Somewhere between the Church of Scientology building on Hollywood Blvd and the Chinese theatre that keeps changing names, my stepdaughter and I ran into Kwame Siegel, The Prince of Comedy. The last time I’d been on the Blvd, I was up to my halo in a fuzzy Vicodin-induced euphoria, so I didn’t recall that the folks in Hollywood could be pushier than the ladyboys in Thailand. When Kwame approached, holding out his DVD, I thought he was just a struggling comedian who was trying to promote his work. Mistakenly, I took the DVD.
What ensued was a guilt-trip that emptied my pockets of the last bit if cash I had on me. He asked me what a fair price for the DVD was and I realized, this was all just a clever panhandling ruse.
Now, I am a writer and I know what it’s like to struggle with cashflow. I understood his position, so I gave him some cash for the DVD. It’s not the way I would go about getting my own name out there, and I’m not exactly well-off myself, but I like to support the arts. I just prefer to know what I’m supporting first.
After I handed him some money, my stepdaughter and I exchanged glances and kept walking down the boulevard. Not a minute later, another professed comedian was handing us his DVD. I slowly turned and saw dozens of people handing tourists DVDs and guilting them into giving them cash for them. They were everywhere… the slimebuckets taking money from unsuspecting families. I pushed the man’s hand away and kept walking.
After about fifteen minutes of the Walk of Fame, we were done. I remember being a kid there with my family and being able to walk and enjoy the history. Now, the Walk of Fame is a festering boil on Trumptopia’s ass. It’s not a place you go back to. It’s a place you get lured into visiting once, like a sucker, and leave with a deep regret. We left, walked back past the assholes trying to lure people into the church of Scientology, right back to our car, and proceeded to sit in traffic for two hours all the way back to Anaheim. A little extra appreciation for our quiet little town in the hills of Southern Interior British Columbia sunk in.
While we sat in our car, the interior lit up by the break lights of hundreds of cars, I pulled out Kwame’s DVD:
I’m not sure if it was the tacky golden microphone, his lacklustre little point-job he’s doing with hand or the fact that he’s called himself the Prince of Comedy, but we all burst into hysterics. We didn’t even need to watch the DVD. He already had us in stitches. As soon as we got back to our hotel, though, he was quickly tossed in a suitcase and left our minds. The forgotten Prince of Comedy followed us home to Canada, and was haphazardly thrown into our DVD collection without a thought.
Until last week, when we had to make room for our Christmas tree. Godless Dad dragged our DVD cupboard out of the living room, all the way into my office and just as it crossed the precipice into the Godless Mom den, out fell a DVD with Prince Kwame of Comedy and his golden microphone on it. My stepdaughter reached to pick it up.
“We still haven’t watched this. We should do that.” She said with a smirk and set it down on the table next to our box of Christmas tree ornaments. We all nodded and chuckled. We really should watch it at some point…
At that moment, though, we refrained from watching the Prince’s comedy, and decorated our tree instead. Balls were hung, my heathen friends. Balls were hung.
Right in the middle of our little decorating party, though, I noticed Kwame had made it to the tree. Right below our tree-topping Santa, even. Right in the prime real estate.
“Who put the Prince on the tree?” I laughed as I plucked him from the thick needles and put him down on the bookshelf next to me. I went back to the ornament box to get more decorations to hang. When I turned to face the tree again, though, there was Kwame again. Right in the spot of honour, under Santa’s feet. I laughed again. I took Mr. Siegel from the tree, again. I put the Prince on the shelf… again.
The third time, I just left him up there, though. I waited until everyone’s minds were off Kwame, the tree was decorated and we were going about our normal, everyday business. I pulled Kwame and his gold mic from the tree and set him back down on the shelf when no one was looking, thinking that would be the end of Kwame the Christmas tree ornament.
It only took ten minutes and a trip to the laundry room to realize that no, this game had become serious. There he was, in all his cheesy grandeur, sitting on my tree again, just under Santa’s lit up feet. It went on all night, and every time I took him down, Kwame would find his way back up to the top of that tree with stealth swiftness until I finally gave in. I let him stay. Kwame sat there, pointing like Larry from Three’s Company, under my Santa tree-topper, like a gift from the Grinch himself. I knew if I took him down, he’d just end up right back there again, so I had no choice but to up the ante. I hatched a plan.
Every night before bed, Godless Dad and I brush our teeth with my stepdaughter and then the three of us chat for a bit. On this evening, we stood around the Christmas tree chatting and the entire time I was peering at Kwame out of the corner of my eye. Enjoy your time with Santa, Prince. It’s coming to an end soon… I thought.
I set my phone down on the coffee table and said, “Well, I have to hit the sack. I’m tired.”, knowing that this would trigger Godless Dad to chime in with a “me too.” We hugged our daughter, sent her off to bed and headed to ours as well. I lagged behind Godless Dad on purpose, looking like I had things to put away while he climbed into bed. When he was finally all tucked in, I knew it was time.
“Shit, I forgot my phone.” I dashed out of the room, down the stairs, snapped up Kwame and headed to the kitchen. In the glow of the refrigerator light, I stuffed that Prince into Godless Dad’s lunch bag, zipped it up and ran up the stairs with my phone in my hand.
I knew this was the beginning of something much, much bigger. I knew I was taking this game to the next level. Over the past three years, there has been a set of googly eyes that Godless Dad and I leave in random places for the other to find. I’d put it in his pillowcase, then he’d put it in my computer bag, then I’d leave it in his underwear drawer, and he’d put it in my makeup bag. For years, it went on like this until finally one of us (I forget which) stuck the eyes up in the shower where hey have remained ever since. I knew that by putting Kwame in Godless Dad’s lunch, I would be setting myself up for discovering Kwame in random, strange places for the next few years. I knew it, accepted my fate and waited patiently for the text from John when he discovered there was a Prince of Comedy in his lunch.
But it never came. He didn’t say anything until I brought it up later.
“Did you enjoy your lunch?” I asked with a smirk.
“Yep.” He answered, straight-faced.
“Did you like your surprise?”
“Where is he?”
Godless Dad turned to look at me with a twinkle in his eye. A single corner of his mouth slowly began to raise and he said,
“The Prince is in a safe place. That’s all I can say.”
It’s two days later, and I’ve yet to find Kwame anywhere. Godless Dad keeps saying he’s in a safe place while the rest of us stew in our own theories. Is he going to wrap it up and give it to me as a present on Christmas? Is he going to pop it in the mail and send it to me? Whatever he does, it’s going to be next level and I’m going to have to top it.
Perhaps, one day, we’ll actually watch Kwame’s stand-up routine, but until then, he’s doing a damned god job of entertaining us anyway.
You can check out Kwame on his website: kwamesiegel.com