Endlessly wandering the streets of Paris like a ghost. Ethan is here to give us a bone chilling look into his world of domestic disputes and regressive comedy scenes.
I’ve been dead in Paris for a month now. When I first arrived, I was ushered to an AirBNB room by an Uber driver who didn’t know where the airport was, and then where the AirBNB location was. Maybe maps aren’t a thing in France, I thought, before I thought about stabbing him with my keys and letting the car drive into the Seine. Spooky!
The AirBNB wasn’t a better experience – at this point in time, I no longer have an AirBNB account for fear of my life: hosted by a seemingly charming man, the AirBNB was adorned with Jewish iconography and each door had the person’s name written on it in lamb’s blood. I was in the little girl’s room: cream walls covered in school drawings and princesses, and a certificate of excellence in pink. Where was the little girl? I soon found out – to my horror…!
Sleeping underneath the disembodied head of Elsa from Frozen menacingly staring down at me from the wall and on the only side of the child-sized bed that wasn’t a big dip (maybe the little girl was down there), with my feet hanging out the bottom owing to my 5 foot 6 height being gigantic in France (I’ve hit my head on many ceilings, door frames and even outdoor signs for shops), I am awoken suddenly by a loud noise coming from the living room: “You fuck-in whore! Many men fuck-ed you! I never threaten kill you!”
Was my host watching Tommy Wiseau’s the Room? No! He was arguing with the best friend of his ex-wife, who had sole custody of their children, before the court date she’d set to get him sent away for threatening to murder her for being a terrible mother to his son. Every morning at 7am I was awoken by a similar exchange. He never mentioned his daughter though, so I assume he’s one of those men whose son is the heir to the throne he’s imagined he has, because he has a penis and masculinity, and the daughter gets nothing, because her husband has a penis and masculinity. He had the unclean facial hair all of those sorts of men have, and he smelt bad – however, with open defecation in Paris, that could have just been the street outside – so I have no doubt in my mind he did whatever crimes he’s accused of. I probably won’t be a good juror.
Maybe I’ve just misjudged it all, and his son is actually into princesses and sometimes goes by the name of No. 1 Daughter. Maybe that’s why he never mentions a daughter. But, then, maybe he murdered her and rents out the room to pretend she’s there.
I think I heard every line of abuse he sent roughly five times, as he’d rerecord and listen to the audio messages before sending them on WhatsApp. So, at least he was precise when it came to his sexism. Although, he never redrafted his pronunciation or grammar, only his insults (changing slut to whore, everything else to bitch), so I was actually quite annoyed: at least learn a new language while you harass women over the phone. It’s called making good use of your time: two new skills instead of one!
The only thing that kept me from cancelling the stay and reporting him to the police was the fact that finding housing, even temporary, in Paris is very hard and expensive, and I was a man, so he wasn’t going to be abusive to me, was he? I imagined he was the wife beater stereotype who was afraid of other men, and I slept quite easily. A week later, I left that nightmarish room and went to a hostel, where I still am as I write this, though I’m dead, so really it’s just a Ouija board connected to a type writer in room 913.
What about comedy, I hear you think (thoughts are audible in Hell, which is the main punishment issued here: Hitler is in a room listening to every thought Trump has, while I get James Corden). Well! On my second day here, I braved the isolation that populous Paris possesses and went to an open mic night and, keeping to the theme of horror for Halloween, it was overall a harrowing experience.
I’m not saying that Parisian comedians are obsessed with race, but every single person who performed that night tried to teach me that Chinese penises are small, Indian accents are incomprehensible and black people are everything. If you’re used to the PC comedy (read: good) of Stewart Lee, Eddie Izzard or Sarah Silverman, you’ll find yourself appreciating Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown for his softer takes on ethnicities than the comedians have here. Nigel Farage would grimace at the things said about Muslims.
Maybe it’s because it’s an open mic night; these nights often showcase the ‘funny’ guys in the pub. Or maybe it’s because it’s in Paris: a city that can only claim it’s multicultural because it has people from multiple cultures, and not because any of them mix or coexist without being assimilated under the French government’s policy of: “you are free to be yourself, as long as yourself is us but with a different skin colour, otherwise we’ll drown you in the Seine”. I’m not sure what it was, but that night spewed hatred just as much as my AirBNB host did, and there weren’t any women there either. Maybe he was writing their material over WhatsApp.
From racism to heteronormative homophobia, the exclusively male line-up of that night’s only redeeming member was a French speaking comic trying out English stand-up for the first time. In front of a Sheffield audience (read: good), he’d have done well. This audience, however, was talking a lot and one guy in front of me interrupted each comedian constantly, as if he didn’t understand the basics of how a stage set-up works, and so the French speaker lost his nerve and died. Maybe if he’d told James Corden’s Weinstein jokes he’d have killed; I’m sure they’re easy enough to think of even in a second language.
Anyway, enough about me – how’s it going with you? It’s a joke! I know everything already – there’s no time in Hell, only eternal night, and so everything has already happened to you. We’re both dead by the time you finish reading this. Now we both exist only for one eternal night, named Halloween.
Ethan is a person and has been a TSR member for over two years. He’s on an excursion to France right now. You can follow him on twitter @theejdavies.