I was in Chicago this weekend and decided to go to improv comedy on Saturday night. I went to a show called ComedySportz, which takes two teams of three comedians and has them compete against each other for the audience's laughs. The show was very interactive, with a comedian "referee" (dressed in an NHL referee's uniform, no less) soliciting input from the audience multiple times each scene. The audience was, at times, full of suggestions, though sometimes silent. There were some clever suggestions: "I shall return" for a famous historical quote; and a comedian rhymed "Bob" with "Charles Schwab."
So, the referee asked for "a historical artifact recently discovered," and the audience was initially silent. In the silence, I offered up "Lucy." There was a momentary pause, and then the referee smiled--"Lucy," he said. "You know," he added, to the audience, "the dinosaur."
"It's an Australopithicine!" I was not going to stand by silently at such a scientific mistake, though I think it really just slipped out.
"A what?" the referee said, clearly not expecting to be corrected.
"An Australopithicine," I replied.
There was a slight pause. The referee then said, "And is your girlfriend with you tonight, sir?" The lights were already up; I had come alone, and the theater burst into laughter. I had to join them: I had no girlfriend; perhaps this is why.
"That's right," one of the other comedians exclaimed, "insult the paying customer!"
The referee then asked, "So what's an [spattering of syllables intended to clearly mispronounce Australopithicine which, in all fairness, is a pretty funny word]?"
"Australopithicine," I repeated, again, "an early Hominid." And then, I brought out the big gun: "And, as a paleontologist, I'm used to dealing with old folks like you, or, as we call them, fossils." [I figure the referee was in his late 30's, but he had a receding hairline, so he could have been a bit older.]
He didn't expect that. "You got burned," one of the comedians pointed out to the referee.
Overall, it was a fun evening.
posted by AJM # 10:41 PM