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The Shriners, breasts and poker? I barely knew her.


By Rob Maher

I recently did a gig for the Shriners.  The Shriners are a group of old white guys who also happen to be Freemasons.  I’m not sure exactly what they do other than be old and have secret handshakes.  All I knew about the show was to keep it PG.

I show up and look into this giant banquet hall full of old guys in suits.  I immediately evaluate the situation and determine than I am going to bomb hard.  I turn back towards the lobby and see the most wondrous sight ever.  I do a double take for I thought I was seeing things at first.  There was this old man getting his picture taken with his arm around these two young, beautiful, topless women.  My act is supposed to be PG, but I am seeing breasts.  Breasts aren’t PG, some are PG-13 but these were R rated breasts.  They had stories to tell.  This other old man introduces these ladies by saying these are my girls.  I am thinking, holy shit, this is their father?  I’ve got to become a Shriner.  I can be old and keep secrets. How hard is that?  I now reevaluate the situation and conclude that I will be performing in front of dirty old men.  I fucking love it!  I am going to destroy.  Legendary shit.

I finally meet the guy running the show.  He is very friendly as he goes over the show run down. It turns out I am following a Shriner who is getting a lap dance from two strippers.  Aha, so those girls were strippers and the guy who introduced them as his girls is the owner of the strip club.

The show begins with a lap dance.  Shows shouldn’t begin with a lap dance.  They should end with a lap dance.  It is now time for my set.  I am introduced incredibly awkwardly.  I am performing in front of a podium. I am following a two girl lap dance.  I am staring into a sea of, “who’s this fucking kid” faces.  I now reevaluate the situation.  Sarcasm can’t follow D-Cups.  I am going to bomb historically hard.

Let the debacle begin.  I bomb as expected.  Nothing works.  Clean jokes, dirty jokes, crowd work, racist book jokes (don’t judge me you fucks, it was rough up there), nothing works.  I comment that I need a drink.  In thirty seconds I have a shot of whiskey in front of me, then another and another and another.  Fuck!  I’m now drunk which means I can’t leave this awful place.

After my set I go sit in the lobby attempting to sober up.  I befriend one of the Shriners who tells me he wants to do comedy.  He starts trying out material on me which causes me to need another drink,  but I can’t drink more because then I have to stay here longer and hear more bad jokes.  It’s a vicious cycle.  The cycle is finally broken up when talks of a poker game start up.  I love poker.  I can’t drive yet.  I should play so I invite myself to the game.  I am thinking this is my chance to get some revenge.

There are six of us playing.  Not including me, the average age is around 80.  We are playing dealer calls the game which means we’ll be playing all bullshit games.  We played for close to two hours.  My comedy set was more successful.  I won only one hand and that hand I tied with another guy.  When I had a flush, someone had a higher flush.  When I had a full house, someone had four of a kind.  When I had four of a kind, someone had a straight flush.  You get the picture. I lost 140 bucks.  I made 200 for the show.

So essentially, I drove three and half hours round trip to bomb in front of old men and then bomb playing poker with old men for a measly sixty bucks. And I didn’t even get to fondle the breasts!

I consider myself a good comic and a pretty good poker player.  That night, I guess I was neither. But there’s always another show, another game, another set of breasts to admire, another three and a half hour drive to make for virtually nothing and another story to tell.  Deal me in.

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