Monday, October 30, 2006

The Return of Luke & Laura

Friday night I did Colin Kane's show at the Village Lantern. It's normally one of my favorite shows (and if you've never seen Colin's savagely funny crowd work, you're missing out). But it was pouring outside, and the crowd was small, and there were two profoundly drunk middle-aged couples in the front row (who, through sheer coincidence, turned out to be from my hometown of Summit, NJ), and the rest of the audience seemed to be in some sort of catatonic state.

All of which would have been fine, had the first comic to go up -- a comic who shall remain nameless... forever -- not spent three minutes talking about how he likes to scratch his balls and then sniff his fingers. His set went downhill from there. His closing bit was all about oversize clitorises. (Don't shoot the messenger; I know nothing about clitorises, and I certainly would never do material about them.)

It was a set that would have grossed out any crowd. But this crowd, which included two out-of-town families (one from Wisconsin!) plus the aforementioned middle-aged drunken couples was particularly revolted. As Nameless Comic was finishing his final clitoris joke, the Wisconsinites got up and left. But they didn't just walk out; first they shouted at him, "We're leaving because of you."

I had to follow that.

"Um, OK," I said with a nervous smile. "Let's all start over, shall we? Let's just pretend nothing's happened so far tonight. Because we all know something terrible did just happen. But now that those goddamned Wisconsin people are gone, we can all heave a sigh of relief."

And that's exactly what everyone did. It wasn't my best set ever. But considering I had to follow nut-sniffing and oversize clitorises (clitori?), I think I did myself proud.

In other news, Luke and Laura have been reunited on "General Hospital." This is pretty amazing, considering their wedding was 25 years ago. And that's 25 actual years, not just soap opera years. Even more amazing, I remember watching their wedding when it aired back in 1981. I was 10 years old, and still remember gasping when Scotty caught Laura's bouquet. (Anyone who doubts homosexuality is determined from early childhood should reread the last two line of this blog.)

I have been recording the show daily since Laura's return last Thursday. Anthony Geary and Genie Francis are still playing Luke and Laura after all these years. Geary looks great -- much better than he did with that pubic white afro from his earlier days. But Francis has really let herself go. Her character's been in a catatonic state for the last four years, but I guess they had no trouble getting nourishment to her body; she's as big as a house.

It's extremely confusing to pick up the show again after all these years. Luke and Laura now have three children, the eldest of which, Nikolas, looks to about five years younger than his mother. Even more baffling, Nikolas's last name is Cassadine, so Luke is apparently not his biological father. But the Cassadines were part of an evil dynasty back when I watched the show, led by Elizabeth Taylor in her most pathetic role! Why would Laura get impregnated by a Cassadine? And which Cassadine was it?

To add further confusion, Nikolas has a son whom he named "Spencer," which is Luke's last name! Why would he name his son after his stepfather?

Then and now. Believe you me, they've massively photoshopped Laura's body.

Then there's Lulu, Luke and Laura's daughter, who keeps talking about how she got an abortion. But I have no idea who knocked her up, or even how old she's supposed to be. (Though it was revealed today she's a student at Port Charles University.)

And then today, Robert Scorpio appeared, played by the same actor who played him in the early 80s. It's surreal to see Luke and Scorpio as old men now, when they used to be the young GH hotties. Scorpio and Luke had this long scene together where they were swigging whiskey from a flask, and Luke mentioned that what Laura doesn't know is... HE MARRIED SOMEONE ELSE WHILE SHE WAS IN A CATATONIC STATE!

And by the way, why the hell was Laura catatonic for four years, anyway? They keep talking about how she accidentally killed her stepfather (God knows who he was). I'm not a psychiatrist, but that seems like a rather extreme reaction to an accident.

Guess I'll have to keep watching.

Finally, last night I hosted my Therapy show in drag -- for the first and last time. My drag name was TransFatty Acid. I spent over $150 on my outfit, and the results... well, I'll let you decide:

I look a little like Kathy Griffin, don't I?

P.S. Went home to Summit for my dad's birthday Sunday, and took this picture with little Leo, who's now a chubby two month old:

Come see me host Adam Sank's Gay Bash on Wednesday, Nov. 1, when my headliner will be the amazing Judy Gold!

Details about this and other shows on my web site!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Now Coming in a Theater Near You

I hopped in a cab to Chelsea yesterday and looked, as I always do, at the name on the operator's license. It was Jean Jean. First name: Jean. Last name: Jean.

I'm used to New York City taxi drivers' having totally fucked up names, but this was a new level of weirdness. Who names their kid "Jean Jean?"

Unable to resist, I leaned forward and asked, in my best Haitian-inflected French: "Votre nom -- c'est vraimente 'Jean Jean?'"

"Oui, oui," he replied, without missing a beat.

Soulement dans New York, mes enfants, soulement dans New York.

I was headed to Chelsea to tape another installment of "Out at the Center," the monthly cable show that airs on MNN Network and on the Center's web site. It's a fairly easy gig: all I have to do is read off cue cards. Unfortunately, like the last time I hosted, yesterday was a very humid day. And they always have to turn off the air conditioner so the audio is clear.

Anyone who has seen me perform knows I'm something of a sweater. If I ever have my own talk show, I'll be one of those freaks like Letterman who insists the thermostat be set at 62 degrees.

Needless to say, by the end of the taping I was soaked. I smelled like a farm animal. I'm sure I'm going to come out looking real pretty on-camera. Stay tuned; I'll provide the link again when it airs.

So my favorite new TV show of the season, without a doubt: Friday Night Lights. Based on the 2004 movie of the same name, it's about a high school football team in small-town Texas. I couldn't care less about either football or Texas, and yet I am completely addicted. Each episode is like a great movie. The acting is nuanced and superb, particularly in the case of Kyle Chandler, who plays the coach, and Connie Britton, who plays his wife. There are also a lot of hot young muscular guys parading around with their shirts off. (And a couple hot slutty, scantily-clad cheerleaders for those of you who play for the other team.) Try it -- you'll love it.

Best. Show. Ever.

I'm also hooked on the WE Network's new reality show called "Hair Trauma," about an Upper West Side hair salon owned by three high-maintenance black siblings. Attitude for days. Hilarious.

Finally, I must talk about the most original movie I've seen in years: John Cameron Mitchell's "Shortbus." The film got a lot of advance buzz, at least here in New York, because of its graphic depiction of people having sex. I mean actual sex -- as in penetration -- of every variety. (The film is unrated.)

Don't bring Mom and Dad.

And while the movie is definitely not for anyone who's the least bit squeamish about watching other people have sexual intercourse (either homo-, hetero- or pan-), it is not pornographic. In fact, the sex in "Shortbus" isn't titillating, at least not for me.

Moreover, the film's not really about sex. It's about our desperation as human beings to connect with one another -- emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, and, finally, sexually. Mitchell, best known for creating and starring in the off-Broadway musical "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" and the film of the same name, is an ingenious, fearless filmmaker. The art direction is amazing. The writing is crisp and funny. And the acting is so real you forget it's acting.

Definitely an addition to my list of "Best Films of All Time."

Come see me host the Electro Shock Therapy Comedy Hour this Sunday, Oct. 22, when my special guests will be Vanessa Hollingshead, Darlene Violette and Brad Loekle!

Then come see me host Adam Sank's Gay Bash on Wednesday, Nov. 1, when my headliner will be the amazing Judy Gold!

Details about these and other shows on my web site!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Hoopachoo Effect

I had a rather surreal experience last night at the Improv Cafe. I arrived at 8 for an 8:10 guest spot in Darlene Violette's show.

There, sitting at a table, was Hoopachoo, eating a plate of mini-hamburgers. We greeted each other and started chatting. After a couple a minutes, however, I suddenly got the feeling that this was not, in fact, Hoopachoo -- that rather he was a complete stranger who was simply being polite by making chit-chat with me.

This happens to me quite often. I have a real problem with facial recognition; I'm just not a visually oriented person. Plus, there's usually a million things swirling around my brain. Case in point, a couple weeks ago at my Carolines show, I failed to notice that Lisa Landry was five ½ months pregnant and kept offering to buy her a drink. I just thought she was wearing a baggy shirt.

Seriously, that's a whole lotta pregnancy not to notice...

It's always unsettling to me when I experience this feeling (which from now on I'll refer to as "The Hoopachoo Effect"). Sometimes it happens in reverse, which is slightly less awkward. The other day a guy came up to me at Therapy and said, "Hey, Adam, have you seen Eddie lately?" I stared into this person's eyes and had no idea who he was. Worse, I couldn't think of which Eddie he could be talking about. The only Eddie who came to mind was Eddie Weinstein, my college roommate from sophomore year, and he seemed an unlikely candidate for a conversation taking place in 2006.

Panicked, I said, rather generically, "Uh, no! I haven't seen Eddie in forever!"

Then the person said, "Well, wasn't he touring with Funny Gay Males out in Maine for a while?"

It was then I figured out he was talking about Eddie Sarfaty. I still didn't know whom I was talking to, but at least now I had the subject matter. "Oh, yeah!," I said, trying to recover. "Actually, I just performed with Eddie two weeks ago at the Duplex!"

Which didn't make a whole helluva lot of sense, given that I had just said I hadn't seen Eddie "in forever." The Hoopachoo Effect: It'll fuck with you every time.

Anyway, feeling typically disoriented last night, I left Hoopachoo (or his dopplegänger) to his mini-burgers and made my way toward the cafe showroom. A guy stopped me at the door. "Hi," I said, "I'm performing in this show."

"Who's show?"

"Darlene Violette's show."

"There is no Darlene Violette show in the cafe tonight. This is Ryan Reiss's show."

My head began to spin; could this all be a dream?

I stumbled outside and walked over to the club itself. As I was about to ask the ticket guy if Darlene Violette's show was happening downstairs, he said, "Hi, Adam."

For a split second, I had no idea who it was: Hoopachoo Effect times two! Then I realized it was Michael Brill, whom I've met about a million times. As usual, I tried to recover. "Oh, Michael. You look so nice, I didn't recognize you."

"Oh, thanks, Adam," he replied. "Do I normally look like shit?"

See, people think I'm a bitch. But I'm actually just retarded.

I finally made my way downstairs to the showroom, where Darlene's show was indeed taking place.
Darlene informed me that I'd be doing the closing spot.

For my non-comic readers, there's a difference between a closer and a headliner. A headliner is someone you (usually) save until the end of the show, someone who is (usually) recognizable to the crowd, and someone you expect will (usually) kill.

A closer, on the other hand, is just another comic who has the unfortunate job of doing the "check spot," which is when the crowd is busy paying their check and getting ready to bolt. I was most certainly the closer in this case, and I was a bit worried.

It didn't help that the crowd, though quite large, seemed rather sleepy. I sat and watched several good comics get little from them. So I figured I'd open the way I often do when I sense a low-energy crowd. I'll get up, flash them a shit-eating grin, and say, in my cheesiest talk show host voice, "Hey, how's everyone doing?!" Then, when that meets with a pathetic response, I'll flash an even wider smile and say, "Good! Suck it!"

So Ron Poole, who was the MC, introduces me. People are literally putting their coats on. I am bracing myself for the worst. And I get up and start my opener:

"Hey, how's everyone doing?!"

For some reason, they all started whooping and hollering and hoopachooing. Maybe they mistook me for a headliner. In any case, I couldn't very well go, "Good! Suck it!," after such a warm reception (although come to think of it, it would have been pretty funny if I had).

Anyway, it turned out to be a really fun set, complete with multiple applause breaks. I had a blast.

I had intended this blog to be about John Cameron Mitchell's "Shortbus," which I saw last night after the Improv show, and which blew me away. But it's now 7 p.m. and I need to fetch my laundry from the dryer.
So I'll have to talk about the movie next time.

In the meantime, if you run into me and I have no idea who you are, please don't take it personally. It's the Hoopachoo talking.

Come see me host the Electro Shock Therapy Comedy Hour this Sunday, Oct. 15, when my special guests will be Kelly Pryce, Greg Walloch and Jayson Cross!

Then come see me host Adam Sank's Gay Bash on Wednesday, Nov. 1, when my headliner will be the amazing Judy Gold!

Details about these and other shows on my web site!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Wake Me Up Before I Go-Go

When I began this blog back in August of '03, my intention was to update it every day. And I did, more or less, for the first month or so. Back then, it consisted of nothing but text; I hadn't yet discovered seamonkey, and with it the ability to change fonts...provide links to fascinating places on the Internet, or include photos of my gorgeous family... gorgeous, famous comedian friends...

...or my gorgeous self...

...not to mention the occasional (and largely uncalled for) dose of homoerotica...

Extra gay points if you can name this man.

And therein lies the problem. I simply can't maintain this level of creativity on a daily basis. Uploading those four photos above alone took me 20 minutes, and I've barely begun to say anything.

Basically, I'm feeling pressure... pressure to be witty and fresh and interesting and justify my top spot on this site -- a position that, contrary to the belief of several bitter comics, I have never artificially manipulated in an any way.

I don't need added pressure in my life at the moment; my new position at work and the two comedy shows I produce and host provide all the stress I need, thank you.

And yet -- when I don't blog, as I haven't for some time, the creative part of my brain starts to atrophy. I stop thinking of new material. It becomes harder to express myself, either on paper, on stage, or in my (meager) social life. And I become... well, pretty damned boring.

Want to know what I thought about as I was working out today (which is when my comedic juices are usually at their heaviest flow)? I was thinking about season four of "The Surreal Life," when Da Brat told Jane Wiedlin that she was nothing more than a "has-been" and a "Go-Go from the 80's," prompting Jane to burst into tears. And I was thinking how none of the other castmates stood up for Jane and said, "Listen, bitch: Jane Wiedlin wrote 'Our Lips Are Sealed,' among other quintessential pop songs of the 80's. She was in a group that changed the face and sound of pop music forever. Nobody in this house can even name one of your stupid songs. So Jane may be a 'has been," but you're a 'never-was,'" which is exactly what I would have said had I been there.

And then I started thinking, if I had been there, and if I had said that, Jane would have been truly moved, and we would have become best friends and get together on a weekly basis to gossip about what a stupid, talentless nothing Belinda Carlile is.

Does this not sound like the inner monologue of a complete lunatic? Fantasizing about being part of a pointless reality show that aired two years ago? Yet this is what happens when I stop blogging. My brain begins to spin into meaningless realms.

Sweet Jane

So my point is this: I'm rededicating myself to this blog. I vow to write something -- anything! -- at least four times a week, even if it's just a few lines of whatever twaddle is floating around my head. Not every post is going to contain bells and whistles, but at least there'll be something new on the page. I ask you, dear readers, to hold me to this. If I start to peter out, email me and tell me to get off my fat, lazy ass and write!

And never forget: It doesn't matter what they say... in the jealous games people play.

Come see me host the Electro Shock Therapy Comedy Hour this Sunday, Oct. 15, when my special guests will be Kelly Pryce, Greg Walloch and Jayson Cross!

Then come see me host Adam Sank's Gay Bash on Wednesday, Nov. 1, when my headliner will be the amazing Judy Gold!

Details about these and other shows on my web site!