A wise comedian once said: Comedy is not pretty. That’s apparently as true in Bernal Heights as it is in Tinseltown, because there was a some commotion yesterday at the Lucky Horseshoe’s new stand-up comedy night. Neighbor Leander tells it like he saw it:
There was big drama at the Lucky Horseshoe Bar on Cortland tonight. During a stand-up comedy night, a female comedian got into an argument with a bar patron and called 911 onstage.
The drama unfolded during the weekly Comedy at Dusk stand-up night, which features 15-minute sets from several local entertainers. During the third act, the woman comedian got into a heckling match with some customers at the bar. They barged into the bar during the middle of her act and oblivious to what was going on, they rudely disrupted her show.
Then the bartender — who appeared to be friends with the customers — got involved, escalating the situation. Meanwhile, the owner of the bar was playing a noisy PacMan arcade machine that is located in the middle of the bar, distracting the woman onstage. It was noisy, chaotic and slightly crazy. The female comedian’s act became a total circus. She spent the rest of her act yelling at the bartender, the rude customers, and whoever walked in through the door.
Eventually, she grew tired of battling everyone, left the stage and went outside. But one of the customers she had yelled at — a slight Asian man — followed her outside and — allegedly — spat in her face on the sidewalk. I saw him come flying back into the bar. It looked like one of the women’s companions shoved him.
The woman rushed back in and grabbed the microphone from the next comedian, who was in the middle of his act. She announced to everyone that she’d been assaulted and started to dial 911 on stage. The fourth comedian and several others tried to get the microphone back to continue the show, but she refused to give it up. The bar owner got up from her PacMan game, but instead of dealing with the situation, went to the back of the bar and turned the music up very loud. Shortly, three squad cars of cops showed up. Two cop cars pulled up in front with their lights flashing and one around the corner. The first two cops on the scene started interviewing everyone as the other cops realized they weren’t needed and left.
The two cops stayed for about 30 minutes. The Asian man had left the bar and was nowhere to be found. His rude friends assumed a low profile at the bar, laughing and joking with the bartender. After the cops left, the female comedian said the cops were classifying the incident as battery and were planning to pull the bar’s security footage to identify the alleged assailant. People started making jokes about putting up wanted signs around the neighborhood.
As we left, one of the comedians joked we should return again soon. “Come back next week,” she said, “there’ll be blood!”
UPDATE 13 March, 2014: Bernalwood reached out to Eric Embry, co-owner of the Lucky Horseshoe, for comment about the incident. Eric shares these thoughts:
Thanks for letting me know about the post and for the opportunity to respond.
Our goal at The Lucky Horseshoe is to be a cozy, welcoming neighborhood bar that folks in Bernal Heights can call a home away from home. We hope that the live music and other entertainment we schedule will enhance that experience and typically we’ve been pretty successful with what we book. However, what happened Tuesday night at the bar was a very regrettable series of events which, although an anomaly for us, is something we don’t take lightly. Whether it was specific to the people involved or simply just that our bar’s atmosphere doesn’t fit the needs of a comic, by all accounts it was a dreadful few minutes that I imagine all parties involved must regret. We certainly do; this is the first incident of it’s kind in the almost three years we’ve operated The Lucky Horseshoe.
Our policy at The Lucky Horseshoe is simple: all are welcome as long as they respect our business and the neighborhood. We’d like to extend our apologies for the discomfort our patrons must have felt Tuesday evening. We’ve made what we hope are the necessary adjustments to our entertainment calendar to avoid situations like this in the future.
Performers have a responsibility to their audience. The best thing an entertainer can do when losing an audience is take a deep breathe and keep the cool. Perhaps the worst thing to do is to turn the intensity of such a moment into anger at the audience you hope to entertain. And to the alleged spitter I’d say there is no worse way to handle an insult comic than to be personally insulted, and especially to react. You are not welcome at The Lucky Horseshoe.
PHOTO: Neighbor Leander