Wednesday night was a night of many va-jays for me. Well, they weren't personally for me, but you get the point. First at 8 o'clock was Variety Shac's first ever UCB performance. It was a great show, unfortunately not a lot of people were there to witness it. I'm still getting the hang of going to shows that aren't as popular. Normally I have to scout out 2 seats together (when Katie's here (Rest In Fredericksburg)), sometimes even asking people to move over to accomodate us. I instinctively go right for a good seat near the center of the theater, usually sitting right next to a couple, sometimes a performer's parents (Ian Roberts', maybe Shonali's last night), leaving no seat between me and the person next to me. After all, the theater usually fills up, so we're gonna all be crammed together anyway. Which made it awkward last night when the theater never filled up. And I had 3 empty seats on the other side of me. Could I have moved over, you ask? Yes. Would it have made it more awkward to move though, you add? Yeah, probably. Anyway, the show was great.
Later that night I met my friend Amar in the West Village to go to the comedy cellar. We utilized an awesome deal that they have hidden on their site that eliminates the $10 cover. So for 2 drinks (and if you're really frugal like me you get $3 lemonades) you can see a lot of comedy for a little money. We went for Sarah Silverman, who was amazing. I took a 9 minute long video of her act on my camera but apparently it's too big to upload to my computer. Hopefully I'll figure out some way to put it up. Because you really should see what a smooth talker she is ("I'm not a racist, I dated a Mexican... And they're filthy!"). Dave Attell also had a tight set last night, but he's there every night, so it's a little less special. The surprises of the night were special guest sets by Darrell Hammond and Dane Cook. Both were very much on their game. Darrell was also on something else. Vicodin (with a legitimate reason). To see him do Bill Clinton was pretty neat. And say what you want about Dane Cook, but he was funny last night. I know it's cool to hate him. I've been to a number of shows in NY where his name has come up and the entire audience booed. I've even been to a few shows where a certain SNL cast member (who will remain nameless) has mocked him on stage, hair gel and "pop culture reference" t-shirt and all. But the man was on last night. He did an almost entirely new set and still killed. Now, if you know the make-up of the comedy cellar audience you know that Dane Cook could have read "the O'Reilly Factor for Kids!" and still killed, but you can't hold that against him. Guidos just love him. Deal with it. I've added the only pic I could snap last night after using 99% of my memory for Sarah Silverman. He's doing a bit about friends who love to be the first to call you and tell you someone famous died. This is one of those "you had to be there" moments we hear so widely discussed. After the show Amar and I shared a moment, when we saw subway crates filled with trash going to our hometown, Norfolk (ORF).
It may be one of the most anticipated shows of the new fall line-up, but I’m worried about “30 Rock.” Yesterday, I saw the pilot and I'm not sure what to think about it. I loved it, but I'm not sure if audiences will. NBC's narcissistic programming (Studio 60, 30 Rock) may turn away audiences who really don't care about the behind the scenes world of television as much as network executives and writers think they do. It's also possible that the show could be too smart for audiences. Especially male audiences. As we all know, men are often threatened by a woman with brains. Throw in beauty and you can almost guarantee you're not going home with her. So what is man's answer to feeling threatened by that powerful combination of looks + smarts? Revert to an adolescent mindset and insult that unattainable bitch. Maxim has done exactly that, with their recent list of TV's least appealing women. Tina Fey came in at #3.
So what does this mean for NBC? Probably that your average frat guy won't tune in for Tina Fey (don't worry network execs, he will tune in to see Dane Cook host SNL's premier). That's what Tracy Morgan is for. And he does a great job on the show, in fact he's probably the most likeable character on it. But I don't know how he can honestly say in interviews that his character is not a spoof of Martin Lawrence. When you see the pilot, with one scene where Tracy has a mental breakdown in the middle of L.A. traffic, and another scene where Tracy dons a fat black woman suit for a hit movie, you'll know what I'm talking about.
I was upset to see that Rachel Dratch's role was given to Jane Krakowski, even though she does an excellent job with it. I'm not sure if this was Rachel's decision or NBC's. She still ends up with a sizeable role in the pilot as a cat wrangler. Judah Friedlander does a good job playing the same character he's played in every single movie and TV show he's been in. I guess NBC was scared audiences wouldn't recognize him without his stupid hat, but it's been changed from "World Champion" to "Ninja Expert." The only thing that could've made it more annoying is if it had a reference to pirates.
UCB fans will be happy to see that Scott Adsit has a huge role. John Lutz and Michael Delaney can also be seen on the show, although neither have any lines in the first episode. But the breakout UCB star is Jack McBrayer, who plays an NBC page. With his success in Talladega Nights and now this, the future is looking pretty bright for him.
-In more news about my exciting weekend with Katie, we went to the Deitch gallery in Soho yesterday to see the new Michel Gondry exhibit on "The Science of Sleep." I haven't seen the movie yet, but the recreations of the sets were amazing. The reviews for the film are mixed, but I still want to see it. I snapped a few pics.
-While we were in Soho, we saw a few paparozzi outside the Marc Jacobs store, so we stepped inside to see who everyone was waiting for. As we came in, Naomi Watts and a friend ducked out. She's tiny in person. I was tempted to shoplift her. -Today we were going to a flea market a few blocks away and were stopped a couple blocks short by some PA's. They were filming a car scene from the new Will Smith sci-fi movie, I Am Legend. Will Smith wasn't on location today, only a stunt double. The scene consisted of a red sports car with a white stripe down the center racing down 10th ave., doing a 180, and racing back up. Very basic scene, but it was cool seeing how it was shot, with this huge black camera van trying to keep up. -Finally, something amazing happened last night. My slurpee fell off my futon and landed flat on its bottom. The first photo below is a staged recreation of how the slurpee looked pre-fall. The second photo was taken immediately after the incident. I think this is a sign that I should audition for that new "Heroes" show.
Yesterday I went down to Chinatown to pick up Katie! She took the Chinatown bus from D.C. and it didn't crash! We headed straight up to the Bloomberg Tower so I could give her a tour. It was 6:30 or so by the time we got to the building, so we were able to avoid all the suits that file out at 5, eager to get home and put more hair gel in so that they could go to a bar and get obnoxiously drunk to forget their day job. So that was good. No surprises on the tour. Oh, wait. Except for the snipers. I tried to take her out to show her the 6th floor patio where I sometimes eat lunch and I was yelled at, "Don't go out there sir!" At first I thought they were filming something. Then I saw the two beefy little men with bullet proof vests and sniper rifles. I later found out that there is some sort of posh restaurant at the bottom of our building, Le Cirque, where a lot of dignitaries go to waste money. The police had both sides of 59th street blocked off, I'm not sure that they were even letting pedestrian traffic through. With the whole U.N. thing this week, who knows, it could've been Chavez or Ahmadinejad or a number of other people who face daily assassination attempts. Anyway, Katie was quite impressed with the building, and the free snacks, and she even got to sit in Charlie's chair!
On the way home we saw Brian Williams walking away from the GE Building, telling whoever he was with that he was quitting NBC Nightly News and opening up a Thomas Kinkade gallery in West India. Oh, wait, is that the kind of stuff I shouldn't be broadcasting? Scratch all that then. We just saw him.
We walked by Victoria's Secret, who just happened to be throwing away a lot of good mannequin torsos and arms and such, so we took a few mementos. Look for good ways to use fake arms in the near future. We got home and sat on the roof and enjoyed the rest of our night.
In other news, I found out last night why I've recieved so many views from random people- apparently this little ol' blog that I started for my AIM friends to read about my new life in New York has become a newsource. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not, seeing as how I am neither fair nor balanced, nor interested in honest news. In fact, I didn't even meet Chris Parnell. I'm just fucking amazing at Photoshop. Nonetheless, I have become an "impromptu-citizen journalist blog proprieter," so I'll make my first correction like a real blogger would (or probably would not) do:
I mentioned in a previous entry that Tom Scharpling was at the Bro'in Out show last Monday. He was not. It was actually Andres du Bouchet, a very funny comedian who hosts Giant Tuesday Night at Riffifi's. So I've got to give him credit for the funniest part of the show that night. Oh yeah, and he said he's leaving SNL too.
At 6:30 last night, after finding out last minute that Zach Galifianakis and Demetri Martin weren't doing Invite Them Up, I went over to the Myspace Black Carpet screening of Borat. As I was walking to the theater, I was a little bit worried, anticipating a line of maybe 80-100 people, and I had no idea how many people were getting in. When I got there, I was surprised. The line went all the way from the front of the theater on 42nd st. to the edge of 8th ave... and around the corner, all the way down 8th ave., and then around the corner, down onto 41st st. Estimates from people around me who counted put us at the 250-300 person mark, and we found out only 400 people were getting in. Doors were supposed to open at 9, so we only had a couple of hours to wait. Things were looking good. Then at around 8:45, only minutes before the doors were supposed to open, NY's finest came around the corner and told everyone on 41st. that we weren't getting in and we had to leave. We were now loiterers. With nothing to do, I took the train down to the east village, hoping that Zach or Demetri would show and I would get to see two of my favorite comedians live for the first time. And thank Darius Rucker they did! They both showed up! And it turned out to be a great night after all!
After the show, I hung around the front of Riffifi's for awhile. Zach recognized me from earlier in the week and said I was a man of my word (I told him Monday I'd come see his next show). I found out that his uncle and my dad were college buddies in North Carolina. Matt Walsh was there, as were Leo Allen and Nick Kroll. But the highlight of my night was talking to Scot Armstrong about his new projects, mostly School for Scoundrels. He's nervous about it's numbers, seeing as it has some stiff competition (the Guardian, Jackass 2). I hope it does well though. The commercials may make it look bad, but supposedly they are misleading, and it's got a lot of familiar faces in it that I can't wait to see on the big screen (Jon Glaser, Aziz Ansari, Matt Walsh, Paul Scheer, Horatio, David Cross, Andy Daly). Scot, who contributed a lot to Elf, said Elf 2 got the axe. Which reminds me of a funny joke. Zach Galifianakis said he uses Axe Body Spray, or as black people call it, Ask Body Spray. Anyway, the official word is that Will Ferrell didn't want to get back in the tights. Too bad, because Scot said this one was actually really good- some sort of allegory of life. But he's happy that Will is starring in his newest movie about a 70's minor league ball (basketball? baseball? too loud to hear) team. Sounds like it'll be another hit.
On my way home from work yesterday I ran into one of my favorite comedians of all time, Zach Galifianakis. He was sitting on a window ledge outside a Starbucks with his laptop, picking up their WiFi so he didn't have to go inside and pay 8 bucks for it. I stopped and introduced myself and found out he's a really nice guy. We talked about Dog Bites Man, Comedians of Comedy, and his recent move back to the City. He said he'll be doing the UCB a lot so I'm sure I'll be seeing a lot of him in the future.
Then an hour later I went down to the UCB for Bro'in Out, a very funny talk show with Leo Allen (SNL) and Tony Camin (Marijuanalogues). Tom Scharpling (writer for Monk and Tom Goes to the Mayor) was hilarious, as was Pete Holmes (Best Week Ever), but the star of the show was Chris Parnell. Among other things, he talked about his favorite SNL memories (touching Jennifer Garner's ass after Jimmy Fallon took his hand and pushed it on her) and the worst host (Tom Green- apparently Lorne thought he was going to be the next Andy Kaufman, so he let him do what he wanted with the show and he turned it into the Tom Green show, resulting in a show that Parnell didn't think was very funny). After the show I talked to him for a while and he was one of the nicest, most genuine, down to earth guys I've ever talked to. He said SNL had to cut 10 million from it's budget, resulting in the departure of him, Finesse, maybe Horatio (depending on whether or not he gets the Update seat), maybe Maya, and maybe Darrell. And of course Tina and Rachel left to do Tina's show, and he said Lorne's not adding anyone, so it'll be interesting to see how it plays out. It definitely won't be the same without him. When I asked him what he's up to now, he said he's just looking for work, and he's not sure if he'll be able to find enough work in the City or if he'll have to move back out to LA. But he said it in such a downtrodden way that I wanted to just hire him on the spot. Maybe in 20 or so years I'll have that oppurtunity. Stay tuned!
So far I've had a pretty easy time finding work in the city... well, unpaid work mostly, but work nonetheless. Before I moved, I applied for 2 internships- one with Rabbi Shmuley (below with Jacko) and one with the Charlie Rose Show. The first job I heard back about was with Shmuley. His assistant wanted me to come out to Shmuley's home for an interview. As it turns out, his house is in New Jersey. Moving to Manhattan for a job in New Jersey would be definitely out of the ordinary, but I was definitely willing to give it a try. After all, even my mom new Rabbi Shmuley. So when I was up here looking for apartments in August with Katie and my dad, I was able to set up a day to go interview for this position. Mapquest said his house was only 20 minutes away (with no traffic of course), but I wouldn't have a car, so to see what it would really be like, we took the A train up to the George Washington Bridge and then took a bus over to Jersey. About an hour and a half later we get to Shmuley's mansion. Instead of an interview, it was more like a run through of what I would be doing (personal assistant type work, M-F, 11-7, unpaid). Sounded alright. I guess. My dad didn't like Shmuley's assistant because he was awkward and didn't walk us out when we left. He later described him as "sqirrelly."
Fast forward a few days and I get an email from the Charlie Rose show to set up an interview there. This job is only 2 days a week to start, also unpaid, but at least it would give me a chance to get a paid job somewhere else. And this one wouldn't be a personal assistant type position, it would be a hands on job where I would work directly with the production of the show. As an intern, I would be responsible for working directly with the show's guests. And the Charlie Rose show brings in the big names, from presidents to actors and everyone in between. Needless to say, I wanted this job the most.
The only problem was that I was offered a postion with Shmuley starting September 5th, and my interview for the Charlie Rose show was the 6th. So I did the smart thing and went all the way out to NJ to start work at a place that I was hoping I wouldn't come back to. The commute was annoying and the job wasn't much better. I had to look up plane schedules to Brazil for the rabbi and his wife. Interestingly enough, Shmuley was in Norfolk/VA Beach that day, so I also had to call oceanfront hotels and ask for a comp room (a rich Jew asking for a free room- he's really breaking the stereotypes, don't you think?) . Two things really disturbed me that day. First, his assistant, the squirrelly guy I spoke of earlier, had a screen saver that said "choose life." Hmmm... Maybe it could mean something else. I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. Then I heard why Shmuley was in VA Beach. He had a meeting with Pat Robertson. And it wasn't his first meeting with him. They're planning on writing a book together. This is when I knew I was in the wrong place. Now, Shmuley himself isn't conservative, in fact he's a self proclaimed feminist. But anyone who would sacrifice their moral beliefs (or just plain intelligence) to make a quick buck off of Pat Robertson's idiotic fanbase doesn't have a lot of cred in my book.
I left that day hoping I wouldn't come back. Hoping I wouldn't have to hear this Sandra Bernhard wannabe who was working that day talk about her supposed meeting with Spike Lee's editor and how she wants to milk Shmuley for everything he's worth ("do you realize how important he is?" she reminded me, "he's been on oprah.").
Thankfully, my interview the next day went well. Although I was nervous, because these types of positions are normally filled by communication and theatre majors. A background in psychology certainly doesn't impress TV. My saving grace was Giant Productions. If I didn't have Giant on my resume, I have no doubt I wouldn't have even been called for an interview. So long story short, I got the job! More to come later...
September 1st marked a strange day for me. It was the day that I moved away from everything I've ever known- Norfolk, my animals, my family, my best friend. And now I'm in an environment like no other- miles away from safety, security, and predictability. For kids who went to out of state colleges where they didn't know anybody, this might not seem like a huge deal. But I wasn't one of those kids. My commute home was only a couple of hours. Oh, and I went to the same school as my high school sweetheart. I've never known what it's like to truly be on your own. I've had family, friends, Katie, or a combination of the three with me all the way. Until now.
So this is the story of my move to the City. My goal is to keep anyone who's interested updated on my whereabouts. What I'm doing, where I'm working, to use a title from one of BET's critically acclaimed shows, "how i'm livin'."
I've been up here for only a week and a half and I've already experienced so much. So far living in New York City is hard to describe. I can tell you that I live in Hell’s Kitchen, only a few blocks away from every Broadway play out there, but I just can’t describe what it’s like to walk back from a late night grocery trip and see 150 people waiting outside in the rain for Usher to come out of the Shubert and sign Chicago playbills (by the way- he's just as hot in person). So far I’ve seen so many weird things just pass me by on the street. At the end of my block I witnessed a drug deal gone bad (seller- “I could kick your ass man! I’ll fucking beat the shit out of you!” buyer, over his shoulder as he walks away- “And you’ll go to jail! It probably won’t be the first time tonight!”). My first Sunday night a 60-year-old man in a little girl’s dress and a blonde wig in pigtails strutted past me on 8th avenue (“nobody else just saw that?” said a nearby teenager to his inattentive friends). Wednesday I had an interview in the Bloomberg Tower on Lexington Avenue and a minute before I was met for the interview, Emmitt Smith waltzes by with a posse of 5 white guys in suits.
It’s just a weird world up here. Just a few weeks ago I was watching Will Arnett and Amy Poehler on the red carpet at the Emmy’s. Then last weekend they’re back down in this dirty little theater in Chelsea, home to the greatest comedy on the east coast, which recently upgraded from plastic shit bags (bags attached to the ceilings to collect shit (literally and figuratively) from pipes that hang one foot overhead) to plastic shit buckets! A few nights ago I saw Sherrybaby in the lower east side and after the movie Maggie Gyllenhaal came out and answered questions for half an hour. It's just very surreal up here. No matter how many times I pass the Empire State Building or the Chrysler, I just can't help but stop and stare. And speaking of the Empire State Building, you can see it from my roof, which is just incredible. Here's a photo I snapped last night. The beams of light from the WTC site aren't as impressive on camera, but take my word- they were pretty amazing.