Some years ago, whilst performing at The Comedy Store in London for the weekend, I did a very mischeivious thing.
One night, I was the first comic to arrive and was sitting in the tiny dressing room alone, when in walked a guy i’d never met before. He was a visting American comic, there to do a guest spot. He wasn’t famous and I can’t remember his name now. But I recall him being loud, brusque and not very friendly.
He didn’t say hello or introduce himself, or ask if I was on the bill, he just eyed me up and down – ‘Hey, buddy’, he bellowed ‘Do they know what the Heimlich is, here’?
‘Eh, yeah, the Heimlich manoeuvre you mean? Yeah, it’s quite well known, so most people will get the reference, I should think’.
He didn’t thank me or say anything, just grunted and turned away.
‘But..,’ I said. He turned back to face me ‘..you should be aware that over here, it’s also a fairly popular make of German car. The Heimlich. Good motor. Not as popular as they used to be but quite few people still drive them.’
Another grunt and a slow nod. He didn’t speak to me again.
Several hours later, I’d done my 20 ninutes and had had a good one. I was standing in the sound booth at the side of the stage where comics often hung out to watch and get a feel of the crowd. Or if they had already been on, then to have a drink and check out the rest of the bill. The aforementioned American comedian was doing his bit, going down well and getting big laughs.
‘…yeah buddy, that’s right, you know it. (LAUGHTER). So anyway, there I am with this chick and i’m giving her the Heimlich..(Mimes it -LAUGHTER – Looking down at a guy on the front row). That’s the manoeuvre, buddy. I mean, I wasn’t driving her home..’ (Pause -SILENCE..)
I could see the momentary flash of confusion on his face, just a flicker of panic, as his eyes searched for recognition in the crowd..’ (Nothing)
He lost em for a minute or so but regained his composure quickly enough, and got them back with no major harm done, so I didn’t feel too bad. I didn’t see him afterwards or ever again.