Thursday, October 28, 2004

10/10/04, San Diego: Animal Park and Comedy Store

San Diego has a zoo. It also has an animal park, and I believe a safari park. All of them are well respected, and our selected excursion was to the Animal Park. The park has the luxury of space and many animals wander around in something like their natural habitat. They are fed, bred and enjoy the California year-round sunshine.

The area is big enough that the train service that runs around the perimeter takes an hour to complete a circuit. Admittedly the train travels at the same speed as a hippo strolls, but it’s still a nice-sized area filled with wild things. If you want to spend a bit more money, you can drive through the enclosure in a truck. This gives you great photos, especially as all of the giraffes crowd round the truck as it also brings food. Giraffes are also vain.

The highlights of the trip were a very impressive bird show, which showed the smartness of parrots and the stupidity of emus; a room where lorikeets land on you to eat nectar, occasionally ejecting it in much the same form with little or no ceremony or regard to clothing - I remained unscathed and at one point had one on each shoulder; and not least the chance to hold a big python.

Later on, back in San Diego itself, the animals on show were of the human variety. The death-defying antics of the stand-up comedian. Except that it was one of those nights where death was not defied, and in fact for the first half of the show, which featured myself, the species looked like becoming extinct. I was expecting at any moment for someone from the animal park to drive in on a big jeep, scoop me up in a net and take me back to the endangered species enclosure where I would become part of a breeding programme.

Things picked up in the second half and those of us who went early just looked like Neanderthals - the species that didn’t make it.

My main problem was that each comic had exactly 3 minutes. Three minutes is no time at all. And going on second I had had no chance to see how it’s dealt with. The people who came on later, didn’t fumble around saying their name or saying anything about themselves, but rather leapt straight in with the material. Once again, I am very wise after the fact. But then my secret sixth sense always was hindsight.

But not many people saw this event, and I merely tell people that I performed at the original Comedy Store. Wow, they go, how did it went? Well, I say, the first three minutes weren’t so good.

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