The other night we went out to brave the Taksim crowd. That’s literally what Taksim is: a crowd. Well, it’s a district of Istanbul, but you won’t see much of it because of all the people. Taksim square hosts numerous events throughout the year -New Years being one of which to AVOID if you have any smart genes whatsoever- and its surface area consists entirely of shopping, restaurants, and clubs.
Nightlife. Happens. Here.
So when 9pm rolls around I think to myself, hey, I should catch a bus to Taksim… not. Not unless there’s a good reason. And last week, we had one. A good reason. A reason every nerve in my body wanted to dismiss. I mean, I’d rather be curling up with a bedtime book when moonlight’s at full beam through my window. But this was too good. Too risky. Too curious. Too uncomfortable.
Before I could change my mind, I forced my arms into my winter jacket, pulled on the boots, and locked the door behind me.
Taksim was, as predicted, crowded. We followed scrawled directions, heads on a swivel, and linked together against the masses as we searched street signs. Trusting the sign above a door, we climbed the narrow swirling staircase to the top.
Five Americans entered a Turkish comedy club.
I mean, come on, that sounds like a joke in itself!
We were here by invitation of a friend my roommate met in the next door action figurine shop. Ah. Of course he would be part of a comedy club. Would we like to come see him perform? Sure- I’d love to subject myself to Turkish humor I can’t understand a word of.
It turned out to be much like a “Who’s line is it anyway?” and for 2 hours I was entertained by unpracticed theatrical skits using ideas shouted out by the audience. Whatever I understood I laughed at. They were hilarious.
Like most comedy shows, audience interaction and involvement was huge, so volunteers were used for several of their stunts. I caught this hint and purposefully never made eye contact, slouching low and praying not to be chosen. My comrade, however, was not so lucky; they literally pulled her out of her seat and unto the stage. Using language barriers to their full advantage, the American on stage added a whole new level of hilarity…
Some words in English– ones that are best not to be said because they have an unpleasant meaning in Turkish– she said. I laughed until I cried. Feeling awful for my friend but, not unlike the chairs filled with Turks around me, appreciating the belly aching laughter created at her expense. She was a great sport.
Still laughing, the five Americans filed out of the row and down the winding stairs, heads spinning from rapid shotfires of Turkish and the sea of people they just re-entered, but what should have been overwhelming was not, for their hearty spirit hangovers outweighed it all.