Respect your seatmates, please and thank you. Image: theawl.com
Last weekend I went to the Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival and enjoyed some excellent giggles.
I could, however, have done without The Seat Drama.
See, Sketch Fest is at Stage 773 with performances running simultaneously in four different theatres. To encourage audience members to pick and choose which comedy groups strike their fancy, seating is not reserved.
And when people are nice, that’s not a problem. I was actually reviewing the Fest for Chicago Theater Beat, so I made it a point to get in each theatre early for the best vantage point. I would have gladly moved for two pregnant women, but they didn’t ask me to do so. Instead, their group split up and they even apologized when switching around meant they had to step over me.
You know, like adults.
Unlike the Quartet From Hell I encountered a couple of hours later. When I explained, no, I wasn’t going to move because I was writing about the show and I’d gotten there first, one of the illustrious four insulted me. (Note: I would have happily moved down, but they wanted my particular seat. I would have had to go to an entirely different row and the theatre was filling up.) Yet they were undaunted: a few minutes later, someone else from their group came over and tried to hassle me out of my seat. When I said no again, and by the way they were being rude, she rolled her overly made-up eyes and stalked off. Forty minutes later, the lights weren’t even up when Braintrust No. 3 accused me of ruining their night and called me a name rhyming with “itch.”
Don’t do this, people.
The one bright spot is that these four winners were from out of town. But my lovely Lakeview-ites, you know better, right?
Here’s a little primer:
Be cool. If someone gets there first, respect that. If you’re in a group and it’s a popular show, you may have to sit separately. It’s okay to ask someone once, and ask nicely. But if they say no, don’t insult. Don’t berate. Don’t name-call.
We good, comedy fans?
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