Goodrich Gevaart is a fantastic Chicago based stand up and former punk rock bass player. If you’re his Facebook friend you would know he played bass because there are a lot of photos of him playing bass in bands in basements. Because he’s a man that played shows in basements, he also booked shows in basements, because you have to do that if you’ve ever been in a punk band that played shows in basements.
I’m a comic and I know I’m supposed to have some horror stories about the time I did a gig for 200 Klansman on accident or had to tell jokes at a Pacific Sunwear or whatever, but I don’t think I’ve had a nightmare standup gig. I’ve done bad shows, ones where there is no audience or there’s TV on in the bar or some drunk old man is trying to heckle and is too drunk to realize I just dished out some sick burns to put him in his place, but those are just bad. I’ve done them so many times they don’t even register in my memory as a horrible show. The worst gig I’ve ever done was the time I booked a rapper from New Jersey and almost got stabbed.
For two years I lived in a punk house on the north side of Chicago. I’m not going to tell you the name or address because I know a bunch of narc’s read BYT. A rapper I really like, GDP, was looking to tour through the Midwest and he had hit me up about doing a show. This was the only show I booked in the two years I lived at that house. I had started doing standup just before I moved in so I no longer gave much of a shit about which new fast-core band had the sickest demo that month. But since I had the space and knew I could at least get him a decent show I agreed to put up a show for him. I booked the hip-hop group Maintenance Crew to open. They’re an awesome Chicago duo and I used to play bass in their live band. I knew at least 15 people would come out to see them so I could get GDP some gas money.
A decent amount of people showed up. They brought beers and joints and were enjoying Maintenance Crew’s set. But there was one guy who was a little too into it. Before the show he had cornered one of the MC’s and was yelling how good they were with body language and volume level that seemed like he was angry at how good they were. During their set he was vibing too close to the stage (back part of the basement) and I think he even shoved one of the MC’s in the middle of a song. Because he was a fan. A very fucked up fan. I got in between this guy and the rappers and tried to yell “cool out man!” near his ears. I’m unsure if he heard me over the loud bass of the music but then his girlfriend grabbed him and pushed him toward the back of the crowd. I kept watch from the side of the stage knowing that this guy was only going to become worse of a problem. He grabbed the almost full fifth of liquor they had brought with them and downed ½ of it in a few seconds. Then he started yelling at his girlfriend. His eyes looked angry and disoriented. I couldn’t hear over the music but she yelled something back at him and ran outside. He followed after. It looked like no one else at the show noticed this pending domestic dispute so I followed the couple outside. I walked to the sidewalk in front of my house when the girl came running up to my left and grabbed my arm. She was crying. “He’s got a knife! He was gonna stab me! Call the police!” Then she ran away. The guy was still bumbling around in the direction she’d run from, swaying from side to side with his bottle in his hand. Looking like Andy Capp decked out in streetwear and a flat brimmed Cubs hat.
So my reality was this, I was in charge of the 30 or so people drinking and smoking weed in my basement but I also needed to call the police to stop this very fucked up man from using his knife to stab me or someone else. I needed to make sure the police did not find out about the people in my basement, only this man who made his way toward me slowly.
He got closer and I saw his eyes were bloodshot and wandering. Whatever he was fucked up on, it was way more than just booze.
“I can’t fuckin’ trust nobody man!” He yelled at me. I figured this was not the time to explain that if he threatened to stab people less they may be more trusting. My only thought was, “This guy has a knife and is fucked up. I better not say the word ‘no’ to him. I bet he stabs people who tell him no”.
“Yeah, I understand,” I told him, “you should just hang out here away from everybody.”
“These fucking snakes maaaaan..shit” He started to pat his coat. “I need my glasses.”
He had entered the show wearing glasses. He has right.
“Umm, I’ll go check for them you stay here.” I needed to keep him away from the rest of the show. I also needed to call the police. I ran to the rear of the house and entered the basement. I looked around for his glasses on the ground quickly but didn’t see them. Maintenance Crew was still playing. No one had any idea what was happening on the premises. I snuck back out the basement door and called the cops. I told them I was on my front porch and saw a man threaten his girlfriend with a knife. They said they would be there quickly. The police station was a block south of my house so I figured they would arrive quickly. All I had to do was get this guy back out in the front yard. In the time between me leaving him and returning, he’d managed to drop his bottle of booze in the yard next door and was currently half way over the waist high fence trying to reach it.
“Hey man, let it go, its almost empty.”
I got closer and he reached harder for the bottle, almost falling into the yard next door. That’s when I heard the soft click of his glasses hitting the ground.
“My glasses!” He was so excited they fell out of his coat that he put them on and slunk back off of the fence.
“Yeah man, lets move out this way, lotta people you can’t trust back there let’s leave em behind.”
He seemed to be really harping on this trust thing so that was my angle. I was playing it cool all the while in my brain thinking “at any moment this guy can pull a knife out and stab me. Be ready to move if you see him go for it.”
“Snakes! Fuckiiiiiiiin Snakes man!”
I led him out to the front yard and he started walking down the sidewalk away from my house. Just as he got about two houses away three police cars rolled onto my street. The first cop to leave the squad car yelled for this guy to put his hands up.
“Fuck yooooouuuuu!” he screamed as he took a swing at the cop and missed. The cop yelled for him to not fight back and pressed him against a fence. Then the guy used his fucked up force to push the cop away for a second so he could pull out the knife he had on him. It was a pretty big fucking knife. I watched the cop tell him to drop the knife and tase the guy. The first tase did not faze him. More cops ran up behind the guy, knocked the knife out of his hand and tackled him to the ground. With two cops on top of him he was screaming “I know my rights! I say that shit on youtube! Get off me pigs!” It took two more tries with the taser before he finally stopped resisting and yelling about what he saw on youtube. They cuffed the guy and put him in a squad car. They took a statement from me and left in about ten minutes.
I came back to the show and GDP was setting up to play. Nobody knew I had just kept a knife holding fucked up person from ruining the show.