An addendum to my entry about Kathleen Madigan’s show on Saturday night.
We enjoyed what we saw on stage, but were surprised by what we saw in the crowd — people getting up from their seats throughout, either to go to the bathroom or to visit the concession stands to get more of the Bud Light that would later force them to get up to go to the bathroom.
This was only a two-hour show (30 minutes of headliner Greg Warren, then 90 minutes of Kathleen), and we weren’t in a comedy club, we were in a huge theater. So, any time someone got up to leave, and again when they returned, everyone else in the row had to stand up to let them through. That meant us, because I always get an aisle seat to accommodate my long legs.
In a comedy show, particularly one with a performer as talented as Kathleen, the flow of the material is very important, and you have to really listen to catch everything.
Several times that evening, our concentration on what Kathleen was saying was interrupted by a couple in our row. First, they showed up late, some 15 minutes into the headliner’s set (a total of 45 minutes past the actual start time), yet not in too much of a hurry, because they made a stop at the concession stand to grab a couple of bottles of beer to bring to their seats. Then, less than an hour later, one of them had to get up to relive herself, so we were distracted again. She may have said, “excuse me,” but there’s no excuse for that.
They were not the only ones. At various times, my wife noticed people in other sections getting up, milling about, and returning, oblivious to the impact they were having on other audience members. I’ve seen this before at sporting events and music concerts — any new song the crowd is unfamiliar with is a signal to head for the bathrooms — but never before at an event in a large theater like this. It doesn’t happen at the Fox during a touring production of a Broadway show, nor at The Rep during one of its plays. It’s also rare at movie theaters, where people are used to sitting in one place for a couple of hours.
I’m not sure where the blame lies. Perhaps the human bladder has gotten smaller as attention spans have gotten shorter. My wife thinks it’s the creeping influence of TV viewers who think nothing of getting up and moving around at home while watching their big screens. Unfortunately, at a live show, we can’t pause the DVR until you get back, or hit the quick-reverse button to catch the punchline your interruption just stepped on (along with my feet).
Whatever the reason, here’s my solution: if you can’t show up on time and remain in your seat for the entire show, don’t go in the first place.