Here’s what happened at Monkey Pants-
On 9/3 I received a text message from the manager saying that they were going to start a two drink minimum in October, so I should start mentioning that at shows. Steve and I wanted to talk to someone about that, to have a conversation about it rather than just receive a directive, so I messaged her back the next morning saying we should get together and talk soon. I got no response. I messaged several times over the next couple days and finally got a response on 9/7 asking if we could meet before the next Thursday (9/11)show. I said yes and provided a time that would be appropriate for all parties. I got no response. Three days later I messaged again asking if we could meet at the time I suggested. I got a response saying she was now going to be battling cancer and that she was going to go into a meeting with the owner. I expressed my condolences and stated that we weren’t excited about the two drink minimum, that we understood it from the server’s and bar’s perspective, but that we weren’t really excited about it. After several hours, I messaged her again, asking how the meeting was, and she said that the owner wanted me to call and he would explain the two drink minimum.
*sigh* *rising dread*
I called the owner around 6p on Thursday, and left a voicemail. He called back a couple hours later, but I was getting ready for Pants and couldn’t take a call. I called back twice the next day and got no response. I called back two days later and got no response. I called back another two days later, left another voicemail, and got another call back a couple hours later. And holy cow, I wish I’d recorded it.
The conversation started pleasant enough, and when we got around to talking about the two drink minimum, I asked if it was because the servers weren’t making enough money, or what was going on. Steve & I had observed only two tables the previous show that were just drinking water. He talked about being a businessman, and he needs to make money, and I said I understood that, it’s a symbiotic relationship- we put on a good show, but we need a place to put on a good show, and the place needs to make money so we have a place to put on a good show. He mentioned many times throughout the conversation that we put on a hell of a show, and that it wasn’t what it is now before we took it over, and that people are getting a great free show and no one was getting paid so the audience should support the show by buying something. When I asked if he was expecting attendance to drop off initially, that is when things took an ugly turn.
He told me it sounded like we didn’t want to run the show anymore, that he didn’t need me telling him how to run his business. He told me he couldn’t believe that I was resisting him on this and that he expected me to say that I love running shows at Pants and whatever he wanted to do was fine. He told me he would do whatever the fuck he wanted with his business, and if he wanted to double his prices he would. When he was done, I asked him to let us finish out October, because we’d already begun booking October, and we would evaluate our situation around the middle of the month. He said, no, we’re done, there’s no more show, we’re done right now. He said fuck comedy, I don’t need it at Monkey Pants. I asked if he would let us finish out September, and he again said no, there’s no more comedy at Monkey Pants. He said, “I don’t know what kind of relationship you think we have, but you’re wrong.”
Well, not much reasoning with that, right?
So, we cancelled everyone we had booked, emailed everyone saying comedy was cancelled at Pants so they didn’t show up to no comedy, and began spreading the word. A day later, Wednesday, yesterday, amid all the questions and re-booking, finding a place for our Thursday headliner to perform, and thanking everyone for their support, we got a call from our Thursday headliner saying someone from Monkey Pants contacted him and that they still wanted him to perform this Thursday. As it turns out, after the owner fired us, we who had worked booking and running shows for the last three years with no pay other than a Thursday night bar tab and a $100 gift card to Monkey Pants every six months, he decided to keep this show moving forward. After saying, “fuck comedy, I don’t need it at Monkey Pants.”
I don’t fault the headliner for going and performing at Pants tonight, they offered to pay him. I don’t fault tonight’s producer for producing the show at Pants tonight, he’s helping out a longtime friend. I only fault the owner of Monkey Pants for not allowing us to finish out our obligations, to produce the shows we booked, and instead try to use those bookings that we got and continue on. It turns out I was, in fact, wrong about the relationship that I thought we had. I though when he said he didn’t need comedy at Monkey Pants, he meant it.
So, we’ll be avoiding Monkey Pants from now on. We are choosing to never give money to someone that could treat show producers and comics like that. All we ever did is put the performers first, and in turn, the audience came. Happy performers make a happy audience. Happy audiences should eat and drink at the bar. If they don’t there’s something wrong with those people. But there’s also something very wrong with people that can treat loyal customers and employees so callously. If you plan to visit Monkey Pants soon for any reason, just remember that whatever kind of relationship you think you have with the place, you’re wrong.
Thanks to all the comics, local, national, and international, that have made the last three years amazing. Thanks to everyone for the support during this shitstorm of a time.
Fuck Pants and Fuck Cancer.