Last Friday Sarah and I went to see a clown show, performed by Stefano Iamboloni who also bills himself as "Idiota Profesional.1" We had no idea what to expect other than the fact that an alt-monthly said the show "promises to sketch a soul into the darkness, do hula hoop dancing, and put things in tu boca," so I braced myself for hula hoops and the possibility that the hoops might end up in my mouth.
We walked the couple blocks to the venue El Colmado, which resembled a Williamsburg event space that's purposely only been 20% renovated from its original state of shambles because A) it looks more vintage chic that way, and more importantly B) their budget does not allow for more than a shitty bar and shittier table and chairs. In an effort to one up Billyburg (and prevent death) the ceiling was suspended by brightly painted metal tension rods, which provided that special "this could all fall in on us" mystique — the same quality that makes Chilean mining so sexy2.
After taking in the scene for 15 minutes, Sarah, myself and the other 10 people in the crowd were introduced to Sr. Idiota Profesional, a guy in a fancy cheap suit. He began with a monologue about how the company that was supposed to perform the night's Shakespearean play was in a plane accident3 so he would be performing the entire play himself, by trumpet. He said this in a serious tone three times over, for a comedic effect, which also helped Sarah and I understand what he was saying.
His entire performance was divided into acts, one was about "funky" music, which involved him dancing/lip-syncing to several different genres of music. There was a bit on childhood, where he dramatically reminisced about the joys of playing with friends as a kid, before breaking into "If You're Happy and You Know it" with all 12 of us singing along. After this, he got to the topic of love and called a girl from the audience to engage in an intense pillow fight with him, a battle so intense that for a moment I thought the girl might have been planted in the crowd. But she was not, she was a just a damn good pillow fighter.
One of his other moments involved him singing "We Are the World" and walking out into the street to sing at random people walking by. Each bit was broken up by him acting like he was going to play his trumpet, before promptly putting the trumpet down before he'd blow a note. Then he triumphantly raised an all-important "caja de misterio (mystery box)" that's contents he could not reveal until the end.
For his final act, he ripped off his suit to reveal a superhero costume of neon green tights with gold accents4. He called himself "Super Bello Man" or something like that. I can't remember, but it was all vastly entertaining.
Afterward we hung out, complimented his act, and learned that the Pro Idiot spoke fluent English, as well as Italian, so I guess I'm the barely bilingual idiot now. He talked about the art of contemporary clowning and how it's much different in Spain than it is in the United States. He also told me he doesn't do stand-up comedy because he thinks stand-up comics feel superior to the crowd, if only I better understood Catalan socialism, I'm sure I could easily string the two together. He also told us his goals were to make the show "much stupider" and use less words. Interesting goals.
Despite the fact that I've made this sound like a shitty show that would be performed on a cruise ship5, for kids, or for kids on a cruise ship6, Sarah and I actually really, really enjoyed the whole thing. I was happy watching the entire thing. I was happy afterward. I was happy with my 5€ investment in the performance. The only thing that pissed me off was that the big reveal at the end of the "caja de misterio" opened up to a sign that said "The End," and I was mainly pissed that it did not say "El Fin."
However, looking back on it, I wonder if I really only enjoyed it because it was all in Spanish and I took pride in understanding it. This is a phenomena that I'm starting to pay attention to more and more as I think I get way too much fun out of translating things. I wonder if the tens of millions of English-as-a-second-language Americans get that much pleasure from every single thing they do in the States. Then again, perhaps in a month's time I've became such a progressive European that I don't care about missing the NFL conference finals, as I can only find amusement in the haute-comedy of clowning.
1. Until this show the dumbest-named act I had ever seen was "My Robot Friend," who actually was far worse than Idiota Professional, in that MRF wore a really shitty robot costume that was loaded with strobe lights. At one point in the show he pantomimed masturbating while ejaculating ping pong balls at the crowd. Later in his performance, his nose started bleeding uncontrollably — a result of either rocking out too hard or being blown out of his mind, most likely a combination of both.
2. Probably waayyyy too late to make a Chilean miners joke. I'm sorry.
3. Thankfully this has nothing to do with a plane crash, but I find the whole Spanair abrupt shutdown very interesting.
4. I was really glad it was not an It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia "Green Man" suit, because I fucking hate anyone outside of Charlie Kelly who wears that suit.
5. If anybody else heard NPR's initial story about the Italian coast guard commander Gregorio De Falco becoming a hero for telling the captain of the capsized Costa Concordia to "Get back onboard dammit." Then read that "De Falco's Italian expletive is actually much harsher than "damn it" — but the line has become a national catchphrase and is Italy's top trending hashtag, or keyword on Twitter."
Then wondered what really was that profanity and poorly Googled and could not find it because you're an idiot. Well, after two weeks I finally figured it out: "The Italian word De Falco used, "cazzo" in Italian, literally is slang for penis but it is also commonly used to emphasize something." Now I can sleep.
6. I imagine all of those things would pay better than whatever Idiota Profesional made for the gig I saw.
Also let the Google cache record show that Stefano Iamboloni is a very talented individual and this silly blog is not meant to slight him in any way.