[Recently], my wife and I — two locals of more than 15 years — wanted to celebrate a special occasion by checking out the local comedy scene. We went to PULP to see an open mic stand-up show with several comedians.
In the audience was another couple visiting from Mississippi, who made the fatal mistake of chiming in with some comments. Three out of the next four “comics” who went on took the opportunity to not just berate but insult, demean and nearly incite violence toward this couple who were simply visiting and supporting our “inclusive” community. Never in all my time here in Asheville have I seen such animosity, fueled by a pack mentality, toward innocent people.
There was nothing funny about it. The couple were told to be quiet and they did so, yet they were continually singled out to the point where, after suffering this brunt of hatred, they couldn’t take it anymore and left the club.
We happened to leave about the same time and found the woman crying on the sidewalk, her husband attempting to comfort her in the wake of this grim reception by my beloved townspeople. My wife and I assured them that this was not indicative of Asheville and that they should by no means allow this lynch-mob-like experience sour their feeling toward our town. Their response was, “We love this town.”
Personally, I think they fit in great here. As for all the hateful, insulting, angry people (comics and audience members alike) who told them that you didn’t like them and wished they would leave, well, come over to my house and I assure you I will treat you with the respect and compassion you deserve. I will make you feel welcome, I promise. I’ll do that because that’s the world and the town I want to live in.
— Jason Ference
Editor’s note: Another perspective of the same incident can be found in a response to this letter, “Another View of Comedy-Show Incident” in the July 13 issue of Xpress.