I feel like Lois Lane writing articles for the “Daily Planet”. Doing the “human interest” angle of “Mike’s 2018 West Coast Pool Hall Tour” has me walking with him into pool halls and standing at the counter as he requests a table, all the while looking around for anything, any piece of anything, that might give me an angle for my story. So I’m there at the counter at the “Broken Rack” near Berkeley and pick up a postcard advertising Sunday comedy at “The Monkey House.” On a “reporter’s” hunch, I lean in with my elbow on the counter to look casual, and say to the handsome guy handing Mike a rack of balls at “The Broken Rack,” “So, are you a comic?”
He looks at me a bit shocked, apparently wondering how I would leap to that assumption and says, “Yeah, I am.” He doesn’t know that my daughter is an actor who does stand-up comedy in Burbank and LA, but he will before we leave.
Mike finds a guy to shoot with – a tall young, really intellectual entrepreneur who’s going to open a Glam-Camp in wine country somewhere, and I go to the bar to order us a BLT, minus the “B” since our road trip is not helping our diet. It’s only noon-ish and there aren’t a whole lot of people in “The Broken Rack,” so I don’t feel bad about engaging the bartender/comic in conversation. I ask his stage name and he tells me it’s “Pharaoh”. It’s now that I tell him about my daughter, Bethany Therese. He doesn’t know her, but we go through a list of comics I know Bethany knows, and he does know some of them. I ask him where he performs, and he casually tells me he’s opened for Cedric and DL Hughley and I stop listening out of embarrassment for not knowing what to ask after that.
So I try to make our humble little road tour seem like something and scan my brain for any fact that might be impressive. “Yeah, interesting…” I start off, “we were in Santa Cruz and a woman shooter there advised Mike to document which pool halls are “women-friendly”.
Well, Pharaoh certainly related to that! He was sympathetic to the issue. “There was this woman shooting alone in here a few days ago. I noticed some guys ogling her and watched them for a while. Every time she bent over for a shot they were making inappropriate comments. I went over to them and told them in no uncertain terms to cut it out. Yeah, we don’t like that here. This place provides a good environment for women.”
After we left the pool hall, I looked at the postcard I had picked up. If you notice, in the left corner it says “Pharaoh Enterprises”. On the back is a list of all the comics that Pharaoh books! So if you’re around Berkeley, check out “The Broken Rack” and “The Monkey House” on Sunday nights. If you happen to meet Pharaoh, tell him you read about him in the article Billie wrote from her husband’s 2018 pool hall tour. Then I’ll really feel like Lois Lane.