Ex Bibliotheca

The life and times of Zack Weinberg.

Saturday, 1 February 2003

# 9:20 AM

I went to see the Apollo's touring "Amateur Night" show at the Zellerbach Theater at Cal. I was neither impressed nor amused.

We'll start with the audience. The audience is expected to express approval or disapproval of the act currently on stage; if they boo enough they can get the performer's act cut short. The emcee did a big spiel about how you give everyone a fair chance. This was ignored. One act got booed off the stage before it even began, and another two didn't last thirty seconds. I don't care how lame the act is, you give them a full minute to pull something out; some people are just no good at openings.

Furthermore, the audience seemed to think that all the singers were great and all the dance numbers stank. I mostly liked the dance numbers more than the singers. Difference of taste, perhaps. (And Ghu forbid you should be doing comedy! I suspect the only reason the (extremely good) slam poet got to finish her act was because she was fourteen years old and the audience was specifically told don't boo the children.)

Moving on to the emcee, first off, I don't like the tradition of singling out people in the audience for abuse. And I especially don't like it when the emcee makes fun of the stagehands. But what really stuck in my craw was when the guy went off on a five-minute monologue about religion, starting from the statement that no one's going to boo gospel because everyone believes in Jesus. This at UC Berkeley. And then he went on and on playing on stereotypes of what it's like to attend different ethnic groups' churches and it was lame and boring. I wanted to cast a spell and have a giant hand materialize and yank him off stage. See how he likes it.

All this and most of the acts weren't all that good. Particularly the singers. If I want to hear sappy R&B sung with technical skill and no heart, I can turn on the bloody radio. (See above.) But I do have to say that the duo of singers with Muppets in hand r0xx0red.