Tony, Ladies and Gentleman.

The other day I mentioned that I never punched an audience member but I did knock one unconscious.

It wasn’t my fault. If I had to blame anybody I’d have to blame the mouthy woman who, while I was compering the Jongleurs comedy club in Battersea, stood up, raised her hand and walked to the edge of the stage.

“Excuse me!” she said. There was no ignoring this woman. She was literally a show stopper. I had a feeling that if I pretended not to hear her she would have tugged on my trouser leg.

“You know that guy you just wished happy birthday to?”

I had just wished happy birthday to a lot of people. It was the painful duty of every Jonglares MC to call out the names of the birthday boys and girls in the audience while cakes were paraded to their tables. A little bit of TGI Friday naffness in an otherwise really good club.

“Which one?” I asked.

“Tony,” she said. “He’s a really funny guy and he wants to come on stage and tell a joke.”

I pointed out to her that very high on my list of rules was to never let guys named Tony come on stage and tell jokes. It was right up there with my rule of not letting groups of more than three people see me without trousers.

That’s when this woman did a most remarkable thing. She turned back to her table and screamed. “TONY, ARE YOU GOING TO GET UP HERE OR ARE YOU GOING TO MAKE ME STAND HERE AND LOOK LIKE AN IDIOT?!”

There were over three hundred people in this club and they all, as one, pushed their chairs back to make more room between them and this mad female. I had never seen a woman so scary and because of that I broke my rule.

“I’m sorry Tony,” I said. “I didn’t realise how difficult your life must be with this woman – please come up on stage and tell us your joke.”

Tony stood and staggered to the stage. The closer he got the more I noticed two things. Firstly he was big. He wasn’t fat – he was big. About 6’2″ and built like a professional wrestler. If I had been a high school guidance councilor and he walked into my office I would have said, “Have you ever thought of a career in nightclub security?” Secondly, he was very drunk. I can’t imagine how much alcohol it must have taken to get that much flesh staggering and slurring but he had done it. He stepped up on stage and I pointed him to the microphone. He grabbed the mike stand, like it was the one that was swaying, and said, “Uuum” and stared for a while. Then this poor guy turned to me and said, “Do I have to do this?”

I grabbed the microphone and said, “As a matter of fact Tony you don’t and good luck with your love life.” I pointed him off the stage and as he left I said in my best MC voice, “Ladies and gentlemen – Tony!” When Big Tony heard his name he looked back and that’s when his foot slipped off the edge of the stage.

Sitting in the front row was an older couple in their late 50’s. They were there with their daughter who had been to the club the previous week and convinced her parents that they would love it. They were practically the only people in the club over thirty. Tony lost his balance and fell directly on the dad. He landed on the old guys back and slammed his head onto the tabletop. He pancaked him. Tony stood up oblivious of what had just happened, said, “Ooops,” and walked away. While the Dad slid underneath the table like a ragdoll. It only took one glance at the unconscious dad to see that he was out cold. His eyes actually had the x’s that you see on the faces of cartoon characters when they are knocked out.

I looked up and said, “Is there doctor in the house?” This got a big laugh – I had to say it three times proceeded by, “No really,” before the audience would take me seriously.

A month earlier in the same club, an audience member had some sort of seizure and when the compere asked if there was a doctor in the house, there was six. The night I decided to body-slam the oldest member of the audience with a 300 pound gorilla, the place was woefully devoid of medical personnel. A strange young man did walk up to the huddle that had formed around the still motionless middle aged man. He came up to the edge of the circle and said, “I’m a doctor. Hmm, yes this is definitely a concussion.” He seemed like he was auditioning for a part in a soap opera. The most suspicious thing, other than his very young age, was that he wasn’t trying to get close to his patient. I turned to him and said, “Piss off. You’re not a doctor.” He just looked at me, shrugged, said, “Fair enough,” and walked away.

We got the guy onto a chair but he was still out cold. Finally he was carried out through the packed club unconscious on his chair that often had to be held high making him look like a Jewish groom who had become overcome with the excitement of the day.

I was back on stage as they were carrying him out. Every comedian/MC has a database in the back of his or her head where they store funny quips for every occasion. I accessed my database and searched under, ‘carrying an unconscious middle age man out of a club on a chair,’ and not surprisingly, the file was empty – I was on my own. I know now that I should have said something concerning the welfare of this poor man. The audience would have warmed to me if I had said something like, “Let’s all hope he is OK,” or even if I said something smarmy like, “He was having such a great time tonight, I’m sure he would have wanted us to continue with the comedy.” I didn’t do either of those things. Instead I said something that made the audience hate me for the rest of the night. I gestured to this poor man, indecorously being carried off on a chair, with his head lolling on his chest and I said, “Another satisfied Jongleurs customer, ladies and gentlemen.” The rest of the night was very long.

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