Tuesday, September 13, 2005

. . . you never go back

Here's one that happened when I was in college (hmm. Most of them happened then)

I was depressed out of my mind because I had just had a breakup with a girl I wanted to marry. She was at college in Colorado. I thought that I might cheer myself up by going to a comedy show. There was this place on campus called Bernie’s After Hours which was a student-run comedy club with no booze. It is where I got my start in Stand-up comedy and it is still my favorite venue. (I performed once at the Blue Dolphin, downtown K-zoo, and once at the Bernhard center across from a McDonalds)
The woman performing that evening was Katsy Chappell. She was big, black and beautiful. Towards the end of her set she looked out into the audience for a volunteer. Her gaze fell on me and she asked: "You got a woman?" Great I come here to get my mind off things and what is the one thing the lady asks me?
"I just lost one," I said.
"Oh," she said with a big smile, "well when my man and I are havin' trouble this is what I do."

She got me up on stage and sat me down in a little chair. Then she retreated to the other side of the stage. A few of my friends were out there in the audience chuckling in anticipation. Suddenly this throaty jazz starts to play, real skanky stuff. Katsy spins around and starts dancing very seductively. She yanks her belt straight out of her pants in one pull and snaps it at me like a whip. Then she doubles it over, pushes the ends toward each other and looks at me through the hoop before snapping it shut. I become nervous. The crowd loves it and I know that something’s going to be at my expense soon, but I can’t take my eyes off of her.

She grinds and rotates like a fertility totem, then breaks and runs, leaping through the air and showing the audience what it looks like when a whole lotta woman lands in Jonny10's lap. She lands facing me with her legs gripping my ribcage and grabs the back of my head with both hands. I can't see much besides an ebony goddess, with a deep v-neck, but I can hear my friends roaring with laughter somewhere on the moon. She pulls on my head and my eyes widen. I have a split second to scream before my face plunges into her ample, heaving cleavage. Suddenly it’s night, and a hot, humid night at that. She holds my head there for a moment and then whispers in my ear "I am going to pick you up."

I was lofted over her shoulder and she spun me around, spanking my hiney in front of a crowd that had gone absolutely mad with laughter. I caught a quick glimpse of my friend Garret on one of the revolutions. His face had gone purple and I swear I actually saw some foam at the corners of his mouth. I wondered if it was possible to laugh hard enough to rupture something important. I wondered if everyone died if I could sneak out.

With one arm she flung me back into the chair, put her foot on the seat right between my legs and asked: "Now what do you think of that!" I was confused, I was embarrassed, I was amused, but underneath it all, I was still a comedian. I could not let her have the final word.
"Well," I said, "If she did that, I might take her back!"
"Once you go black you never go back!" She said, clearly not to be outdone.

One thing is for sure. I went there trying to escape my situation and Katsy provided a distraction I could not ignore. That’s true comedy, the stuff that can lift you out of the most selfish depression and force you to laugh at yourself. When you can do that, some perspective has been given to you. Laughter is a gift. Katsy, if you are reading this I want you thank you for getting me out of my head. You did your job, and hilarity ensued. That is why you are one of my favorite Stand Up artists.

I saw Katsy years later on Hollywood Squares in the square next to Bruce Vallanche, I jumped up and down calling to my wife. "The lady that molested me on stage is on TV!"


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