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Friday, February 04, 2011

The Parlor Comedy Club in Bellevue Experience

My girlfriend and I recently won some free tickets to go see Ralphie May. Fantastic, I thought, as I had seen his show before. I had however never been to the Parlor Comedy Club in Bellevue Washington. For those not living in the Pacific Northwest, Bellevue is a compact city just east of Seattle, crammed full of newly built tall offices and condos. The streets are lined with posh over-priced restaurants where the BMW driving boys, who work for one of the many tech companies in the area, can go to spend money and pic up chicks who spend more time on their hair than they do on their personalities.

The Parlor is a nightclub with a selection of pool tables, a dance floor, and club style music playing. In the back is the comedy club. We gave our "V.I.P." tickets to the hostess who lead us to a table. Apparently V.I.P equals closer to the stage seating, even though the venue is small enough to where it wasn't necessary. The tables were small square ones lined up right next to each other, so as to cram as many people as possible into the venue. The stage was well lit, and the comedy club didn't have the gritty personalities as some you might find in New York, or the character that you would find at the Comedy Underground of Seattle's Pioneer Square. The club looked like a dance club, with a stage and tables where the dance floor should be. In the back of the room they even had a DJ spinning dance music for us to listen to while we waited.

The service wasn't bad, the waitress was as hot as all the other tight-assed little waitresses in the place. She brought us our drinks, took our food order, and we waited for the show to start as the place filled with people. There were two doors on the same wall as the DJ. The door we entered through and another on the far side. Both were open allowing people to enter and exit to the rest rooms in the back.

About 7:45 pm the show started. The lights flashed, a pre-recorded voice announced the start of the show, and a screen in the back began to play previews. Previews of who was coming to the venue and advertisements for contests they were having. The MC eventually came out and did his warm-up bit, then the second comedian did his bit, then the headliner - Ralphie May. He was much closer here than the time I saw him at the Moor in Seattle. He started the show off with a story about why he was heavily medicated, then went into the show doing his bits. But this blog post isn't about Ralphie May, this blog post is about The Parlor.

So, after the show Ralphie told us how he would be in the room next door with CD's, t-shirt's, and to sign autographs and take pictures. Which is typical of any comedy show I've ever been to. Since it was a Thursday night and I had to work the next day, I didn't want to wait to meet him, I just wanted to leave, and so did my girlfriend.

We quickly jumped up and made a path to the door we came in, unfortunately we were turned away, apparently they wanted us to exit through the other side. Crap! So we made our way to the other door, but by this point others trying to leave were doing the same. Yet that door had an employee in front of it as well blocking people from exiting. We were all being funneled to a third door, the door leading to the room that had Ralphie in it. We weren't far from that door, but it wasn't moving. And people were getting cranky. People were getting tightly packed in an alcohol fueled desire to leave, and people were getting mad. My girlfriend was getting anxious as the crowd compacted around us, and I imagined it wouldn't take much for a stampede to begin like a Wal-Mart on black Friday, causing panic and injuries.

GF- We should go out the other door. What are they going to do? They can't stop us from leaving.
Me - True
GF- I'm going to try, you stay here and save our spot in case I can't get out.
Me- Okay

She cut through the crowd to the other door and I lost sight of her. I figured if we got separated, it wasn't that large of a place and we could meet up on the outside. I eventually made it into the room and was able to see the reason for the congestion. The room had a couple pool tables with people weaving around in a line, and at the door, which was right next to the door my girlfriend was trying to leave, was where they set Ralphie May. So the people who wanted to buy stuff and meet him were blocking the exit for everyone who was trying to leave.

Eventually a small group formed a line and began forcing their way through to the door, which I quickly joined and made my way out. On the other side my girlfriend was waiting by the exit of the other door.

Her experience - After going to the door and joining the argument with the person blocking it, some guy had come up and just opened it saying, "they can't stop us from leaving." as people were walking out a bouncer came over and confronted the man. From the sounds of it, the guy wasn't being aggressive, he was just trying to help people out. When the guy went to open the door again, the bouncer tackled him, and a couple other employees came over and all three of them drug the guy off. My girlfriend and another guy were there yelling at the bouncers to let him go, but they didn't.

After finally leaving we discussed the place and came to one very clear conclusion; that we would never go there again. Oh, and that the guy who got tackled by the bouncer should sue the Parlor.



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