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Ryan de la Garza is an excellent Omaha based comic who has an excellent wife and they both make delicious food they are willing to share with other comics. There is no need for Ryan to indulge in certain vices because he has a well-rounded life. He knows that now. He didn’t always know that. -ed.

The first time I was asked to perform a “drunk movie review” on stage was August 24, 2013. Drunk History premiered the previous month on Comedy Central so I was right on the cusp of the getting-drunk-and-talking-about-things movement that was just hitting the states.

I wanted to review an understated cinematic classic with universal themes so I chose the best road trip movie from 1987 that had kids all over the world declaring they were “super in to arm wrestling now,” Over the Top.

When the $9 (free shipping) Blu-Ray arrived via mail I diligently watched it twice in one week making sure to pause and take important notes like, “this movie has the same intro as The Shining” and “there aren’t enough PG movies with graphic compound fractures.”

Armed with those observations, I was almost ready to impress 30 polite people in a dank brick basement known as the Studio Gallery with knowledge of a film whose main character’s last name is somehow simultaneously Hawk and Hawks. Before that, though, I first had to drink a bottle of cheap red wine followed by a bottle of cheaper redder wine, which I did successfully.

I gave my review and the little crowd loved it.

Although I didn’t really “review” the movie as much as stomp around the makeshift plywood stage and shout about suspenders and backwards hats, the audience much preferred that to actual in-depth analysis of a film starring multiple pro wrestlers.

In other words, this was not my nightmare gig. That happened later, but only because this show happened first.

I was booked on another drunk movie review show the following March, this time as the headliner due to my initial drunken achievement. I had somehow set a precedent of reliability based on my own unpredictable actions, which I’m pretty sure is how most nightmares begin.

Seven months had passed and in that time the Studio Gallery was converted into an Alice in Wonderland themed vape shop. So, in need of a new home, Drunk Movie Reviews moved to a large concert venue in Omaha called The Waiting Room Lounge. It is not a dank brick basement that only fits 30 people; it’s a large hall that when not hosting bands like St. Vincent and Dinosaur Jr. has occasional local comedy shows for audiences of slightly more than 30 people.

It’s in a popular neighborhood, but free comedy shows at The Waiting Room don’t get a lot of walk-ups. That is, unless it’s St. Patrick’s Day. If you’re wondering what could make a drunk movie review show even better, it’s a massive green-clad audience that is equally as drunk and incapable of following a coherent narrative as the comedians. It was March 17, our lucky night.

It was a pretty packed show with two hosts and nine reviewers and from what I gleaned from my wife in a post blackout interview, I was determined to take the drunk part of the show “more seriously than them.”

“You were drinking wine, whiskey, and a whole lot of beer,” She told me, “Oh yeah, and absinthe.”

Absinthe isn’t an afterthought beverage. It’s a plan and prepare and avoid all microphones beverage. I did none of those things. By the time the host called my name, I was not in the goofy “stomp around shouting” mood I’d been in at the previous review show. That time had passed because I take show themes way too literally.

I didn’t mention it earlier, but shortly after my Over the Top exposition when I stepped off stage, my brain crossed a line, the thin line that separates a really drunk person from a blackout who won’t remember his adverse actions in the morning. It’s a line you never see coming, not unlike the razorwire booby traps they use on the Tour de France to decapitate rogue cyclists.

I was well over that line that day in March when I walked to the stage to share my review of Twilight Zone the Movie. I have no actual memory of anything beyond this point, only what I learned from my wife and other horrified witnesses.

As I reached the mic, my first order of business was to unbuckle my black leather belt and slide off my tight gold houndstooth pants to “prove that I was drunk.” Saying a few words would have sufficed, but again, I was trying to take this show seriously. I’m told this decision was met with more than a few boos.

There was a table of people in the back of the room who were really upset by my semi-nudity and they made sure to tell me. They were the only African Americans in the building and my next order of business was to reassure them that we were all there to have fun. I went about this by touching on my first planned bullet point of the night: RACISM IN THE TWILIGHT ZONE MOVIE.

Needless to say, this decision fared slightly worse than the disrobing thing and the rest of the audience used their voices to convey just that. Fact: nobody wants to hear a half-naked man’s opinions on social justice during the feast of St. Patrick. Quickly realizing this, a member of the Waiting Room staff kindly asked the hosts to escort me off the stage and end the show.

In just two minutes I had turned 150 people against me. If only I could have wowed them with my stomp shouts.

The hosts began saying their goodbyes as I sauntered off the stage, but I had one more thing I wanted to do before the night was over: stage dive. Even blackout drunk I know it’s rude to jump directly on to people so I just belly-flopped off the side of the three-foot stage onto the concrete floor and slid into a door frame instead. The injuries I suffered from this were not hospital severe, but they still linger a year later serving as reminders of how not to be. The only thing worse than my constant back pain is when people tell me they’ve seen me do stand up just once and it was at this show.

On the plus side, The Waiting Room has yet to be converted into a Disney friendly vape tavern and this show no longer happens there, or anywhere else in Omaha for that matter. If it were to return someday, I wouldn’t give it a third go, partially because I’m trying to take things less seriously these days, and partially because I quit drinking a month after this show.

Lastly, in case anyone is curious, my “set” that night was captured on camera. My wife filmed the entire debacle with her phone, but I haven’t been able to watch it to this day. Maybe someday I will find the courage.

If I ever start drinking again I might even do a review of it.

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