September 2, 2009
Sweet. Three-day weekend! Of course, that’s assuming you have a regular job with a set schedule, benefits, and all that. Otherwise, a three-day weekend just means you’re pulling extra shifts to accommodate all those state and corporate drones looking to get their swerve and grub on. You wouldn’t mind it much if they were big tippers who could hold their liquor, but the ugly truth is that your pockets will be sagging with chump change and you’ll be spending a lot of quality time mopping mangorita barf out of bathroom stalls. Happy Labor Day! Bet you’re rethinking that fine arts degree now, eh? All you wanted to do was dance, right? Well, how ’bout you dance your ass down to table 7 and Hoover up that high-chair debris field that Junior laid down while his parents superhumanly ignored his cracker crumb and macaroni temper tantrum? They probably think they can buy you off with a 15% tip and a huge smiley face on your comment card, but for this travesty you’re going to need some serious payback. Sadly, you’ll just have to estimate. You can’t know the real damage until they lift that chubby little fucker out of his high chair and shake him like a can of Parmesan cheese. It’s truly amazing the amount of culinary detritus that can get trapped in a pair of OshKosh B’Gosh overalls: a whole sleeve of saltines, a half basket of tortilla chips – soggy on one end, of course – some Jell-O kernels, and a few hundred Cheerios (brought in by the parents to keep him occupied). Even to the most compassionate of food-service employees, that’s worth at least a couple of lung nuggets and a butt-crack silverware swab, but by the time you’ve properly assessed the damage, they’re already buckling him into the backseat of the Prius. Breath deeply. Hold it in. Visualize the huge bowl of pee soup you’ll be serving them the next time they decide to save money on a babysitter. Your boss and your unemployed dope-dealing roommate like to tell you there’s no room for bitterness or resentment in the workplace. They’re right. There is no room … unless you make room. If America has learned anything from its disgruntled postal workers, it’s that people can endure almost any amount of monotony, abuse, and humiliation in their jobs as long as they can nurture a psychotic revenge fantasy … hopefully one they won’t actually act out … at least not in real life. Besides, that’s what improv classes are for, right? Where else can you mow down an entire office full of co-workers with an AK-47 and get away with it? Maybe even score a few nervous chuckles in the process? You may not think it’s funny, but comedy is an important part of sanity maintenance. Somehow you have to soak up all the injustice, pain, and misery in the world and still manage to turn that frown upside down. It’s not easy. Sometimes you need an assist. This weekend Austin provides one in the form of the Out Of Bounds Comedy Festival, a seven-day “live performance festival that showcases some of the best improv, sketch, stand-up, and filmed comedy from all over the country.” Sunday night, the Independent features Austin’s Get Up and Melbourne, Australia’s Impro Melbourne at 7:30pm, then Chicago’s SCRAM and Los Angeles’ Cackowski and Talarico at 9pm. You might as well make a whole night of it. You probably don’t have to work the next day. If you do, you could probably use some comic relief.