Writer’s Room: Audiences More Entertaining Than the Movie

Senior Editor
11.15.12 95 Comments

Look, we’ve all been there: you’re sitting there watching a mediocre movie, let’s say Spider-Man 3, and on screen, emo Peter Parker is in the midst of shoving Mary Jane down on the floor. The theater is respectfully silent, until a drunk dude in the back says, “Awww, sh*t,” and the entire theater explodes in laughter. Yes, that was something I witnessed, and it was instances such as these, when the audience became the show, that prompted me to ask some of my favorite writers and comedians to share their stories of times when the theater where they were watching a film became far more entertaining than the film itself.

This week’s panel includes some of your old Uproxx pals, as well as Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker from Sh*t My Dad Says/I Suck At Girls/Cougar Town, XOJane Columnist and Twitter’s BoobsRadley Julieanne Smolinski, comedian Jamie Lee, who was just on Conan a few months back, So Close to You author Rachel Carter, and my favorite San Francisco comedians and former Frotcast guests, Alison Stevenson and Leslie Small. Don’t blame any of them for the cutesy chapter headings though, I wrote those. Enjoy!

ASHLEY BURNS: Magic Mike and a Theater Full of Lawbreakers

Fortunately and conveniently, my story involves my current pick for the Best Movie of 2012 – Channing’s Tatum’s Magic Mike. Obviously, I went to see the semi-biographical story of C-Tates’ rise to fame because he’s my best friend in the world (category: celebrity I’ve never met), but I was also really excited for what promised to be a great crowd experience.

For starters, I was one of maybe five men in the entire theater, and let’s just say the other guys didn’t bring their girlfriends. *wink wink, nudge nudge* Beyond that, each row was packed with cliques of women, varying in ages, and many of them wearing customized t-shirts as if they were on bachelorette parties (I won’t actually rule that out). My favorite was a group of middle-aged women wearing homemade “LAWBREAKER” t-shirts. And most of the ladies had beer buckets or wine, and I knew that drunk chicks + C-Tates’ burnt ding dong = A+ movie experience.

But what really made the movie – which I enjoyed by itself – so magnificent was one woman, flying solo to this dick flick. She approached our row and asked my girlfriend and me if the seats next to me were taken and we said no, assuming she’d honor movie code and leave a few seats between us. Nope. She sat right next to me. And I won’t get into specific details, but she filled out all of her seat and I just had a feeling she’d be a talker.

Sure enough, she talked to me the entire film – I think she may have assumed I was like the other guys in the theater – and she was hilarious, from her depressing admittance that she had no friends since moving to Orlando, to her frame-by-frame commentary, which included gems like, “What, ain’t no brothers in Tampa?” and “Nuh uh, get Channing a girl with some meat on her bones” and my absolute favorite, when Joe Manganiello was using the penis pump: “Oh hot damn, that’s his dick.”

Sadly, I haven’t seen my favorite movie friend since.


A few months ago I was in the habit of going to see movies alone all the time because I had quit my job (long story that involves me accidentally leaving a condom in a toilet) and had nothing to do during the day. I went to a theater close to my apartment while I was menstrual. Basically, I was hormonal as all hell, which is something I would like for you to keep in mind (forever if you can). I get inside the theater and once the trailers start playing, I tear up. Just out of nowhere. No reason. None at all. Just tears, slowly trailing down my cheek. Then the trailer for Best Exotic Marigold Hotel plays, and something about it got me into straight-up crying mode. Ten seconds into it, I was bawling like a jackass. Why the f*ck was I crying? I have no idea, but was very embarrassed. There were about four other people in the theater and I was sitting in front of all of them which convinced me they could hear my sad pathetic sobs and see me wiping my stupid dumb tears.

In my irrational, overly hormonal train of thought I figured it’d be a good idea to just laugh real hard while I was crying so maybe these people would think I was crying in the good way. You know the kind of crying that happens when something is so funny you can’t help but ooze tears? The kind of laughter-tears that happen when you’re watching Youtube videos of dudes hurting their nutsacks or when you’re high as f*ck and see a homeless person poop on a bird. Thing is, there was nothing hilarious about this trailer. It was just a bunch of old people and that guy from Slumdog Millionaire saying things all British-like and being old. In fact, it looked real bad, but I powered through anyways and let out what was supposed to be laughter. However, the fake laughing was blending with the real sobbing and created this strange noise that I can only describe as “bipolar whale”. I quickly realized after about five seconds of doing this that I had made things about a hundred times worse. I could hear someone whispering to their friend in back of me “what the f*ck?” and with that was infinitely more embarrassed. I felt like a genuine insane person so I got up and left the theater. I left, having never seen the movie I payed eight dollars for. In fact, don’t even remember what movie I was going to see.

JUSTIN HALPERN: Baby Goose is for the Children

If you live in L.A., at some point somebody going to hand you a flyer asking you to be in a test screening of a movie that’s going to come out in a few months.  I always went because I was broke and you usually got free nachos.  One of the first test screenings I went to was for a movie called “Stay,” starring Ryan Gosling and Ewan Macgregor. It was supposed to be a psychological thriller but unfortunately it didn’t really work, and it wasn’t helped by the fact that it was a pretty rough cut.  Towards the end, people started to turn on it. Happens often, but what made this particularly interesting was that because it was a test screening, the director, Marc Forster, was sitting in the audience.  No one knew he was there, but I was a movie nerd and had IMDB’d that sh*t between J.O. sessions in my lonely studio apartment.  On his IMDB page was a picture of him, and I noticed him walk in at the beginning.  Anyway, he’s sitting in the back, and towards the end of the movie, you find out all the weird stuff that was happening to Ewan Macgregor was all a dream that Baby Goose was having.  People were not thrilled, especially this white trash dude in front of me.  He threw his hands up and yelled “Maaaan, F*CK this mess.  That was BULLshit.”  I turn around and see Forster now standing by the exit, but he hasn’t left.  The movie still had like ten minutes left and I thought maybe the white trash dude was done, but instead he tried to start a chant of “THIS MOVIE’S GAY. IT IS FOR FAGS. THIS MOVIE’S GAY. IT IS FOR FAGS.”  That went on for about thirty seconds and then they just cut the movie off and the lights went up and Marc Forster made a face like he smelled nine thousand farts and left.

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