A sheet of paper is transformed into a launch missile.
It’s Monday at the Globe Pub, and paper bedecks the tables like place settings. Typed on the face of each sheet are detailed instructions: crumple into a ball and hurl at the performers deemed “a waste of time.” Patrons boo at the top of their lungs and gleefully chuck wads at the stage. Hecklers shout with free abandon. Occasionally the on-stage act scoops up a projectile and lobs it back at the crowd.
“A comedian needs to be comfortable bombing to become great, ” says the host for the evening, Jason Fever. He conducts this madcap ceremony, “Globe Gong Idol,” an open-mic gong show in which the participating comedians and musicians are lucky if they last a minute without earning the ire of the volatile (and fully armed) crowd.
Comedian Ken Barnard has arrived prepared. He wears a white jumpsuit and goggles. After duct-taping shower curtains to the wall behind him and covering the floor, he produces three-dozen packs of tomatoes and sets them on a ledge within easy reach of the crowd. “You all are pathetic,” he sneers. A wadded paper whizzes by his head. “And your aim sucks.” Another wad hits his forehead. “Oooh…paper,” he jeers. “You wusses, throwing your pathetic paper…” Barnard continues to abuse the rowdy audience, until at last a patron seizes the taunting tomatoes and passes them out to the crowd.
Paper no more. Barnard adjusts his goggles and buckles down for the onslaught. (Laura Hawbaker)