WHEN A LOCAL comedy producer invited me to his birthday, I assumed I’d walk into a house full of inebriated comics. Maybe a small group in their 20s would be smoking cheeba and pontificating on the true meaning of comedy, while one comic would have cornered another to bounce premises off them. Two or three would be fucking in the only bathroom. The host would have already blacked out from being fed too many shots of liquor and LSD, and the lowest ranking comic—either the host’s roommate or overindulgent ex—would go between holding the chaos at bay and making sure the birthday boy was still breathing. Y’know? A comic party.

As I pulled up, it was unclear if anyone was still up, but I mustered my courage, opened the door, and was immediately greeted by an older woman in an embroidered blue dress with a distinct grandmotherly air, and a husky older gent. I had never met either of these people, but they welcomed me enthusiastically, like the motel owners in an old horror flick who would later turn out to be demons that had claimed the souls of their previous patrons. So I did what any reasonable person would do and headed to the kitchen, where innumerable party-goers had gathered around the birthday boy, who was wearing a theater wig, full-length black cape, and making grilled cheese sandwiches. Empty wine and liquor bottles littered the table behind him, and all the guests greeted me with excitement, as though I had just entered my own surprise party.

These people weren’t comedians. What were they? They were all older with hints of professionalism, but also drunkenly reveling, wearing a mix of hipster flannel and gaudy lamé. Despite apparent heavy drinking, they all seemed in control, aside from unhealthy amounts of enthusiasm.

Oh fuck! These were theater people, and in keeping with theater tradition, each took their turn seeking more attention than any one person ever should at someone else’s party—until it was our host’s turn.

He stood on a chair, in a long blond wig, and announced that he would be singing “Happy Birthday” to himself in the style of Marilyn Monroe, and kept his word, ending with fully committed hip and genital gyrations. He was then joyously smacked on the ass by a guest I can only describe as the flamboyantly queer son of a disappointed rabbi—two braided pigtails in his hair, tied with red bows. It could only mean one thing: It was time for garage karaoke.

We loaded in, and one by one the theater mutants took to the stage, leading the room in song. I attempted to distract myself by challenging anyone I could to table tennis, but nothing could protect me from a hippie in his late 50s to early 60s singing a song that compared the merits of his pussy to any other. For what it’s worth... it sounds like he had one hell of a pussy.

To be continued...