Saturday, January 30, 2010

Restaurant Review: Goofball's Comedy Pit

Those of you who are my devoted followers know that my signature sign-off line is the wonderful "If it tastes funny, don't forget to laugh!" So it may be a bit surprising to you to learn that in all actuality, I don't think comedy and cuisine mix very well. Mix very well? Like oil and vinegar--I mean, oil and water, since oil and vinegar do mix, depending on the quality of the oil and the vintage of the vinegar of course. Anyway. Tasteless comedy and tasteless food can combine into a living hell for the food enthusiast. Just from a public safety point of view, if the comedy is at all funny--which is doubtful--you have an instant choking hazard on your hands. And as you'll recall from an earlier installment, the Heisman Trophy Maneuver or whatever is not the most pleasant experience to undergo at your favorite dining establishment. I don't know who came up with the idea of a comedy restaurant, but this was a huge blunder on the scale of the design of the Edsel--or, if Miss Marianne Moore had had her way, the Utopian Turtletop. Long story. So I was not looking forward to, in fact I was dreading, my visit to, ahem, Goofball's Comedy Pit. I knew that I would be visiting an eatery that would be degrading to the human spirit in every way imaginable. Now, when you think comedy, you think clowns--that's how trite the thinking of the Goofball's corporate offices is, because the entire place is decked out like some kind of ludicrous clown palace. I cringed mentally and I cringed physically when I saw the horrifying stripes on the walls and knew that we all were going to be put into a comedy frame of mind whether we wanted to or not. The hostess, depressingly enough, was dressed in a top hat and tails like some kind of ringmaster or ringmistress or something. "Welcome to Goofball's, goofy guy!" she said in what she assumed (incorrectly) to be a fetching and insinuatingly sly voice. I was seated at a stool at a high table like the kind you see in the lower airport hot-dog stands. One of the legs of the table happened to be missing its foot thingy, so I was forced to fold up an old newspaper to stop its queasy wobbling. The waitron, thankfully dressed not as a clown but in a 1970s pizza parlor cabaret outfit, complete with bowler, appeared after an eternity and offered me a drink. I asked for a soda water. I wasn't going to let alcohol fool me into thinking there was anything amusing about the food or the comedy in this place. Let me report that the soda water, served in a smudged tumbler, was flat as a flat-earther's earth. Nary a bubble was to be seen. The menu looked like it had been reproduced on a mimeograph machine. Each dish was named after an embarrassing Las Vegas comedian. I wanted a hole to open up in the earth and swallow me as I ordered the Norm Crosby Crawdads with a side of Shecky shrimp. The Crawdads tasted like dried-up, rubbery gelatin dessert, and the shrimp were mealy and insolent. While I am completely qualified to judge comedy, I am not willing to overdwell on the so-called comic whose pitiful, desperate quips oppressed me during my stay at Goofball's. Amazingly enough, a laugh track emanated from a speaker in the ceiling during his act. This man, who calls himself simply "The Joke Guy," was convinced that he was hilarious. He did not convince me. I will give you one sample of his "humor," then I will have to take a nap. "Have you ever noticed how people don't talk in elevators? What's up with that. Is there some kind of rule about the dimensions of a room that means there's no talking allowed there? I mean, think about it. Nobody talks to people in closets. I don't do that, you don't do that. Nobody does that. So there's this square footage rule about rooms. It's crazy." I will leave you with that wit that sparkled even less than my flat, dead soda water in the hell known as Goofball's Comedy Pit. My rating? One rubber chicken.

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