Friday, August 27, 2010

That's me, late 90's. Photo taken by and recently uploaded to Facebook by Paul Sullivan.

I love it. Paul titled it " and blurry" and I think that's an apt posthumous description of my 20's.

Way back then I had more fun than should be allowed. I had fabsurdly stunning long hair, which is still lovely, but then, like my recently unleashed personality -- it was nearly too big to be believed. And halfway through my 2nd decade I finally got up the guts to pursue my dream -- writing and performing and producing and living and breathing comedy.

There aren't many photos of me from the 90's. Perhaps more than most, because I was a performer. But my best-looking decade passed in the generation before digital. If photos weren't in focus it was usually a mistake, not an artistic choice.

We didn't take close-up pics of flower petals at a friend's wedding or our cheese because that was when you were paying for each snap and most people only used disposable cameras anyway. A picture at night yielded only flash-bleached sweaty faces, which is an even better reason then the expense as to why we didn't take many.

I'm amazed and impressed when comedians today, after performing for a nanosecond, have beautiful PR photos. For us headshots were a major expense and photos were only for magazines or newspapers so why do them when you're just a nobody comic hoofing from minor show to Rat Hole Rep and back again?

I love the photo because of what is unseen. Which is nearly everything. When my grandchildren look back they'll be a digital trail of who I was. It won't be as complete as some people's -- those who "check in" on applications like Foursquare will leave a map for future generations to trace their journeys from Chipolte Grill to Abtastic Fitness Center and back -- but there will be something.

And so, I adore this crappy beautiful photo for what it doesn't show (what is that blue thing in my hand and why is/what is hilarious?) and for what will never be shown because it can not be. For all the moments that can only be dredged up because they are carried within friends in their increasingly leaky brains.

How nice it would be to have some more beautiful high-res photos or video of me from that era. But then I know I may have behaved differently if I'd thought a camera was poised to record every meal, every quip, every second. I might not have taken as many chances on stage and in life.

And although someday there might be a relation who wishes they knew more about me, as much as I fantasize about my long-lost family, now that everyone is documented and terribly vain (and how I lap up all of it, even when people share way too much and it becomes awfully creepy) -- I now crave and find equity in the mystery and the moments that -- until we have time machines -- will never be revealed.

Thanks for the memories, Paul.

PS If you upload and tag an unattractive photo of me, I'm sending the boys around.

I don't know what boys.

I'll have to find some, I guess.


But seriously, sorta kinda, not really.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I went freelance this summer after years of going steady with the same cable TV network and now I'm promiscuously working on a veritable pu pu platter of fun jobs. Writing for TV, Web for TV, doing voice over for TV and...

Well the image gives it away, ya?


I've got a newish gig contributing jokes to CAR TALK along with two other way-more-successful-than-me LA comedy writers.

As far as I know, this is the first time in over 20 years this radio show has hired outside writers. How they did it all in-house for so long baffles and impresses me. I've always been a fan of the show and it was my treasured and sole entertainment one lonely winter spent in North Bennington, VT trying to improve my Chinese, do my thesis and waitress at the world's crappiest Chinese/Italian restaurant.

Of course it might have also been the world's best Chinese/Italian restaurant. If you've encountered another, lemme know.

While working there you could hear the crunch of snow as cars of hungry people slowed down in confusion at the chirpy "Chinese slash Italian" touted on the sign and then the sad spinning of tires as tourists tried to get traction on the tenacious VT ice to escape the fate of our kooky culinary genre. I say tourists because any local that ate at the Golden Nugget rarely came back, and no, it's not there anymore.

And maybe someday I'll tell ya all about the 400 pound delivery guy who ate half the food before it arrived at its destination and how a burly dairy farmer came into the restaurant and found that the pu pu platter I served him contained exactly twice as much stuff as it did when the morbidly obese delivery guy was handling it. And how the farmer turned red in the face and started screaming about how he was going "to kill that fat ____." And how I lied and said I hadn't seen him and then made tracks to the kitchen to tell the delivery guy (who was sitting on a case of beer, drinking the whole thing slowly but surely, which is what he did waiting for his next meal/delivery) to make himself scarce lest he get his face pounded to the consistency of duck sauce.

And maybe someday I'll tell you about how, after yet another sad evening of getting yelled at by customers about how bad the food was (and it was), I entered the swinging kitchen doors determined to tell the surly Chinese owner/chef that his Chinese food was inedible (the Italian was, oddly, not bad, but no one ordered it because it looked like a Chinese joint) and kvetch to him about how I was making no money in tips and how maybe he should revisit his cooking chops.

And then how Peter, who had until then only glared at me and rung a bell when the orders were ready, suddenly told me the story of his escape from communist China, and how he trained and trained to swim an impossible distance to freedom, and of how he eventually scrapped his way to Canada, and how feeding people was the only thing he loved and how lucky he felt to have the opportunity -- his own business no less -- in America. He had tears in his eyes. So did I.

At that moment, I simply took the barely-touched plates of food in my hands that customers had thrown back at me, and very slowly pushed the contents into the garbage with a dirty knife and backed out onto the dining room floor to take more abuse for this man's horrible cooking. But after that, armed with his heroic journey and his self-delusion/successful propaganda campaign concerning his kitchen talents, their barbs and talk of hot barf didn't scathe me.

OK, I toldja.

Back to work, me!

xo/ta ta,