I've never understood why performers start shows with insults about
the town or city they're visiting. Aziz's entrance sounded like so many I've heard before, growing up attending shows at Blossom Music Center, Cleveland's outdoor venue located in... beautiful Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. The gist is always essentially, "Hey, podunk-dwellers! I've never been here
before & I confess that I stepped directly from my bus into this
amphitheater without actually experiencing any of the things your town may have to offer, but I'm famous
& used to big-time cities, so I assume everything else sucks! Rather
than endearing myself to you, my adoring fans, I'll begin the evening by
talking shit about this place where I'm fortunate enough to be playing a sold-out show." But, you know, never in quite so many direct words.
Aziz started like that - right down to admitting that he'd stepped directly from his bus into the amphitheater without actually experiencing any of the things our town has to offer. Aside from that...
- Aziz Ansari is funny. Really, really funny. I truly appreciate jokes about how bizarre marriage is, how undesirable children are, how great President Obama is, & how hysterical online dating can be.
- I do not, however, appreciate or find humor in jokes about child molestation. I understand that dark humor exists, & I often go that comedy route myself - but jokes about raping little kids just aren't the kind that get me laughing. I was honestly shocked by how many people in the audience guffawed through Aziz's bit about sexual abuse of anyone, much less minors. Needless to say, I was really relieved when that particular shtick came to an end & things could go back to being actually funny.
- Mid-show, a girl ran down the mezzanine stairs so quickly that Nathan & I turned to one another to look astounded and/or concerned. As soon as I looked away from her... WOOMP, THERE IT WAS. Girlfriend bit it down the last few stairs, just out of our line of sight. The whole section reacted with such shock that Aziz stopped performing to ask if everything was OK, but the girl slunk away such that no one could be sure whether she actually was.
- The middle-aged woman next to me, who was there alone, watched the entire show through binoculars, as though a brown comedian is a rare bird.
- This was our first time at Count Basie, despite the fact that it's a mere nine-minute walk, at max, from our apartment.