In an era of idiots on TV doing dumb things, sometimes it is good to see a professional idiot. Wait, let me try that again. On Monday I went to the SweetWater Brewery Beer and Comedy Night hosted by Joe Pettis after hearing him talk about it on one of my favorite Podcasts “Doug Loves Movies”; their “bi-weekly event held at the SweetWater Brewing Company just outside of downtown Atlanta. Join us every other Monday for the best in locally brewed comedy and beers.” With a tag like that, how could I stay away?
With $10 for six beers, (you read that right), the stage was set for some comedy. However, not necessarily well set. In a curious set up, the venue is outdoors with dogs and people a series of 40 bar stools and folding camp chairs. The sound, therefore, has to be loud as all hell to override the sound of the outdoors, with the trucks of the industrial area nearby, and the talking of the guests (as opposed to some dark club wherein people play over the talking). However, the environment is unique in that the people who are not a fans of the comedy wander off to the bar; apparently the outdoors frees people to wander, (therefore there are no hecklers, which I have seen everywhere else I have seen comedy). There were some good hits, for example Ian Aber was fantastic, Paige Bowman had two of the funniest lines of the night “I was eavesdropping, because, you know, cable is expensive…” and “So I was thinking, ‘maybe I should let Quest open me up to my sandwich options.” However, this was only act one to a remarkable second act.
Several beers in and filled with giggles, Captain and Maybelle take the stage to much fanfare. The concept of a freak show or a side show is no longer part of the American Lexicon, which is a shame for two reasons. As part of the circus, the side show was designed to either entice people into paying to see the show or be in-between acts while bigger draws set up such as animals preforming (as Patton Oswalt would call the ‘animals trudging,’) however, in an effort to make the circus more for families such out of sync acts were removed. Secondly, the nature of reality TV changed things as well. As untrained and bold idiots were willing to do dangerous things (with the offscreen aid of professionals), the danger became more sanitized and replaced with gross rather than skill. In this realm, Captain and Maybelle return to form.
Doing several classic bits with skill and mastery, the Captain does the blockhead and sword swallowing routines, with twists of course, Maybelle swallows a four foot long balloon, and they have a duet together. All filled with dirty jokes, stage banter, and fun. Captain’s version of the blockhead routine is still squeamish and uncomfortable and filled with jokes as he pounds the nails into his sinuses. He and Maybelle attached weights to various piercings and spun them. However, Captain’s sword swallowing routine is his show stopper though; first one, then five swords, finally a weighted sword swallow with about 15 pounds of additional weight.
Though the audience, by nature of the venue, was in and out of focus, they were rapt in attention when the tricks were being performed. All in all, the team was impressive. The show was wonderful. We will return to Beer and Comedy; and Captain and Maybelle will be burned into my mind for years to come.