“You know, you’re something of a celebrity.” My friend Clark told me, as he got into clown makeup. “You could really get people coming.”
“It doesn’t work that way, Clark.” I told him, putting on the partially-ironed blue button-up shirt I’d stored in the prop-closet.
“Maybe if it was something food-related, people would show up. Otherwise, 5,300 people on Twitter don’t care.”
It was the second week, the second time we were performing our Improv-to-Sketch class show at the Magnet on a torturous 4-week run of doing the same show to about 6 people.
This week was a little better; my parents and my roommate John Beamer showed up with my grandma and they did the work of a family, giving dutiful laughs at the places that seemed appropriate.
Still, it was a different kind of learning to do your semi-improvised same-show 4 weeks in a row to a dead house and watch sketches you thought you loved fall apart.
“Well, maybe you can tie it in somehow.” Clark offered, foam nose now on. “Offer them a food tour upon successful completion?”
“Goddamit, Clark.” I replied. And went to go find my cop hat, buried somewhere in the prop bin.
These past few weeks have been a strange admixture, or taste of celebrity as it would be, for a longer period than I’d expected.
As I told my friends, I’d been getting recognized (i.e: approached) consistently at “about 1-3 times a day” but it still wasn’t certain what the effect would be on my life or what I was supposed to do with it.
In the two street fairs I went to this weekend, I was approached multiple times and mostly brushed people off with a “hi” or a nod, an acknowledgment, given not knowing how to reply to people just saying “it’s you” on the middle of a food fair.
In the meantime, I felt pressure as I went to the food-fairs in Hell’s Kitchen and Park Slope respectively, to take pictures, to micro-blog to show my experience.
There was a sense that I had to feed this new “Nick the Foodie” persona, this identity that 5,300 people followed, with images and content and wit or else people would go away.
As I told blogger this afternoon, even before the show, I would watch my “blog stats” and aim for 100 people to come on a good day, to get up to that. Now that those numbers are so inflated, I still check them and take the loss of followers even the more personally, even as I know with even more certainty, that these people virtually do not exist.
It’s a fallacy of numbers and insecurity, I suppose, the same habit that led me to math in high school when I couldn’t stand the subjectivity of my English Class Essay “B-pluses”, now leads me to think of the solid-ness of numbers for my self-worth, the way that every time I lose this follower who I do not know, I am losing something else, popularity or fame, things I don’t even crave.
It’s just easy when you don’t know who you are or what to think of yourself, in high-school or post-college, to cling to a digestible set of numbers.
I still don’t get messages on OKCupid (even as I admit the dating site I’m on) and I still don’t have the confidence to approach a cute girl in an improv class, or the strange chick-with-glasses in front of me on a three-hour line.
I guess I just don’t know the meaning of this, or what I’m supposed to take.
The gentlemen pictured above were skateboarders who stopped me with Matt Chao on Saturday as we walked down Broadway. They first said their moms watched the show, but later admitted they loved it do and the picture they took of me was really for them. I asked them as Matt and I walked in the same direction as them if they’d reciprocate with a picture and they agreed.
I’ll never see these kids again, though it’s cool they watch the show.
It just seems like yet another split though, a disassociation of me watching them, watching “me”.
As we got through the show on Monday, Clark said hi to my parents after, briefly and congratulated them on my “success”.
I later got a message from my manager, telling me that I had an audition tomorrow and that she hoped “you come back on season 3!”
I still want to hang out with Blake LaRue.
Another thing about having a lot of Twitter followers is that it doesn’t make Blake LaRue like you any more than he already does.
“Blake apparently broke up a fight that the UCB Basketball Team had.” Rob-beardo Malone reported to me, from his coiffed/slick suit, on the set of Sean Dunn’s Confabulators.
“Was Chris Gethard involved?” I asked. “Because he didn’t let me in his class and I tried to attack him with twitter followers for it. Also he plays basketball.”
“Yes and I’m pretty sure that was one of the stupidest things you’ve ever done.” Rob replied.
“Yeah,” I replied. “You know you’re right. But I was drunk with Twitter power. I wanted to see if I could use it to change things. The answer was no. No, you cannot.”
Rob nodded and we sat in the silent acceptance of that fact for a moment.
Then Blake appeared and proceded to ditch me off the film set, walking hard and fast with Matt Chao, whose only reason for being there was to come visit me.
Blake, why do you make me so jealous like that?
But the man who was involved in an improv-team basketball-fight had work to do and made it to his truck.
He had just gotten a job at Joyride a “Buzzed FroYo” and Coffee Truck that serviced the UWS among other places.
I caught up to Blake and Matt somewhere around Lincoln Center as Blake settled in.
“Blake, why don’t you love me anymore?” I asked him, from the distance separating us outside the truck. “All I want is to be close to you and your friend.”
“You’re just too famous for me now, Nick.” He said, prepping greek-yogurt mixture. “I’m afraid you’re going to embarrass me on the internets.”
“Well, Blake.” I replied and took the picture above while he was looking.
“See!” He said.
“Yeah, I do.” I replied. “Point taken.”
Matt and I both tried some Froyo as he much more easily conversed with Blake about his life and the truck, which Blake admitted to driving “about four times”.
“I’m getting real good.” He said.
I wasn’t much a froyo guy, preferring the decisive unhealthiness of ice cream or, better yet, gelato when I was going for my frozen treats, but I did try a “soy-Mark Hamill” which turned out to be something like an iced Mocha which I downed in about three gulps.
We said our tearful goodbyes to Blake, as he assured me he wouldn’t be seeing much due to b-ball ref-ing duties and his need to go back to NYU to draw caricatures of people.
“It’s not that I don’t love you.” He told me. “It’s just that I don’t have time for you.”
Later, Matt and I ran into two women who asked me for my info so they could talk to me about reality food shows and their ideas. They gave me their info and told me to use it.
We were late to “Bridesmaids” at the Loews, couldn’t get tickets and Chadd Harbold, whom I had guaranteed an early ticket, was pretty (understandably) pissed.
I had a caffeine head-ache as I went with my remaining friends down to Battery Park and the inevitably excellent Apatow-film.
But when I busted out those Motrin in the movie theater for my Caffeine-crash headache, I thought about Blake on that truck.
Too cool for me.
The (Soy) Mark Hamill (Espresso, plain soymilk, 2-Scoops Chocolate)- $5
Broadway bet. 66th and 67th Sts on Saturdays (Locations vary per day)
1 to 66th St- Lincoln Center.