Saturday, July 28, 2007

Adam Sank: The TV Show

Sorry to post two blogs so close together on this page, but something I've been waiting for just arrived.

Some months back, I had a production crew follow me for an evening in order to create a scouting tape for what might have become an "Adam Sank Reality Show."

Well, the show never materialized -- at least not at this point -- but the producer was kind enough to send me video of the "unaired pilot," as it were, and he also uploaded it to YouTube.

So here goes. Please note there are three parts to it -- Part 1, Part 1.5 and Part 2.
Feel free to rate it, rank it, retch over it, etc:

Part 1

Part 1.5

Part 2

Homo out. (And by "Out" I mean "Not Famous and Never Will Be.")

No Such Thing as Bad Publicity

The Soapbox show at Therapy is turning up in some interesting places. Time Out NY listed it both online and in the magazine, which is great:

The Electro Shock Therapy Comedy Hour

Price: Free
Venue: Therapy
Times: Jul 29 10pm
Sun 10pm. Address: 348 W 52nd St between Eighth and Ninth Aves Midtown West Phone: 212-397-1700
Travel: Subway: C, E to 50th St
Tonight, Adam Sank hosts stand-ups who blog on Comedy Soapbox, including Robin Fox, Jill Twiss, Shaun Eli, Pat Breslin and others. Come early; Sank screens a different campy comedy each week at 8pm.

In an ironic twist, the show is also listed in this week's Gay City News:

Up and Comers
Adam Sank welcomes a bloviary of bloggers as he features comedians who blog at Headlining is Robin Fox (The Laugh Factory, Ice Palace at Cherry Grove), appearing with Hoopachoo, Jill Twiss, Shaun Eli, Pat Breslin, Al Wagner, Harris Bloom, Chris Quimby, Mindy Matejasevic, and Jeanne Noll. All part of Sank's "Electro Shock Therapy Comedy Hour," at -- where else? -- Therapy, 348 West 52nd Street., 10 p.m. No cover or minimum, but $5 cosmos all night.

Why ironic? Well, for one thing, Gay City News almost never lists my show. So now, the one time they do, I have 10 comics in the lineup -- NONE OF WHOM ARE GAY! It's also sort of amazing that they listed everyone's names.

But the best part of this listing? That it's followed by the following listing:

Anal Pleasure 101
Tristan Taormino, author of "The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women," offers her ever-popular introduction to backdoor delights. An essential for butt-sex novices, it's a favorite for anal sex sophomores and aficionados alike. Babeland, 43 Mercer St., btwn. Grand & Broome Sts., 8 p.m. $30.

So in other words, we're in very good company.

See ya Sunday. Homo out.

Come see me host the second annual Soapbox "Up and Comers" Show at Therapy this Sunday, July 29 at 10 p.m.! Scheduled to appear are: Hoopachoo, Jill Twiss, Shaun Eli, Pat Breslin, Al Wagner, Harris Bloom, Chris Quimby, Mindy Matijasevic, Jeanne Noll and the mother of all stand-up comics, Robin Fox! Details on my web site.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Mice Returneth

Of all the blogs I've posted over the past three years, two that have have received among the greatest interest were one I wrote about my condo being infested with mice, and one about how I hate frisée. Just goes to show you: It's impossible to predict what will capture people's attention.

But in the interest of serving my readership, I have updates on both.

First, I may have gotten it horribly wrong regarding frisée. Fris
ée's not my favorite salad green, to be sure. But it's not the "pubic hair of lettuce" I so angrily described. I think what I was talking about is actually "curly endive," described on a food web site as follows:

A variety of endive that is a member of the chicory family of greens. It grows prickly green leaves that provide a slightly bitter taste. It is commonly served as a salad green.

On the other hand, the site goes on to say:

Curly endive is often referred to as chicory and may confuse many when labeled as loose-leaf endive or some of its other names such as loose-leaf chicory, chicory, chicory endive, curly chicory, frisée, or frise. The confusion occurs due to the fact that the term "chicory" in America or France refers to what Britain calls endive.

So who knows? Suffice it to say, I don't like prickly, bitter green things in my salad, whatever the hell they are.

Beware this mystery weed.

As for the mice, they're back. And they seem to have developed superpowers. They had vanished for a couple months -- a result, I was told, of the weather warming up. But in the last week I had begun noticing those little turds under the sink again, so I stuck a glue trap down there.

This morning, I looked under the sink. Turds as usual. But this time, the glue trap had been moved from one side of the floor to the other. And there was no mouse in the trap. Let me say that again: THE GLUE TRAP HAD BEEN MOVED FROM ONE SIDE OF THE FLOOR TO THE OTHER. AND THERE WAS NO MOUSE IN THE TRAP. I have no idea how this was achieved. And I am terrified.

You think glue's gonna stop me? Bitch, please.

I'm seriously close to taking a sledgehammer and demolishing the entire kitchen, like that scene in "Party Monster" when the club kids are so tweaked out they pull the radiator out of the floorboards because they're convinced there's coke hidden underneath. I want to remove every single appliance, cabinet and counter top and just slather the walls with tons of heavy cement until those evil mice are banished once and for all. Ugh.

I felt smaller than a mouse myself this past Thursday when I headlined at the Ice Palace in Cherry Grove. People who were there keep telling me it wasn't nearly as bad I think it was -- that I didn't actually bomb. But whatever. I've been doing this long enough that I know what a good set feels like. And it didn't feel like that. It felt sweaty and uncomfortable and worse than having to pick curly endive out of my teeth.

At least I got to hang out with my dear friends Robin Fox and Brad Loekle.

Robin and me, moments before my terrible set.
Right now I'm thinking, "They're gonna LOVE me!"

Speaking of Brad Loekle, he is dead to me. I know I said I wasn't going to trash people on this blog anymore, but I am making an exception. Brad is a fat, balding, anti-Semitic piece of crap! He refers to me as "Jewbacca" and has been secretly paying people not to laugh at my jokes. Plus he has freakishly small hands and...

Oh, forget it Brad, I can't do this with a straight face. You know I love you like herpes.

The Devil and Mrs. Fox.

The Fire Island set bummed me out because it came on the heels of a slew of really good sets. For some reason, I've been writing new jokes on a daily basis lately -- something that hasn't happened since I started doing comedy four years ago -- and all the new stuff has been landing. Last weekend I did virtually all-new material at Shannon Sutherland's show at Broadway and Danny Leary's show at Rose's and Colin Kane's show at Lantern and was delighted by the audience response. I was beginning to feel like, "FINALLY! I can deliver consistently good stand-up! I can trust my instincts! I've arrived!"

Then, like my discovery under the sink, it all turned to shit.

But barely sustaining my enthusiasm for this hideous business has been the Therapy show, which has been a helluva lot of fun lately. There's something about the summer audiences there; they're weird, and they're foreign, and they're sometimes hard to get going, but in the end, they're a blast. I find myself seriously looking forward to Sunday nights these days. Who'da thunk it?

Me grabbing Karith Foster's boob, as Danny Leary
and Greg Walloch grin knowingly. July 15, '07.

I don't know who took this picture, but it perfectly
captures what I look like after I've had three Jack & Diets
and someone feeds me some horrifying gossip.

Ophira Eisenberg, evil Brad Loekle, me and Lars Calleiou.
Lars was our token straight boy for the night.
Brad filled in last-minute for a certain unnamed, one-named comic
who will never be booked by me again. (Pity, cuz I love her.)
July 22, '07.

As you can see, Lars definitely got into the
Therapy spirit by the end of the night...

...As did Ana, a severely drunken Finnish chick.
Here we are comparing nipples.
Later, her equally drunken friend Marcus accosted me
outside the bar, pinning me against a wall and proclaiming,
"I want to rape you!"
Which may be a terribly romantic sentiment in Finland,
but not so much in the good ol' U.S. of A.
I got the hell away from him as fast as I could.

Thus ends my blog for now. Chris Quimby and his wife are soon to be headed my way, and I only have a few days to clean, fumigate, and completely de-gay (if not de-mouse) my apartment.

I'm preparing a curly endive salad for our first meal.

Homo out.

Come see me host the second annual Soapbox "Up and Comers" Show at Therapy this Sunday, July 29 at 10 p.m.! Scheduled to appear are: Hoopachoo, Jill Twiss, Shaun Eli, Pat Breslin, Al Wagner, Harris Bloom, Chris Quimby, Mindy Matijasevic, Jeanne Noll and the mother of all stand-up comics, Robin Fox! Details on my web site.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mea Culpa, and RIP Rose's Turn

Last month I posted a lengthy blog about an experience I had at a show called "Grandma's Candy Box," in which I felt another comic, Sven Wechsler, had taken a cheap shot at me in his set. Sven ultimately weighed in, and people still seem to be reacting to what I wrote, both positively and negatively.

So for what it's worth, I want to publicly say this to Sven:

I apologize. Was your on-stage remark intended to belittle my set? Yeah, I still maintain that it was. Was my reaction to it completely out of proportion? Absolutely. I shouldn't have called you a "douche." I shouldn't have made fun of your small biceps. And I probably shouldn't have written an entire blog about the episode.

I don't want to be Rosie O'Donnell. I mean, I wouldn't mind having her money and her fame. But I don't want to be someone who engages in public feuds with people just so I can purge all my negative feelings while simultaneously whipping up controversy. I want people to pay attention to me because they find me entertaining -- not because I trash people on my blog.

Also, I don't want to be a lesbian. Lesbians tend to hate me, so I'd be very lonely.

So to Sven, who may in fact be a wonderful person, and to my readers, I'm sorry for my momentary lapse of judgment. I shall now go back to using thinly veiled pseudonyms while trashing other comics instead of actual names. End of mea culpa.

And now, some heartbreaking news: My beloved Rose's Turn, New York's landmark piano bar, will close its doors forever this Sunday, July 22. I have mentioned this place dozens of times over the years on this blog; the place is a second home to me, and I can't imagine this city without it.

I first went to Rose's in 1996. I had just finished grad school at Columbia, and my boyfriend at the time, David, told me about this little dive bar on Grove Street in the Village where the wait staff got up and sang live music. Sitting in that smoky little room with him -- this was pre-Bloomberg and his Draconian nightclub ordinances -- I watched, memorized, as Elaine Brier got up and sang hilarious song parodies she had written, like "The Deli Song," which went, to the tune of Barry Manilow's "I Write The Songs":

I slice salami for the whole West Side...
I got the business from an uncle who died...
I make potato salad, cole slaw, too...
I am deli, I'm a Jew!

Then up went Terri White, a Broadway star working as a bartender, bringing people to tears with her soulful renditions of songs like "Summertime" and "Everything Must Change," and telling filthy jokes in between.

My relationship with David lasted only two months, but I kept returning to Rose's Turn for 11 years, usually two or three times a month, sometimes more. At some point that first year, I asked the piano player, a guy named Blind Bill Graves (though he wasn't blind), if I could sing something. I don't remember what song it was -- probably "Cats in the Cradle" or something by James Taylor. I had grown up singing in front of people, in musical theater productions and at family weddings and Bar Mitzvahs. But I hadn't done any singing since graduating from college four years earlier, and I missed it terribly.

Blind Bill Graves wasn't a warm fuzzy type, but he obliged patrons who wanted to sing. Standing up there at the mic, nervously warbling out my tune, I was struck by two huge realizations:

1) Vocally, I'll never hold a candle to the staff at Rose's Turn.

2) There's nothing more exhilarating for me than performing at a microphone.

There will never be another.

I kept coming back, often bringing friends, boyfriends, and anyone else I could persuade. Over the years, I got to know the staff intimately, as well as all the regulars. Then, around four years ago, just about the time I started doing stand-up, a new guy replaced Bill as the weekend piano player. His name was Michael Isaacs.

I adored Michael on sight. His singing and piano playing were gorgeous, his smile was infectious and he was the most encouraging performer I had ever met. Under his regime, the number of patrons getting up to sing sky-rocketed. Everyone wanted to be part of his warm glow, along with that of Rose's other performers, who included Kelly Howe, Joe Ardizzone, Michael Dionne, Kimlee Hicks, and Rainie Cole -- incredible talents, all.

Michael accompanied me several times on "Cat's in the Cradle" or whatever. And then one night, out of nowhere, I asked him if he knew "Life in a Northern Town" by Dream Academy.

"I know it in my head," Michael said, and immediately began playing a flawless accompaniment. This was typical of his musicianship.

Something clicked that night. I'm not a great singer, but the song was more or less in my range, and it was a big hit with the crowd. I started singing it every time I would go to the bar, adding a few comic remarks here and there. At some point, and I really can't remember how it evolved exactly, I started launching into a five- or six-minute stand-up set after the first two verses, as Michael vamped on the piano. I'd try out new material, mixed with stuff I knew the crowd there liked. I'd wait until I got the biggest laugh or applause that I was going to get... then I'd simply finish the song.

Over the course of months and years, Michael and I got to the point where it felt like we were thinking with one brain. He was the perfect straight man -- knowing just when to ask me a question or interject a thought. Meanwhile, his hands would be doing hilarious things on the piano. When I effected a flamboyantly gay persona, Michael's fingers would tip-toe across the high keys. When I talked about Dick Cheney shooting a man in the face, Michael would slam the piano shut to create a gun-shot effect. Meanwhile, the crowd just ate it up. It was absolute joy for me.

Michael and me, at my favorite place on earth.
In this particular photo, it looks like no one's enjoying my set.

I cannot overstate how much Rose's Turn did for me as a comic. On my way home from another gig, I'd stop by and try out a joke that hadn't worked earlier in the night. If it didn't work at Rose's, I'd know it was truly a stinker and should be forgotten. If it did well there, I'd know it had potential.

Never did I feel more supported as a performer, and thus I felt safe trying new things -- crowd work, political humor, new twists on old material -- and was able to develop my voice and my persona. And all along, I got to sing, which is still my favorite thing to do in the world.

And the people who came week after week to be part of the Rose's Turn experience -- from Mary and Greg, who met there and eventually had their wedding ceremony at the bar, to Alastair, the hot straight Scottish guy who wore leather pants and got up every week to croon "Walking in Memphis," to Susie and Jack (my favorites), who laughed out loud whenever I did the Long Island waitress joke, no matter how many times they had heard it -- were like one giant, crazy family. It didn't matter where we came from or what else was going on in our lives. In that place, all were united in a celebration of life. You could sit down next to a total stanger; by the end of the night, you'd be best friends.

When I started hosting my Gay Bash in 2006, I asked Terri White and Michael if they would come be part of the October lineup. They agreed, and it was one of my proudest moments to welcome them to the stage. Terri rocked the place with "Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water," while Michael somehow made Carolines's sad little electronic keyboard sound like a grand Steinway.

Terri, Michael and I in the dressing room at Carolines.
At least it's a good picture of Terri.

And now Rose's Turn is to be no more. After 50 years (during which it was known as the original Duplex, Upstairs at the Downstairs and finally in its current incarnation), this landmark is being turned into a real estate office. Exactly what New York needs.

Last night, after doing Danny Leary's "On the Rocks" show (ironically my first time ever performing upstairs at Rose's, and it was a blast), all the comics went downstairs for what would be my last time there. Michael Isaacs wasn't working, and Joe Regan, the pianist, didn't know "Life in a Northern Town." So I sang "Corner of the Sky" from "Pippin." Badly.

Terri White had stopped by to do a set. She finished with one of her signature songs, "Everything Must Change." The words go:

Everything must change
Nothing stays the same
Everyone will change
No one, no one stays the same.

The young become the old
And mysteries do unfold
For that's the way of time
No one, and nothing goes unchanged.

There are not many things in life you can be sure of
Except: Rain comes from the clouds
Sun lights up the sky
And hummingbirds do fly.

Farewell, sweet Rose's Turn. I love you.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Summer in Photos (So Far)

Two quick things before the photo-blog:

1) I appreciate all the people who visit my web site and then request to join my mailing list. Truly I do. But if you don't enter your name and email address on the form, all I get is a blank email from a nonexistent address with the subject heading "MailList request from" It leaves me feeling blue-balled and sad. Plus, it's sort of retarded on your part. So cut it out.

2) Speaking of blue balls, I google myself at least three times a day. Of all the hits that come up, my favorite is a page entitled "Christian Life and Worship." The citation reads as follows:

Man after Adam sank into savagery, barbarism, idolatry, and was called by St. Augustine "a mass of sin." To restore the God-life, there was need of a new Adam. God's answer is the Incarnation.

Weirdly fitting, no?

OK, on with the photos. Unfortunately, I forgot to upload the ones from the HX Awards, and I can't access them at work, which is where I'm blogging from today. I also haven't yet uploaded the pics from my recent trip to Fire Island with one Ms. Robin Fox. So they'll have to be part of photo-blog No. 2.

Adam Sank's Gay Bash With Julie Goldman (June 21, 2007):

Jackie Monahan, Frank DeCaro, Julie Goldman and me.
We had a terrific show with a very small crowd.
Which is like having great sex when you're in a blackout and can't remember it later.
Or so I've heard.

Me and Colin Kane, our token straight performer.
Colin was worried about playing to a gay crowd, but he ended up having the set of the night.
At the end of his set, he wished everyone a "Happy Gay Pride."
Which means he's obviously a homo.

The fabulous Peppermint, flanked by Jackie and Julie.
Yup, she's a man, baby.

Me sitting on Frank's lap.
My favorite joke of his: When it comes to giving his boyfriend oral pleasure, he's like the owl on the old Tootsie Pop commercial: "Uh-one, uh-two, uh-three."

Mom's Birthday in Amagansett (June 22-24, 2007):

As usual, my mom's birthday fell the same weekend as Gay Pride this year. So I hightailed it out to the Sank family shore house in Amagansett (near Montauk) to celebrate.
Here are my folks, Lew and Phy, shvitzing on the beach.
My father's so dark at this point he looks like Harry Belafonte.


My bald, beautiful brother-in-law, Guy, takes a beach walk with his doppelganger son, Xander, age 3.

My sexy sister, Anna, poses with her two boys -- Xander, left, and Leo (held).
Leo's only 11 months old and is as big as a two-year-old.
He's like one of those giant kids that winds up on the Maury Povich show.
Cute, though.

Me with my seldom seen eldest sister, Laura.
Laura has watched too many episodes of "Dateline NBC" and thus won't allow me to post any photos of her three children on my blog.
So you'll have to be satisfied with this photo of her in a provoca-whore-atively tight t-shirt.

Me on Papa Lew's lap at a lobster bonfire on the beach.
Insert inappropriate comment here.

Gay Pride (June 24, 2007):

After fulfilling my familial obligations, I hopped on a 7 a.m. train to Manhattan on Sunday and was back in time for the Gay Pride parade.

With me on my big gay adventure were my trusty friends, Pat (left) and Jeff (center), with his expensive new camera.
All the remaining pictures on this page were taken with Jeff's camera.

Leading off the parade as always was the Sirens Womens Motorcycle Club of NYC, better known as "Dykes on Bikes."
They're fierce.

Of all the drag queens in the parade, Evita was the most fabulous.

Got milk?

What's sad is, the poodle's not even gay.

Some eye candy for my straight-guy readers.
(As if there are any left at this point.)

Later, we made our way over to the Pier Dance, which is the grand finale of NYC Pride.
Check out the 70s moustache on the guy in the background, left.

As you can see, I had a very good time...

...but not as good as some people, apparently.

And thus, the sun sets on another New York Pride.

Hope you enjoyed this photo-blog, especially as it took me more than two and half hours to compile, and I'll soon be fired from my day job for lack of productivity.

Coming soon: Adam presents at the HX Awards (finally!), and Adam and Robin Fox's big Fire Island adventure. Robin kills, Adam -- not so much.

Homo out.

Come see me host the Electro Shock Therapy Comedy Hour
this Sunday, July 15 at 10:00, when my special guests will be Karith Foster,
Greg Walloch and Danny Leary.
Details on my web site.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Soapbox Therapy Show Lineup

OK, Guys: Once again, I am selecting the names for the Soapbox show at Therapy from a hat in real time. Only eight people applied this year (for nine spots), so you all made it into the show.

The lineup will be, in this order (drumroll, please...):

1) Hoopachoo

2) Jill Twiss

3) Shaun Eli

4) Pat Breslin

5) Al Wagner

6) Harris Bloom

7) Chris Quimby

8) Mindy Matijasevic

9) Robin Fox (Headliner)

To recap, the show is Sunday, July 29 at 10:00 p.m. at Therapy, 348 West 52nd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues. Please email me through my web site to confirm your spot, and include what you'd like me to say about you in your introduction.

Each of the first eight comics gets five minuts of stage time.

Looking forward to it! See ya then!