by Casey Rea
Trust the Dust.
I'm planning on putting together a full San Francisco update, but for the meantime, dig this:
Brooke and I were hanging out on the docks (no jokes please) when we happened upon a sidewalk sign for some comedy club called the Green Room. Neither of us had actually ever been to such a place, but that's beside the point. What really caught our attention (actually Brooke's) was the picture on the marquee.
"Is that Screech?" she asked, squeezing my arm.
Indeed, it was. Dustin Diamond, star of TV's "Saved by the Bell" was staring back at us from the board. The show, which featured only one opening act, started at 8:30 p.m. At that moment it was around 6. While I was intrigued by the idea of checking out Screech's stand-up, we had some time to kill, and I was getting hungry.
"Let's go get something to eat first, and if we're feeling up to it, maybe we can go see the show," I said. It was agreed.
Dinner was consumed, and margaritas guzzled.
Walking back past the club, we again paused before Diamond's unmistakable visage. I was still on the fence, but Brooke pushed me over it with gusto.
"We have to go see him," she said. "If we don't, we'll end up torturing ourselves wondering what it was like."
She had a point. We weaved through the human detritus to the club entrance, where a gussied-up chick was standing behind some kind of podium. This was the Gatekeeper. Suddenly it dawned on me that this was a real show, where they, like, charge admission.
"What if it's too expensive?" I asked Brooke.
"Should we set a limit?" she replied. We decided on twenty bucks, which turned out to be the ticket price. Kinda steep. But at that moment Screech himself walked by.
"How was your hamburger?" the Gatekeeper inquired, as Screech opened the door with authority.
"It was sooo damn good," he answered, before vanishing into the venue.
"He's really dirty," the Gatekeeper said to us, as if confiding a secret.
OK. We have to see this fucker. Paying the cover, we entered the venue.
Inside, we took our seats at a tiny table near the right side of the stage. We could have sat dead center, but I figured that might be a little too risky. Who knows if Screech will attack?
Comprising the audience was a gaggle of college-age gals, a few thirtysomething couples, and a contingent of older folks positioned on the opposite side as ourselves.
The opening act was about as dull as one might expect. What does it say about your talent if you're warming up for Screech? Twenty bucks was beginning to seem like a real waste of money.
Finally, Dustin took the stage. He immediately launched into a spiel about "Grandma porn," which was neither shocking nor provocative. The lamest part is that he kept anticipating differing reactions from the males and females in the crowd. "You guys know what I'm talking about," he'd say. "But you chicks are, like, ummm...."
Wow. That's almost as funny as noting the differences between how white people and black people dance.
He later told a convoluted tale about an old Jewish woman who happpened to catch one of his performances. Apparently, she enjoyed his rap about geriatric genitals. The story resolved itself in a "punch line" in which the elderly gal lifts up her skirt and yells, "Soup!" Don't ask me what the fuck that means, but he used it as as a "callback" throughout the set.
At that point, a handful of the older folks in the crowd got up and left.
"Where are you going?" Screech asked. "To take a shit?" Still not funny.
Soon we were treated to the revelation that Mark-Paul Gosselaar (who played Zach on SBTB) was in fact, a homosexual. "All I'm sayin' is that Zach loves the cock," Screech said. "Trust the Dust."
And there's another one: "Trust the Dust." What a sorry-ass catchphrase.
It wasn't a total wash, however. Diamond had one really funny bit where he was mistaken for an employee at Wal-Mart by a less than brilliant customer. Said shopper implored him to "get back to the breakroom and put on an apron," which he did. Diamond summarily re-arranged the entire Bay Area store to his likings.
"First things first: I put the Visine next to the Twinkies, where they belong," he said. For proof of his tale, he pulled a Wal-Mart apron from the bag he'd brought onstage. It seemed plausible enough, and showed the lengths to which Screech will go for his "comedy."
Trust the Dust.
At the end of the night, we headed for the restrooms, where a major line had developed due to a suspicious lack of porcelain. One of the employees, a stocky Mexican fella who looked like he'd stepped out of central casting for a spaghetti western, began to chat me up.
"It's great you came in tonight," he said.
"Yeah, it was fun," I replied.
"So what's up with those old people walking out?" He asked me.
"I dunno. I was on the other side of the crowd."
"Well I guess they were Christians."
"Yeah, they came and gave me a hard time about how offended they were."
"Can you believe that?"
"What I can't believe is why older folks who have conservative religious beliefs would even enter a comedy club."
By that point I'd managed to complete my transaction.
"I know, it man. Well, have a good one, buddy."
In Brooke's bathroom line, the ladies expressed indignation at something entirely different. No, it wasn't Diamond's million references to feminine hygiene, or even his "Grandma porn" bit. It was the fact that "Zach" was gay. No one wanted to believe it.
People are sad and ridiculous.
Still, it was a fun night. You gotta admit, Screech is hardly who you'd expect me to go see in San Francisco.
Supposedly Diamond has a TV comedy special coming up. At least that's what he says. And as you've learned, it's all about trust. Anyway, maybe you can catch a glimpse of "The Dust" in action.
POSTSCRIPT: This isn't Dustin Diamond's home page. Apparently, he sued the webmaster. Unsuccessfully.
This is. T the D, kiddies.