Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The First Course: A Sunday Night Comedy of Errors at The Laugh Factory

As we mull over the menu at Pizzicotto, Daisy enthusiastically reminds us not to order too much: “The Laugh Factory website said that it’s chocolate sundae night. Everyone gets a chocolate sundae, so we have to eat dessert twice tonight!”

I thought it sounded strange: a free chocolate sundae for each guest? What did that mean? The questions pop up: what is a chocolate sundae anyways? Chocolate ice-cream with chocolate syrup?

“Yuck.” Mom chimes in, “That wouldn’t go at all. They’d better have vanilla (little did she know that there would be a conspicuous shortage of vanilla).”

“I’m sure they just use Dreyers or something.” Dad adds.

I still thought it was a little bizarre, and the truth of the matter probably would have dawned on me sooner if Daisy had not perpetrated the myth over dinner. Turns out the joke was on us.

We arrive at the Laugh Factory hours ahead of schedule, and proceed to line up behind two puffy faced youths who look like they should be attending the latest computer gaming convention. Nothing seems amiss. As we wait, the line behind us lengthens… before long Daisy, Dad, Mom, the dweebs and I are the minority and Mom begins her usual commentary on the company. “What’s with Daisy and black guys anyways? No shortage of guys for her to date here!” Cornrows and fros surround us. Beautiful, ebony-skinned women, decked to the nines, line up arm-in-arm with their coffee, black, and yes, chocolate, companions. The only vanilla in sight is the duo in front of us.

We strike up a conversation with the cream-puff dweebs.

“We came for the chocolate sundaes!” Mom says. I’m sure a bemused glance passed between their chubby faces, but we fail to notice.

The doorman comes by to arrange the lines, and separates the “guest list” to the side. “Do we still get a sundae if we’re not on the guest list?” Mom asks innocently.

"Ha..." The doorman gives an uncertain laugh. His raised eyebrow and perplexed smile suddenly conveys all. With growing horror I pray that Mom will keep her mouth shut but she continues: “That’s the whole reason we came! We’d better get our chocolate sundaes. We saved room!”

Mortification sinks in. The doorman realizes she’s not kidding, but attempts to play it off. “Haha, free chocolate sundaes for everyone. That would be a good one.” For some reason I seem to be the only one to realize that we will not be met with two scoops of ice-cream and a drizzle of chocolate-syrup upon entering the laugh factory. I recall our earlier, perfectly audible, and likely overheard discussion on how we had gorged ourselves at dinner, and how we would never be able to fit a sundae into our stuffed stomachs. For a moment I wish that I too had dark skin to hide the bloom of beet-red spreading over my pale cheeks.

Then Mom serves the cherry-on-top: “Wouldn’t it be terrible if there weren’t really any chocolate sundaes, and it was just a play on words?” she wonders aloud. The guys in front of us snicker. I can’t take it anymore. “Mom, it is a play on words. I’m pretty sure there are no chocolate sundaes.” “What? Really? No!” She exclaims. Despite the lemon tart, profiteroles, and chocolate torte that we devoured earlier her voice betrays disappointment. I don’t bother to explain the growing obviousness of the metaphor:

Sunday night + Lots of Black people = Chocolate Sunday Night at the Laugh Factory.


Only the Robintons would take any offer of food literally. Let the Robinton Dish begin!