Excuse Me for Laughing

“This is a comedy club, not a laughing house. Please leave, Madam.”

Yes, this essentially happened to me.  The weirdest things always do as people often tell me.  Last Monday, my husband and I were on a double date with another couple.  Like most couples with children, we don’t get out much, and had been looking forward to the evening for a month.  We planned dinner and a comedy show.  I was so excited to see Martin Lawrence, a comedian I have loved since childhood.  I have heard, “Dammmmnnnnnn, Gina,” a million times because that’s my name too.  People think they are funny and original when they say it to me.

Anyway, the night started at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse where we arrived at approximately 7:45 pm.  The food and service were outstanding.  I enjoyed a very dirty classic vodka martini before dinner and a glass of wine with my meal.  We had a great time, catching up, and laughing…gasp!  I was never asked to keep it down.  In fact, I have never been asked to muffle my laughter in a public setting before by anyone besides my Grandmother, and I do love to laugh.

This time, I wasn’t asked to quiet my laughter by my Grandmother, and I wasn’t in just any public place.  I was asked to laugh quieter as a patron sitting in the back row of a comedy performance with a full crowd.

From Comedy Work's website.  Keep the women in the background and add "quietly" over their heads.

From Comedy Work’s website. Keep the women in the background and add “quietly” over their heads.

Only, I wasn’t asked at all initially.  I found out later my husband was told to keep his wife quiet or we would be asked to leave.

You read that right.  The waitress at the comedy club, under manager direction, asked a man to “keep his bitch in check”.  This is USA 2015, right??  As my husband told me, we came there to laugh and enjoy ourselves.  He knows sexism when he sees it, and he refused to stifle my good time. Eventually, the waitress told me herself to either keep my laughter down or I would be asked to leave.  I was mortified.

I won’t bore you with the details, if you are interested in my version of events, they can be viewed here and here on Facebook.    

I spoke to the “manager”, but he was rude and condescending.  He treated me like a child and belligerent drunk all in one (by this point in the night, I had 2.5 drinks over the same span of time if not longer.  I felt good, but was by no means drunk.  My loud laughter was not a result of the number of alcoholic beverages I consumed.  It’s just me. I laugh loudly.  I speak loudly.).  I wrote this review just after midnight on the way home.  Looks like the words of someone that deserved to be treated like a belligerent drunk, right?!Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 9.57.47 AMThe second manager was slightly better, but I got no where with either of them.  I never got an explanation of why I was told to laugh quieter or else be removed.  The show was over.  I missed the second half of Martin Lawrence’s performance.

I was furious.  My husband went to get the manager’s card.  We forgot to grab it, and I wanted to contact someone about what happened to me.  It was then that he received an apology and a refund.  Wait…what??  I argued for thirty minutes, and was treated like trash, to no avail, but my husband made progress in mere moments.  Tell me again that sexism isn’t rampant.

We still don’t know who was managing what that night because three different men represented themselves as such, none of whom ended up being the GM.  Mr. Jeffrey B. Fisher, the actual General Manager of Comedy Works Landmark Place, was too busy drinking at the bar to deal with customers that night.  I realized this when I met him in person.  My husband recognized him as the man laughing loudly over drinks at the bar with another man.  Imagine that.  Laughing loudly…I guess it’s ok when a man does it…

Is there a certain way women are allowed to laugh in public in the United States in 2015?  According to Mr. Fisher, yes, there is.  Although, I still don’t know what that way is.  When, later on in the week I came back, and I asked for clarification of the Comedy Works “laughter decibel” policy, Mr. Fisher became irate, threatened to rescind my refund, walked towards me aggressively with his 6’3″+, 300+ pound body, and told me to get off the premises.  This was after he yelled at me, waved his finger through the air and in my face, and interrupted me repeatedly.

I didn’t budge.  I told him I had a right to be on the property and inquire about my refund.  He walked off in a huff.  At this point, I didn’t know what to do, so I called the LoneTree police department for assistance.  Dispatch notified me that Mr. Fisher had already contacted the police and they were en route.

What?  Did I hear this right?  The General Manager of a well known establishment called the police on a patron because she wanted to give a formal complaint, and requested the company policy on laughter while waiting for the printout of her refund?  Sounds absurd, right?  This is no laughing matter.  The police arrived within minutes.

What is wrong with the sound of a woman laughing?  It offends men.  There is a long and brutal history of women punished and chastised for their laughter.   Mr. Fisher, you scoffed and laughed in my face when I noted the multiple instances of sexism I encountered at your establishment.  You told me, a woman, that I don’t know what sexist behavior is.  Do better.  Listen to women.

Ms. Wende Curtis, I implore you, to stand behind your reputation as a strong business woman, and as owner of the Comedy Works South, to fix this problem of sexism within your company.

The laughter of women sets fire
to the Halls of Injustice
and the false evidence burns
to a beautiful white lightness

It rattles the Chambers of Congress
and forces the windows wide open
so the fatuous speeches can fly out

The laughter of women wipes the mist
from the spectacles of the old;
it infects them with a happy flu
and they laugh as if they were young again

Prisoners held in underground cells
imagine that they see daylight
when they remember the laughter of women

It runs across water that divides,
and reconciles two unfriendly shores
like flares that signal the news to each other

What a language it is, the laughter of women,
high-flying and subversive.

Long before law and scripture
we heard the laughter, we understood freedom.

by Liesel Mueller

*UPDATE*

The moderator for the Landmark Facebook page deleted my posts to their page and also a post by a friend.  Rather than respond publicly to my criticism on their own page, “Susan” left this lovely comment on my profile denying their actions and calling me a liar. Like seriously, if this doesn’t illustrate my account, I don’t know what will. Their lack of customer service is seething.

Screen Shot 2015-07-25 at 8.11.53 AM

https://www.facebook.com/poliscimommy/posts/10205309749755599?pnref=story