This is the corner where I get pseudo-mugged.
It’s a stupid story, full of stupid decisions, that somehow turned out ok.
But as it’s vaguely more dramatic than the usual me just complaining about my life, I’ll tell it here.
It was a sad night, to begin with.
I hadn’t just gotten out from my class show, having done two crappy sets with a talented group of people, the sort of show where nobody even really attempts to drink with each other afterwards. Everyone just scatters their separate ways to try to pretend that this didn’t just happen.
Except I had nobody to scatter with.
I didn’t have any close friends in that particular improv class. I hadn’t invited my friends because I knew that this was not going to be a good class show.
And, perhaps more saliently, I had been disconnected with my main group of people, due to my intense dive into the world of comedy, I had not seen the Robert Malone or John Beamers–
Or even the Andrew Parrishes of the world for a while.
The people who I had known for the longest and was closest too were now all distant from me, not in their friendship, but just in our worlds. My diet had taken me mostly off drinking and partying, leaving me not wanting to go out to Brooklyn late at night for adventures and not seeing movies as often, because I was seeing so many improv shows.
So when I walked out of my class show on a Saturday night, with no one to talk to or drink with or commiserate over how crappy that just was, I felt bad.
And Andrew Parrish, to his credit, told me he wasn’t doing anything when I asked “How Parrishes” and he walked over to meet me down on 7th Avenue as we marched slowly downtown.
I’m sorry to tease y’all or break up the (still non-existant) action, but this was the point in the evening where we to Dirty Bird to Go, where I found out, happily, that the chopped-fried chicken wrap there was whole wheat and thus I could eat it for my diet.
It was huge and full of pieces torn off the bone, with hearts of palm and tomatoes and romaine lettuce and a mix of buttermilk ranch and hot sauce that was recommended to me the first time I ever went there, taken by my ‘rents.
I could only finish half with my sadly and strangely newly-diminished appetite, but it filled me up, was more delicious than Andrew’s roasted version and, quite importantly, reheated well the next day, with all the hot sauce and buttermilk evaporating into pure flavor.
It was comfort food, on a night I wanted it.
Over chicken wraps, Andrew and I began to discuss the crappiness of the shows I’d just been in and how I felt so weird about my love life. I’d been seeing my ex in mostly fun situations, but I had invited to a show she really wanted to see and I wondered that she had chosen to reconnect with me, if that meant anything more than wanting to hang out and watch movies.
It’s dumb, I know. and I’ve been there before.
But sometimes, you just wanna know.
As I walked, Andrew, who recently had experienced a break-up of his own, did not act villain-ly, or goob-ish, or any of the other ways I’ve described in my blog, jokingly.
He just walked with me and listened to my spout of uncertainty and self-loathing and rationalization and talked with me for a long while as we walked down 7th Avenue, just offering his best advice and giving me an ear of someone who knew me.
I appreciated it.
And then we got psuedo-mugged.
We had reached the corner of Spring and West Broadway near my house but Andrew wasn’t going there and if I went home the conversation was over.
So we stood on the corner, leaning on a building as Europeans passed us by sometime before 11, just shooting shit about getting over exes and being ok with one’s self and the Chester Brown book that we had all read at this point.
When some guy asked us if we were dealing drugs and we said no, obviously.
“Well there has been that sort of activity here and there’s an ongoing investigation. I’m an undercover cop and I’m going to need you two to open your bags.”
So we did, dumbly. Neither of us were drunk, it just sounded like a cop-like request.
“What are all those wires?” He asked.
“It’s a solar-powered backpack.” I explained expertly. “That’s a battery and my PSP.”
“Let me see your phones.” He said and I, of course, gave him my phone.
My first realization that something wasn’t right was when the dude didn’t take Andrew’s shitty flip phone.
“Wait a second,” I asked. “Can we see your badge?”
Of course, this would have been smart to ask when he did not have my phone already, but I asked.
“This is getting really uncomfortable.” Andrew said.
Which prompted me to repeat: “Wait a second, where’s your badge?”
“I have a badge.” He said backing off a bit.
“No.” I said. “This is not happening.”
And I got on the other side of the guy slowly and deliberately, using my improv skills (laugh) and just took my phone from his hand.
“Snatching something from the hand of an officer. You guys are in trouble. Stay here while I get backup.”
And the dude just walked away.
“Want to get out of here?” I asked Parrish.
“Yeah.” He replied and we zipped up our bags and left.
Leaving my first thought was, was that guy really a cop?
10 minutes later, my thoughts ranged from “Why didn’t I get stabbed or punch trying to take my phone from somebody?” to “Why didn’t I ask to see a badge earlier?” to “Was he just doing some sort of weird drunk game?”
It was all very confusing but it shook Andrew and I up and I went home and Andrew to a party.
Full of strange and unresolved emotions.
The next day was mostly anti-climax.
The nice thing was that I saw Parrish and Malone and Beamer and Alex Hilhorst. And we all had fun seeing stupid Conan and bitching. And Beamer even said he missed living with me which I told him was sweet.
The show with my ex was fine, I drank too much, but did nothing stupid to my ex, except feel weird (though not awful) seeing some dude hit on her.
I found myself drinking more to keep the buzz going through another show and then some time spent mutually rapping with an improv friend about our lack of romantic prospects, back to regular life.
The only thing was that through the combination of 3-or-so too-many drinks, a stomach bug I was fighting, and spending too much time in depressive-commiseration, I didn’t get to bed till 5 and woke up at 9, held together by leftovers and the 65-cent coffee refills I could get with the cup I smartly saved from nearby Porto Rico.
I ended up talking it out with my ex after seeing Out Of Sight, her choice which I dug actually and appreciated that we both thought J-Lo reminded us of a young Barbara Streisand in that movie.
After the mostly-fine, surprisingly, after-math of that (the worst torture is in lack of clarity, or wondering, or second-guessing) I ended up drawn in to:
a. A beautiful dinner with my Grandma.
b. An event called Punderdome.
I had a good reason to be there. A cute girl had invited me. End good reason.
But my friend J-Sam had shown up too and we ended up dragged in from me, a falling-apart on four hours of sleep spectator, to a full-on balls-to-the-wall competitor.
The competition, which turned out to be extremely fun, involved making up puns on the spor based on prompt with 90 seconds to think on it, multiple rounds of competition and a human applause-o-meter.
“A pun competition?” My dad said when I told him about it this morning. “That reminds me of a story. A British dude said that he could make a pun about any subject. A crass American asked him, OK, make a joke about the Queen. To which he curtly replied, the Queen is not a subject.”
To which my Dad laughed over the phone for several minutes.
But J-Sam and I competed yelled and mugged for the crowd for our puns. I was even called up to the stage to sing, improbably, “Copacabana” during another group’s 90-second interlude. I knew about a sixth of the words.
Our first two puns were pretty impressive. The first prompt was “That’s What She Said” and I came up with the non-sensical but slick:
“What did Ulysses S. Grant say to the South after banging their Mom? That’s What Lee Said.” J-Sam was real impressed and we made it to the next round.
But it was Sam in all of his Jew-fro-y-ness that got the next round for us when the prompt was “The 31 Flavors of Baskin Robbins.”
He came up with:
“I watched the Shawshank Redemption last night, because I wanted to Bask In Robbins.”
I thought that was pretty cool.
In the interlude we got some cheers and jeers. Some old dude in front of us called us “Slimon and Garfunkel.”
“Are you Garfunkel?” I asked J. Sam.
“I’m always Garfunkel.” He said.
“Well I think it’s better to be Garfunkel than Slimon.” I told him. “I mean, you can knock Garfunkel, but he’s calling me Slimon.”
“Yeah, glad I’m not Slimon.” He replied.
We got knocked out of the competition in the semi-finals when the prompt was “Great Works of Literature” and all we had was me saying “James Joyce” and collapsing to the floor, while J-Sam told the crowd I was having a “Ulys-seizure”. Weak, I know. The pun we came up with later was not much better in it’s cheapness which was:
“Fans of electro-pop despair! Terrible news! Moby’s Sick!”
Might have gotten a laugh but wasn’t as good.
The finals was “uses of ketchup” and both guys did real well with super-slick punny stories and won lame prizes like a bucket of cheese-balls and waffle-iron.
But when I got home I thought to myself, that if we had made the finals, we would have elected to go second and after one of those punny long stories, I would have just said:
“There’s no topping that.”
And walked off stage, killing.
A man can dream, can’t he?
DIRTY BIRD TO GO
Fried Chicken Whole Wheat Wrap w/Hot-Buttermilk Dressing- $7.75
14th St bet 7th and 8th Avenues.
123FML to 14th St-7th Ave, ACEL to 14th St-8th Ave.
PORTO RICO COFFEE
Refill of your saved cup (You’re smart!), with Splenda and Milk, if you’re me- $.65
Thompson bet. Prince and Spring Sts.
CE to Spring St. 1 to Houston St.