Monday, October 26, 2009

Buns and Puns

Of the myriad things that one would assume were vegetarian, but aren't (Bloody Marys, Welsh Rarebit, unexpected varieties of Walkers crisps) it was the Jello shots that really got me. And I mean really got me. I mean bantering-back-to-the-headline-act sort of got me. I mean arguing-about-the-equal-rights-implications-of-manscaping-in-front-of-a-room-of-strangers kind of got me.And this is how it happened...

We were at a late night, East Village comedy show which sold itself on three things: video projections of Jane Fonda-style workouts, home-baked buns and free vodka jelly shots. The first was equal parts mesmerising and distracting. I found myself losing the rhythm of the joke in pining for my old LA Gear hi-tops and wondering at how outmoded the chunkily aerobaticised bodies looked. The buns were an unqualified success. When my friend placed her first jello shot in front of me I looked at her askance and she had to give me the old gelatin talk. Manfully I agreed to look after her share from there on in, and proceeded to wriggle and slurp my way through the first five comics, including a mercifully funny funnywoman, who we applauded with added gusto.

It was when the final guy, the hyped-up headliner, was bitching about his girlfriend asking him to wax his back the jello moved me to speak. Aloud. And loudly.
"But you expect her to shave her legs, don't you? What's the difference?"
In fairness, rather than slap me down with a snappy line the guy actually started to defend his position. A few minutes later we moved from stand-up to debate team with the ease with which my tenth jello shot had slipped down my throat.
"...And also girls are trained up to shave their legs aren't they? I didn't even have hair on my back til I was, what, twenty-five."
"So what?" I counter, in what I imagine is an urbane fashion. "Lucky you. You had a period of grace. Am I right ladies?"
The ladies (who happily seem to be fellow gelatin-slurpers) whoop tentatively.
"Do you have a hairy back?" He asks, rather lamely.
"Not so much."
"And where are you from?"
"No, I mean. you have an accent..."
I pause, sorely tempted to give the room my riff on the ridiculous and heartbreakingly earnest way that Americans seem to genuinely believe that they are the only people on the planet without an accent, but my vegetarian friend is looking increasingly alarmed, and I don't have the microphone, and I'm pretty sure the effect of the jellos shots is mostly psychosomatic, so I play nice and say, "Brooklyn via London. Land of the hairy backs," and let him move on to less hirsute comic territory.

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