Laughter from a Bright Yellow Sweater

NYC 16 Comedy Cellar, Greenwich VillageImage by Stuart Ross, used with permission

I thought I was safe to go to a comedy club in New York City, but I was wrong.

If a performer on stage ever needs a volunteer, I have a special talent: I become invisible. His eyes will pass right by me, and if by some quirk his eyes land on me momentarily? He will read the sign on my chest that says, “If you pull me onto your stage, I will stand there awkwardly until I’ve sucked every last drop of life from your show.” His eyes will move on to the next available sucker.

This talent served me well through high school and college when I managed to go entire semesters without saying a word.

So I thought I was safe to go to the comedy club. I had heard all the tips to avoid being targeted by the comedians: Sit in the back, don’t chit-chat during their performances, and don’t ever, ever walk in late on their sets.

I also have this other talent, though. If someone cracks a joke, I’ll laugh. If it’s a joke that falls flat on everyone else, I’ll laugh louder.

Lowbrow or highbrow, I’m good for a laugh. Since I’m the type who will think of a comeback 42 minutes after everyone has left the room, I appreciate the effort. And I sincerely find it funny.

Once in college, I got dissed in the bathroom by a snarky woman from my journalism class as she came out of the next stall: “Well, if it isn’t Anthony R. Cannella’s number one fan?” She had noticed that I was the only one laughing at my professor’s dry sense of humor.

So, I wasn’t quite as safe hiding in the back of the Comedy Cellar as I would have liked. The woman on stage was off to a slow start. In fact, she was dying.

She made a quip. Crickets. I gave an encouraging laugh. She followed up with a weak one-liner. I laughed louder.

Her eyes found me in my hiding spot in the back of the crowd.

my clothes like my personality quotationFor some reason lost to history, I was wearing a bright yellow sweater. We’re talking neon. My clothes, like my personality, usually blend in with the background.

She shielded her eyes from the brightness and said, “Well, look at you back there in the bright yellow sweater.”

Heads swiveled toward me. Real laughs. This, the crowd loved.

For the rest of her set, if a joke fell flat, she would look my way for a laugh. If she threw in the word “yellow,” she could delight the crowd.

I played along as best I could, ruing the day I ever ventured out of the safety of earth tones.

She wrapped up: “For the rest of my days, I’ll never forget that bright yellow sweater.” Roars.

I reminisce about all this to encourage a friend, who is considering making his debut at an open mic comedy night.

He’s a funny guy, and I want him on that stage. I am sure he’ll kill. But, if not, I can guarantee him at least one person will be laughing.

It’ll be the woman hiding in the back. Wearing black.

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button 150x150  This is part of a series, Scene from a Memoir.

About Marcy

I blog about trying to get out of my comfort zone, completing 101 things in 1001 days (and beyond), and writing my memoirs. My book: Timid No More.

This entry was posted in Scene from a Memoir and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

51 Responses to Laughter from a Bright Yellow Sweater

  1. You, my dear, have a delightful sense of humor and I’m sure you look fantastic in that yellow sweater!

  2. We need more people like you to be encourage-rs rather than discourage-rs! You probably made that comedians week.

  3. Love reading your sense of humor friend…this would make a great story at a toast masters events.

  4. Tessa says:

    Funny story. Great job!

  5. Too funny! Thanks for the fun read!

  6. jadeluxe says:

    My first car was a bright yellow bomb (roof-racks too!) and I’m pretty sure I got the same reaction from most drivers on the road. YELLOW! Cute, tight story – enjoyed it! 🙂

  7. Jared Karol says:

    Awesome post. I’ve at times considered going into stand up, but the possibility of crickets has deterred me. Now I know I just need to bring a plant and put her in the back of the club, and have here wear a bright yellow sweater. Thanks for the career advice. . . 🙂

  8. Hahahaha this is awesome. Whenever I end up at a comedy club, my introverted soul just shrinks up into the corner whenever the comedian says anything like “volunteer,” or “audience participation.” From now on, I’ll be sure to always wear a dark color 🙂

  9. dberonilla says:

    Haha, this was a wonderful story!!
    This is my favorite line “I played along as best I could, ruing the day I ever ventured out of the safety of earth tones.” LOL!
    So awesome.
    Great job this week!

  10. winopants says:

    Sounds like you made her day. A worthy sacrafice!

  11. haha! bet you never wear that sweater again. but you helped out a dying woman, so it was worth it, right. 🙂

  12. TriGirl says:

    This makes me want to hide the yellow/grey striped shirt my friend talked me into buying–I always wear it under a sweater though. I think that was very nice of you to help that poor woman out.

    • Marcy says:

      That striped shirt sounds pretty, and I bet it’s safe under a sweater. 🙂 I wasn’t trying to be nice, but I guess it all worked out, lol.

  13. erin graves says:

    One of my biggest fears, being picked on by a comedian. You gave her the encouraging laugh, she in turn found an ally in you and then turned on you. Shudder. Love your sense of humor and finding this blog through YeahWrite.me — look forward to reading more!

    • Marcy says:

      I have thought of trying to hunt her down and share this with her. I know the date and the place, but not her name. I wonder if she’d remember it. Probably not. 🙂

  14. 31milionseconds says:

    I have used my talent of blending into the background to escape the horrors of being pulled on stage (or being the center of attention) many, many times. I’m glad you were able to use what is otherwise a nightmare situation for some good though!

  15. iasoupmama says:

    Oh, man! I hope that she was at least decent with her humor if she was going to single you out all night for being encouraging…

  16. christina says:

    too funny. of all days to wear yellow! 🙂

  17. Hahaha! Curse you, bright yellow sweater! ::: shakes fist ::: I’m glad she just referenced the sweater and wasn’t straight up cruel. The few times I’ve been to comedy clubs I’ve encounter the viscious variety of comedian and it’s left a bad taste in my mouth. Your invisibility talent totally conjured up an image of slightly less effective Harry Potter style invisivisibility cloak.

    • Marcy says:

      I really don’t like the cruel ones! (But it is fun to see a heckler get crushed.) I have dreamed about what I could do with Harry Potter’s cloak.

  18. whoasusannah says:

    Bahaaa! I loved this!!

  19. I love comedy clubs and I got singled out once. It wasn’t fun. At least you were an encouragement to her rather than the butt of her jokes!

  20. I would definitely wear black! This was very funny!

  21. Dana says:

    Isn’t it always the way? Getting noticed when you really don’t want to? At least you helped her out!

  22. If you can rock a bright yellow sweater then you aren’t really too timid. I’m with you on the neutrals though – I like to blend.

  23. Well, if I were a comedian, or even remotely funny, I would want you in my corner. I promise I wouldn’t laugh at your yellow sweater.

  24. hehe, too funny! i found your blog while clicking around the blog challenge site and i really love it! very fresh and fun – your blog has “it”! looking forward to being a regular reader and getting caught up on past posts 🙂

  25. Angela Ryan says:

    Who knew your clothing could save a comic? Good for you!

  26. That yellow sweater was the beginning of your end…lol. I am always pray to comedic taunting, and as such, try and wear dark colors as well.

  27. Esther says:

    Maybe you should’ve left the sweater behind for the comedian! I love how you close this post.

  28. Hahaha! Great punch line! I loved this story. You burned the sweater, right? 😉

  29. Monica says:

    LOL, that was good. I liked what you did there ;). Stopping by from SITS Sharefest.

  30. beverlydiehl says:

    What a fun story! I laughed through the whole thing.

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  32. Angie says:

    So funny. I’ll be going to a comedy night in a couple of weeks. Thanks for the tip on blending in and I’ll try not to laugh too much. 🙂 Congrats on the Sits mention!

  33. misssrobin says:

    This is part of the reason I’ve never been to a comedy club. I would hate to become the center of a comedian’s act. I’m afraid I’d be targetted for the opposite reason. I don’t laugh. At much of anything. Not even courtesy laughs. It takes a very particular and clever wit to make me laugh and most people just don’t think that way. I’m afraid I’d be the only person in the room not laughing and would become the one singalled out. But at least now I know if I ever do go to a comedy club I can dress appropriately. Thanks for the no bright yellow tip!

    Happy Sharefest. I hope you have a great weekend.

  34. Alicia says:

    When the day comes you better bust out that yellow sweater!!

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