Monday, January 30, 2006
This past weekend was highly strenuous, and not just because I was feeling under the weather. Friday night I did Ron Poole's Gay and Lesbian Comedy Fest at Don't Tell Mama. My dear friend Amy Johnson McDavitt was in town with her husband, Ryan, and they came to see me along with their friends, Mike and Debbie. Amy and Ryan are both veterans of the war in Afghanistan, so they were a bit out of their element among such faggotry, to say the least. To prepare for the experience, they had gotten good and liquored up on Kettle Ones.
Sitting in the front row, Amy began, inexplicably, calling out my name -- "Adam Sank! Adam Sank!" -- as M.C. Michael Brill did his opening set.
"What about Adam Sank?," wondered Michael.
"We love him! We're here for Adam Sank!," Amy cried.
"That's great," said Michael, "he's outside behind a dumpster right now paying for his spot."
"Well, I just want to plug Adam Sank!," Amy insisted.
"Sure," said Michael. "Plug Adam Sank. Everyone else has."
The lineup -- which included Erin Foley, Bob Smith, Shelagh Ratner, Rob Driemeyer and Poppi Kramer -- was very strong. I went up sixth. While I waited to go on, Amy's table kept sending me Tanqueray and tonics, so by the time I took the stage I was t-rashed. I managed to get through my set OK, albeit with a limp ending (and endless ad-libs from the drunken straight table).
Afterwards, offstage, I literally fell into Poppi Kramer.
Woke up with a shrieking hangover and hopped an A-Train up to Washington Heights to meet Ken Perlstein, his wife, Kelly, and Sarah Fearon for our trek up to the Catskills.
(RANDOM SIDEBAR: As I type this, Bobcat Goldthwait is guest starring on "Living Single." What the hell?!)
About three hours later, we arrived in Andes, population 300. Sarah immediately noticed a flyer for our show hanging in the window of the deli across from the hotel.
"Hey," I pointed out, laughing, "the way it's laid out, it sort of looks like I'm Ken Perlstein and he's me."
A couple minutes later, inside the hotel, we found the programs that had been printed for the evening. Here's how my bio appeared:
Not surprisingly, here's how Ken Perlstein's bio appeared:
An auspicious beginning, to say the least.
The hotel itself was really a motel with an adjoining restaurant/bar complex and performing space, which looked like a large dining hall with banquet tables and a working fireplace, in front of which a cordless mic was set up.
We retired to our rooms (Ken sharing one with Kelly, I with Sarah) for some R & R before the show. Sarah diligently prepped for her set whilst, feeling sicker by the minute, watched back-to-back "Project Runway" reruns.
(RANDOM SIDEBAR NO. 2: "Project Runway," now in its second season, is the best reality show on television. If you don't agree, you've never watched it. I so want to write weekly recaps on this blog, but Dan Renzi, former "Real World Miami" castmate, has beaten me to it. His recaps, putatively written by his straight brother, are the only thing more entertaining than the show, itself. Read the latest here.)
Around 7, we all met in the bar to check out the crowd and scarf down some burgers. The crowd, I must say, frightened me a bit. Flannel shirts. Mullets. Long beards. And that was just the women.
By 7:30, the room was packed and Joanne Genelle, our host and MC, began the show. She warmed them up with about 10 minutes of "Brokeback Mountain" material. No offense to Joanne -- she's a doll -- but maybe not the best material for this crowd, given that the nearest movie theater was 100 miles away and these people wouldn't see "Brokeback Mountain" if each screening came with a free tractor. Also, it occurred to me as I waited for Joanne make my introduction, that after 10 minutes of hearing gay-themed material, are they really going to be in the mood for me?
So how'd I do? I actually did pretty well. I did 30 minutes. I started by saying, "When Joanne Genelle called me up and asked me if I wanted to perform at the Andes Hotel in Andes, New York... I said, 'Where the hell is that?'"
The crowd roared, which at least let me know they had a good sense of humor about themselves.
To be honest, there were a couple rough patches. One table of loud drunk morons walked in late and made intermittent noise throughout. At one point I remarked that the fireplace was so hot, I hoped my ass didn't spontaneously burst into flames.
"Too late!," one of them yelled out. This gave me the opportunity to do a good slow burn, so to speak. And who doesn't love a slow burn?
They also loved it when I pointed out people in the crowd: "Look, it's Wilford Brimley from the oatmeal commercials! And in the back, wearing the red shirt... Moses!"
All in all, I was pleased.
Sarah Fearon followed with a precisely written and expertly delivered set that bordered on performance art. And then Ken, the headliner, did an hour (!) that had people gasping for breath. If you've never seen Ken, he does the best George W. Bush imitation ever. And his fast-forward porn bit is not to be missed.
The show ended. We were all glad-handed and hugged and congratulated, which was sweet. One woman, a realtor, insisted that I email her so she could hook me up with her gay friend. (Because God knows, I never meet any gay men living in Manhattan.)
The moment I got back into the motel room, I got the chills and began to shiver violently. This was followed by a restless night of aching and sweating. By morning, I wanted to die.
After a nice breakfast with Joanne in the town diner, we headed back to the city.
(P.S. I forgot to bring my camera to Andes, so there are no photos.)
I spent most of the day trying to decide whether or not I should MC my show that night. On the one hand, I REALLY felt like crap. On the other hand, I hated the idea of handing the show over to someone else: If it went badly, I'd feel responsible. If it went well, I'd feel jealous.
In the end, I made it to the show but ended up delivering one of my weakest sets ever. Thank God for Robert H. Keller, Karith Foster and Bob Smith, all of whom killed. (My favorite joke of the night: Karith, on a relative who named her baby Dijonairra: "That's actually African-American for, 'never gonna work in corporate America.'")
Bob Blows it Out.
Me and Robert H.K. Ham it Up.
Note my Glistening Fever Sweat.
Adam Thanks God That His Long, Long Weekend Is Finally Over.
Now it's 11 p.m. on Monday night. My antibiotic is making me feel like I'm having contractions. My fever is spiking again. I'm almost too weak to throw in one final plug.
COME SEE ME IN MINTYFRESH'S "COCKTAIL" AT OTTO'S SHRUNKEN HEAD THIS COMING SATURDAY, FEB. 4 AT 8 P.M.!
COME SEE ME HOST "THE ELECTRO SHOCK THERAPY COMEDY HOUR" THIS COMING SUNDAY, FEB. 5 AT 10 P.M., WITH MY SPECIAL GUESTS LISA LANDRY, VIDUR KAPUR AND BRIAN BARRY!
Sunday, January 22, 2006
That's approximately three minutes in a 90-minute show. That's around 3%. If any of us got up at a club and did a 10 minute set, of which only 33 seconds was actually funny, we would be banned for life. Just something to think about. (Note -- my math may be way off -- I'm sort of a retard when it comes to numbers. But you get my point.)
I am quite delinquent in updating this here blog, so in lieu of catching up, here are some bullet points:
« Friday, Jan. 13: Guest spot at Gotham bringer show. My first time at Gotham since they moved to Chelsea. Lovely crowd -- really wonderful. I get home and watch the video tape, only to discover that my head is completely cut off. Definitely the tape I'll be sending to Letterman.
« Sunday, Jan. 15: Great show at Therapy tonight. Room is inexplicably packed, most notably with a front table of stone cold dykes. Mizz Wendy Ho sings her signature song, "Fuck Me", and debuts a new number dedicated to the dentally challenged entitled, "Yo Teef is Givin' Me Grief," both to thunderous acclaim. Mina Hartong kills with her lesbian sex toy demonstration and her impression of various gay dance styles. Dan Siegel makes the queens drool and delivers a kick-ass headliner set. Finally, Bob Smith makes a surprise appearance and brings down the house with mostly new material. All in all, a very good night.
Look, Ma! No Flop Sweat!
Mizz Wendy Turns it Out!
Dan Siegel, Moi, Mina Hartong, Mizz Wendy Ho, Bob Smith
Me and Bob
« Wednesday, Jan. 18: I do the Gotham open mic and debut a new bit based on one of my old blogs, "Oprah Jumps the Shark." The general consensus seems to be that everyone likes the part about the avocado. The rest of it, not so much.
« Friday, Jan. 20: For the second time, I MC "The 75-Step Program," a night of improv at the Access Theater. The three improv groups this time are Beatrice, Mailer Daemon and Fickle, who organized the event. Again, I am so impressed with improv-ers. What strikes me most is their patience. Unlike us, they don't need a laugh every 10 seconds to keep their energy up. They ease into a sketch, find the layers of it, blow it up and let it evolve naturally. I saw a lot of talent on that stage. Unfortunately, it wasn't coming from me. The crowd is sparser and tougher than last time. There is no mic, and by the end of the night, my voice is hoarse from over-shouting (which means I'm trying too hard). I unfurl the Oprah bit in its entirety to fairly good results. (Again, the "avocado" line goes over the best.) But the bit still feels limp in the middle. Also, I realize, it is an EXHAUSTING monologue. It clearly still needs work.
« Friday, Jan. 20, Part II: Still chasing a laugh fix, I hop a cab to Rose's Turn, which is totally packed. Michael Isaacs calls me up, and from the get-go, I can tell it's a terrific crowd. I start the song. I come to the bridge. I do a quick Usama bin Laden joke I worked up in the cab, which gets much bigger laughs than expected. Then, as I'm launching into an extremely abridged version of the Oprah bit, some drunk bitch in the back of the room starts yelling, "Shut up and sing! Shut up and sing! Either finish the song, or get off!" I try to ignore this as I can't actually see where it's coming from, but finally I have to acknowledge what's happening. "Michael," I say, "someone is yelling at me to shut and sing. That's not nice..." At that moment, Kim Lee Hicks, one of Rose's fabulous waitress/performers, gets all up in the woman's face: "You need to stop NOW," she says, all deadly-serious. "He is a comedian! This is what he does!" (I love that. She says it exactly the way you would chastise a child for making fun of someone in a wheelchair: "He is handicapped! That is how he gets around!")
Grateful that Kim Lee has totally shamed this moron, I turn towards her general direction and say, "Thanks for shutting up, honey. I actually can't see you because of the lights in my face, so I can't make fun of you. But I have no doubt there's something hideously wrong with you. You are obviously miserable." Zing! I finish the Oprah bit. Again, the avocado is like crack to the crowd. I complete the song. Kelly Howe gets up to do her set, and all through it, she keeps yelling, "Avocado! Avocado!" So now I have a catch-phrase. Sweet.
« Which brings us to today -- Sunday -- the start of an extremely hectic week which will culminate with my first-ever Catskills performance. I'm SO doing the avocado. ♥
COME SEE ME HOST THE ELECTRO SHOCK THERAPY COMEDY HOUR TONIGHT... SUNDAY, JAN. 22... WITH SPECIAL GUESTS DARLENE VIOLETTE, ROME, AND A MUSICAL PERFORMANCE BY SHAWN HOLLENBACH! DETAILS ON ADAMSANK.COM.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Adam Sank's Annual Golden Globe Awards Wrap-Up!*
All of the Desperate Housewives. In a word, fabulous.
A bra-less Drew Barrymore, breasts dangling down around her waist, in some green felt frock. So ugly, people were afraid to photograph it. The most bizarre choice she's made since marrying Tom Green.
Joaqin Phoenix (accepting his award for "Walk the Line"): "Whoever thought I'd win in the comedy or musical category?"
Dennis Quaid's hacker-than-hack joke about how "Brokeback Mountain" is of the genre that "rhymes with chick flick." The crowd actually groaned, as did all the queens watching the show at my apartment.
The "So THAT'S What Ed Asner Looks Like in Blackface Award:
To S. Epatha Merkerson.... but she had a nice acceptance speech.
Speaking of which...
Best Acceptance Speech:
Geena Davis, who told a mushy anecdote about how a little girl had come up to her before the awards and said, "Because of you, I want to be president some day..." and then admitted the story was total bullshit. A great bit, and her timing was perfect.
Worst Acceptance Speech:
Diana Ossana, who won for cowriting "Brokeback Mountain," and who went on for so long about nothing that her cowriter had to literally shove her out of the way to get a word in edgewise. Oh, and did I mention her cowriter was PULITZER PRIZE-WINNER LARRY McMURTRY?! Get a clue, lady: In this equation, you're Ike Turner. You're Art Garfunkel. You're John Oates. Get it?
Most Poignant Acceptance Speech
Felicity Huffman, winning for "Transamerica," who said in part: "I know as actors our job is usually to shed our skins. But I think as people our job is to become who we really are, and so I would like to salute the men and women who brave ostracism, alienation and a life lived on the margins to become who they really are.
That loud noise you hear is Pat Robertson's head exploding (let's hope). But for transgender people, who take even more crap from society than gay men and lesbians, it's an historic moment.
The "My Mother is An Aging Whore and I'll I Got Was This Stupid Title" Award:
To Melanie Griffith's daughter, Dakota Johnson, a k a "Miss Golden Globe," whose facial expressions on-camera looked as though she were passing an extremely painful bowel movement. If she was that uncomfortable in this simple role, why did she ever agree to the gig?
The "Has Anyone Seen My Tits? Oh, Here They Are" Award
To Pamela Anderson, who looked like she had tossed her massive jugs into a Hefty bag before leaving the house.
Most Horrific Omission:
That there was no "March of the Dead" montage this year, thus robbing viewers of the opportunity to exclaim things like, "Ohmigod, I didn't know Shirley Hemphill died!" No one even mentioned poor Shelly Winters, a Golden Globe winner for "The Poseidon Adventure," who died Saturday at 85.
Coming soon: A magical night at Therapy. ♥
*Note: This wrap-up was originally twice as long, but my computer crashed before I was able to save the rest of it. Complaints should be directed to www.dell.com.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
According to Women's Wear Daily, Robin Williams laid an egg at the 60th birthday of media mogul Jann Wenner:
The manic comic delivered an impromptu monologue "in a preacher's dialect, mimicking Southern fundamentalist attitudes" about gay people, according to one attendee. The shtick was aimed at Wenner's relationship with boyfriend Matt Nye, who hosted the party, along with Midler and her husband and Wenner's wife, Jane. But Williams was the only one who seemed amused by his jokes. "It didn't even come to a punch line," complained one observer, who found the routine offensive. Added another guest: "There was some polite laughter, and a lot of shuffling and looking at the plate in front of you."
I guarantee you Williams's set went over a lot better than my own Electro Shock Therapy Hour this past Sunday night. Robin Fox was far too kind in describing the fiasco on her blog:
"The room was particularly hard that night. I thought Adam was great but they were talkers and the room was tough."
There were talkers and the room was tough, but Adam was not great; I sucked! I sucked so bad there was actual flop sweat dripping down my face to such an extent that Rob, the adorable waiter, walked over mid-set to hand me some napkins. I wish he had handed me a gun so I could have shot myself.
Allow me to set the scene: The room is half-empty, with all the empty tables in the front. Luke, the tech manager, reads my intro into the microphone: "Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage, the man who taught Lindsay Lohan how to throw up... Adam Sank!"
This is supposed to be followed by Lohan's version of "I Want You to Want Me," but the CD player sticks, so by the time I get onto the stage, the place is silent. I look out into the crowd, or what there is of it. The largest table comprises a bunch of German tourists, who probably came to the show thinking they were going to witness actual electroshock therapy. (You know those kinky Germans.) If they understand anything I'm talking about, they're certainly not letting on.
I try some crowd work. Crickets. I try some material. Quieter crickets. I sweat. Finally, with nothing left to try, I begin my introduction of Dale Sorenson. The intro is a somewhat lengthy bit about how I attempted to find a song with the word "Dale" in it, but the best I could come up with was a Spanish-language song called "Dale" (pronounced "dah-lay"); translation: "Give it to him." This actually gets a slight titter -- my first of the night -- and then I'm like, "So please welcome Dah-Lay Sorenson!"
And then the CD player sticks again so nobody hears the song I've just spent five minutes talking about.
And so it went. And I don't mean to blame only the crowd and the technical difficulties for my bombing, because Dale delivered a fine set, followed by an even stronger set by Brad Loekle. I was just totally, completely off my game.
And then onto the stage came Robin Fox.
Keep in mind: By the time Robin gets up there, half of the original crowd has left. Two queens from San Francisco have taken roost in the front-right table and are utterly rapt in conversation with each other. I am crying into my Tanqueray and tonic in the back row. And what does Robin do? She kills. She's awesome. At one point she says to one of the German girls, "Hey, you look just like Felicity Huffman...!"
"Thanks," says the girl.
"...in 'Transamerica,'" Robin adds.
She totally wins back the room. All except for those two Franciscans, that is, who continue to chatter like magpies. Then, one of them, loud enough for everyone to hear, gestures toward Robin and goes, "She's still talking?!"
Without missing a beat, Robin launches into one of the funniest and smartest anti-heckler tirades I've ever heard. She's all, "Excuse me?! I'm still talking? You're goddamned right, I'm still talking! I'm the fucking headliner -- not some woman who's talking into her cell phone on the train! Why are YOU still talking, asshole?!"
Then she turns toward the waiter:
"Waiter? I'd like to buy a drink for this man. Vinegar and water for the douche bag!"
And the place just exploded. It was a truly great moment in standup comedy. I was incredibly proud of Robin, who, by the way, ended up dirty-dancing with the guy after the show.
A few more post-scripts:
As I was walking out, the Germans approached me to ask me for my autograph. This should prove to you how totally out of it they were.
Later still, as Robin and I are on the sidewalk talking, a guy who watched the show comes over to chat with us. The conversation turns, for some reason, to body piercing. All the sudden, the guy reaches into his pants and pulls out his schmecky, which is... you guessed it... pierced. Again, I have to hand it to Robin; she was far less shocked than I.
All in all, a surreal and hideous evening.
Smell the Flop Sweat.
Dale Sorenson Tries to Rescue the Room.
Brad Loekle Wonders: 'Why is Adam Sank so BAD?!'
Robin Fox Saves the Day...
...And Makes a Heckler Soil Himself.
Finally (and this is apropos of nothing), I have long been a huge fan of Dan Savage, who writes the syndicated "Savage Love" sex-advice column and has also written two of my favorite books, "The Kid" and "Skipping Towards Gomorrah."
In this week's column, a woman writes:
Recently, my boyfriend and I broke up, one reason being his lack of initiative in calling me. I spoke with several of my girlfriends and found out that they, too, have similar troubles with their boyfriends. Some of these women are in serious, long-term, loving relationships. It seems to me that this is a blight on modern relationships. Women want to get phone calls from our significant others because it lets us know we are cared for, but men seem to be indifferent, even after it's been brought up and discussed. Are we women asking for too much? Or are men being thoughtless?
Give Me A Call
Dan's response begins:
I've been racking my brain for hours, GMAC, in a desperate effort to recall if I have ever received a question that interests me less than yours.
I nearly choked on my Snapple laughing. ♥
COME SEE ME TRY NOT TO SUCK AS I HOST THE ELECTRO SHOCK THERAPY COMEDY HOUR THIS SUNDAY, JAN. 15 AT 10 PM! MY SPECIAL GUESTS WILL BE DAN SIEGEL, MINA HARTONG, AND MIZZ WENDY HO! DETAILS ON ADAMSANK.COM.
Saturday, January 7, 2006
I didn't think it to be particularly provocative, and certainly less so than the one I had up on Soapbox for months, which showed Allison Tilsen resting her enormous breasts on my back during Gay Pride.
But almost from the moment it appeared, the new shirtless photo seemed to bother quite a few people. More specifically, it bothered straight guys who blog on this site. (Interestingly, not a single woman complained about the photo. In fact, my mother, of all people, remarked how much she liked it. And my mother's not generally a fan of my exposing myself.)
Anyway, I chose to ignore the complaints I got, because I didn't know or care about the people complaining, and because the whole thing just seemed silly to me. Then last night, Josh Homer, a comic and blogger (and fellow Jersey native) whom I've never met or seen perform but whose writing I admire posted an open letter to me, which contained the following passage:
My problem with the picture is, you're always number one on Soapbox, so your picture is always displayed. I check Soapbox from my desk at work a few times a day, and there you are, topless on my desk top. I personally do not care, however my coworkers do. I work in the publishing industry, which is mostly female and gay men, and more than once I have been asked if "I'm switching sides" or "Who is that shirtless lad?" (Who says 'lad' besides Scotty from Star Trek R.I.P.) or my favorite "Do you think that is appropriate for work *wink*"
To sum up, it's nothing personal, but please put a shirt on.
This seemed a reasonable request coming from a reasonable person, and hence, my shirt is back on.
Without meaning to, I seem to have ignited another controversy by simply voicing my support for David Letterman, who called Bill O'Reilly out on his show for his bullshit "attack on Christmas" spiel, his lambasting of peace activist Cindy Sheehan, and his general demagoguery.
Let me just say this about that: I don't have the time or the energy to debate those people who honestly believe Bill O'Reilly has anything to contribute to an honest discussion of politics, society, religion or anything else. I spent seven years of my life working as a producer for Fox News Channel. I know better than anyone the tactics and overall mission of that network and the diabolical people who run it. They are truly brilliant, and they should be feared for what they've been able to achieve in such a relatively short time. But nobody -- and I mean nobody -- is ever going to convince me that they are on the side of right, of fairness, of goodness or of justice. So comment all you want -- write your own blogs -- call me names. When history is written, Bill O'Reilly and his cronies will take their rightful place beside such noble figures as Pat Robertson, Anita Bryant, George Wallace, Sen. Joseph McCarthy and Father Charles Coughlin. You want to choose sides? Fine. At least know which side you're choosing.
On to more important matters. As we speak, I am marinating four chicken breasts in a cinnamon-infused sauce. I was inspired to try this after watching an episode of "Little House on the Prairie" on TV-Land the other night. It's the one where Harriet tries to fix Almanzo up with Nellie by offering that Nellie cook his favorite dish, Cinnamon Chicken. Of course, Laura wants Almanzo's swanz all for herself, and since she knows Nellie can't cook, she offers to secretly cook this complicated delicacy. But rather than using cinnamon, Laura showers the poor chicken in cayenne pepper. When Almanzo and Nellie bite into it, they nearly choke to death.
Sneaky Little Whore
Moreover, the marinade does not smell very appetizing -- I think it's the combination of mustard and cinnamon. In any case, I'm not hopeful for the result.
As I cook this, I'm watching "Matchgame" on Gameshow Network. Matchgame is tougher than it looks. Nearly all the clues lend themselves to some naughty answer, e.g. "Anyone can play the banjo with their fingers, but I can play it with my blank." Yet if you want to win, you're better off choosing the most conventional, least racy answer. (In the aforementioned example, most celebrities said "toes," whereas I would have said, "cock.")
And speaking of celebrities, some of Matchgame's were barely famous, even in those days. Brett Somers, for example. I couldn't think of a single movie or TV show I ever saw Brett Somers in other than Matchgame, so I looked her up on imdb.com. In her entire career, which goes back to 1965, she has only six credits, not including Matchgame. And the only one I'm familiar with is "The Odd Couple." (Also, she was once married to Jack Klugman! Did anyone know that? I didn't.)
Clearly, I'm making good use of my time today, especially given that I have to MC a show at the Lantern in four hours and then host my Therapy show tomorrow night. I haven't begun to think about new material or set lists, so both are sure to be abysmal.
But I've got to turn the chicken. ♥
COME SEE ME MC AT THE LANTERN TONIGHT AT 9PM!
COME SEE THE ELECTRO SHOCK THERAPY COMEDY HOUR TOMORROW NIGHT AT 10 PM, WHEN MY SPECIAL GUESTS WILL BE ROBIN FOX, BRAD LOEKLE AND DALE SORENSON!
Friday, January 6, 2006
David Letterman and the Culture War
By: Bill O'Reilly for BillOReilly.com
Thursday, Jan 05, 2006
Even though the war on terror dominates the headlines, the culture war in America is almost as intense. On one side you have traditionalists, people who believe the country was well founded, does mostly good things, and has become the most powerful nation on earth by adhering to Judeo-Christian principles like generosity, justice, and self-sacrifice.
On the other side of the culture war are the secular-progressives who believe that the USA is fundamentally a flawed country, which has caused considerable misery both within and outside our borders. The S-P's want drastic change and a new direction for America.
The two most intense issues in the culture war right now are how to deal with terrorism, and what role spirituality should play in the public arena.
The S-P's want little or no public displays of God or religion. That's what drove the attacks on Christmas images and traditions--knock down the big Christian holiday, and the secularists achieve a big victory.
On the terror front, traditionalists largely want aggressive action to wipe out the "evildoers," and if lraq is the battlefield, then so be it.
Secular-progressives are appalled by the Iraq war and generally believe the USA has no right to act unilaterally to hunt down terrorists or their enablers.
So the stage was set for my recent appearance on the David Letterman show. I am a traditionalist; Mr. Letterman tends to mock traditionalists. And he often does it very well.
Our discussion began with the Christmas controversy. Dave did not see it as a big deal. When I pointed out the absurdity of a library in Memphis, Tennessee okaying a manger scene but then telling the woman donating it that she had to remove Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the three Wise Men, Dave said he did not believe the story. And, generally, that was the opinion of the liberal media: There was no Christmas controversy - the whole thing was fabricated by religious zealots bent on establishing a theocracy.
Dave's skepticism must have come as a surprise to Memphis resident Brandi Chambless, the woman ordered to remove statues of the Holy Family and their visitors from the east. But, hey, the shepherds could stay, staring into an empty stable.
The subject quickly shifted to Iraq, a conflict both Letterman and I believe has been poorly managed. We also found common ground on the terrific performance of the U.S. military.
But then Cindy Sheehan came up. Uh-oh.
Dave, as well as many in the entertainment community, feels that Ms. Sheehan should not be criticized. He believes she is above reproach because her son Casey was killed in Iraq.
I do not see it that way, so sparks flew. My contention is that Ms. Sheehan is entitled to grieve and dissent in any way she wants, but her grief is being exploited by far-left elements.
And when Ms. Sheehan told Mark Knoller, a correspondent for CBS radio, that the terrorists in Iraq were "freedom fighters," she insulted thousands of other Americans who lost loved ones in Iraq.
Simply put, terrorists who blow up civilians, women and children are not freedom fighters in any sense. They are murderers and I called Mr. Letterman on Sheehan's support of them.
I hope you saw the program. It was a rare display of the culture war on television. I told Dave I respected his views and he should respect mine. I enjoyed the joust.
By far more important is the wake up call many late night viewers got. We in America are becoming a deeply divided country along cultural lines. The more we all understand what the issues are, the better. The culture war is real, and now everybody that watched Letterman that evening knows it.
Wednesday, January 4, 2006
The interview can be found in its entirety here, on gawker.com. Once you're on the page, click on Big Show Highlight - Video File [Late Show].
Now imagine Jay Leno saying anything nearly as ballsy to a guest.
Long Live Letterman.
Monday, January 2, 2006
Electro Shock Therapy Comedy Hour
December 11, 2005
Written by Shareshten Senior
So I was going to see Adam Sank host the Electro-shock Therapy Comedy Hour at Therapy and I walked in the bar with my tall and handsome friend who just happens to be straight. Little did he know - we were going to a gay bar.
Adam greeted me right away with a warm smile and handshake thanking me for coming and proudly announcing that New York Cool was here and now we could start the show, okay. Adam has some sense of humor. He was dressed in a western style snap-button-down shirt topped by a cowboy hat, but his style screamed Manhattanite. His jeans certainly were not Wranglers and his boots were not quite the cowboy style.
My friend and I sat at a round cocktail table on the front row and started devouring $5 Cosmopolitans, the strongest I have ever had. The stage looked like it was built in front of a large white-brick fireplace. About forty candles decorated the inside of this would-be fireplace.
The line-up for the night included songs by Wendy Ho, baby and lesbian stories by Carolyn Castiglia and a set from the headliner Danny McWilliams..
Adam then trotted out to the front of the stage. He started the night off with a confessional life history, which included confessions he has had to make to his parents. There is something precocious and adorable about Adam and the guy is funny too.
Wendy Ho was totally ghetto. She sang "Bitch, I Stole your Purse" with a grimy voice. She was dressed ghetto fabulous with a white rabbit vest accented by a huge gold belt and a jewelry box full of gold accessories. The big hit of the evening was her rendition of "Get Here," which was called "Fuck me." She cleverly depicted the different times a woman wants to be fucked, contrasting them from the times she wants to be made love to. The gay men in the audience loved her set. Instead of "I don't care how you get here, just get here if you can," she made her rendition, "I don't care how you fuck me, just fuck me when you can." The crowd responded throughout the number with knowing nods, hysterics and claps.
Next up was Carolyn Castiglia, whom you may have seen perform at Caroline's or Gotham. She graced the stage wearing a "tent" of a shirt, which she said she wore for easy nipple access. She explained that she had pulled her eight-month-old-baby-girl off her breast as she ran out the door to "work." She also told us that work was the place where she could cuddle a beer and her husband wouldn't know. She told us that she felt there was a certain amount of lesbianism to breast feeding. Before the birth of her baby, the only times a woman had sucked her tit, it was lesbianism. She also spoke about living in East Harlem as a white woman with a black woman's ass. Carolyn certainly does know how to throw the shit right back at anyone who wants to dish it.
You've probably seen Danny McWilliams on "Funny Gay Males." He has done the show since 1988 and occasionally still does. McWilliams stole the night and the love of the gay audience. The Queens-raised headliner was the only openly gay comedian as well as the comedy connoisseur for the evening. McWilliams spoke of the evolution of the homosexual community. The community has had many changes - from being an illness to being a community to being the "gay community" to being the "gay and lesbian community." McWilliams had loads of stories that illustrate what it's like to be part of the gay and lesbian community. For all you straight men who may think that this comedy show is not quite your cup of tea - when my straight male friend was asked by McWilliams to imagine for a second that his brother came to him and challenged him to use the word "hooter" in a sentence. Little Danny proclaimed: "Whoda hell decorated this room?" My handsome friend then broke from his nervous stance of clenching butt muscles and burst out in hysterical laughter. Lastly, Danny left the gay and lesbian community with some hope for 2006 saying, "Thank god we have a new pope because John Paul was against gay marriage."
Therapy has often been described as having a tough crowd to please, but all three performers had a ball and the audience loved them. The women were hysterically raunchy and McWilliams was classically and wittily gay. And I already told you I liked Adam Sank.
Therapy is a quaint, clean and dimly lit bi-level bar on 348 West 52nd street between 8th and 9th avenues. I am told that they also serve food, however, the kitchen was closed on this particular evening. There is only one bathroom facility which is Unisex. Do you dare? If you would like to attend the next Electro-Shock Therapy Comedy Hour, Adam Sank will host it on January 8th, 2006 with a whole new line-up of comedians. You can check out Danny McWilliams on www.funnygaymales.com. To get performance listings for Wendy Ho go to www.myspace.com/wendyho. If you would like to see Carolyn Castiglia perform you can find her calendar and more information at www.carolyncastiglia.com.