The Peppertree Lounge is right behind where I'm spending the night in Idaho Falls. The Punjabi owner of the motel tells me that showing my room key there will get me into the place without paying the cover charge. And today is Comedy Night at the Lounge. Been years since the time I used to be a frequent part of stand up comedy audiences. Tonight's gotta be the night!
Two young women tell me, as we walk up to the entrance, that this is the best bar in Idaho Falls. Well, says one, Idaho Falls kinda sucks anyway. This is the only place to hang out.
OK, got that.
Inside it's smoky and profane. I sit at the bar and do my usual: order the most unpronounceable beer. This one is, as far as I can understand the bar lady, a Hap-something. The guy at the mike is close to the end of his routine. He launches into a string of sentences that seem to consist of, mainly, "fuckingvaginahumpbreastdickfuckshitpissmeoff". I have no idea what that means, but it's a rousing climax to his routine and he gets a huge round of applause as he walks off.
Next to me at the bar is a young woman who has so overflowed out of a top that's seven sizes too small, that I fear for her ability to breathe. She is whooping her delight at the show; with each whoop I wince in anticipation of buttons popping and flying across the bar.
The next comic is a Derek somebody from Canada, who has just finished performing, the first comic tells us, at "one of the most prestigious comedy shows in the world", at Montreal.
Derek starts with a tale of his dentist.
"My dentist, he's got no sense of humour. Zip. Told him the other day, let's take an Xray of my butt. He wants to know why. Told him, I'm pretty sure I've got a cavity there. No reaction from my dentist. None. The guy on the next chair, though? Choked on his drill."
Not even the girl next to me laughs. The audience makes such a noise talking among themselves that Derek actually stops and pleads for us to give him one minute, just one minute of silence so he can prove that he's a funny guy. He's not bad actually -- I must be the only one present who listens to most of what he says -- but he doesn't get his minute.
A woman in a short skirt and her boyfriend in jeans stop in front of me, looking around for someone. As they do, she reaches absent-mindedly deep into the front of her top to adjust whatever's in there, taking a good half minute to do it. I notice idly that the boyfriend's biceps are a good match, size-wise, for whatever's in there. I mean, enormous biceps. I'm not tangling with that guy.
Derek tells a joke whose punch line is something about how cops who search his apartment will find plenty of semen stains but no vaginal fluids. Girl beside me yawns. The noise level cranks up a notch.
A lumbering giant of a man walks in front of me and then, like a tree falling in a forest, topples slowly backward onto the floor, his drink splashing everywhere including on my feet. I reach down to help him get up. I'm pretty big myself, but I nearly burst a blood vessel trying to get this fellow off the floor.
As soon as he's on his feet, another young woman comes running up from behind me, says "Hey Scott, so great to see you!", gives him a long tight hug and a kiss.
Briefly but seriously, I consider falling backward on the floor myself.
Doing my good deed for the evening, I must have missed something Derek said, because what I now catch him saying is "If people compared religion to sport, there'd be a lot less violence in the world." Doesn't sound like a punchline to anything much, but he looks around expectantly.
Girl beside me laughs heartily, and claps. Then she gathers her stuff and walks out.