What happened in Glendale stays in Glendale :)
Bismillah ar-Rahmaan ar-Raheem,
I live in LA during the week but almost every weekend I'm traveling to some random city to perform at events. So when I found out that I would be in Glendale this past weekend, I was looking forward of doing a show that was just a freeway away. When I got to the event, I noticed the crowd was about 500 people, mostly dressed in suites. The had a free dinner (the type of food you would get a fancy restaurant) so of course someone asked if the meat was halal since it wasn't your typical fund-raising-biryani-dinner I guess :). They crowd was so noisy that they had to make announcement for the audience to stay quiet and listen to the speakers. By the end of the night, they were able to raise 400k for the new Islamic Center in Glendale. Once the fundraising was done, I was up.
Because the event started on Middle-Eastern standard time (late), it pushed back all the way to nearly 10pm (I was originally schedule for 8:55pm). When the MC was introducing me, most of the crowd was emerged in conversation with one another so when I went up, it was almost like talking to myself. It seemed like the room noise kept getting louder and louder, and I was basically talking to myself. I noticed my table was laughing at me instead of with me which made me laugh. Then a brother walked up to the stage and told me to make an announcement. Apparently, somebody had lost their shoes. Not sure how someone loses their shoes in a formal gathering but hey, with the way things were going that night, I wouldn't be surprised.
So I figured it couldn't get any worse so I told myself let me just try to wing it and then go home but it wasn't that easy because the crowd was just too loud. Then a guy walked up on stage on said "let me put this (wireless) mic on you". Now with two mics, I tried to start again but suddenly there was a loud feedback/interface coming from the mics. Next thing I know the wireless mic drops off my shirt. I tired to walk around the stage but mic the interference wouldn't go away. The brother got on stage again to put the wireless mic on me and the result was once again, interference...loud, uncomfortable interference. Still, I tried to pull off my first joke but the combination of interference and room noise made it almost impossible. At this point, I'm like in boxer about to get knocked out and all I can do is look around in the crowd. As I look down at the table in front of me, I noticed there were people take group pictures. So at this point, I'm not just bombing on stage, but the funny thing that I don't think most of the crowd is even noticing. Next thing I know, I'm laughing at myself on stage. You had to admit, i whole thing was pretty funny. You start to think to yourself, this is a prank. I mean, this is this stuff you see on the candid camera tv shows. You're looking around waiting for someone to say "hey you just got punked" but that wasn't happening either. So I just stood there with an awkward smile.
Finally, one of the speakers of the evening made an announcement and asked everyone to be quiet. It took him a few minutes to get everyone quiet since he had trouble getting everyone attention. He then proceeded by giving them a lecture on being quiet and by the time he was done, the room became strangely quiet. It was almost an uncomfortable silence. The kinda of quiet you feel when people are in trouble. He gave me back the mic and I didn't really know how to start. Usually the crowd is excited and looking forward to laughing but this crowd had just been told that they were not courteous and I almost felt like I was about to perform at a detention. So I did something I don't think I have ever done for a standup comedy event. I started off serious. Very serious. Eventually, I transitioned it into standup comedy but it was just weird. By the time it was all over, the crowd was laughing out loud (with me and not at me). At the end, everyone had a good time. As for me, I grew thicker skin after that event haha. Good times.
Alhamdulillah, the event was well organized and I actually enjoyed the night. The scholar was not just a great fundraiser but he amazing human being as well. More importantly, the event managed to raise a lot of money for the new center so I'm happy to be part of the such a night.
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