Week 64: I’m A Coward

Friday, 22 March 2019

Reading time 3 minutes 56 seconds 

To see what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice – Confucius

I’m a coward. As in Wizard of Oz Cowardly Lion coward.

An example of my cowardice came to light at a recent gig. It wasn’t one I was performing, but one I was attending.

The gig was at the Royal Albert Hall (RAH) and I was seeing Bill Burr. He is an opinionated American comic and his opinions get him a lot of laughs, which means he does his job well. He’s not afraid of a social media backlash and whilst he is not everyone’s cup of tea I find him refreshing. Gigs however are like football matches as they involve sitting in a crowd with other people and I find there is nothing worse than other people other than the person I was going to the RAH with.

The evening started like all great evenings. In Tesco.

I was surrounded by cheap Easter eggs and I wondered if I dare eat one at the RAH. The answer was yes, and I opted for Aero over Kit Kat as that seemed appropriately regal. With my starter snack organised I opted for some Cadbury’s mini eggs as my main. 

When in the RAH we checked our surroundings.

The man three rows behind us was either speaking incredibly loudly or the acoustics in this great hall were doing a marvellous job. As if reading my mind my friend announced, “This guy sounds like a chump and is going to wind me right up”. At the same time, we clocked 4 blokes in front who were in a lager race. I pointed them out to my friend and we wondered who would annoy us the most.

The support act was a very funny comedian and worked hard to make it look easy. Luckily in case you missed any of his punchlines the loud chump three rows back would repeat them loudly then add his own joke on top. Sadly, this would drown out the comedian’s own topper joke. This Chump was the DVD additional commentary and a wannabe comedian, which is something I can relate too. 

I was getting wound up and when I’m like this I look for a simple solution and found it in my friend. He was seething, which pleased me. Knowing that someone is more wound up than me always helps relieve my tension. The blokes in front were still necking their beers and were yet to be annoying although a young couple were about to announce themselves as the third members of our silly competition. 

I don’t know why but I get annoyed at the look one person gives another to confirm the funniness of the joke. It has always irked me, and this young couple were doing this. The comic said a joke, and this clearly hit a nerve with the lady as she looked at her date and dared him to carry on laughing. He declined the dare and stopped. The humour had offended her, and she wanted to pass on her anger.

When the opening act finished I got stuck into my chocolate but before long Mr Bill Burr coolly wandered onto the stage and the place went crazy showing their appreciation. He launched into his first joke and Mr Chump was silent but it was at this point the DVD commentary switched to the lager lads.

The jokes were coming thick and fast and the drunk men were starting to react with their opinions. They thought they were funny although no-one else did. Then Bill used a reference to a plumber in a gag and the mood went from joviality to anger. It was obvious to us that Plumbers were not the butt of his joke but used as an ‘insert profession here’. This crossed the line for the main member of the lager geezers who stood up and flipped the bird, with both hands, at the stage. Good job he’d finished his beer!

We now had an angry plumber.

I wanted to say something but didn’t as poking this idiot and asking him to be quiet might not have helped. The infuriated plumber was pulled back into his seat by his mate who after a moment of clarity saw how annoying he and his mates were. Then after his time of being dormant Mr Chump spoke up. “Chill out Mario!” Me, my mate, the people around us and even angry date lady laughed.

The plumber continued to shout out from time to time and I wanted to tell him to shut up, but didn’t such is my fear of irate tradesmen. However, Mr Chump would always come back with a witty response and the plumber was getting so wound up that eventually he conceded defeat and proceeded to leave.

The evening finished. The plumber won the award for most annoying audience member and Mr Chump redeemed himself. 

As we departed I could hear the conversation of the couple in front. Much to my surprise they had enjoyed the night including the plumber and the Chump. She then shocked me by saying the annoying part was the bloke sitting behind noisily eating chocolate. 

Picture: Me and the bloke from Breaking Bad, or his Manchester City supporting lookalike