped bothering to express ourselves. We have better things to do, or we don’t care enough.

As if to put a cherry on top of this whole experience, I looked at my emails on Monday morning and found this beauty:

(Yes, the guy actually took the time and trouble to cancel a FREE ACCOUNT, just as a “fuck you‘ to me).

Anyway, what this snowflake is alluding to is this post, which, if you read it, doesn’t have a mean thing to say. The simple acting of POINTING OUT something which rubs me the wrong way is, evidently, “reactionary.” I mean, look, folks, I was old-fashioned when I was 7 years old. I’m wired this way. But there’s honestly not a mean bone in my body. Just a few ticked-off ones.

I think I’ll refrain from venturing out again for a while. It was worth it, however, to see my good friend and to get a very interesting (and unexpected) experience that is illustrative of what I think is going on in our country. And you want to know one last thing? I think the discord was always there. It’s just that technology has provided a way for us to know what everyone else is thinking, and it’s just not sitting right with people.