Friday, December 16, 2011

I'm Jewish, so what?

A comedy bit I am working on... please feel free to comment with tags or ideas...

This situation happens to me all the time and I don't really know what to do with it. I was chatting with a friend about my over-bearing mother.

He was like, "oh, your Jewish?"

My response, "oh, your blind?"

The thing is I get what I look, I have looked like this my whole life. I look Jewish people.

Him, "I just didn't want to assume."

Me, "Didn't want to assume? You can assume there are 7 days in the week, just like you can assume I'm Jewish."

Him, "I didn't want to offend you."

Me, "Offend me? For thinking I'm Jewish? It's not 1932. I wouldn't be offended that you assume I'm Jewish, I'ld be offended if you thought I had horns."

People often tell me, they say "Yuri, being Jewish is just a religion."

If that's true, then why is it ever flight I go on, strangers offer me their kosher meal? Or whenever a comedian I dont know tells a really good Holocaust joke, they have to stare at me for awkwardly long periods of time, just to see if I'm okay with it?

They say Jewish is just a religion, I say it's a diagnosis. Symptoms include having relatives who complains so much at restaurants that the managers know them by name, guilt that hale marries can't fix, and a Jewish mother... A Jewish mother is kind of like acne. They tell you that shit will go away, but she just lingers on and on... you can use all the Pro Active in the world and she wont get out of your business!

As a kid, I always wished I was black, then someone would look at me and think, "maybe he could be athletic."
The best part about being Jewish is that no one ever asks you to help them move...

Not sure where to go from this...

Monday, December 12, 2011

This shit doesn't just happen! My night with Loni Love.

It's Monday and I'm trying to figure out what to write, what to make of the weekend I just had ad like many comics, the ultimate dick joke.

I performed at Cobb's Comedy club on Thursday with an amazing lineup, in a show I co-produce, "Recovering Commies." It was my first time performing in such a large venue. It's a pretty crazy mind fuck. Kind of like graduating college or high school. A lot lead up to it. Like when I graduated college, there was this odd feeling where I felt like I owned the world and after could do anything. My last day of college was like that. I didn't walk because I was poor and didn't see the point in spending money just to walk town a carpet and get the Degree I had already paid for. I was bummed though that I didn't get to throw my cap the way they did in the later seasons of "A Different World," but worked past it. I got wasted and enjoyed about a gallon of ice cream to keep the recovering fat guy inside quiet. It was glorious. Then there was the next day, hungover with the taste of food in my mouth that I couldn't remember eating. The day after any of these events always suck. That's when the question comes, now what?

I spent Friday in an odd bubble. I proceeded to watch 2 hours of Will & Grace, cause I'm a 'mo and drank about 4 cups of coffee while watching the View. I wrote some jokes like everyone's favorite one-liner:

"Suicide bombers say they do it for the 72 virgins... who wants 72 virgins? that would be like getting 72 of the girl you dated in high school who thought dry-humping would get them pregnant."

You're welcome. Then, I just stared at my computer screen for another hour while doodling a picture of a penis on my wrist cause that's how I role. I went to an open mic in a college mess hall which for some reason had ice cream just sitting there. I did what any other broke comic would do. I ate a bowl of ice cream for dinner and planned on figuring out a hot 5-set for the crowd of pre-rehab/dropout art students (4 kids and a room of comics). I then made my way to see my comedy idol, the one, the only Ms. Loni Love. This was after I went to Macy's and sampled the cologne I never planned on buying of course.

Ever since I started doing comedy and before, I loved Ms. Love. She has always been laugh out loud funny and supportive of new comics. In my experience this may be a rare thing in comedyland to find. I secretly viewed her like a comedy god mother of sorts who liked food and brown liquor. I would tweet her jokes of mine and sometimes she would actually respond which I never expected. I would watch her comedy sets on youtube all the time, back to back with old Joan Rivers and Roseanne sets on various occasions for years, especially after the second day job laid me off. I always loved how she could take the most educated topic and explain it in a way that everyone could relate. She talked about her weight and issues in a way that we could understand without over doing it. After bombing, and trying to figure out why the Chinese restaurant I did 10 minutes at didn't like my Hitler-suicide-political commentary joke, nothing felt better than anything salty followed by a gallon of ice cream, drinking wine and watching comedy online.

I planned on seeing Ms. Love years ago. Unfortunately the schedule never worked out and I would either out of town or have to work. Finally I was in line to see her live at the rRazz Room. I was alone cause no one else would go with me. I made friends with 2 girls at the show. We got schnockered while watching Ms. Love shred. Being that I had only had the ice cream, I was pretty happy with the comedy and vodka at this point. At the end of the show the 2 girls I sat with were trying to remember my name and how to pronounce it. One kept saying "Yur.... Yurrr... Yurae?" Ms. Love was in ear shot and I guess heard my name. She knew who I was off of twitter! We took a photo together. I was so high (rhetorically speaking, if my mother reads this) that I was speechless. She then asked me what I was doing the following night and offered me 5 minutes. I almost literally shat myself.

My response, "For real?"

Loni Love "you're a comic right?"

Me, "um. yeah."

She just smiled and then said to be there by 9:30...

Me, "for real?"

She nodded as I thanked her and made my way out of the place. I may or may not have squealed at that moment a few octaves higher than a dog whistle. On my way home I left 4 drunken messages for my mom, my boyfriend and my bff Yegvenia about what happened and hopped on the subway home trying to keep myself in check on the way home.

That Saturday, I rushed through my happy hour bartending shift trying to figure out a good 5 minute set for that night. I got to the show 30 min early with my friend Gretchen and Ms. Love walked by her fans and waved to me. I forgot why I was there and almost pissed myself from excitement that she was even waving to me.

I got to chat with Ms. Love for like 20 minutes in the greenroom about comedy and life. I felt like a "make a wish kid." She was so nice to us. Ms. Love didn't have to do any of this, like chatting, giving me stage time and talking business with me. During these 20 minutes, I forgot how nervous I was about my set and just enjoyed the moment.

Once on stage, I don't really know what I said or completely remember the bits I told. I do though remember making eye contact with the first table in front of me. Of course it was my Dr. and his date which added to the randomness of the night. I proceeded to tell my jokes and introduce Ms. Love.

It was a night to remember and to remember for my E True Hollywood story somewhere down the line Thanks Loni Love!

Friday, December 9, 2011

the Castro Bubble.

Chapter 8.
Often people have asked me questions about working in the Castro. They always have leading questions. “I bet you meet hot guys all of the time right?” If by hot they mean men who probably do enough crystal to make Courtney Love look like straightedge, then probably. This is always the first of many questions, which often are followed by a smile and a silence that can cut-glass. I assume, that people who don’t know what this job actually entails, seem to think it’s just a great social event every night. It can be that too. What people often forget is that it's just a job like any other job. Clock in, clock out, and replay. They often glamorize this pretty regular, blue-collar job into their mythical descriptions. There is always this odd intrigue with the idea of being at the center of attention. While behind the bar at a busy bar, one is shaking people’s drinks, they are also the main attraction and the reason people come into that bar, the “hot” bartender. Every night this person gets ready knowing that there will be men lined up and ready from all around, waiting to be serviced. Even the description has all the makings for a B rated porn. Unfortunately, that is where the similarities stop. Meeting hot, available men all them time with a pick of a different hot guy to go home with at all times of the night sounds interesting. While serving them shots, you get to watch hot guys get drunk and raunchy as they show off for you. The fantasy seems to make this image seem like the setting for a “money shot” scene. I wish. At least then, I would be getting laid more. As cool as that idea is, it unfortunately is far from reality. There isn’t a “money shot” in this reality, at least from what I can remember. I do drink a lot though.

I have quickly realized that the glamour factor of working in a bar is everything but. Not to say that this job doesn’t have it’s advantages, because trust, it does. Busing glasses for every Tom, Dick and lesbian who ever walk into the Labyrinth along with broken glass on the floor in between a busy crowd, cleaning up vomit and leaving work with the smell of rotten beer all over your cloths everyday, pretty glamorous. The only upside to working here is all the people here. It's like watching a human ant farm in motion with drag queens. Being a fan of the social sciences, this gives me a chance to study the inner-workings of the Castro. It was much the same way that I would read case studies in college.

I am learning many things within my first few months here. I’m learning drink terminology, gay lingo, how to meet guys and who to steer clear of. I am learning much about men. When they say they are in their late 20s, often that means they are in their mid-30s. Everything seems to be an embellishment. One inch in conversation equals two centimeters in real life. Even if they claim to be single, you can never be too sure if that's true, cause San Francisco is the land of "open relationships." The concept of an open relationship to me at this point in my life is like being a Jew for Jesus, if you can't commit to the situation, don't do it. I soon learn that learn that gays truly run on alcohol and the criticizing others. I assume that is why the post Oscar fashion shows still exist?

There I am I am constantly meeting people, all of different walks, colors, sizes, likes and studying them. From bear to twink, sugar daddy to muscle stud. Name it and I have know them often from the bar. I then notice that these “hot” guys getting less and less attractive after meeting them 5x a week and having to re-introduce yourself to them every time because of their goldfish memories. It's like a glitchy cd or record that repeats over and over. Alcohol does do that. In the bar this was more likely, especially when many people are walking pharmacies. That in itself, is a whole separate topic. I watch hot guys every night, go from Stallion to sloppy mess within shots. These sloppy messes often resemble a blend of Groucho Marx and the Hulk in one. We all have met these guys.

One happy hour in particular, there is a relatively handsome man who I watch succumb to the process mention earlier. He looks like a seemingly normal business guy, in for an after work cocktail, maybe to find someone he could chat with. Within a few rounds this guy who resembling an older Alex P. Keaton ends up retreating further away from the bar. The first round he is drinking at the front of the bar. This is still when small remnants of daylight still slightly peak into the bar. He is sitting chatting it up with those of us behind the bar. I am working with James who is explaining to this guy just why he thinks that Cher was so amazing live. Yeah, I said it, Cher, Chaz Bono's mother. While Cher is a great performer and has a face that looks like it was made by playskool, I would never get in the middle of this conversation. She is one of those guilty pleasures one doesn't admit like watching the "Jersey Shore" and crappy Lifetime movies. I can't even put either on my DVR without fear that someone will see I have watched it. Back to Cher. now This convo. of course is right when the “Believe” video flashes onto the screens of the bar. At this point the music makes me want to start shattering glasses… Instead, I just smile and work diligently. The conversation seems to turn Mr. Keaton off from chatting with us. So, the next round brings him to a table about 10 feet away from the bar. As the hours pass and happy hour reaches near a close, I go on yet another round to pick up glasses. I figure that this guy must be deep in the bar by this point or maybe he has left. By now I assume he is messier than Courtney Love around any substance. On this round, I check every bathroom for glasses just like I do several times daily when working.

I reach one stall and hear this groaning. At first I think someone was taking the shit of a lifetime. Then, I hear hard breathing. It was kind of like that breathing that one often hears in high school while running the mile. In my case, I was often with the last parts of the class, the fat, or smoker kids of the crowd. In response to the breathing, I assume that someone has snorted a line too fast. Then comes a grunt noise. This is the noise that made me wonder if there was a lost cockerspanial in the stall. I imagine it’s being abused by the sounds of it. Then a slurp noise and my mind drifts straight to the gutter. Another moan…Slurp… Moan …Grunt. Curious as any healthy, homosexual, young man is, I peer in. I accidentally lean on the stall door. In turn, pushing it in.

Inside of this stall to my freakish horror is that older guy, who now looks like a different person. He is the opposite of the clean-cut man he came off as hours earlier. Now the tie is hanging out of his pocket and a mouth full of gross. He is rimming the bum who asks me for change everyday freaking day on the corner of 18th and Castro. This bum, I will never forget his gnarl, scrawny body perch on the toilet. When I say rimming, I mean there that this drunken man is rimming a bums ass. The bum is just propped up dingle-berried ass hanging out, and the whole nine-yards. This drunken man has made a transformation that I could only describe as a cross-bread of a Groucho/Hulk creature. This man is also so drunk that he can’t put words together. Caught is literally caught with his hand in the cookie jar. I want to break the glasses in my hands which I just bussed this round, and shove shards in my eyes to sooth the pain.

The life of a Castro barkeep, is a desensitized one. In the Castro bubble, image is been one thing. The reality is often another. When people ask about the “hot guys” I meet working where I do, they often are met with a brief. Sometimes the image that people have in their head is better than the reality.

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