Boom Chicago

Boom Chicago

As someone who has worked in the theater industry I am used to running around unseen in the shadows backstage while actors perform before their public. However, I am not accustom to actually standing on stage in the presents of an entire audience who are waiting for me to say something funny, only equipped with a microphone to defend myself if things turn ugly.

I’ve been to the Boom Chicago Comedy Theatre in Amsterdam a few times but my first visit will always be the most memorable for me because it was when I found myself in the above situation. The show is a mix of improvisation and sketches and it was during one of the improvised scenes that I was called up on stage.

I was enjoying the performance with a friend (who was visiting from England). At first we didn’t really know what to think when one of the comedians asked the entire audience to stand and were only allowed to sit down again as he said things such as, “sit down if you have a tattoo,” or “sit down if you’ve had sex in the last 24 hours.”

Since I didn’t have a tattoo or a love life I remained standing. In fact I remained standing for quite a while as other people sat down. When there were only four of us left I realized two things: (1) I need a tattoo and/or a girlfriend and (2) something embarrassing was potentially about to happen.

It was not long before I found out because I was the last man standing and had to go on stage to help with the next improvised sketch. I was given the simple task of coming up with the title for a song but my mind went blank with embarrassment whenever the microphone was pointed towards me as if it was some kind of Kryptonite. Inspiration finally came to the rescue in the form of the logo on the T-shirt I was wearing but at the cost of turning me into a walking nerd stereotype in one simple sentence. “Atari is cool.”

I’m still not sure why I said it but when the title was rejected for being too short (artistic differences) I came up with a new suggestion and the smash hit, “Atari is really cool,” was born.

I thought I was off the hook as the comedian started to sing this moving tale of 80’s computer games but every few lines the song would suddenly stop and I had to provide the next line. The ballad told the epic tale of me on a heroic five hour Atari playing marathon, ignoring anything that stood in my way, end of level bosses, sore thumbs and a nagging girlfriend (who could have prevented me having to go on stage if she was not fictional). Suddenly I was a god amongst geeks and I had groupies.

Any heckling was quickly silenced with a shout of, “Shut up! This is Stuart and Stuart ROCKS!” from the singing comedian. There were chants of, “Stuart Rocks,” during the rest of the show (which led to other sketches about me).

A few weeks later I took my parents to see the show. When it came to the same part of the performance I was quickly off the hook when we were told to, “sit down if you have ever been on stage.” However, my mother was still standing. She remained standing for quite a while. In fact she was still standing when it was down to six people. At this point I started to worry but I was able to breathe a sigh of relief when she finally sat down (third to last). I was relieved for two reasons: (1) I did not have to be embarrassed while watching my Mother on stage and (2) she had sat down before the, “have you had sex in the last 24 hours,” question and no child should know that much about their parent’s sex life.

30 responses to “Boom Chicago”

  1. Gabemac says:

    Dude, just your stories acted out could be a top selling DVD comedy standup classic extrordinaire. I loved this post!!!!

  2. Jodie (VallyP's daughter) says:

    I an hungover while reading this so it’ll probably dawn on me that what I am about to say may put me in the ranks of the uncool but…

    Its good to be a geek! :)

  3. Jodie says:

    So am I :)

    Hence why it is good ;)

  4. Tamara says:

    Hilarious! Again!
    Thanks.

  5. roxanne says:

    Before I read this post, I immediately recognized the Atari logo on your shirt. Does that qualify me as a geek?

    You DO realize that you can always sit down on a question that you’d like people to believe is true about you (especially the sex one).

  6. Tenakalaz says:

    Yes Stu, but I notice you failed to mention that when we went a couple of weeks ago, you fell all over the floor, had no reccollection that what we had seen in the second show and offered everyone money in the morning for the taxi you had already paid for.

    It might not be stand up, but that was comedy for me, almost as funny as the ear plugs :) (wink, wink)

  7. Invader_Stu says:

    Gabemac – Thanks :)

    Tenakalaz – Thank god I did not get pulled up on stage in that state.

    I also forgot to mention the American guy sitting next to us that I was convinced was one of the actors hiding in the audience.

  8. Invader_Stu says:

    “Its good to be a geek”

    I’m a geek for a living :p

  9. Melissa says:

    You think that’s bad? I once got damned by the devil himself in the middle of a play.

    Come to think of it, maybe it wasnt such a bad thing after all, at least now I dont have to worry about that pesky ‘being a good person’ thing.

  10. Tenakalaz says:

    Tax paying geeks of the world unite, well in a chat room and maybe with a webcam, but not anywhere we might actually have to go outside for or anything.

  11. Andrew Tingle says:

    Stu – another infectious post as every reader has no doubt come to expect from you. Of all the “personal experience sites” your site is positively electrifying. I cannot help but think that that, given a microphone, you would not succeed in engaging the audience in the same way that you engage the readers here.

    This is not only “Bravo”. This is “Encore”.

  12. marycub says:

    i’ve been on stage. Does the cheshire cat in my school play (Alice in Wonderland) when i was 13 count?

  13. Invader_Stu says:

    We’re all bloggers. We’re all geeks :p

    I don’t why I didn’t just sit down. I guess I wanted to see what would happen. Even though it as very embarrassing it was a lot of fun.

  14. Dragon lady says:

    I was glad I was able to sit down before that question Stuart. So was your Dad.

  15. ChickyBabe says:

    You’re lucky… I’m still recovering after seeing dad’s viagra!

  16. Aisling says:

    Stu, I want you to have my children :P

  17. ellen says:

    I think you have way cool parents. Mine would NEVER have gone to a comedy club with me, much less taken part in audience participation. I WAS relieved that your mom didn’t have to answer the “24 hour question”. That would have been wrong on so many levels.

  18. Charlemagne Stavanger says:

    If there was only a video…

  19. Invader_Stu says:

    Dragon lady – What would your song title been if you had ended up going on stage.

    Melissa – The devil dammed you during a show? Everyones a critic.

    Andrew Tingle – I’d be fine if there was a computer on stage and I had half an hour to think of something funny.

    Marycub – Was it an Oscar winning performance?

    ChickyBabe – That would be a shock

    Aisling – If you had said that 24 hours before the show I might not have had to go on stage.

  20. Keith says:

    Strange things go on in Holland. I think I’ll go to Baghdad for my next years holiday. It’s safer.

    If you remain standing there they shoot you. What fun!

  21. Invader_Stu says:

    ellen – They have been there a few times and always enjoy it

    Charlemagne Stavanger – I know what you mean

  22. Bonestorm says:

    Last time I was at a comedy club I was sitting in the front row and was basically incorporated into the show by four successive comedians after the first one picked on my short sleeves (it was a kinda muscle shirt).

    It was a nice mixture of fun and embarrassment.

  23. Invader_Stu says:

    Keith – I think I would still rather die on stage then die for real

    Bonestorm – That’s what I felt. “I really really want to get of the stage now but I’m kind of enjoying this.”

  24. BlondebutBright says:

    Wow. My worst nightmare at Boom Chicago, which thankfully never happened. However, I did get the microphone, the spotlight and the camera in my face for a terrifying ten seconds.

  25. Melissa says:

    No, well…it was his show, not mine. I was just sitting there minding my own business, enjoying his show and he decided he should damn me. Not that Im arguing, I probably deserved it.

  26. flicka says:

    haha! i’m glad you ‘re mum sat down at the right moment… wouldn’t want you to get traumatized!

  27. Rose says:

    You really are a nerd Red. LOL Kidding. :)

  28. Invader_Stu says:

    BlondebutBright – What happened?

    Melissa – Where you heckling?

  29. cécé says:

    Hi,
    I saw Boom Chicago 2 years ago while on holidays in Amsterdam, the show waw hilarious!! I was worried during the whole thing they’d pick me to go on stage, poor you!

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