You win, Mr. Chandrahasen!

As a comedian and long-time comedy observer, I have seen many interesting things happen in comedy clubs.

I have seen great comedians fall flat on their ass. I have seen terrible comedians reduce an audience to tears of unstoppable laughter. I have seen a man throw a glass at Gareth Bradley, and yell “Anti-semite!” with no justification. I have seen men dressed as women, women dressed as men, a Maori dressed as a dinosaur.

What I saw from Jerome Chandrahasen do last night at The Comedy Corner (Weekly Thursday show at The Fringe Bar in Wellington. Click HERE  for more info about that), topped all of those things.

With a modest crowd of 15 or so (to be honest I didn’t bother counting), the night had an interesting, awkward edge to it right from the get-go. The comedians played with that a little bit, but mostly struggled to keep the crowd’s interest levels peaked.

That is, of course, until Jerome Chandrahasen took the stage. He bantered with the audience, with not even the slightest intention of awkwardly moving into pre-written material. At the impromptu suggestion of purchasing one audience member something to eat, and the motion being seconded by the crowd, Jerome then escorted the entire audience out of the Fringe Bar and into the kebab shop next door.

They returned five minutes later, with one kebab for the hungry punter, and Jerome re-took the stage, only to say “Thank you, good night”, beckoning the MC back to the hot seat.

If anybody has ever accused Jerome Chandrahasen of being predictable , they were dead wrong. I have never seen anything like that… ever. I understand that for anybody hearing about it after the fact, it sounds like very lazy comedy (which, technically I suppose it is), and nothing special. However, for the comedians who remained in the room, dazed, confused, and completely taken aback by a 100% audience walkout (and return), it was the funniest thing that has ever happened in a comedy club.

Many comedians have made people walk out of shows, for various reasons. Either they reminded them that they left their oven on (an unlikely but not impossible scenario), or they said something that was considered offensive (I’ve done that), or the comedian was just plain boring and the punter couldn’t take it anymore. Either way, whenever a comedian has made even a single audience member walk out of a show, it has always been negative.

Somehow, not only did Jerome manage to make the entire audience get up out of their seats, head for the door and leave, but he got them to do it using charm and charisma, and put a smile on their faces. And then, after fetching some food, they miraculously returned.

A week earlier, I had made a group of very disgruntled people leave a show when I attempted to share three very true (and in no way offensive) stories I have about transexuals. Four or five people angrily stormed out, causing a big scene, and the audience loved it. It was magical. I thought I was some kind of amazing wizard for making that happen. Then Jerome (the bastard) had to go and top me by making the whole room walk out.

It just goes to show you, that anything can happen in a comedy club. Well, not anything. I mean the chances of the club being violently ransacked by a giant robot with sharks for eyeballs and a big swinging pendulum where testicles might otherwise be found is pretty slim. But in case you don’t wanna miss out on the night when THAT finally does happen, catch all the live comedy you can.

Check out www.humorous.co.nz to keep up to date with comedy happening in Wellington, and you’ll never risk missing out on something great.

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