Los Angeles based comic Josh Androsky recently attempted to get blocked on Twitter by Ted Cruz by urging folks to donate to Planned Parenthood in Ted Cruz’s name. – ed.
I used to run a show called Ham Clown at The Alexandria Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. The Alexandria Hotel is not a hotel you would book on Travelocity. It is a hotel where Tom Waits or Charles Bukowski would stay, where you would pay rent hourly. Part of it had been turned into low-income housing. It was this grand, beautiful hotel that used to be the place to go for Charlie Chaplin and shit and it used to be the headquarters of the anti-prohibition movement in Los Angeles. It’s this really incredible place and we did a dumb comedy show there.
We were in this grand ballroom that still looked like the 1920’s but above us it’s low-income housing, stories and stories of low-income housing. So me and Eric Dadourian are doing this super weird bit where he plays my stage mom and he wants me to not do comedy anymore because I’ve got such a pretty voice. He wants me to sing instead of doing comedy. So I get decked out in full David Bowie makeup like Ziggy Stardust, lightning bolt shit, and I go out on stage and I do this bit and it goes well. I get off stage and I think “Oh this is cool.” It was like our second or third show. It was me, Eric Dadourian and Grant Pardee. We were just about a year into comedy and shit was going well. There was a good crowd and it was great. I get off stage and the manager comes up to me and he does not look happy. I had never seen this dude without that sort of perma-stoned “hey smile.” He was like “You need to come outside to the stairwell right fucking now,” and I was like “What’s going on?”
I walk out to the stairwell and there are approximately, give or take, ten SWAT team police officers. They’ve got rifles and their big meaty hands are sweating and it’s fucking hot. They’ve got the masks, the whole nine yards, SWAT team getup. And I, again, am in full David Bowie makeup and outfit, wearing like purple pants. One of the cops looks at the manager then looks at me and goes “This is the fucking guy?” I was like “Okay, this is gonna sound a little stupid but, uh, what is going on here?” And they explained to me that there is a hostage situation in one of the low-income housing apartments 5 floors above our show and the SWAT team has to deal with it. I am told by the SWAT team, “You need to make sure that nobody in your little comedy show leaves cuz we need to clear this stairwell in case the hostage situation goes poorly.”
I go back in, and I am like 8 months into comedy, so I do not know how to deal with hosting a show that is going fine that has one heckler let alone know how to deal with a show that is involved in a hostage situation. I go back in and I’m very scared. I don’t know what to do so I just tell the truth. “Hey everybody, um, if you were planning on leaving please don’t leave because there’s a bunch of cops with guns upstairs and there’s a hostage situation and you may get murdered.” It destroyed. It was one of the first huge laughs I got in my comedy career, being honest about the cops with guns. I made some Nakatomi Plaza Die Hard jokes that went really well. Then Matt Dwyer, this super funny comedian, goes up. I apologized profusely for his terrible intro which was “Hey don’t leave or you’ll get shot.” He gets up and destroys because he is fantastic.
I get pulled aside again by the manager. The cops are wiping down the stairs, dusting their hands off. They definitely murdered a human person during my show then just walked out flippantly like, “Hey guys! Have a great show!” They were kick ball changing their way down the stairs. I never heard anything about it on the news. I tried to look it up but that was it. It felt like a David Lynch nightmare scenario for 20 minutes then it just went away which made it even more of a nightmare.
As told to Jenn Tisdale