Today we had some press set up at the Virgin Mega Store in Cairo. Virgin is one of the sponsors and also where people can buy tickets to our shows, so the promoters set up a meet and greet for us to sign autographs there.
I don’t know how it came up but on the way there, Taylor- a camera guy shooting a documentary, AngeloTsarouchas- one of the other comics, and I were talking boy bands. We mentioned Backstreet Boys vs. Nsync, New Kids On the Block and their newer incarnation as N.K.O.T.B. and, of course, New Edition. I, myself, am still partial to New Edition and all the others were watered down versions of them, in my opinion.
When our van arrived at the mall we were greeted by a cadre of squat, buff security guys in black suits. They ushered us into the mall and up to the Virgin Megastore. Mind you, Ahmed Ahmed and Maz Jobrani, the two other comics on the bill, are big stars in this region of the world and may need security when entering a mall in Cairo. Angelo and I, however, were in no danger of being recognized much less attacked. Not that I didn’t appreciate our crack security but I couldn’t help but laugh as I entered the mall surrounded by these guys straight out of the Matrix. It dawned on me that this is what it must have been like for those boy bands back then, being ushered from one press event to the next, surrounded by security.
We went upstairs to the executive offices of Virgin and did some television interviews with what seemed like their version of Access Hollywood. Then we went downstairs to the store area and, as expected, not many people noticed us or approached us. The Virgin employees were actually the only ones who asked us to pose for pictures. Again, I don’t suspect they knew me or Angelo but their attitude seemed to be “I don’t know who these guys are but it’s better than a typical day around here. I haven’t done jack shit all day and it’s already 4:30. Two more hours and I’m outta here!”
It was pretty funny because, as the day wore on, the security guys must have realized “What the hell are we protecting these guys for?” and they must have left. We entered like rock stars but by the end of the day there we were basically just walking around the store like any other customer. Even the employees seemed to be like “You guys are still here?”
But the shows are tomorrow night at a 2,500 seat venue and apparently they are both close to sold out. Standup comedy is very new so apparently people are clamoring to buy tickets and experience it live. It’s cool to be part of something that is still new and exciting for everyone, but as the Backstreet Boys can tell you, sometimes it can warp your perception of reality. Hopefully, like them, I’ll be able to stay focused, humble and keep my feet on the ground.
All you people can’t you see, can’t you see
How your love’s affecting our reality
Every time we’re down
You can make it right
And that makes you larger than life