Are you Impressed?

On Monday night, the wildly popular talent contest/live game show¬† Impress These Apes came to a close. It is a show where 8 comedians are given talent challenges each week and they are judged by super-intelligent apes from the future. The show breeds pure creativity. It’s so much less about the contestants improvising or making jokes or thinking there shit is funny and it’s much more about watching their idea manifest with the special ingredients of time and uncertainty (if the bit will hit). It’s infectious to be in the crowd. It’s event theater. In shorter words, I love it. And I loved one performance in particular. But do I still?

Alan Metoskie shows off new tattoo (photo by Elizabeth McQuern)

For the finals this time, there were some really great bits, great moments and great performances. The biggest of the night (for me, at least) was performed by Alan Metoskie. Alan was one of my favorites from the entire run and I felt had a good shot to win the whole thing. Alan did a video that showed what he would do with the $500 prize. He went to a tattoo parlor, used his computer (for $500) as a loan and got inked. It was brilliant and real. And to top it off, the screen raised and he showed us his tattoo. It was a HUGE back tattoo (shaved his backhair to accommodate) that read “Impressed?”

Brilliant. The pain, the suffering, the reality that he was going to have that tattoo for life, not only to commemorate the show but to be a constant reminder of his wit and style. I was certainly impressed and felt that performance will go down in Chicago comedy history.

Afterwards, in the bar next door, it was revealed that the tattoo was fake. It never happened. He knew some peeps at the tattoo parlor and the whole experience was acted, down to the bandages he removed to reveal it.

So my question to you: Does it make this performance less viable? Less brilliant? More brilliant? Do you care one way or the other that he did/didn’t get the actual tattoo? Do you feel ripped off? It’s amazing how much this has stirred up in me. At first, I thought it was lame. But then after thinking about it, what do I care? I was entertained in the moment and I will remember that moment forever. But is this a classic James Frey moment? Does my knowing the story is not real change my perception after the fact? Discuss. Please discuss!

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