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First: I would’ve enjoyed his comedy routine last week at the 9:30 Club much more if I had never, ever heard of him.
I’d already seen most of his jokes on YouTube and his Myspace page, and he didn’t deviate from what he’s done before. I was almost envious of the people around me who were hearing his routine for the first time and laughing their asses off.
But there was something else that kept me from enjoying the show: the 9:30 Club’s seating arrangements. Darby’s event was a “seated show,” yet the venue was intended for standing-room-only events. Ergo, the 9:30 Club provided a few rows of folding chairs on the main floor, as well as bleacher-style benches on either sides of the balcony. But because they don’t actually sell you seats, just admission, it’s up to the patron to find a spot. We (there were two of us) tried to sit down several times, only to be told “seat’s taken.”
We grabbed a spot on the balcony rail after being shooed away from several chairs and the bleachers. The show started at 7 p.m. (we showed up at 6:15, the doors opened at 6), and I counted 19 empty chairs at 6:58 p.m. I told my girlfriend that I was going to try for two of those spots, and she replied simply, “Shut up and quit whining.” When Rhys came onstage around 7:05 p.m., there were still 6 empty seats in the audience that never filled.
Now I’m debating whether or not to fight for a seat the next time I go to a “seated show” at the 9:30 Club. After all, if some greasy hipster tells me “Seat’s taken,” who’s going to throw me out for saying, “How ’bout I keep it warm until your imaginary date shows up?”