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,