Never Say Never

Last night I did something I never thought I would do.
No, I didn’t sleep in a tent. No, I didn’t scale the Empire State Building using only dental floss and a fork. No, I didn’t chant downstairs at the yoga studio. And no no no, a thousand times NO, I did not cook.
(I did iron, but that’s not what I’m talking about either.)
What I did was this: I walked out of a show. Yes, I did. And not during intermission, as I did a couple of years ago when Lily Tomlin’s tired old act failed to elicit the slightest amused chortle from me. No, I walked out during an act. But I assure you that my remaining in the theater would have been ruder than leaving it, because I reached a point last night where my sighs were becoming more and more audible and my squirming in my seat more and more frequent that I feared that at any moment I was just going to spring to my feet and yell, “Stop it! Just STOP it! End the fucking TORTURE!!!!”
Only once before have I truly felt the urge to leave a show mid-performance, and that was “Taller Than a Dwarf”, a horrendous Matthew Broderick/Parker Posey vehicle that stalled shortly after it started and then quickly coughed its way to a sputtering demise well before the end of the first act. Still, I stayed for the entire performance, even though I easily could have left during intermission. I figured, hey, we paid enough money for our tickets, and we’d gone through hell to get up to New York (this was when we were still living in Philadelphia), so we were going to watch the entire show if it killed us. Which it nearly did.
But last night, there was no excuse or reason for me to stay. Last night I only travelled a few blocks to see the show. Last night I only paid $5.00. Last night I easily could have left during the break. But I didn’t.
Last night’s show was presented in two parts. It was (supposedly) a comedy show. The first part was a two-woman effort that wasn’t brilliant or hilarious; nevertheless, it was somewhat engaging and occasionally made me titter. I didn’t guffaw once or even truly laugh, and there was no danger of incontinence. But that was all right. I wasn’t expecting anything amazing, so I guess I got what I paid for. It was only the second part of the show that was the bomb. (And no, kidz, I don’t mean “da bomb”.)
Don’t ask me why I felt compelled to stay for the second part. I don’t know. My first instinct was to just leave, along with a good fraction of the audience, but I thought, “Well, maybe I’ll miss something. Maybe they’re saving the better part of the show for last.” So I stayed.
And immediately wished I’d left when I had the chance.
The second part consisted of two guys, probably in their 30s. It was all improv. Or at least I hope it was. Because it would be truly pathetic to think that the tripe I witnessed was actually scripted. I will not go into detail about the so-called performance, because, just like with fried liver (or, of course, tripe), it would surely taste even worse regurgitated than it did when initially consumed.
So for the next forty minutes or so I watched, in ever escalating dismay, and in complete silence, what was perhaps the most unfunny comedy I have ever witnessed. These two chumps insisted on beating a horse that was dead as soon as it left the gate. And not only did they beat it, but they chopped it, minced it, sliced and diced it, and then ground it to a coarse powder.
Somewhere during the third or fourth “skit”, I found that my silent sighs were morphing into outright audible groans. I knew I had to leave. I didn’t care if the two schlubs included my desperate exit in their act. I didn’t care that I had to climb over quite a few pairs of jumbled legs in order to free myself from the misery. I didn’t care if, upon my exit, I would be force-fed liver, cottage cheese, aspic, and Jello 1-2-3. I was outta there.
And at long last I was.
Now, as you may recall, at the end of June, I railed against the people who dared to leave the ballet during the curtain call. As I said then, “You were just given something beautiful, you cretins. You were presented with an exquisite two-and-a-half-hour gift. The least you could have done was hang around for two-and-a-half minutes to thank them for it.” So yes, I did remember that as I made my decision to leave last night’s show. But then again, what I was given last night was not an exquisite gift. It was the equivalent of this.