Monday, December 31, 2007

It's Just a Ride

I'm in a rather nostalgic and melancholic mood on this, the final day of 2007.

Last night's capacity crowd at Therapy was truly special -- a genuinely loving audience. (I frankly thought my set was at best a B-, but they just kept applauding at everything.) By the time headliner Vanessa Hollingshead finished her set, the place was like a rock concert. A very nice way to wind up the year.

I guess on balance, the success of Therapy is what I'm most proud of this year. That, and the fact that I have felt myself grow significantly as a comic. My confidence level and "looseness" on-stage have skyrocketed over previous years. My brain actually feels different -- like it works better and faster than it used to.

Also -- thanks be to God and Karl, the contractor -- there are no longer any mice living in my apartment.

On the other hand, I fell short on many of the goals I set for myself. I'm still single. I still have a dead-end day job. I'm still not getting booked at major clubs on a regular basis. And I still can't fit into my size-30 jeans.

2007 wasn't in any way a terrible year; I am grateful, for instance, for my good health and that of all my friends and family members. There were no tragedies (knock wood). I made some decent money this year, probably more than I've ever made in a single year. And I got to vacation in Hawaii.

But it was, alas, a year in which a seemingly endless procession of shiny objects were dangled in front of me, only to be snatched away without warning. Chief among these was the Adam Sank Reality Show, which never materialized beyond a scouting tape. That experience left me feeling like I had been punched in the heart.

This is always the time when people say: "Great things are going to happen for you in the new year! I can just feel it!"

Well, I hope they're right. But I'm old enough and jaded enough to know now that maybe they're not.

In any case, I wish great things for (almost) everyone in 2008. And I leave you with the lyrics to a song I listened to on my iPod this morning as I walked to work. It's called "Just a Ride," by the Welsh pop singer Jem. It's one of the grooviest tracks to come along in years (in addition to being featured in season one of "The O.C."), and the lyrics are just about perfect.

Life, it's ever so strange
It's so full of change
Think that you've worked it out
then BANG
Right out of the blue
Something happens to you
To throw you off course
and then you

Breakdown
Yeah you breakdown
Well don't you breakdown
Listen to me
Because

It's just a ride, it's just a ride
no need to run, no need to hide
It'll take you round and round
Sometimes you're up
sometimes you're down
It's just a ride, it's just a ride
don't be scared
don't hide your eyes
It may feel so real inside
but don't forget it's just a ride

Truth, we don't wanna hear
It's too much to take
Don't like to feel out of control
So we make our plans
Ten times a day
And when they don't go
our way we

Breakdown
Yeah we breakdown
Well don't you breakdown
Listen to me
Because

It's just a ride, it's just a ride
no need to run, no need to hide
It'll take you round and round
Sometimes you're up
sometimes you're down
It's just a ride, it's just a ride
don't be scared
don't hide your eyes
It may feel so real inside
but don't forget it's just a ride

Slowly, oh so very slowly
accept that
there's no getting off
So live it, just gotta go with it
cuz this ride's, never gonna stop

Breakdown
Don't you breakdown
No need to breakdown
No need at all
Because

It's just a ride, it's just a ride
no need to run, no need to hide
It'll take you all around
Sometimes you're up
sometimes you're down
It's just a ride, it's just a ride
don't be scared now
dry your eyes
It may feel so real inside
but don't forget enjoy the ride.

It's just a ride, it's just a ride
no need to run, no need to hide
It'll take you all around
Sometimes you're up
sometimes you're down
It's just a ride, it's just a ride
don't be scared now
dry your eyes
It may feel so real inside
but dont forget enjoy the ride.



Homo out of 07.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

"Not Interested"

This past week was an object lesson in comedy -- and life.

Wednesday night I made my way down -- way down -- to the Laugh Lounge. I should have known from the get-go that this evening was not going to turn out well. It all started when I got a MySpace message from someone I've never met:

Hi! I'm producing a show at the Laugh Lounge on Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 9 p.m., and I'd like you to perform! You only have to bring five people! Let me know if you can make it.

To which I responded:

Hi! Thank for thinking of me for this show. I don't bring, but please keep me in mind if you ever have a paid or guest spot.

To which he responded:

OK, do the show anyway.

Kind of sketchy, right? But I'm not one to turn down stage time, especially at a club where I've never performed.


And with such a cute logo, too...

Of course, the night of the show was rainy and miserable, and after working all day, it was all I could do to lift myself off the sofa, shower, shave and begin the long journey to the Lower East Side.

I have become extremely spoiled with regard to commuting. I live, work, go the gym, socialize and (mostly) perform comedy in Hell's Kitchen. Going anyplace outside the neighborhood feels like an odyssey. So you can imagine how thrilled I was having to take not one but two subways to the city's ugliest neighborhood for an unpaid gig in the rain.


Please - nobody calls it "West Midtown."
You're in the Kitchen, baby!

Arriving at the club around 8:50, I found more than a dozen comics, none of whom I knew, standing around in the upstairs lounge -- and no audience members. This did not bode well. Eventually, a crowd did arrive, but by the time the show actually started, it was 9:30. Why 90 percent of comedy shows begin late is a mystery to me. If a Broadway show with thousands of moving parts can begin on time eight shows a week, why can't the same happen for a show that requires nothing more than a microphone and a light?

In any case at 9:30 the M.C., whose name I never learned, jumped onto the stage and delivered a 30-second opening set. I now reproduce it for you verbatim in its entirety:

Yo! Dis fuckin' asshole over her gave me two commandments I gotta follow. The first is, I'm not allowed to make fun of duh audience. Fuck dat! Look at dis guy over here -- he looks like he's from the movie "Tango & Cash." And two, I'm not allowed to fuck wit duh other comics. And I'm gonna listen to him, cuz I don't want dem to fuck wit me. Coming to duh stage is your first comic, he's one of the biggest comedians in New York City, please welcome...

What a warm-up. What a way to set the tone. What current cultural references. ("Tango & Cash" came out in 1989. And which one did dat guy look like, anyway -- Tango or Cash?)


And why would it be an insult to be compared to either one of them?

So the first comic went up. Let's call him Furious Fred. His set was painful. He got not one laugh. I found myself actually missing the M.C. And as it occurred to me that this was going to be one of the most excruciating comedy shows in history, I got up and found the booker.

"Hi, um, can you please tell me when I'm going up?"

"What's your name?"

"Adam Sank."

"Um..." (looking down at his spiral notebook, "yeah, I got you going up 14th."

Gulp.

"I'm sorry, I'm not going to be able to stay that long. Thanks for the spot, though."

And off I went into the cold, rainy night.

The following night found me at Danny's Upstairs in Hoboken, the room run by Danny Aiello (yes, that Danny Aiello). It was my third time doing the show, and I was psyched because I always do well there. For some reason, straight Italian people from New Jersey enjoy listening to my faggy humor.


Papa, Don't Preach...

The night was particularly exciting because my parents, sisters and brother-in-law were there, along with assorted family friends (plus Robin Fox!), all of whom were seated front and center.

I got up and had a very strong set -- one of my best. "If only Danny Aiello were gay, my career could really go somewhere," I began. "He could bang my drum slowly, if you know what I mean." Danny loved this. So did my mom. Ours is a strange family.

There were a number of industry people in the crowd, included the owner of one of NYC's major comedy clubs. I'll call him Ed Burton.

I had contacted Ed almost a year ago, when I was looking for a new home for my Gay Bash. We had emailed each other back and forth for a couple weeks, but in the end I decided to bring the show to Comix, rather than to his club.

The next day, Robin emailed and said that Ed had really enjoyed my set -- and that I should email him about booking me.

So I did:

Hi, Ed.

Allow me to (re)introduce myself again. We spoke once about the possibility of my moving my Gay Bash to XXXXXX Comedy Club. And then you saw me perform at Danny's Upstairs in Hoboken this past Thursday night.

I am no longer producing the Gay Bash but am always looking for opportunities to perform. If you have any upcoming shows for which you think I'd be well suited, please don't hesitate to contact me at this email address, or by phone at XXX-XXX-XXXX.

Thanks for your consideration and happy holidays,
Adam Sank
www.adamsank.com

A day later, he emailed me back:

Not interested...Ed

Merry Christmas, indeed! This was the virtual equivalent of being punched in the stomach. What could have possibly evoked such a bitchy reply? Why reply at all?

So of course I wrote back:

Wow. Was it something I said?

Moments later, I got this:

Quite honestly, it was something you didn't say...You are talented and funny, but the way you left me hanging and blew me off to do your show at Comix was quite disrespectful. A person has the right to do a show wherever they want, however you could have called and let me know what you were going to do.

Good luck
Ed

And you know what? He's absolutely right. I hate flaky people more than anything, and here I had flaked on someone who had been nothing but friendly and receptive toward me. And now, all these months later, it came back to bite me in the ass. Chickens coming home to roost, indeed.

What's the lesson from all this? I don't know. It's mostly that this business is fucking hard. And as much as we all bitch about how hard it is, it's even harder than that. I left Danny's Thursday night feeling like king of the world -- like I had really made a big splash in front of some important people. And then two little words cut me down to size: Not interested. And suddenly my big splash feels like a small puddle of piss.

I have tried since then to reflect on all I accomplished in 2007:

1) I launched a new show at a major club that lasted nine months.

2) I saw my other show become successful to the point where we now have a full house every week.

3) I appeared on Sirius Radio and Here TV.

4) I performed comedy 111 times.

5) I headlined at a major university.

6) I opened for Roseanne Barr.

And I feel pretty good about all of these things, but frankly, it's not enough. So here's to 2008. And let's hope they remake "Tango & Cash."

Here now, a plethora of photos:


The view from Therapy's stage an hour before showtime.
Dec. 2, 2007.



Same view at the end of the show.
Dec. 2, 2007.



A goateed me with headliner Rick Crom.
Dec. 2, 2007.


The beautiful but evil Colin Kane.
He managed to walk an entire table of Asian lesbians that night.
Sweet.
Dec. 2, 2007.


Nubile newbie Veronica Quinn quips queerly.
Dec. 2, 2007.


Skip and Sparkle (aka Shawn Hollenbach and
Katina Correo) cheese it up.
Dec. 2, 2007.


Furry-Capped Chad Stringfellow and Chrome-Domed Brad Loekle.
Dec. 9, 2007.


Me with the fashionably fabulous Shannon Sutherland.
Dec. 9, 2007.


Michelle Buteau trying to look all sexy.
Dec. 9, 2007.


Le Headliner Hofsetter, me, and two ladies in red:
Adam Lehman and Sharon "Mama" Spell.
Dec. 16, 2007.


Helen Hong bangs a gong.
Dec. 16, 2007.


Holiday Ha-Has: Yonah Ward Grossman, Maureen Langan,
Vicky Kuperman, me and Danny Siegel.
Dec. 23, 2007.


I really can't pull off a Santa hat.
Condoms fit me the same way.
Dec. 23, 2007.


This is likely my last blog of 2007, so I want to wish everyone a happy, healthy, hellzapoppin' 2008.

And as always,
Homo out.

Come see me host the last Electro Shock Therapy Comedy Hour of 2007, when my special guests will be Vanessa Hollingshead, Neal Feinberg, Vicki Ferentinos, and Zach Rhinier. Details on my web site.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

X-Mas X-Haustion

The season finale of "Kid Nation" was a huge anticlimax. The producers clearly wanted to end big but couldn't figure out how to do so.

Part of the problem was the premise of the show itself: Left to their own devices, the kids had 40 days to create a functional society. They did so -- with a lot of time to spare. So in the end, there was nothing left to do but tearily hug one another goodbye.

In an attempt to inject some last-minute drama, the council leaders were asked to award three gold megastars, these worth $50,000 (rather than the normal $20,000), to three deserving recipients. The catch was, two of them had to have been previous gold star winners, and the third had to have never won one. (At least, I think those were the rules; host Jonathan Karsh went over them rather hastily, and they were never mentioned again.)

In any case, the kids were baffled by this assignment, and understandably so. Yes, there were a lot of stand-out kids in Bonanza City. But were any of them so outstanding that they deserved twice as much dough as the other gold-star winners? And what about this "wild-card" winner? If s/he hadn't even merited a 20-K star previously, why award 50-K now? The whole idea seemed terribly arbitrary and unfair which, in a kid-centered society designed upon the principles of fairness, tended to defeat the whole purpose of the show.


Can you imagine how bad Greg's green hat must smell at this point?

I kept thinking there would be a twist at the end whereby Jonathan would announce that the council had a choice: They could award those three stars as instructed, or they could divide up the $150,000 equally among all the kids. This would have created a nice symmetry to the rewards challenges, where the kids always had a choice between what was fun versus what was right. And then all the kids could have gone home with some cash.

But no: They had to pick three winners. So, in front of the town and their parents (whom I would have liked to have seen more of), the council awarded $50K each to prior recipients Sophia and Morgan, and, as the wild-card, to the mysterious Migle. I have no idea why Migle was so beloved, since we barely ever saw her. But I do know now that her name is pronounced MEEG-lay.


I had thought it rhymed with beagle.

All in all, a pretty good reality show, as reality shows go. I'll tune in next season.

I barely have time to watch any TV this week, as I find myself grossly over-committed.

Here's what's on the schedule, beginning with this past Sunday:

Sunday, 2 p.m.: Saw "Cirque du Soleil: Wintuk" with my extended family. Two hours of people skate-boarding, mountain-biking and juggling across the stage while a little kid repeatedly exclaims: "When well it snow?!" Feh.

Sunday, 10 p.m.: Therapy show.

Monday, 9:30 p.m.: Comix Christmas Party.

Tuesday, 6 p.m.: Dinner party at friend's house.

Wednesday, 8 p.m.: Spot at Laugh Lounge.

Thursday, 8:30 p.m.: Spot at Tutta Pasta in Hoboken

Friday, 8 p.m.: Emcee show at Triad Theater

Saturday, 10 p.m.: Spot at TONY Lounge

Sunday, 10 p.m.: Therapy show.

Holy exhaustion, Batman. And I'm working my day-job straight through until New Year's Day (yes, including Christmas Day). I really hope I don't get sick. Calgon, take me away...

Speaking of the Comix Christmas party, here are some phun pix:


A pouty me, Comix G.M. John Meyers, and sexy Imus co-host Karith Foster.


Seeing Double: The Hilarious Stone Brothers.


Snuggling with the Joan Crawford-esque Danny Leary.


Danny Siegel gets mouthy with Michelle Buteau.


Not to be outdone, Danny Cohen gets mouthy with me.


Not to be outdone, Comix booker Molly Mandel gets mouthy with evil "Time Out NY" Comedy Editor Jane Borden.

Needless to say, there was a lot of drinking going on.

Gotta run. In case this is my last blog before the 25th, I want to wish all you goyim a happy, healthy Christmas.

Homo out.

Come see me host a special "Christmas Eve Eve" edition of the Electro Shock Therapy Comedy Hour this Sunday, Dec. 23 at 10 p.m., when my guests will be Maureen Langan, Daniel Siegel, Yonah Ward Grossman and Vicky Kuperman! Details on my web site.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

You Don't Bring Me (Cauli)Flowers...

WARNING: RAW FLESH AND COOKED VEGETABLES FEATURED ON THIS BLOG.

The only thing more annoying than listening to a woman obsess about her weight is listening to a gay man obsess about his weight.

Nevertheless, as many of you know from the comments section of Josh Homer's latest blog, I'm back to doing no carbs in an attempt to lose the spare tire that has developed around my midsection over the past year.

My goal is to look like this again:


Except on a less tacky sofa.

I frankly don't know if it's possible; I was 32 when the above photo was taken, and I'll be turning 37 in February. With age comes sag, and there's only so much one can do about it. But I won't go down without a fight.

Cutting out carbs isn't particularly difficult for me, it's just boring. I get tired of eating nothing but eggs, tuna, meats, cheese and so forth. The highlight of my day is lunchtime, when I get to order a giant mixed-vegetable salad (staying away from sugary veggies like peas, carrots and corn and using only no-carb dressing, like Ranch).

Needless to say, I'm always looking for new and exciting carb-free foods. Last night, I discovered something so wonderful I just had to share it with the world:

Mashed cauliflower.


Hungry yet?

Now, I know you're thinking, "Adam, that sounds absolutely putrid." And I will admit, the raw cauliflower does smell kind of putrid when you're chopping it up. But I'm telling you, once it's done, you'll love it. It's like creamy, delicious mashed potatoes... but better.

Here now, my recipe (culled from the Internet and the nether regions of my own demented head):

___________________________
1 2-lb head of cauliflower
4 Tablespoons butter (You can substitute Smart Balance or some other healthy spread.)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream (Remember: This recipe is low-carb, not low-fat.)

Chop cauliflower into one-inch pieces. (Warning: You need an extremely large surface on which to do this, or you'll wind up with cauliflower all over your kitchen.)

Place cauliflower into large microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Steam in microwave until tender, approximately 8 minutes. (This varies according to microwave.)

Remove from microwave and mash lightly with large fork. Pour into blender or food processor and add butter, cheese and cream. Blend until smooth and creamy.

Spoon mixture into pot and heat on medium-low, stirring frequently until hot.

Salt and pepper to taste.
__________________________

I served this alongside a turkey meatloaf with mushroom cream sauce, the recipe for which I found on the Campbell's Soup web site. The entire meal was absolutely delightful.

In other news, I finally broke down and joined Facebook. I have to say: I hate it. And I hate even more that I was forced to join YET ANOTHER social networking site. I now have profile pages on Friendster, Connexion, MySpace, Facebook and (of course) Manhunt.

It's exhausting having to check all these pages daily for such important messages as, "Hey, there. Nice pics. I live in Kansas. Hit me up sometime," but such is the price of garnering publicity (and sex) in the new millennium. In any case, if you're on Facebook, go ahead and friend me.


Totally overexposed.

Saturday night I trekked home to Summit for the annual Sank Family Chanukah Blow-Out. Here's what you missed if you're not related to me:


My mother, looking absolutely psychotic.
She'll kill me for posting this pic.


My nephew, Leo, taking a rare break from eating.


My nephew, Xander, taking a rare break from screaming.


Lighting the menorah with Granny and my sisters.
Too bad the camera lighting's so bad.


Speaking of Granny, here she is...
Still sexy at 90.

Finally, my childhood friend, Rebecca, left a comment on my last blog, in which I wrote about song lyrics.

Apropos of that, one particularly vivid high school memory involves driving around with her in my jeep listening to music. My parents had given me the jeep as a present when I turned 17 (legal driving age in Jersey). Subsequently, I became the fulltime chauffeur to all my friends, most especially Rebecca.

One time my senior year, after rehearsal for "The Boyfriend," Rebecca and I were driving home along with a freshman cast mate whose name I can no longer remember. It was dusk on a beautiful early-spring evening.

I pulled up to the freshman's house, and he hopped out of my jeep and ran up to his door. Just then, George Michael's "I Want Your Sex" came on the tape deck. Rebecca, who was always a free spirit, jumped out herself and ran around to the front of the jeep, where she was illuminated in the headlights. She began to dance to the music, which I cranked up to maximum volume. Suddenly, the freshman came running back down his front walk and joined her.

And as I sat there in the driver's seat, listening to George Michael sing, watching these two young people jump around with unbounded joy, I remember thinking to myself: "This is what happiness is."

It is my fondest memory of adolescence.

Homo out.

Come see me host the Electro Shock Therapy Comedy Hour this Sunday, Dec. 16 when my headliner will be Steve Hofstetter! Also joining me will be Adam Lehman, Helen Hong and Sharon "Mama" Spell. Details on my web site.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Give it a Good Squeeze

I cannot listen to a song without trying to memorize lyrics. It's not something I consciously or intentionally do; it just happens. Music is extremely important to me, and I'm not able to fully enjoy it until and unless I can sing along, either in my head or (much to the chagrin of others) out loud. It's like doing an aural crossword puzzle.

Squeeze has always been one of my favorite groups. As far as I'm concerned, they're the Cole Porters of pop music.

Just check out these lyrics from "Up the Junction" (1979):


I got a job with Stanley
He said I'd come in handy
And started me on Monday
So I had a bath on Sunday
I worked eleven hours
And bought the girl some flowers
She said she'd seen a doctor
And nothing now could stop her.


Or these, from "Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)" (1980):


They do it down on camber sands,
They do at Waikiki
Lazing about the beach all day,
At night the crickets creepy
Squinting faces at the sky
A Harold Robbins paperback
Surfers drop their boards and dry
and everybody wants a hat
But behind the chalet
My holiday`s complete
and I feel like William Tell
Maid Marian on her tiptoed feet
Pulling mussels from a shell


Aside from their vivid imagery and clever cultural references -- Harold Robbins, William Tell and Maid Marian all get shout-outs in this one verse alone -- Squeeze had an incredible knack for rhymes and near-rhymes. Note the oblique semirhyme of "Waikiki" and "creepy."


Can you imagine Britney Spears or Fergie or any of those other idiots writing lyrics anywhere near this literate (if they indeed wrote lyrics of any kind)? The closest contemporary example of this level of pop songwriting is Panic! At the Disco, and their hooks aren't as catchy.



Sheer Geniuses


Ever since high school I've loved "Slap & Tickle (1979)," one of Squeeze's hardest and most punk-inspired songs. The lyrics are typically brilliant:


She cried all night at missing
The boy she could be kissing
While he was falling over
He drunk himself back sober
And went home in a taxi
And crashed out in the back seat
He slept just like a baby
Which he hadn't done just lately


But here's where I alway got stuck when I tried to sing along:

He saw her in the morning
Out with his sister Pauline
She felt all shy and soppy
He acted cool and cocky
He said tonight at Charlie's
There's going to be a party
I'll meet you at xxx seven
She visualized the heaven


What the fuck are they singing before the word "seven?!" It sounded like "house," but I couldn't imagine what "I'll meet you at house seven" could possibly mean. Perhaps there was some British club called House Seven? But I thought they were meeting at Charlie's? Utter confusion.


(And by the way -- how beautiful a line is "She visualized the heaven?" It perfectly conveys the sexual buzz you get when someone you've been lusting after asks you out.)


Anyway, I'm well aware that lyrics can be googled in this day and age (as I did while writing this blog), but I'm usually not near a computer when I find myself stumped, and anyway that would be cheating.


So I'm at the gym yesterday on the elliptical machine, sweating my balls off while listening to "Slap & Tickle," and I hear that mysterious line again:


I'll meet you at xxx seven


And suddenly, it hits me what they're saying:


I'll meet you at half seven


And just as suddenly I know why it took me 20 years to figure it out: Because Americans don't say "half seven;" we say "seven thirty."


I cannot explain to you how satisfying it was to finally make sense of this. I almost started crying. Clearly, I am not well.


Picture of Clock Face - Free Pictures - FreeFoto.com
Mystery Solved; this is as close to 7:30 as I could find on google images.


I'd like to write more, post photos, etc., but there is a never-ending procession of crying babies disguised as adults at my desk today, each one needing to be burped and wiped. So I must take my leave of you, Dear Readers.


Homo Out.


Come see me host the Electro Shock Therapy Comedy Hour this Sunday, Dec. 16 when my headliner will be Steve Hofstetter! Also joining me will be Adam Lehman, Helen Hong and Sharon "Mama" Spell. Details on my web site.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

True Confessions

Exactly two months ago Friday, I was interviewed for a Here TV Podcast called "Hot Gay Comics" by hunky host Dave Rubin. Each week I eagerly checked the site to see if my interview was posted yet, only to find that, nope -- still not. Every time I asked Dave when mine would come up, he'd say, "A couple weeks from now."

I became resigned to the fact that Dave had simply decided to nix my interview and didn't know how to tell me so. Which was a bummer because my memory was that it was a really wild interview.

Then, like magic, it appeared yesterday!



So, before you dare listen, a few caveats:

1) It's LONG. Like around 40 minutes. So if you plan to listen to it in one sitting, you better put aside some time.

2) It's even wilder than I remember. Dave must be some sort of wizard. He got me to reveal things I absolutely shouldn't have on a public forum. Very Howard Stern-like is he. Anyway, the content is decidedly adult and not for everyone. This could mean you, Mom and Granny.


This man is dangerous.

3) It's really funny. At least I think so.

That said, if you really want to hear it, click here, and then, next to my photo (Episode 15), click on "Download the MP3."

Homo Out.