Music is a big part of my life. Like most comedians, if I couldn’t do stand-up for a living, I would most certainly be a musician. A singer, to be more specific. For some reason, all comedians think they can sing. It’s a thing. Ask any of them. They will tell you they would rather be Eddie Vedder than Eddie Izzard.
And some of us are good singers, too. We could probably do pretty good for ourselves in a band, or at least make it to Hollywood Week on Idol. I can pretty much guarantee that someone would turn their chair around for us on The Voice. Not Christina, but at least Cee Lo. What I’m saying is we have multiple talents, but somewhere along the line, we went with jokes instead of songs. I don’t know if laughter is worth more to us than applause, or if jokes are just easier to write. Whatever the case, we’re comedians and we’re cool with it.
Since I can’t quench my thirst for music myself, I have to attend numerous concerts. It’s the only way I can get my fix. And I go to a lot of concerts. Like, a lot a lot. I just got back from seeing Fiona Apple in Nashville and St. Louis. In one weekend. What can I say? Some people spend their money on clothes or shoes or computers, I spend mine on watching deliciously crazy women sing songs they wrote for me. (I know a lot of people say that musicians write songs for them, like they were inside their head, but Fiona really does write songs for me like she’s inside my head. Sorry I’m not sorry.)
Seeing Fiona two nights in a row brought something to my attention. If you go to intimate live shows, then you know what I’m talking about. I call them The Squawkers. Those people who—during the warmest, quietest, most intense parts of the show—yell “I love you!” as loud as they can and ruin every bit of anticipation you’ve built up.
The squawk is always the same, or at least a variation on the theme. I’ve heard “I love you,” “I love you, Fiona,” “St. Louis loves you,” “We love you!”—it always happens. And it always makes my skin crawl.
Fiona actually handles it the right way, by never ever acknowledging it. People still do it an average of five times per show, but at least she doesn’t justify their egotistic mouths. Eddie Vedder tells people to shut up, but that technique doesn’t really work because they’re getting a response out of him, which is what they were going for in the first place. And the last thing you ever want to do is reward a Squawker, because they’re just going to keep doing it. The worst is when musicians say “I love you” back, because all that does is make the Squawker think they did something right—and post on Facebook that John Mayer loves them. And talk about how cool John Mayer is because he said he loved them. And then every time you hear “Your Body Is A Wonderland” you think about how that song is ruined for you forever because your friend Becky screamed “I love you” at him 25 times after he plucked the first chord. And then people look at you like you’re the jerk.
Or something along those lines.