Hangover Memory File
October 19 2006 • Susanville, CA • Diamond Casino
Hot tub, swingers, prison guards, drug abuse, and awkwardness; most casino shows don’t end with a chance for the performers to run a train on 25% of the audience, but this one did.
There are no rules to comedy, but there are some guidelines. The most important one might be to never leave the gig. You do your show, you drink, you socialize, if your lucky you get paid, and then you gracefully return to your hotel room (or hunting cabin), and if all goes well you live to joke another day; but you never leave the gig. If you do things tend to get weird. Meth weird usually.
We’d been on the road for some time touring mainly Southern California in Hangover Diesel Jetta 1. Myself, Stratton, Shields, and every damn thing we owned were crammed into that thing for 3-10 hours a day, each of us silently developing a serious case of road-psychosis. Space was nonexistent as was air conditioning, and it often took a shoe-horn to remove ourselves and our belongings from the car.
The show was in Susanville California, a speed-bump gateway city on the way to Reno Nevada, at the Diamond Mountain Casino. The setup was one of the better ones we enjoyed during the early days of the tour. They put us in an honest-to-god showroom equipped with all the essentials: seating for around 200, a stage without a stripper pole, a full bar with drinks service, along with professional lighting and sound. Having just played a series of poorly equipped dive bars we were quite optimistic upon looking at the set up. The only thing that would have made things better would have been if anyone had actually showed up.
By the time the show started a “crowd” of exactly four people had amassed. A middle aged couple sat at the bar, and another couple of older ladies sat in actual audience seating. Being consummate professionals we got rabidly drunk and made with the funny, throwing every ounce of energy and inflection possible from stage in a futile effort to make our four person audience erupt in gales of laughter large enough to at least be heard from stage. It never happened, but we did our best and everyone had a great time. As the show wrapped up we collectively decided that tonight would be a good night to stop drinking before last call, go straight back to the hotel, and take a good hard look at our lives. If we had left right then, that would have happened. Instead, a few hours later we found ourselves attempting to avoid eye contact with a naked prison guard who seemed very interested in watching three strange young men run through his wife like a pack of rabid raccoons rummaging through a restaurant dumpster.
Never leave the gig. Never, ever, ever leave the gig!
Old RoadComic Proverb
We were standing at the bar settling up with the Casino ready to pack it in for the night when we encountered him: Birthday Boy.
He seemed like a regular guy. Happy to have a comedy show in a small town, and even happier that it happened to land on his birthday. He chatted us up, occasionally mentioning, for no apparent reason, that “not everyone around here is how you’d think…” before diving back into friendly chit-chat. Eventually we somehow got to the topic of the three of us touring in a Volkswagen, and Birthday Boy had just the remedy: we could come over and enjoy a dip in his hot-tub with him and his wife.
We should have know. We should have spotted the red flags….That phrase he kept awkwardly injecting to make sure we knew he wasn’t some sort of arch conservative, the frightened yet excited look in his wife’s eyes, the fact that he owned a hot tub. We should have known, and in retrospect I can’t say we didn’t at least have a clue, but alcohol and the promise of some brief respite from the chronic back and neck pain road comedy breeds blinded us to the obvious dangers ahead. Besides, he had enough swim suits for all of us!
So…we left the gig.
At Birthday Boy’s house things got progressively weirder by the minute. There were kids there, sleeping, and we were instructed to be quite so as not to wake them. Alcohol flowed liberally, and soon all five of us were in the hot tub, Scot, Myself, and Ritchie doing our damnedest to play dumb as it became more and more apparent that this man wanted one more present for his birthday: for the three of us to nail his wife.
Did I mention yet that he was a prison guard? Well he was.
Did I mention yet that she was a prison guard too? Well she was.
Did I mention yet that they both looked not like porno swingers but actual dungeons and dragon player swingers? Well they did.
I suppose it’s a subtle balance when you’re a giant prison guard couple looking to get a few out of town kids to engage in an act that could only be more explicate if it involved a family pet. More so if you want this all to take place in near silence a few feet from your children’s bedroom windows. More so yet again when the three strangers you want to bang your wife have all decided to play dumb no matter how much innuendo Birthday Boy throws out.
At first he was rather subdued, mentioning off hand that we didn’t really need swim suits…and that’s when we started to get the picture: The three of us were at a house owned by two swinging prison guards, getting progressively more and more drunk, in a hot tub with two rather large sex seekers, both of whom could have likely turned the three of us into ground beef without breaking a sweat. Trust me: Things get weird when you leave the gig.
Did I mention yet that we left our car at the casino? Well we did.
Birthday Boy regaled us with stories of his marriage, specifically the honeymoon, and how it had taken place at Hedonism (the kind of place that doesn’t have a Bible in the nightstand.) We continued to play it cool, the three of us seeming to have each individually decided that if we just pretend we don’t understand what he wanted (and what we couldn’t quite tell if she wanted or not) that Birthday Boy was bound to write us off as either oblivious or uninterested. That didn’t happen. What did happen was the he got naked.
It’s not often that a strange man decides that the only way to get a group of strangers to nail his wife is for him to get naked, but for some reason that’s the conclusion he came to…and he did it with at least some measure of grace. I suppose when you are a 300 pound prison guard swinger, you learn in your rookie year that just ripping your clothes off for no apparent reason in the company of those unknown to you could easily get your status changed from correctional facility employee to correctional facility customer. Knowing this, Birthday Boy had to find an at least semi-plausible excuse for making the three comic in his hot tub as uncomfortable around each other as they have ever been.
“Did you guys know that clothes are bad for a hot tub?” he asked, as our collective anuses clenched reflexively. We all looked at each other, wondering which paper would be carrying our last known photo, and just which picture that would be. “Yeah, the detergent messes up the PH balance,” he continued “In fact, I think I’m going to take mine off.” He then got out of the pool, stripped, and returned to his former seat between his wife and Scot.
If a correctional officer ever strips naked and then takes a seat next to you in his hot tub, your first instinct will likely be to run, which is certainly what was going through Scot mind, but the reality of the situation was that there was nowhere to run to. We had no wheels on site, and we didn’t even know where we were in relation to the casino. Plus, we all realized Birthday Boy and his wife were completely unknown quantities, trained by the government in the proper methods of subduing unruly inmates. They might very well take offense if we bolted, chase us down, fuck us to death and then eat us. These are the things that will go through your head if you ever find yourself in this situation…
So, the obvious thing to do was simply continue to pretend that none of us were aware of just how weird things had gotten. Besides, Scot was the one stuck next to Birthday Boy and his floating sausage, so from my point of view things were fine as long as Scot was in the kill zone and I wasn’t. Nothing could happen to change that right? Wrong.
Did I mention that we were all still drinking heavily? Well we were.
When you drink you have to pee, and generally it’s considered bad for to pee in a hot tub occupied by 4 other people. Being a gentleman I removed myself from the hot tub to use the facilities. Sadly, upon returning I discovered that the game had now changed completely, as leaving the tub meant that upon retuning you’d loose your seat and be stuck next to Birthday Boy and his Birthday Suit. This went on for some time. Every time myself, or Ritchie or Scot would leave the hot tub to relieve themselves, the arrangement would change. I’m quite sure we all were frantically searching for a good excuse to get back to our car, the panicked way we were constantly making with each other told me that much, but nothing came to mind…so, back to chit-chat and pretending not to realize the gravity of our situation.
Did I mention that the wife looked excited some of the time, but just as frightened as we all felt most of the time? Well she did.
Eventually, and thankfully, the subject of marijuana came up, and it turned out that the couple wanted to get high. This mercifully gave us an exit strategy as the only marijuana we’d brought with us was in our hotel.
(In the bad old days of the early Hangover tour we often traveled with large quantities of high grade Northern California Pot, a practice which I as a non-(pot)smoker was never happy with. This practice has sense been discontinued due to the good people of the Wyoming Highway Patrol, The South Dakota Highway Patrol, and the advent of common fucking sense, and Scot getting a good talking to from his mother.)
So, we went back to the casino and reacquired Hangover Diesel Jetta 1, and then returned to our hotel to get our new friends high and out of our lives.
Aside from a few not so subtle attempts to leave his wife with us as a sort of parting gift things mellowed out pretty quick, and we bid farewell to our new friends who we can only assume will someday read the review I left on google of their prison.
Never leave the gig!
(Unless you want a good story…)