I was visiting family in the D.C./Md. area for the holiday week. One night, we went to see John Witherspoon who was performing at the D.C. Improv club. His set was about 90 minutes, and it was hilarious—but definitely for the grown folks. No videotaping/cell-phone taping allowed, so it doesn’t quite do justice to just “explain” what he did, especially since he’s fond of using lots of gestures in the routine.
He came to the stage wearing a loud-orange, vertical-striped shirt.. a red bow-tie.. canary yellow slacks.. light-green loafers.. and rainbow, horizontal-striped socks.. “you got to coordinate!”
One of his first anecdotes was about President Obama, giving him props on the health care law…how the Prez and Michelle were probably celebrating good times by “dancing in Air Force One and eating fried chicken”.. He went on to criticize his black friends who go around white friends and pretend that they never ate chicken.. “______ please.. don’t let ‘em tell you no different.. chicken is good! Boy, I’ll take a chicken and..” (goes into extended gestures of chopping, dipping, frying, etc.
It was hot in the metro area all week.. definitely became hot in the club with the stage lights.. Before long, Witherspoon was sweating through his top.. “anybody got a towel?”; initially, a patron up front handed him some napkins.. the napkins quickly disintegrated and started leaving white flakes on his face and forehead.. finally a club worker brought a towel.. Witherspoon went into a routine on how once he figured he’d go to Miami and be a “Spanish gigolo”, greasing up his hair and approaching local widows and divorcees.. only the hot sun caused his head to start crackling “like fish was cooking”.. soon his slick locks became afro-puffs, he started rattling off the few Spanish words he knew “uno, dos, tres…” before he decided to hang it up..
Some other stories (real or invented) involved his plan to get replacement breasts for his mother.. Taking nephews to a ‘hood carnival, complaining about the fakeness of the haunted-house ride, then getting belted with a “brown paper bag full of butter beans” while in pitch darkness.. his plan to proposition Halle Berry.. His churchy sister who falls out into a tongues routine at every gathering..
He met with fans after the show, and was selling merchandise, including signed DVDs, his comedy rap CD, and T-shirts. I told him I drove 12 hours just to see him (
); I found out what high schools he attended in Detroit; he says he’s lived in California for some years now and doesn’t get back that often.. Before we parted, I got to mention Mr. Reggie; “Good ol’ Reggie! Holler!”, said Pops..
He said his website was www.bangbangbangbang.com