Bobby Bronco is working on a standup set at the end of this month and has asked me to help. You know, because I’m funny. If you’re not familiar with Bobby, the man who bombed at a bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (they just about went after him with torches), you can see his debut performance at the Gotham Comedy Club in Chelsea, Manhattan in the YouTube video below.
In this new set, he’s going to talk about strange things going on in his neighborhood. You may recall that Bobby moved to the Bay Area at the same time I did (August 2019). Unfortunately, he still hasn’t settled in. Maybe he misses the Bronx with its ice cream trucks, evangelists, and tricked out Hondas screeching around Arthur Avenue (see Killing Me Softly, Mister Softee; Summer in the City; Bread Crumbs). You would think that palm trees, sauvignon blanc, and the frothy waters of Monterey Bay would keep him happy, but de gustibus non disputandum est. Bobby, it turns out, is a temperamental guy. You never know what’s going on with him.
The first of the strange things in his set involves Starbuck’s. When he goes there, he tells me, they yell at him. “Who yells at you?” I ask. “The baristas,” he answers in a low voice. “What are you talking about?” Then he tells me how he’s a little slow on the draw when they call his name. So they have to call it several times, and by the time he gets to the counter they’re practically screaming at him à la Sam Kinison. So, he’s writing a bit about an “Anger Management Starbuck’s” where people with issues work as baristas and learn not to yell at customers. Eventually, though, the whole thing blows up. I suppose it could work if he screams loud enough.
Related to this is when Bobby goes to the supermarket and approaches the deli counter. As soon as he gets within “ordering range,” the workers behind the counter turn their backs and take on some other task like slicing massive blocks of cheese or scrubbing pots and pans. When they finally acknowledge his presence, it takes at least twenty minutes to complete the order. And, of course, they hand him the shrimp salad or deviled eggs with a grunt and stink eye.
“They can’t all be like that,” I tell him, thinking of my mother working at a deli counter in ShopRite after her kids left home. “They are, trust me,” he says, adding that things have gotten so bad that he avoids the deli department when certain people are there, preferring instead to buy canned tuna. “Well, it’s good for you, isn’t it?” I say, trying to make the best of a deli-cate situation. He shakes his head. “Sodium. It’ll be the death of me.” So, he’s going to do a bit about dying from canned tuna and how he worked with a guy who ate a can every day at his desk for years. I have doubts, especially when he told me the guy is still alive.
The last bit of his set is about how he finds discarded bags of dog feces around his neighborhood left by owners who, apparently, can’t be bothered with tossing the pastel-colored baggies away. Bobby likens this to an Easter egg hunt and will suggest that there is an opportunity here for some Silicon Valley entrepreneur to start a doggie bag pickup service for both individual pet owners and municipalities so that no one has to deal with doo-doo as they swirl sauvignon blanc at the beach. I don’t know how funny that will be, but given people’s obsession with pets, Bobby may be contacted by angel investors soon. You heard it here first, ladies and gentlemen.
The question is, will “Tales from the Hood” be a hit, or will the audience form a posse and reenact Bobby’s defeat at Williamsburg, which sounds like a Civil War battle and could be fodder (cannon?) for another bit? It’s up to Bobby now, although he would be wise to take a cue from one of Gotham Comedy’s stars, Ross Bennett, who advises comics not to go for the laugh but to tell a story. Thankfully, when it comes to stories, Bobby is full of them. We’ll see how the screaming goes.
Image credits: feature by Obi – @pixel7propix; canned fish by Ignat Kushanrev; bags by Brian Yurasits; Starbuck’s by Isaac Matthew; Starbuck’s employee by Dmitriy Nushtaev. Want more? Go to Robert Brancatelli. The Brancatelli Blog is a member of The Free Media Alliance, which promotes “alternatives to software, culture, and hardware monopolies.”