A while back I wrote about one of the first paid stand-up comedy gigs I ever had, in the lovely Winnemucca, Nevada. (Here, if you want a little context for today’s story) At the end of it, I mentioned a guy from the casino taking us out to show us Winnemucca’s “nightlife.” I said it was a story for another time.
Well, I have it on good authority that now is another time. A time that will include stick-figure illustrations.
At the end of two grueling nights opening for a comic out of LA, this large man approached us.
He took us to a few places, all sad and hostile, but none more so than this miner’s bar. Winnemucca is a mining area, and these men, solid gray under a layer of dust, had worked all day, hundreds of feet under ground, then come straight here to drink all night.
It seemed like a terrible place to take us, but, I figured, hey – he’s the guide. So there’s them. And there’s us.
One guy at the bar weighed at least 500 pounds. This is not hyperbole. LA Comic nudged me.
Haystack Calhoun was a pro wrestler in the 50’s. I didn’t know that, and assumed that was the guy’s nickname. Because who would possibly walk in and start insulting the miners?
The bar got quieter. “Haystack” lumbered over. It seemed like a bad situation, but – again – there were comics in town every week; they were certainly used to us. After some contemplation, “Haystack” opted to insult and humiliate LA Comic and I for a while and we laughed along, because… you know… survival.
Soon, we – mercifully – left. Next stop? Winnemucca’s “Red Light District”! Although, it seemed less like a “district” than a “Red Light Abyss Of Joyless Sexual Release.” After a short tour, our guide settled on one, and invited us to take advantage of the services. He explained how you can to get them to do stuff without paying. You know: like “test driving a car.”
Off they went to try and trick the prostitutes in to “doing stuff” without paying. I hung out at the bar with the other prostitutes.
I had a drink and a nice chat. They both wound up paying for services. Apparently the prostitutes knew about that “trick.”
Finally, we closed the evening with a drink somewhere that could only be as dreary as I remember it if it was, in fact, in the mine.
And then it was back to the hotel for a very long shower and off to bed.
Of course, every joke needs a punchline, right? Here’s mine.
The next day as I was checking out, I saw the club manager to get paid.
He looked at me and replied: