Even after having lived in Germany for nearly five years now, I still occasionally succumb to embarrassing situations. Like last night.
My friend and I were very excited about going to a stand-up comedy gig in English. IN GERMANY. Doesn’t happen all that often, even though there’s a fair amount of English-speaking comedians in this part of the country.
We bought our tickets well in advance, lest they all be sold-out. We planned our escape from work in a timely fashion so as to go early and get good seats. We arrived at the venue 45 minutes before the show was supposed to start, squeezed ourselves into a table of 8 that we shared with another two groups, and ordered our drinks.
While happily munching on snacks and sipping our drinks, I casually commented on how the crowd did not represent the typical audience for a stand-up comedy gig in English. What I meant was that there were a lot of Germans there, which seemed odd. Events in English mostly attract an eclectic mix of expats and auslander-spouses of locals. And this being Bonn, I expected to recognize a few faces. I didn’t. But I worried not.
When the show eventually kicked into gear and the host came out on stage and welcomed us to the ‘Science Slam’, I had to pause for a second. What ‘Science Slam’? I was here to see ‘Hollywood’s Comedy Night’. My friend eyed the host suspiciously and whispered to me, “Maybe this is part of his act?”
As the host began to introduce the acts for the night – all geeky students there to perform their ‘slam’ – we started to fidget in our chairs. The show had started, and we were sitting right in the middle of the hall and there was no way to venture out to investigate why we were at a ‘Science Slam’. My friend stumbled out anyway, and nonchalantly asked the bartender outside whether the show was meant to be in German, and would they happen to know whatever happened to the stand-up comedy gig?
As it turned out, we were in the right venue, but the wrong hall. The Pantheon in Bonn has another (much smaller) hall behind the main building where our comedy show was taking place. We crawled out of the bigger hall, trying to dodge the inquisitive looks people had started to give us, and were escorted (surely, we couldn’t be trusted to find our own way) to the right place. We had missed almost 40 mins of the show already, but settled in comfortably nevertheless in a hall with hardly 15 people but a few familiar faces, and I knew that this is what we had come to see.