Time for Another Glass of Funny

I thought I should mention that Patton’s show Friday night kicked ass — just the right combination of classic bits, new material, and topical references (yeah, I’m sure he customizes his routines for audiences in general, but as a Northern Virginia expatriate, his local color rings a little truer here). Pam and I were going to go originally, but she and the girls had to go down to Virginia Beach for a week to help care for my ailing mother-in-law (perhaps one reason why I’ve been so cranky lately).

So Adam and I went instead. The theater was already pretty packed when we got there more than an hour ahead of time, but we were able to get a couple of great seats: off to the side, but with a great view of the stage and — most importantly — right next to the bar. Want another drink? Just turn around and get it. Not too shabby. (We tipped accordingly.)

Of course, there was at least one person who’d obviously taken a bit more advantage of the bars than we did. And he was sitting right in front of us. You know things are going to go badly when someone starts shouting back at the stage in agreement with just about every line the comic says (and besetting the poor older woman sitting next to him with incessant high-five requests). Fortunately, he used up most of his energy during the opening act, though he was no less intoxicated for Patton’s set. He was obviously enjoying himself, and while obnoxious, he certainly wasn’t hurting anyone. But eventually, security did have to come and escort him out (and thankfully, he went peaceably).

There was also a bit of a problem with hecklers, but they were an unusual variety. They weren’t berating Patton at all, but were chanting out in unison with some of his more memorable “punch lines.” Okay, so even I couldn’t help but mutter under my breath the immortal “...and mediocrity held sway!” line from his Apocalypse story (okay, and “Squibbly-flabbily-doo!”), but these guys were hitting ’em all at full volume. It wasn’t until later that I learned the truth — they were a bunch of Marines stationed in Iraq, who had taken Patton’s CDs and pretty much memorized them, recreating his bits for their comrades.

Kind of hard to stay mad at ’em.

Oh, and how did I learn that truth, you ask? Well, I had brought along my Feelin’ Kinda Patton and (the now lamentably out-of-print) 222 CD covers for Patton to sign, along with my copy of the Patton-scripted comic book JLA: Welcome to the Working Week; I kept meaning to send them via mail (he had offered to sign them for me and send them back), but never got around to it. But on seeing the size of the crowd — this was no Madison Square Garden, but neither was it a small comedy-club venue — I figured it wasn’t to be; he wasn’t likely to be just hanging around chatting with he audience. But what the hell, Adam and I didn’t have anywhere pressing to be, so we decided to hang around outside for a while afterward, just on the off chance we might be able to grab a moment when he came out.

Sure enough, he eventually emerged, along with a small retinue of compatriots. I stepped up, and he immediately recognized me (frankly a bit of a surprise, as we hadn’t seen each other but once in the past fourteen years). I thanked him for the show, and offered up my swag, but his immediate reaction was, “Hell, we’re all going over to the Four P’s — come on and have a drink.”

So basically, we spent the next two hours hanging out with Patton and company (a surprisingly fun and friendly bunch of people, including Wes Johnson of A Dirty Shame), just chatting away and basically geeking out. Didn’t get home until two a.m., but it was more than worth it. Sure, we found out a few minor Hollywood-gossip details — some stuff about the upcoming season of Reno 911! (though Patton was careful to avoid any true “spoilers”), and at least one personal geek tidbit that, while almost unspeakably cool (well, cool in a geek way), might be a little too personally revealing to retell in this forum. Maybe not revealing for Patton, whose geek credentials are firmly established, but for one of the other parties involved, whose core fan base might be a tad less understanding. But mostly, we just hung out, drank Guinness and Balvenie (222 has a phenomenal Guinness sketch, and Patton’s a single-malt aficionado), argued Batman movies (he’s buddies with Batman Begins screenwriter David S. Goyer), talked comics, and otherwise just had a kick-ass time.

And Patton — proudly proclaiming, “I’m on basic cable!” — picked up the tab for everyone. Sure, I’d have remained a loyal fan regardless, but now it’s guaranteed.


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