“Man-1, Bank-0”: It’s a joke…but a good one

Patrick Combs, the man who played a $95,000 joke on the bank. Photo taken by Becca Roberts

Patrick Combs, the man who played a $95,000 joke on the bank. Photo taken by Becca Roberts

Have you ever gotten a junk check in the mail for $95,093.35?

Have you ever endorsed it with a smiley face?

Finally, have you ever had it actually approved by your bank?

Man-1, Bank-0 took place Saturday, Feb. 28, at the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center.

With around 200 people in attendance, Patrick Combs spent two hours explaining his ‘get rich quick’ story including the high’s, the low’s, and everything in between.

The basic gist of the story is that Combs received a check in his mail for over $95,000. As a JOKE, which is perhaps one of the most important parts of the story, he took it to his local ATM and with a doodle on the back, deposited the check into the machine. A week later he was amazed that the money was still in his bank account. Two weeks later he was on a media ride that seemed to only go up. A few days later he began to get threats from his bank. By the end of the show you didn’t know which way the story was going to go and that was one of the things that some attendees enjoyed.

“We liked that there was a little bit of suspense with the jokes. The divergent paths and surprising turns in the story as well as the sense of timing were perfect!” said Dr. Neff, a retired professor at WCU, and his wife Randy who saw the show.

Close to the end of the story, you didn’t know what turn Combs was going to take. Would he be sued by his bank? Would he spend the fraudulent money? Would he return it?

Suddenly, Combs explained it with one sentence. “I just wanted a letter from the bank saying that they made a mistake and didn’t catch it in time.”

Patrick Combs’ story is more than just about how to get a fake check turned into real money. It’s not about scamming your bank. It’s about getting respect and standing up for yourself. Don’t believe it? See the show!

“We didn’t know what to expect in the beginning but throughout the show you could tell that he really is a good guy. He just wanted a little bit of respect,” said Randy Neff.

Paul Lormand, Theatre manager and director of Bardo Arts Center, however, knew what to expect.

“I saw this show 8 years ago and it was and still is the funniest show I’ve seen,” said Lormand.

As if reading each other’s minds, Patrick Combs and Paul Lormand began a short explanation on the possible audience for the show saying: “For every show we always want to sell out, but how many plays are written about the banking industry or have legal aspects to them? This would be a great show for College of Business students to see.”

And as for any tips to anyone that may want to try this in the future?

“On a serious note, if I hadn’t been putting it in as a joke, it would have been fraud. Fraud requires intent so the fact that it was clear that I was making it a joke and I wasn’t trying to spend the money made it not fraud. So I don’t recommend it…they should see the show and see if they still want to try and do it. Otherwise it’s six months of [hell],” said Combs after the show.

After a 20-something year career of inspirational speaking, Combs adds that “his experience has put him on a joy ride for the last ten years that has allowed him to travel the world and meet so many new people and has given him the joy of making people laugh.”