What is the future of stand-up comedy? Is it zoom shows? Is it live shows and 2m in between every audience member? Or is it this: Joke2Go?
Last week, I put a stage outside our comedy club Mad Monkey Room at Helmholtzkiez, Prenzlauer Berg Berlin. I told unsolicited jokes to people passing by. It was pure joy.
The neighbors could choose from my joke menu. Heckling was also an option, which one woman made use of. She said „I don’t have time to hear a joke“ so I went, well just pretend you just heard one and didn’t like it and yell booo. She did and it was the loveliest heckle I ever had. It was a fun and easygoing way to do publicity for the comedyclub, get some stand-up spirit back and have heartfelt, real human contact.
But. As a Hobby-Germanologist it is striking how the German speaking pedestrians are the most reluctant to receive free comedy. „It’s free, it’s fun, it’s artsy. She’s not gonna get us with her fun. Lets walk by fast, cuz evil lurks everywhere“ is the vibe I got from some people.
My past performances all happened at festivals. People already had a „festival mind“ and were prepared for fun things to happen. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we had a festival mind always? Then again, I know I am too negative myself. I was walking home in the warm sun and felt light drops on me. Probably someone watering their balcony plants. Yet my FIRST thought was OMG someone is spraying me with ACID. When is live comedy coming back so I can say that onstage?
On Friday, I drove my car from Berlin to Hamburg following the news on the radio. Besides Hamburg being in a state of emergency in general, the only street name, that was mentioned again and again was Altona’s Elbchaussee – because of vandalism, mobs, burning cars and roadblocks. I was going to Elbchaussee. And I got closer and closer to the chaos hoping for the best. While driving, I came up with an entire screenplay starring a retired wedding DJ, returning for one last job: a wedding at Mordor.
Logistics and overheating
I had planned double time for everything, took the biggest detour around Hamburg centre and made it there safely. I unloaded my car and set up sound and light. Too bad there is an abyss as big as the Mariana Trench between the parking lot and the beach location. I was sweating so much I had to switch bras! The last time that happened was when I was working on a cruise ship on the Amazon! At least it was warm and the forecasted thunderstorms stayed home. I was prepared for a monsoon, carrying rain boots and an outrageous amount of protective plastic wrapping, Christo would have been jealous of. Ingrid, the wedding dj, that got famous for her performances with a wrapped up sound system.
Please don’t burn my car down
After setting up, I drove around and reparked my car in the tiniest side street, like a squirrel hiding its nuts. I thought about putting a sign in my car. „I AM AN ARTIST AND THIS IS A RENTAL CAR“. After the wedding, I prayed it would still be there. It was. I drove between burned down car bodies. It was one hell of a dystopian vision. Speaking of dystopia, I spent the night only 400 m away from the mob demolishing the shopping street in Altona. I thought about sleeping in the car, since I needed it and the sound system the following day for the next wedding. I was so glad nothing happened.
Speaking of water, my wedding party did a harbor boat tour and even had their opening dance onboard. They almost couldn’t board the ship because of the blockades. Also, all cruise ships didn’t ship into Hamburg port and stayed outside at nearby Harburg port. (Hamburg, Harburg. This one letter difference is constantly causing confusion and wrong boardings among tourists. As if the cities were named only to fool outsiders).
I had no time to be angry at G20, at the vandals, at the police. At anything. I needed to gather my strength and positivity. I had another wedding to do the next day. As a wedding dj, one gotta be focused and positive, no matter what. I need to fade out politics and criticism and solely function. It might be the 100th wedding for me but it’s the first for my bridal couple. There are no excuses for a wedding dj. It’s important to keep up the excitement. It’s like coming into work on your first day every day, again and again. It did pay off.
We had two dream weddings despite all circumstances. With a beach dance floor. Best weather. And the only thing that burnt was the bonfire. It was my very first wedding at an Elbe location with no neighbors calling the police because of noise pollution. Guess they had worse things to worry about, sadly.
Best thing that happened this weekend? When announcing the throwing of the bride’s bouquet, I asked her who’s allowed to catch. (This is a question I always ask, almost rhetorically, hoping for the one tolerant answer.) The bride yelled „EVERYONE CUZ EHEFÜRALLE!“. (This week, Germany passed the law for same sex marriage).
Ingrid’s racing team
I was so relieved on Sunday. We had two great nights and I could go back to Berlin and return my car without a scratch. On my way to the Autobahn I heard an ambulance. Turns out it wasn’t an ambulance. My rear mirror showed four water cannons speeding towards me. I’ve never seen such tanks before. I stepped on the gas and followed right behind the tanks. I never got out of the city that fast! Because of G20, I put the highest insurance on my rental car. I normally never get insurance. Thankfully I did. Because on my way back to Berlin, I stopped at my brother’s family house in rural Germany and accidentally scratched the wheel rim on the curb big time. Oops. Or as we Germans say “Glück im Unglück” (blessing in disguise), which pretty much describes my entire weekend.