If you’ve ever seen me do stand-up, chances are you’ve heard an abbreviated part of this story. I figured this would be the perfect chance to share the whole experience of how one night Honey Boo Boo came to Vaudeville
What started out as a typical Saturday night at Vaudeville turned into a storm of ridiculousness. On Saturdays at that point, we were running 2 murder mystery shows and then a late night standup show. Obviously, that made for a long, but incredibly fun, day for me. Our Saturday lineup at the time was our Office Party dinner show followed by our newest show – The Mystery of the Facebook Fugitive (which had nothing to do with the show. The show was an American Idol spoof. Dumb title. Bad show. I digress).
We were in between our 2 murder mystery shows, when I was called to the box office. This wasn’t anything out of the norm; by this point I had pretty much done everything at Vaudeville except cook, and sometimes they needed my help with stuff. When I got the box office, our box office attendant had a weird smile on her face. When I asked what was up, she told me the news: Honey Boo Boo was coming to the Facebook show. Apparently, they were in town having a little vacation, and decided to come see our show (looking back on this – HOW NUTS IS THAT? Huge reality star came to our little dinner theatre. Super cool). I told the box office to keep it quiet. She’s a guest – the last thing we want to do is draw too much attention to her
But word spread fast
Attention was drawn
It got a little ugly
Before our actual show would start, our actors would go out and get to know the audience. We called it “table talk”. You’d introduce your characters to the audience and subtly (or for most not so subtly) fish for celebrations (birthdays. Anniversaries, divorces) so we could write their names down on our clipboard so that the cop could “interrogate” them after the murder had happened. Some of our actors at the time were new and not the most professional, so I really shouldn’t have been shocked when I walked out to start my table talk and a couple of them were running around to tables screaming, “Honey Boo Boo’s here! Honey Boo Boo’s here!” Even one of our older actresses, who wasn’t even in the 2nd show that night, decided she needed to go around and fangirl out.
It was then I knew it was going to be a long night ahead
I pulled everyone aside and told them to stop telling people she was here. She’s an audience member. Let her enjoy the show we’re putting on. Let her have a night of peace. Again, this was 2013 at the height of this little girl’s popularity. Let her have fun!
And fun she did have
We did sit them up front, but kind of away from most of the audience. We had four long tables up front for our bigger parties, so Honey Boo Boo, Mama June, Sugar Bear, Pumpkin, Sneezy, Doc, Sleepy and the rest of the gang had the best seats in the house. We were cautious not to mention them or draw too much (more) attention to them, and I honestly think they appreciated that a lot. If memory serves me correctly, we may have pulled Pumpkin up to do a rap, or maybe she just fell in love with the actor playing Bobby Bobby the rapper that night. Either way they had a great time.
The crazy twist to whole story was, they weren’t the craziest family there.
If you watched their reality show, or even if you didn’t – the stereotype was they were a bunch of wild rednecks (Amused Author’s Note: I so wish they had come to our Redneck Wedding show. They would have blended right in! They picked the wrong show!), but at the show they were the farthest thing from that. They were cordial and on their best behavior.
The table beside them though, well that was a different story.
I don’t like to stereotype people, but this group was the definition of “mountain people”. You know the Deliverance type that look like they all live together in a cabin and make meth and moonshine all day? That was this table. They were loud, rowdy, and insufferable. At one point my character, American Idol producer Tommy Def, was launching into this monologue about talent. The table was being disruptive, so I shut them down as nicely as I could while still trying to be funny and keep the atmosphere lively. The grandma of the gang promptly rose from her seat and gave me the finger. The audience gasped and laughed at the ridiculousness. I made another comment that made the audience laugh even harder. By now, their entire table was hooting and hollering, trying to annoy me and be “part of the show” (Annoyed Author’s Analysis: Don’t be that guy at a comedy show. Hecklers aren’t cool. You’re not helping me. Enjoy the show and let’s have a good time, but don’t be a jerk). They disrupted so much, it wound up hurting the show.
Hilariously, after the show was over, our “security guard” came up to me and said, “Man! That table sure was unruly. We probably shoulda done something about them!” I just looked at him bewildered and said, “YA THINK?”
To really sum up how terrible this family was – during the table talk portion of the show when I went to talk to their table, one of the ladies just grabbed my butt and said, “THIS IS MINE!” I promptly smacked her hand away and told her that wasn’t on the menu and that I would hate to see how she is at Cracker Barrel.
I mean, you know you’re messed up when Honey Boo Boo’s family is looking at you like, “y’all need Jesus”
After the show was over with, the family was incredibly gracious with their time and took pictures with all of us. They wanted to take pictures with us as much as we did them. They stayed until it was almost time to start our standup show. As they were walking out, our headliner for the weekend Justin Leon walked up to me with his mouth agape and said, “Yo, was that Honey Boo Boo?”
After the shows I put the picture you see in the header on Facebook because social media is a lie and you always want to look good on it. I’ll admit it was a cool moment to be able to perform for someone who truly was at the apex of their popularity.
Two weeks after the show, I’m home in Sparta, TN and I ran into a classmate at Walmart. We were catching up on each other’s lives when she said, “You’ve got big things happening with you! Our little celebrity!” I was honored she would think of me like that, but quickly dismissed it. “Oh stop”, I said, cheeks flush with embarrassment. “I’m no celebrity.” “Oh yes you are”, my classmate retorted. “You met Honey Boo Boo!”
I guess that will forever be my claim to fame