Thursday, December 29, 2005


I have good news and bad news. It's the same news, it's just good or bad depending on whether or not you scored a ticket to the New Years Eve Comedy Spectacular at the National Comedy Theatre Saturday night.


My second week performing in an off-Broadway show and I've already got a sold-out show coming up. True, it might have a little bit more to do with the fact that it's a HUGE PARTY rather than my big head is going to be on the stage, but I'm still excited about it!

It's a special performance of improv comedy followed by an all-out New Year's party with the cast complete with catered food, booze, and party music.

But fear not New Yorkers. You can still get your fill of New Year's improv by checking out one of the two shows Friday night (7:30 & 9:45).

Come on out and share a laugh!

No One To Blame

Is it just me, or is everyone looking for someone else to blame? When I was younger, if someone was on TV acting stupid it was because of the drugs they did in the 60s. Then people were acting crazy because of VietNam. Now people blame their past: their childhood, their parents, they spanked me too much, they didn't spank me enough, my Dad didn't hug me, the kids made fun of me, bla bla bla.

How about this: If you're an adult and you do something stupid, just say you did something stupid. I goof up all the time. Big goofs. Little goofs. Medium-sized goofs (or grande sized if you work at Starbucks) and there are a ton of things I could blame for my stupid behavior but the truth of the matter is, those things didn't make me goof up. I did that all on my own and of my own free will. I understand people go through things that may have an impact on their lives, but really, should that be the reason to treat others the way we so often do?

If you're reading this and thinking I wrote this about you, then you're wrong. As much as this blog seems like an irate response to something someone did to me or I experienced, it really isn't. I actually thought of it this morning when I was going down the hall to the bathroom.

Apparently poop makes me angry.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Playing It Again, Sam

Here comes the giddiness again! :)

I just received the schedule for this weekend's improv shows at the National Comedy Theater and I am slated to play the shows both nights, Friday and Saturday. I'm stoked!!

The Friday shows are at 7:30 and 9:45 and of course, it's still not too late to make reservations for the big New Year's Eve blowout Saturday night! Tickets are going really fast for that show, so if you're in the NY area and want to find something to do besides mingle with a billion smelly tourists* in Times Square then this is it! Check out NCT's New Year's Eve Comedy Blowout!! How do you know it's going to be fun? Because there's no set time when the fun will stop. That's right! It's scheduled from 9:30 to QUESTION MARK!!!!!!

Tell 2005 thanks but no thanks and ring in 2006 laughing your head off!!

*[No offense to my dear friend Edlyn, who will actually be in Times Square as a tourist that night to watch the ball drop. I assure you she is not smelly. But I also assure you that everyone else will be.]

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Friday Night (A Look Back)

Simply put, Friday night was a blast.

And it went by so fast, I can hardly remember what happened just a couple of days later.

The week approaching my off-Broadway debut at the National Comedy Theater, I was pretty nervous. I don't usually get nervous before a show (what I usually feel is probably best described as anxious), so the fact I was finding it hard to sleep on Tuesday night was a new experience.

It's hard to say how much of it was nerves and how much of it was that familiar anxious feeling. I was just eager and excited and ready to play. I've been to pretty much every show since I've started rehearsing with them a couple of months ago and after weeks of watching some great improv week after week I wanted to jump up there and play with them.

As Friday evening rolled around I found that the closer it got to showtime, the calmer I became. It was like entering a Zen-like state without all of that annoying Zen stuff. Of course, what helped the most was knowing that I was going to be up there with a great team of people whom I knew had my back. Their support over the last few weeks has been amazing and to have that level of trust like I have with them over such a short time is a blessing I don't take for granted.

The players scheduled for that night also included Kramer, Chris, Tyler, and Michael Jeffrey Cohen. That's right. It was going to be a two-on-two improv competition. When I got to the theater I got word that Gary Cohen, one of the players not scheduled to be there, was going to show up to play the first show. I was stoked! Cohen has been a great support and made me feel right at home on the team and the fact that he wanted to be there to play my first show really meant a lot to me.

You know all of those shows I've been attending over the last few weeks just as an audience member? Well, it paid off. I played a bunch of games that night that I had never played before and I had a blast! Because I'd seen the team play them before, I had a general idea of what was supposed to happen.

It was Tyler and me in blue "against" the two Cohens in red. Kramer was the ref and Chris was the DJ (Designated Jokester). We played Emotional Symphony, Blind Line Fairy Tale, Dinner at Joe's, Five Things, Beastie Rap, and Story. And that was just the first show.

It was a really good crowd and I experienced everything from the "deer in the headlights" to genuine laughter and it was a great ride. Afterward I told Kramer I couldn't believe how quickly it went. Thankfully my buddy Paul was up in the sound booth taking pictures for me to help me remember what I was doing up there (I'll post the pictures as soon as I get them from him).

The second show was a much much smaller (and quieter) crowd, but I was still riding the high from the first show so it didn't bug me much.

All in all, I was happy. There were some things I would have done differently and some things I was happy with. I think the people who were there left the theater glad they had come and had smiles on their faces, and that's all I ask.

Let's keep this E-Train rolling!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

They Really ARE the Whitest!

Well, it's only taken me 4 months to do it, but I was finally able to see my friend Timmy's sketch group, The Whitest Kids U Know, perform tonight at the Upright Citizen's Brigade theater. I know how hard it is to do not just sketch comedy, but good sketch comedy, and these guys really were good.

There's big things happening with them so keep an eye (and ear) out for them. In the meantime, well done, Whitest Kids!!

Ands speaking of comedy I just found out I am performing not just this Friday night, but Saturday as well at the National Comedy Theater. As Ed Grimley used to say, I mean come on. It just doesn't get more decent than that, you know?

Monday, December 19, 2005


Well, it's almost here. Friday is the big day for me at the National Comedy Theatre. After months of rehearsal and then joining the performers in their rehearsals for a few weeks, this weekend is the weekend I take the stage.

I'm stoked. I'm excited. I'm nervous. And I'm also aware that a lot of the regular players are out of town for the holidays and they are in need of players for the weekend so that may be part of the reason I'm getting my shot this week as well. But I'm not complaining. My first off-Broadway production and it's a show I am very proud to be part of.

The cast has been great to get to know and work with and it's really cool how amazingly supportive they've been. It's been an extremely welcoming vibe and after watching them on stage each weekend I am anxious to get up there and play with them. A lot of improv is about trust and it's a team of players I know I can definitely depend on.

So here we go!!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

New York State of Mind

I don't know if this will make any sense, but I think tonight was the first time I actually felt like I lived in New York. Or maybe I should say I felt like a real New Yorker [even though Gary says I'm not a real New Yorker until I've seen a Yankees game].

Tonight I was with some of the guys from the National Comedy Theater and there were a few moments that felt like I was in a party scene in a Woody Allen film. That was really cool.

Afterwards Kevin, Cohen, and I were on the subway and that just felt...I don't know, I guess it fit. Guys just on the subway hanging out after a fun evening and all was well with the universe [despite the impending MTA strike]. Combine that with Friday night when, after the show, I got to spend some time hanging out with Chris and Amy and had a blast getting to know them a little more.

Not only have I found the chance to be involved with excellent improv at the NCT, but I've also met some great people and am forging great friendships and conversation. Despite all that's going on with me right now and the divorce and all that, life is pretty darn good.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Irony in New York

I was walking to work today and passed by a theater. Unfortunately, the show at this particular theater was ending its run; shutting down; calling it quits. There were semi trucks parked in front of the theater and guys were unloading the stage and taking down all of the signage. Time to pack it up, boys.

And then I noticed what show it was and laughed out loud and had to take a picture. I mean come on, folks, am I the only one that found the humor in this??

That's right, the show that was leaving was Billy Joel's Movin' Out.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Comedy Tonight [and yesterday night]

What a great week it's been for comedy.

Yesterday I got off work a little early and I was feeling so giddy about it that I decided to go to the Gotham Comedy Club and see what was cooking there. It's the only club I've been to so far in the City [at least to see a show] and I knew the cover was only ten bucks to get in [plus a 2-drink minimum].

I can't tell you how glad I was that I went [but I'll try]. The crowd was pretty small and it was freezing inside. I don't mean I was a little chilly I mean it was horrendously cold in there. People were wearing mittens and I left my scarf on. Which says a lot for all of the comics. If you're able to get people to forget that their backside is stuck to their seats and make them laugh, then you're doing something right. Performing that night were Ted Alexandro, Todd Barry, Mike Birbiglia, Steve Byrne, and Judy Gold. Erin Foley did a great job hosting so again, well done!

Tonight I went to a taping of a couple of episodes of Comedy Central Presents with Virginia and Mike, buddies from the NCT (Mike's friend Simon rounded out our little merry band of comedy seekers). We had to wiat outside in the rain/sleet for a while but it wasn't coming down terribly hard and since we're all in improv we were able to keep ourselves entertained.

I've already forgotten the name of the first comic. Her last name is Mooney, I know that much. The background for her set was a huge 4-leaf clover. She did a really good job but I must admit I was awaiting the second comic of the night, Nick Swardson. You may have seen his earlier episode of Comedy Central Presents ["Nicholas, you're the strongest grandson ever!"] and he did not disappoint this time around.

And then tomorrow and Saturday night it's off for more comedy hijinks and shenanigans. If laughter is the best medicine then this week I done got myself immunized for the next three years.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Dear Premiere Magazine: SHUT UP

A couple of weeks ago I picked up a copy of Premiere magazine [mostly because I was at the Duane Reade and bored out of my skull]. Peter Jackson was on the cover looking freakishly skinny and I mean hey, how can you not buy it.

Inside the magazine was a free mini-pamphlet of Premiere Magazine's "50 Hidden Gems out on DVD." Movies that didn't do very well the first time they hit theaters but deserved to find a place in your own personal collection. I didn't recognize many of the films but the ones I had seen [Office Space, Suicide Kings, Go] I enjoyed so I figured they knew what they were talking about. I don't have a ton of money to blow on DVDs just because Premiere recommends them so instead I decided to go through the entire list of 50 movies and borrow them from the library.

Can I just say that for a movie magazine, Premiere doesn't know what the freak they're talking about. They should have named it "50 Hidden Movies That Are Hidden Because They're Long and Boring."

The first one I got from the library was The Tenant, directed by and starring Roman Polanski. First of all, it's in English. Takes place in France. But some of the people speak English and other people are speaking in French and are dubbed over in English. So for part of the film Roman Polanski is speaking English but when he's doing scenes with people who obviously don't speak English he switches to speaking in French, with the audio dubbed over. And that got on my nerves really quickly.

Oh yeah. And it's really super-boring. "Hey look at me, I'm a guy who's weird for no reason and I'm gonna rent this apartment. And I'm gonna take 25 minutes to do it. Oh no, my friends make too much noise and the landlord hates us! Oh no, the previous tenant committed suicide.Look at me, I'm an auteur!"

Tonight's time-waster of choice was Shadow of a Doubt. I was actually excited about this one because it was directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Now don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Hitchcock fan and I understand a lot of people think his films drag in the beginning while he's setting up the story. I've never minded that, because to me if you have a good story, it doesn't drag.

Hitch didn't have a good story with this one and it dragged. It drug. It drugged and dragged. Hey, let me save you and hour and a half. This guy goes to visit his family in California. And that's the first HOUR. And then oh yeah, maybe he's a killer. So then you think, "Now it's gonna get good!" But it doesn't. Instead they eat dinner and read the newspaper and go to church and go to the library and go to a restaurant and eat and totally forget to build any suspense or story at all. And then it's like ohwaitweonlyhave10minutesleftquickgetonatrainandthebadguywilltrytokilltheheroine.

So thanks, Premiere. Thanks for wasting my time not with one, but two bad, boring films. I'm sure there are some good ones on there, but I've given up. Maybe I'll start hitting up films on the various AFI lists because Premiere magazine knows about as much about recommending films as I know about Butte, Montana.

Hey Premiere! In the words of my friend Amy Albert,

Monday, December 12, 2005

Cold Without Snow is Just Cold

Where's our holdiay season snowfall? Everyone else has snow, but New York doesn't! What gives?

It's not that I'm absolutley dying for snow, but I'm looking for a reason to be distracted by the cold weather. The other day it snowed overnight and when I woke up it was still falling. Huge flakes that got me excited and made me feel like a kid again.

I walked to work with a spring in my step. Most of the other people walking the streets seemed disgruntled to be out in such weather but I was digging every minute of it. Sure it was cold, but I could care less. The snow was beautiful!

By the time I left work the snow had melted but it was still just as cold outside and I was not enjoying the cold weather sans snow. Cold weather with snow is bearable. Cold weather without snow is just annoying.

As I walked home tonight from work it was the coldest it's been so far and there was no snow to make up for it.

Come on, snow. You're slacking here.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Next year it's mine

I heard on the news just a couple of days ago that in Vegas they gave out the first Sigfried & Roy Award. The winners? Sigfried & Roy.

I really don't have much else to add to this except to say if Sigfried & Roy didn't win, there would have been some really, really, upset gay tiger-taming magicians in Las Vegas this week.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Year In Review 2005

What have I been doing? What have I been up to? If you have a few moments I’ll fill you in with my First Annual Year In Review…..
A Timeline by Ed Placencia

As the year began I was still living in Nashville, working at the Opryland Hotel as a tour guide on the Delta Riverboats. Deanna was living in New York City

January 19 My good friend Aaron Marrs was lost at sea during a deep sea fishing excursion. He lived his life in a way that inspired me to chase my dreams and changed my year.
January 24 I began rehearsal for Sunday in New York at Chaffin’s Barn Dinner Theater.

February 11 Opening night of Sunday in New York marks my first time on the stage in over four years.

March 12 The final performance of Sunday in New York.
March 29 Deciding it was time to get off my butt and put my money where my mouth is, I performed comedy at an open mic night, marking my first time doing stand-up since my years in college, 15 years earlier. Despite the long hiatus, it went well.

Still not earning enough money after losing my job the previous year, expenses finally catch up with me and our house is foreclosed upon. This marks one of the most difficult periods of time in my life but with the help of loved ones, especially Davy and Jenn Baysinger, I somehow make it through. All of our belongings are put into storage and the Baysingers allow me to stay with them while I prepare for the next phase. I plan to move to Chicago along with most of the cast from Sunday in New York.

I make the move to Chicago. Things (housing and job situation) don’t unfold the way I was led to believe they would, and I am forced to improvise. I begin writing again and crank out the first of three short stories.

June 19 I go to a bookstore where Cheech Marin is making a presentation on Chicanos in the arts. To say it was inspiring would be an understatement.
June 22 I film 2 different scenes for The Breakup, a film starring Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn. Keep your eyes peeled and you may see me as a Roller Blader and Guy At The Beach Walking By. The film is currently scheduled to come out in the Spring of 2006.
June 28 Another day of shooting for The Breakup at Wrigley Field. I’m 99.9% sure you won’t be able to pick me out of the crowd, but it was a day at the park and we got paid for it.

July 9 I had an opportunity to work on the film Smile, Darling for the 48-Hour Film Project with director Keith Soljacich. Not only was it a great experience (our film won an award!) but it also gave me a chance to meet and work with a great upcoming director and visionary. Remember Keith’s name! You’ll be hearing it a lot in the future!
July 18 Being away from Deanna for so long has not helped mend a rocky relationship and I decide to move to New York City so we can be together and try to patch up what we have. I leave for Indiana, where I will be staying for a short time to work with Dad and earn some money for the trip out [since gas is now $45 per gallon]. While back in my hometown in Indiana I get a chance to reconnect with family and rejuvenate.

August 11 I leave Indiana for New York…via Nashville. I make the drive south to get all of our belongings in order and put away in storage. I’m in and out like a ghost. I then leave and head for Lancaster PA and the home of John & Lisa Blowers. They are kind enough to let us keep our car at their place so we don’t have to take it with us to the City. While there I also get a chance to visit and catch up with Stacey Gagne and Linda Spuck.
August 15 I arrive in New York City. I know I’m going to love it.
August 17 I shoot a scene for Court TV’s Parco P.I. It’s my first time doing green screen and I feel like a Jedi.
August 19 I audition for [and land] "Accomplice: NY,” an improv/interactive theater/walking tour-type experience that is one of a kind. A great way to see lower Manhattan. That same day I shoot a scene for an upcoming Discovery Channel show, Cash Cab.

September 20 I do some work on the film Devil You Know where I am chosen from all of the extras to play the maitre d’ at a restaurant and get to shoot a scene with Lena Olin. Apparently she’s famous.
Also in September I read the entire series of “Fletch” books. Highly recommended!

October 8 Auditioned for the National Comedy Theater. Got to do some improv again and a few days later received a call from them asking me to join the troupe. Rehearsals start in just a few days!
October 26 Shot four scenes as an extra on the upcoming film The Devil Wears Prada with Meryl Streep. Look for me in the fashion show scenes and in a post-fashion show party.

November 17 I turn 35 years old [physically]. Mentally, I turn 6.
November 22 My sister Jaime gives birth to her new baby, Maya.
After 6 years of marriage, Deanna and I decide to separate.

I’m still working with the National Comedy Theater and look forward to performing soon. There’s going to be a huge New Year’s bash at the theater that will be a lot of fun, so if you’re in the New York area at the end of the year, come on out! I’m working at Entertainment-Link and enjoying that as well [if you need tickets to Broadway shows with some great discounts, then check it out!].

I am looking forward to seeing what 2006 has in store. By the beginning of the year the divorce papers will be filed and it will be a new chapter for me. Who knows what new adventures lie around the corner but I am eager to tackle each and every one of them.

And that’s what I’ve been up to. I look forward to hearing from you and finding out how the past year has been to you. I’ve done a lot this year and been through even more; it’s been one of my favorite years.

Jumping into 2006 with both feet,

Hitting some clubs

Methinks I need to begin frequenting some of the local comedy clubs a little more often. Who's down?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Playing MacGuyver

I've never ever seen an episode of MacGuyver, but I think I know enough about the show to say that last night, I felt a little bit like him.

I went to the NCT to see the shows last night and upon leaving the apartment Deanna informed me that she was going to hang out with friends and asked how late I'd be out. We only have one set of keys to the apartment, so the general rule is, whoever will be home first gets the keys so they can let the other person in. She said she thought she would be out until midnight or so. Usually after the NCT shows I hang out with the gang and talk and yak and just generally hang out so I told her that would be fine; take the keys. I'm usually there until at least 1am and, if by some chance I am done before midnight, I'll swing by the diner up the block and grab a bite to eat. She said she'd call and leave a message when she gets home. I let her know my phone is almost out of juice, so it'll be off most of the night. And the plan is set. Or so I think.

So I finally leave the theater about a quarter after midnight. Early for me. I call Deanna to see if she's home yet and she doesn't answer her phone. So I go to the diner. I get my usual [French toast and eggs] and enjoy a few cups of coffee. I leave and it's pretty darn cold. I walk to the apartment and ring the buzzer. No answer. I call her and my phone is giving me the "Battery Low" beep. She answers and says she is in Chelsea [where the heck is that?] and will be on her way.

So I decide to go for a walk. The time is 12:38am. I go to Times Square [and take the long way] and listen to the black Muslims preach about the evils of whitey. I walk up and down the odd and then even street numbers and then decide to go to Duane Reade [a local pharmacy chain] and buy a magazine. I only have a few bucks on me, otherwise I'd have gone to a restaurant or a bar to hang out. I get back home around 1:30 and she's still not there. I call a few more times and she doesn't answer. And now my phone is so low on power, it won't finish the call before turning itself off.

So I sit on the freezing stoop and read Entertainment Weekly. I sit there long enough to make myself read every damn section of the magazine [except the fashion section. Even as bored as I was I still was not bored enough to read about fashion].

I realize all that coffee made me have to go to the bathroom.Really bad.

And then it begins to snow.

I decide to go to yet another diner. I have enough money to buy another cup of coffee so I can use their bathroom. So I use the bathroom, buy a cup of coffee, and then pee again. The snow is really coming down and even in my current situation I thought it was beautiful.

I walk back to the apartment and she's still not there. I turn my phone on and see if it has enough juice to make a call. It does, but there's still no answer.

At this time, thankfully, someone else who lives in the apartment gets home and lets me in the front door. Man that hall never felt so warm before. So I was halfway home. I still didn't have a key to get into our apartment.

One of the weird things [but often common] about New York apartments is many times the bathroom is actually out in the hall. That's the way ours is set up. There's a padlock on the bathroom door so no one can use it but us. Apparently people have locked themselves out of the apartment during a bathroom break before because I know there is a spare key to the apartment door hidden in the bathroom in a basket on a shelf above the toilet. But the bathrom door is padlocked shut.

All I need is a Philips head screwdriver and I can remove the padlock and get in the bathroom and get the key. But of course, I don't have one. Nor do I have enough money to run out and buy one. And this is where things go MacGuyver. I'm not going to tell you how I got in just in case someone decides to break into our apartment, but I will tell you what I had with me [Funny, but I've never been so aware of every single item I had on my person before, trying to figure out how to get past that padlock]. I will also say this: I didn't cause any permanent damage to the apartment, the doors, the locks, nothing. I did not leave a trace of my being there and/or getting in.

Maybe you can figure it out. Here's what I had: A big Macy's bag with a box of strawberry shortcake given to me by Gary at NCT. A tin of cookies I bought previously in the day. A money clip. Various cards i.e. library card, discount card, driver's license. Spare change. A pen. Gloves. Hat. Scarf.

Hint: Although I tried a few things with the money clip, I was unsuccessful.

I finally got in my apartment around 3:30AM. I don't know when Deanna got home, but she's still asleep.

So there you go. An Ed-cyclopedia Brown mystery to solve. How did Ed get in the apartment??

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Me and My Camera

Even though I love to take pictures and usually have a camera with me, I haven't taken a ton of photos in NYC because I have grown very self-conscious about taking pictures in public. I seem to have developed an inferiority complex where I don't want people to think I'm some stupid tourist. True there are a zillion people in this city taking pictures of everything and no one's going to notice one guy taking a shot here and there, but that hasn't stopped me from becoming extremely self-consicous about it. Where this has come from I have no idea. I'm sure a professional could offer some keen insight, but I'm not a professional and I don't have $45 an hour to spend on one.

Tonight on my way home from work I decided to swing by the library and see if a book I had on hold was in [it was!]. And then I remembered that last night was the lighting of the tree in Rockefeller Plaza. I had nowhere to go so I thought I'd walk a few blocks out of my way and see it. And I was determined to take pictures.

So there I was, standing in front of the tree and trying to take a picture of me and the tree together. It took about 8 tries to get anything even close to decent and I was beginning to laugh at myself. A guy stopped and asked if I wanted him to take the picture for me but I laughed and said "No thanks, that's kind of the fun of it." Plus I didn't want him to steal my camera.

On the way home I walked past the Rainbow Room, Radio City, and through Times Square and since I was feeling particularly camera-happy, I continued taking pictures.

Yea, I'm a dork, and I know it, but it was kinda fun to do something touristy. One of my favorite shots is in Times Square. I'm not looking into the camera but kind of up in the air. It looks a little posed and pretentious but actually I was looking at this huge statue of a man and all of a sudden a bunch of pigeons started to attack it and I got distracted. And that's when the camera clicked.

Thanks for tuning in to VH1's Behind the Pictures.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Fun With Google

Ever Googled yourself? Liar. Yes you have.

But even more entertaining is Googling yourself under the "Images" section. I Googled my first and last name, in quotes, and this is the first picture that came back:

I mean, come on. He doesn't even look Mexican.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

What should I Read?

I'm returning some books to the library tomorrow and not really sure what I should check out next. Suggestions?

An Apology to My Friends Who Have Taste

I tried. I really honestly did. I went into it with an open mind. I even went into it wanting to like it. I found an Easter Egg on the DVD and although I hadn't seen the film, I thought the outtake was hilarious. But alas and alack.

I hated The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

There isn't one thing in particular about it I can point to and say "That is why I didn't like the movie." I think it's just hard for me to get into Wes Anderson's style.

All of my friends love his movies, find them at [or near] the pinnacle of comedic filmmaking, and I want to get the joke and share the fun, but I end up sitting and watching and not being able to find out what everyone else is laughing at. In my opinion it feels like Anderson gathers some of the best comedic actors working and then refuses to let them be funny, almost draining the film of laughs. I'm not saying his films aren't funny (I laughed aloud once or twice while watching Aquatic) but the time between those laughs just seem to drag. When I'm not laughing or smiling at something happening on the screen, I find myself bored stiff. I don't really care or root for any of the characters and I sometimes feel like the film is trying too hard to be quirky. And I loathed the CGI marine life.

I enjoyed Bottle Rocket and then seemed to like each of his following movies less and less as they came. I couldn't even finsh Aquatic so maybe I have no reason to dislike the film since I didn't sit through the whole thing (but I didn't finish The Postman either). Still, I didn't find it as utterly boring and mind-numbing as I did The Royal Tennenbaums [and I realize that probably doesn't really come off as a compliment, but it sort of is].

So again, I apologize. I realize most people who read this will disagree and their rebuttals and reasons for liking Anderson's films are more than valid. I'm not saying I'm right and they're wrong. There's just something about my cerebral cortex that doesn't click with Andersonian filmmaking. It must be me, because I trust the opinion of my buddies who are big fans (Grant, Lane, Aaron, and Keith).

I mean hey, I own all three Spy Kids movies on DVD. It's got to be me, right?

Another good weekend of comedy

I gotta tell ya, I have to give it up for the gang out at the NCT. If you weren't able to catch any of their shows this past weekend, you missed out on some great competitive improv. The second show last night was particularly rockin'. The crowd, although smaller than the crowd at the 7:30 show, was really into it and the gang (Gary K, Gary C, Chris, Andrew, Kevin, and Adi) stayed one step ahead of them the whole way. At one point I found myself laughing so hard, I was literally crying. And I wasn't alone.

I'm looking forward to finally joining them in rehearsal on Tuesday. In the meantime, if you're in the NYC area, come on out and see some great comedy. I'll see you there next weekend. I'll be the guy by himself in the audience laughing along with everyone else.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Defending Your Life

We've all been there. You're browsing for a movie to rent and come across a classic that you used to love so you bring it home, watch it, and realize it's actually a pretty bad movie. So not only have you watched a bad movie, but you've also tainted your memory of a good movie experience. You used to like it and now...not so much.Sometimes they just don't hold up well over time. Were they bad to begin with and you didn't realize it, or has your taste changed that much? Or maybe a little bit of both?

That's happened to me with Bram Stoker's Dracula,Three O'Clock High, and - dare I say it- Spaceballs.

I borrowed from the library a little movie I used to love called Defending Your Life starring Albert Brooks, Meryl Streep, and Rip Torn and I am more than happy to say I still love it just as much. What a great little gem of a film. Witty and poignant, with something interesting to say about how fear controls our lives. Top notch filmmaking. And I'm not really a Meryl Streep fan.

If you find yourself with some time to spare this holiday season, check it out. You'll be glad you did.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Uncle Eddie....again

Today's my Dad's birthday. I gave him a call to wish him a happy day and found out he was in Pennsylvania visiting my sister. She is [was] pregnant and due in December and apparently had her baby on Tuesday [three weeks early].

Everyone and everything is fine but how did I not know about that? It's been three days! I have to work on getting Jaime a cell phone.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Dinner with the Pagans

A couple of days ago I was bored and decided to swing by one of my favortie places to eat, Euro Diner. It's not terribly expensive and the French toast [what I usually eat] is really tasty. Another thing I like about this diner is the fact that it's not incredibly packed with tourists all the time.

Most of the time I stop in to eat later at night but on this occasion it was mid to late afternoon. When I got there, they were mopping in the front section so I sat in the back. It was just me and a small group of people at another table behind me.

I pulled out a small puzzle book I sometimes have with me to busy myself while I waited on my food and soon I began to hear snippets of conversation coming from the other table that caught my ear. Actually it was more of a word that caught my ear. I kept hearing the word coven being thrown around and it didn't take long to piece together that this group of patrons was the coven they kept referring to.

Does that make them witches? I don't know. They referred to themselves as pagans a couple of times, but I don't know how much difference there is between the two. Is a group of pagans also referred to as a coven? Anyhow, witches or pagans, they were a coven.

The point of their small gathering was to decide whether or not they should let a girl who had been showing interest in their coven join their group. Or the club. Because the way they were talking and the things they were saying, it sounded like a bunch of 8-year-old boys trying to decide whether or not this person would ruin their cool club or not.

The leader of the coven was a female who was straight out of Mean Girls. Someone would say, "I don't know, she's kind of mean sometimes" and the leader would say, "I know, she's totally mean and can bring such a bad vibe with her."

Then someone else would say, "I thought she was sweet" and the leader would say "I know, she's really sweet; such a cute thing and so nice." It made me laugh and I started writing down things they were saying.

One of the reasons the leader wasn't excited about inducting this new girl into the club was because "she wants to change her name to Morgana. I mean, that's a cool name, I named my snake Morgana, but it's so done. Kind of like Raven."

And then one of the guys agreed. "I know. "Raven" has become the "Smith" of the pagan world."

I may have laughed out loud at that one. Another "pro" reason to let this girl join the coven was because she had a good singing voice and someone said "she would make a great siren."

People actually talk this? And are serious?

I listened to them talk for a while and soon they got up to leave. The leader was just as I had pictured her. She was a small waif-like woman with long red hair. Her shirt was a red long-sleeved number that was made of a velvety material that looked like she was wearing a slab of fuzzy wallpaper from the 70s. There was also the pudgy plain girl with stringy hair and the goth girl with jet-black hair and multiple piercings.

The guys rounded out the stereotype and looked like they had just come up from their mom's basement after a huge D&D all-nighter. Late 30s/early 40s computer geeks and I swear I could hear the spare 12-sided dice rattling in their pockets. As they left, they were talking about their friend Venus. It was just amazing to me that these people probably hadn't changed a bit since they were teenagers. They still talked about their awesome powers and their pagan names like Garmongus and the yielder of the broadsword.

Perhaps homeland security should shift their focus for a bit. There are some strange happenings afoot.

Monday, November 21, 2005

102 Floors Up, Broadway, NCT, and Accomplice

Wow, I guess it’s been a while since I’ve written last. Sorry about that. I try to do my best to keep you up-to-date with my happenings and I’ve let you down. Please accept my apology.

So what have I been up to? This and that, as usual. I did my first “touristy” thing in New York the other day and took a trip to the top of the Empire State Building. Not too shabby. It was $14 and a fairly reasonably priced expedition at that. I was by myself which I didn’t mind. When I got in line to go up it was still daylight, but an hour and a half later it was night and the lights were beautiful.

As I was waiting in line I became fairly certain I was the only American in line. Loud French people in front of me and pushy Germans behind. The entire waiting queue was loud and buzzing with a dozen different languages. When we finally got into the elevator at the top, the buzzing became even louder. But as I went through the door that led outside to the viewing terrace the volume dropped. The view was literally breathtaking.

I stood up there for about a half hour or more. It was really really nice. I took a couple of snapshots and then my camera battery ran out so, even though there were people all around taking in the view, it felt like it was just me, the city, and my thoughts. One of the few times I’d been around so many people in public and yet felt such peace. I’ll probably go back soon. For 14 bucks, it’s really not a bad way to spend an evening.

I also got a chance to see my first Broadway show ever. It’s a brand new play called Absurd Person Singular. It was very funny. The show hasn’t officially opened; tonight was a preview night, so let me be among the first to give kudos. The cast was top-notch and hey, it starred Alan Ruck who played Cameron in Ferris Bueller so how could it go wrong?

I had a chance to spend some great quality time with the gang from NCT as well this past weekend. Friday night after the shows I hung out with Amy, Constance, Mike, and Paulie at a fun little karaoke club in the Upper East Side. Saturday night I got a chance to meet Victoria’s parents [who seemed to be fine upstanding citizens] and then hung out with Tyler, Mike, Paul, and Sylvia after the show. Tyler took us to a really cool bar called Jimmie’s Corner. It’s owned by an old boxer so needless to say I felt right at home. I was wishing Dad was there with us; he would have loved it!

Sunday was my last time performing with Accomplice NY for a while. It’s going to be going into hibernation for the winter and will return in March. And I guess that’s a good thing, because I think sitting out in the cold all day yesterday gave me a cold. I’m battling a most wretched sore throat and I’d like to be back to 100% [or as close as I can get to it] for improv rehearsal tomorrow night. For the past few weeks, all of us new guys and some folks who are part of NCT’s Minor League have been rehearsing on Wednesdays. The actual improvisers who perform each week rehearse on Tuesdays, and I have been asked to begin rehearsing with them and I am stoked like you wouldn’t believe!

I also visited the Euro Diner a few days ago which I guess has become my unofficial nothing-else-to-do hangout (besides the library). It was empty except for me and a table full of either pagans or witches. I’m not sure which they were but the spoke of their coven. Do pagans have covens, or is that just witches? Anyhow it’s a great story, but I’ll save it for another time. I am getting tired and I don’t think I would do it justice. It’s a pretty funny story.

Oh yea, and I turned 35 on Thursday. How weird is that?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Weirdest Audition Ever

I just got back from auditioning for Disney World. Today was their actor call and they were specifically looking for improvisers so I thought I might do OK. When I got there, the monitor told us to not bother with bringing sheet music in the audition room (if we had it) because they didn't have a piano player and didn't want to hear any singing. Just go in and do your monologue.

So I went in and did it. And there was much laughter in all the right parts. Then they asked me to improvise a character and I did the homeless guy I play as part of Accomplice NY. And again there was much laughter.

Then one of the guys asked me if I sang. I was confident when I said "I sure do." Not confident because I can sing, but confident in saying I sure do because I knew they wouldn't ask me to sing. I can sing a little bit, but there's a reason I do improv and not musical theater.

Where was I? Oh yea, can I sing, and I said I sure do. So the guy responds with "Well, you're very funny, your improv is great, you used "Yes and...," you listen well, and you're funny off the cuff. But you're going to have to work on your singing because they do a lot of shows there with 8-bar songs and you know, it's Florida, so they're all really good."

Huh? But wait, you didn't even hear me sing! And when you asked me if I sang, I said I sure do!!

And since when is Florida the improv singing capital of the world? I've seen your improv shows at Pleasure Island, bub, and they weren't all that.

Kind of like on American Idol (wow, it kind of calls back my post from yesterday, huh?) if they want to see more of you they gave you a yellow piece of paper and I did not get one. So yeah, it was weird.

But I'm not really too disappointed. I didn't want to have to leave New York City to work because if you're out of town working, no one in town sees your stuff. And I am glad I'll be able to stick with the NCT for now.

Until, you know, they find out how well I actually sing.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

My First Celebrity and Disappointment

One of the things that excited me about living in Manhattan was the fact I knew I would eventually run into a celebrity on the street. Who would it be? Where would it be? When would it be? I have heard rumors of SNL actors frequenting my grocery store, but alas, nothing. I have also heard that Steve Buscemi still rides the subway with his son. Nada. So who would be my first New York celebrity sighting???

Today I found out.

As I left for work this afternoon, it was a dark, rainy day. Everyone had their umbrellas and, like myself, those who didn't had the hood on their jacket pulled up to protect them. It wasn't a real rain, more of a heavy mist. You may not know this about me, but I have adapted very well at becoming a New Yorker in that I walk fast. I zig and zag down the sidewalk with the best of them, and just before I entered the subway station on 42nd street I hit a crowd of people and someone in front of me walking too darn slow. They were short and round and all bundled up and I thought nothing of them except for the fact that they were walking too slow.

Just then this guy who was hanging around outside the Hilton Theater ran up to her and shouted, "Frenchie!!!! Are you Frenchie??!!"

Frenchie, to refresh your memory, was the blond-haired black girl who got kicked off American Idol and went on to appear on Broadway in Rent.

And all I could think was, Frenchie is my first celebrity????!! What a freakin' ripoff!!! Booooooooooo!!!

I want a do-over.

Monday, November 14, 2005

In Case You Were Wondering....

Just to keep you posted (as I promised I would), I haven't heard anything back from The Jekyll & Hyde Club so I guess I didn't get it.


Saturday, November 12, 2005

Is it 2:00 already??

Last night I once again went out to watch the shows at the NCT. Afterward we hung out and, again, it was a great time. Talking, laughing, and general goofing around and I looked at my watch and suddenly it was 2 am. And I wasn't even drinking!

Nothing like having so much fun you lose total track of time. A good bunch of people they are. Improvise well, they do. *

I'm thinking about heading back tonight. One can never have too much laughter.

*This is a direct quote from Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Happiness is Doing Improv

Had another great evening of rehearsal at the NCT. Can I just tell you how much fun I'm having doing improv once again? I know how few people actually get a chance to do what they love to do the most (or even find out what that thing is) so I'm very aware of how fortunate I am. I find myself anticipating Wednesdays more and more each week. Last night I was discussing with Luke, a fellow improv-er who auditioned when I did and is always cracking me up, how quickly the 2 hours fly past each week. And then after Wednesday is over I look forward to the weekend when I can go and watch the shows. And then the cycle starts all over again. Can't wait for Wednesday!

You may ask if there is a downside to doing what I love to do so much, and my answer to you is yes. When you're doing something you've always strived for and you really get a rush from doing, when you're at your job calling people with mutual funds asking them to vote on proxies and gets old really quickly and you realize "Wow...this is so not what I want to do."

Long story short: I just arrived at work (I'm a few minutes early so don't come down on me for blogging at work; I'm not on the clock yet), and I already want to leave.

I feel guilty. Sorry, mutual fund place. I already find you tedious. I'm a bad bad boyfriend.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Dating Tony Soprano

I was at a Starbucks today and had the pleasure of sitting next to a couple that had me completely enthralled. I would say they were in their 50s or so. He was a complete goombah that looked like he had come straight from the set of The Sopranos and she was a tiny little Japanese woman that looked like she came straight from the cover picture of Memoirs of a Geisha.

I had a good time trying to figure out their relationship. At first I thought maybe husband/wife because I noticed he had on a wedding band. A few minutes later when I noticed the wedding band had mysteriously disappeared (he was good) I thought perhaps they were co-workers. But then I was able to figure it out. It was a small Starbucks and not very busy so it was easy to overhear their conversation, and I listened. Boy, did I listen.

Apparently they were on a first date, as I heard him compliment her that "she looked just like her online picture." She was either new to the country or some sort of mail-order bride, because he talked down to her like she had never heard of anything (or anyone) and therefore must have been a little retarded. She had a bit of an accent but she talked so softly it was hard to make out exactly how much of an accent was there. His accent was, of course, Mafia.

They sat down. She was enjoying her tea, he his Frappacino and muffin. He began to ask her about movies and what she liked. I couldn't hear what she said, but he then declared that romance movies were his very favorite. I knew it would have been impolite to shout out BAH-LONEY so I refrained. He then went on to declare that the greatest movie of all time was Love Story. I gagged a little. She hadn't heard of it, so he made her get a pen and paper and write it down. He didn't suggest she get a pen and paper and write it down. He made her.

Then, as he was making her write things down, he began talking about The Graduate. It, too, was the best movie ever made and he became a cross between Roger Ebert and a mafia guy who knew nothing about movies because he began barking out to her the spelling of The Graduate as he continued to make her write:

""G"'s "G", it's a capital "G"...there's a "the" in front of it. Dustin Heffmen." That's not a typo. That's what he said. And he went on to spell it for her. "H-E-F-F-M-E-N. And Rian O'Neil. R-I-A-N-O-apostrophe-N-E-I-L." I was dying to give him the IMdB website, but again refrained. I didn't want to get whacked.

She then mentioned something about her son and he declared, "Oh yea, you mentioned him in your profile. I bet he's a smart kid..." I so thought he was going to finish the sentence by saying "because he's Asian" and he paused like he actually might, but nothing. Just a weird pause where he wanted to say "because he's Asian" but caught himself at the last minute. He asked her what he's studying and her answer made him ask, "Did he wanna go to MIT?" She said yes, he did, but he was very shy.

And it was at this point that his Mr. Nice-Guy facade began to melt away.

"Shy? So he's friggin' shy, since when does that keep you out of MIT?"

I couldn't hear her complete response, but it was something to do with the fact that he wasn't much of a leader.

"Listen, Karen, (so that was her name!) since when does not bein' a leader keep you out of MIT?"

He was getting louder and angrier and I knew if I stuck around long enough I might get to see a good beating. He asked what kind of grades he got, and she said "mostly A's."

"They don't give lettah grades in college, they give numbahs. You find out what his grades are. You find out what his--"

And he grabbed the pen and paper and read out loud as he wrote, like someone in a movie narrating their own writing--

"--accumalive* grade score is. You ask him that. He'll appreciate it. Come on. It means you love him."

*This word was pronounced "ah-KOOM-ah-liv"

And then, ladies, it came. This man said the line I know you all hope to hear on a first date. He put down the pen, and pointed at her. And as he spoke, him pointing at her turned into him shaking his finger in her face. He said, like James Caan out of The Godfather would say to someone who owes the family money, and I quote, "When I ask you somethin' and you don't know the answer, you can say "I dunno." You dont make somethin' up, you hear me?"

This guy was good.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Shiver Me Timbers

News story I found....

Pirates attack luxury liner off Somalia
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- A luxury liner sailing off the coast of Somalia fended off an attack by gunmen in speedboats early Saturday morning in an area notorious for piracy.
None of the mostly American passengers aboard the Seabourn Spirit were harmed but one crew member was lightly injured as they repelled the attackers without returning fire

OK, the article goes on from there but first of all, there's still pirates? How the freak is that even possible?

Second of all, I want to know how the hell a crew member was "lightly injured repelling attackers without using gunfire." I keep picturing in my head a schoolyard bully in a big puffy winter coat slamming his chest against people and saying "What ya gonna do? What ya gonna do?"

Summing Up

A nice weekend, I must say (thank you Ed Grimley). Friday night I went to the National Comedy Theatre (heretofore referred to as the NCT) to watch the two shows. As Dane Cook would say, I had a blasty-blast. Not only are the people there hilarious but it's been cool to see all of the different games they play and also get a chance to hang out with them and get to know them.

I worked Saturday and then had to run to KMart on the way home to pick up a random item (you don't wanna know). When I was finished there (OK I had to pick up one of those dish-washing scrub things that you put the dish soap in with the detachable sponge head...see, I told you you didn't want to know but you had to be all nosy, and now you're all up in my face) I noticed the time and thought, Hey, it's 7:25. And the NCT is just a couple of blocks away. I'll think I'll go see more shows!

Dee wasn't feeling up to making the trek out (the wretched foot!), so I saw a couple more shows and again, laughed like a retarded ninja. Afterward I got to hang out a little more with some of the gang/crew/posse and it was a splendid time indeed.

Yesterday Dee and I pretty much stayed in most of the day. I made a quick jaunt to the Drama Book Shop and then we ordered pizza and chilled out.

I just got back this morning from my callback at the Jekyll and Hyde Club. There were about 12 (?) people there and it was pretty fun. Did a couple quick warm-up games, then played an improv game called Freeze Tag, although when we went on stage we were given one of the different characters from the restaurant to play. Finally, we paired up and we had to read a script. There were two characters, a Southern guy and a French guy. We were going to read the script and then we would switch characters and do it again. I did the French guy on the first round, got some nice laughs, and then before everyone switched it up the casting guy Dave said he was good and thus the callback endeth.

If I make it to the 2nd round of callbacks, we will spend our time in the booth operating the animatronic voices, as well as cueing the music and working the puppets. I am pretty stoked. I felt it went well today (I feel much better than I did after my first audition) so we'll see. I may have sucked big time and am still unaware of it.

So yea, that's my last few days. What have you been up to, children?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

La Dee Freakin Dah

The other night I was making a phone call at work to a party who lives in Connecticut and instead of reaching anyone I got this message:

The number you are trying to reach is not in service. Please check the number and then dial again.

And then, all of a sudden, the automated voice got cocky and said in this tone dripping with the essence of conceit:

Connecticut now has two area codes.

Well gee, Connecticut, good for you, ya pompous, bragging-for-no-reason state. You say it like you're the first state to get 2 area codes. I mean sheesh, it's not like I'm from Rhode Island or something. You don't need to talk down to me. I've never been to Connecticut and just for that, I never want to go there.


Friday, November 04, 2005


Look at me!! I'm blogging while I'm at work! Look how crazy I am, sticking it to the man! I'm crazy!!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Phase 2

Well, I told you if I heard anything I'd keep you posted....

I just got a phone call from Dave, the Entertainment Director at the Jekyll and Hyde Club that I mentioned in my last post. He has called me in for a callback Monday morning at 9! I'm really stoked! I'm off to round 2! I didn't think I would hear from him until at least tomorrow sometime since the secound group of auditioners probably just finished up a few hours ago, so cool! Again, I will keep you posted and let you know what happens. I'm already eager to go and can't wait for Monday to get here! To celebrate, I shall now go pick up my paycheck and then stop by the library. Because I'm crazy like that.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Look at me! Look at me!

Yesterday I had an audition at the Jekyll & Hyde Club in Manhattan. When I was living in Pennsylvania and came up to visit friends here in the city, they took us there to eat. I'd never heard of it before, and it was a blast. Even now when I mention it, I am surprised at how many people haven't heard of it. Don't be fooled. The website almost makes it look like a haunted house attraction like every other scary website you see at Halloween time. It's so much more than that.

If you've been to the Adventurer's Club on Pleasure Island at Disneyworld, then you will be familiar with the concept. The Jekyll & Hyde Club is a 4-story restaurant that, legend has it, was opened by the infamous Dr. Jekyll as a place for him and his friends to gather and share their adventures. In fact, your meal will often be interrupted by the appearance of some of Dr. Jekyll's more noted friends and acquaintances.

The club was holding auditions for improv actors, who spend much of their time lingering with the patrons, doing shows, and also working the animatronic puppets scattered all over the place. The concept is actually very similar to what I am already doing with Accomplice NY. I would be given a back story and a few bits of information to pass along, but most of the time is spent riffing and improvising with the diners.

I got there and the front door was locked. Hm. The guy on the phone didn't say what to do in that case. There was a guy hanging out in front of the building who told me he thought the side entrance was opened. I thought he was there for the audition as well, but it turns out he was just a guy hanging out. I made my way downstairs toward the kitchen area and saw some stairs that looked like they headed up into the main lounge. Can I just tell you how creepy it is to be walking through a place that has been designed to look creepy and you have no idea where you're supposed to go and it's totally quiet and deserted? I would be lying if I said a few chills didn't tickle my spine. And on Halloween no less.

I eventually made it up to the main floor and found the rest of them there in the dining area in front of the stage. There were about 15 or so people at the audition. Apparently the director of entertainment received more than 300 headshots from people who wanted to audition and he had it narrowed down to our group and another group of about 20 that is auditioning Thursday morning. He said he's looking to hire about 7 or 8 people.

We started out by doing a simple improv exercise and then played a game of "Freeze Tag." It was a little weird. Kind of like when you're playing volleyball and you realize that most of the people on your team don't really know how to play volleyball, and you end up getting slaughtered by the other team. I'm not trying to sound pompous, those of you who know me know that's really not my style, and there were some people there who were really good and made me laugh. But it was my suspicion that not everyone was as adept at improv as they may have indicated on their resume ("Hey, I took a class once, so sure I can do improv just as good as anyone else!" If you're new to improv and have indeed taken a class, you know it takes a bit of time to really get it down and be able to make the rest of the team look good).

When I auditioned for the National Comedy Theatre, the founder and Guy in Charge Gary said it best. As an actor, when you go to an audition your natural inclination is to want to get up on stage as much as possible and show off all of the crazy characters you can do and prove how funny you are. But that's not what improv is about. It's about making the whole bit work and giving the other people up there a chance to shine as well. So, as you can see, the concept of improv at an audition is an interesting dichotomy. The best way to look good is to make others look good. And sometimes the best thing to do is realize you shouldn't enter the scene at all. If a new character isn't called for, then hang back and wait for your chance, not unlike jumping rope Double Dutch style (like I've ever done that).

I realize this blog has taken a weird turn and has suddenly become a lesson on improv, but I'm just trying to explain that it's hard to have a good improv audition if the person you're up there with isn't right there with you. If I go to a basketball tryout, the 4 other schmucks who get stuck with me on their team are going to look bad because I don't know what the heck I am doing and it'll throw a monkey wrench into the whole thing.

So, I guess it's needless to say, I'm not sure how well the audition went. Maybe I'm making excuses, but that's not my intent. You know, I'm just saying. After doing a few rounds of Freeze Tag I wasn't feeling on top of the world.

Thankfully, the next phase of the audition had us go onto the stage individually where we commenced with "10 characters in a minute." You basically get up there and start doing a character. As soon as they got an idea as to the character you were doing, their traits, et cetera, they would yell CHANGE and you had to start doing a totally different character. The object was to see how many different characters you could create in a minute; the goal was to try to get to 10. I got six (most of us got 5 or 6...there were two people that got in 7). It was a lot tougher than I expected...even if you go up there with characters planned out that you want to do, when you're up there doing one of them, the others all magically escape out the back door. It was a fun exercise, though. My first time doing that one.

The final phase of the audition was character voices, and I was glad they had saved that for last, because I was feeling really confident (and those who know my radio background will understand why I was ready to get it on: I love doing voices!!).

We had to do read some lines as a Wolfman Jack-type voice, Peter Lorre, a guy from Jersey, and a crazy clown. I had a lot of fun doing those and think it went well.

So who knows. I felt like I killed at the voices and did pretty good with the characters (got some good laughs), but the improv is the main part of the job and that didn't go so well for me (or at least I didn't feel like it did...maybe that's just me. I was second-guessing my audition at the National Comedy Theatre as well, and here I am). They are having callbacks on Monday morning and then they will have a second round of callbacks from there. I'd like to at least make it to the first round of callbacks but again, who knows. I did what I did and that's about all I can do.

If I sounded at all egotistical in this post, that wasn't my intention, and I apologize. But if I still came across as a know-it-all, feel free to call me out on it. Gotta keep myself in check, right?

I am thinking, since the other audition is Thursday morning, that maybe I'll hear something on Friday about the Monday callbacks. I'll let you know. And, if Monday comes and goes and I haven't posted anything about getting called back, then we all know what that means, too.

A sign from above

One of my favorite things to do on the subway is reading the advertisements (I guess that's why they put them there). But I like to read them because many times they are unintentionally hilarious (like the sign in Spanish for an injury lawyer whose number is 1-800-MARGARITA. What the heck?).

Last night I noticed a good one, and it's one I'd seen before. This was the first time I really read everything on it; all of the fine print. It was an ad for classes to learn to speak English. I think I read somewhere there are something like 137 different languages spoken in New York City, and so in a variety of different languages the sign read "Learn English" and on the left-hand side of the ad was a smiling blonde girl who obviously enjoyed the fact she has learned to speak English.

Listed in the fine print was a number of reasons why you should take this particular class:


And listed right along with the above, thinking no one would notice, was my favorite perk of the Speak English classes:


Huh? Student fashion week? What the hell kind of school is this?

I told my wife about it last night and told her there was a joke in there somewhere, but she didn't think so. Am I the only one that finds that a little weird?

Student fashion week?

"All right, Hanz, your pronunciation was correct, but can I see you recite the word "do" in all of its participles while walking the runway and looking fabulous?"

Friday, October 28, 2005

Oh my God! You flunked Kenny!

Got an awesome wrong number today. I didn't answer because I didn't recognize the number and the message that was waiting for me was AWESOME.

There was an angry lady leaving a message who spoke broken English. Apparently, Kenny hasn't been turning in his homework all week and if Kenny doesn't start turning in homework he's going to flunk English. So I need to check Kenny's homework before he leaves for school. And also, the Parent-Teacher conference is next month and I really need to show up so I can meet all of Kenny's teachers. And also, Kenny isn't turning in his homework and I need to do something about it before Kenny flunks English.

The lady sounded pretty upset so Kenny, whoever you are, if you're reading this, get off your butt and turn in your freakin homework.

What he said

Sometimes I know what I want to say but can never come up with the exact wording or phrasing to express it. My buddy Justin is not that way. He has a series of blogs called "Answering Questions" that is not only amazing to read, but no matter what side of the topic you are on, also quite compelling. Stop by and check it out. It's not fair to have this much talent, but it's good to see he's putting it to use.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Is George home?

So something actually happened at my night job worth talking about...

For those of you who don't know, I work in the evenings at a place that works with mutual fund companies. I call shareholders and ask them to vote along with the board of their funds for their shareholder meeting. Thrilling, I know. But it's work, and it's at night so I can hit auditions during the day. They're also really cool about letting me take off to film movies and do improv so I can't complain.

Tonight I was calling people on the west coast and one of the names I had to call was a guy by the name of George Lucas. Funny huh? I mean, really, what if it were the George Lucas. I looked at his holdings, and this guy had enough that it actually could have been. Then I noticed that he had some holdings in the name of his daughters. So I Googled George Lucas and found an article online that mentioned his daughters names...and they matched. I was about to call Mr Star Wars himself!! I was really stoked and there was a nice little buzz in the office.

So I called the phone number and I got an answering machine. I was excited. I bet George Lucas has an awesome outgoing message!

It was a female voice and it said something like "This is Sardita, leave a messsage." And that was it.

Wrong number, or just George Lucas covering his tracks so schmucks like me won't post his phone number online? The world may never know.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Just a Regular Day for Ed

So Ed, what did you do today?

Oh, you know, the usual...went to work on the set of the new film The Devil Wears Prada where I got to work in some scenes with Meryl Streep, Stanley Tucci, Heidi Klum, and the designer Valentino.

What an odd day indeed. I got the call last night from my agent a little after midnight that they needed extras and I was out the door at 9:15 this morning for my 10am call. The shoot took place down in Chinatown, not far from where I work with Accomplice NY.

Extras were being held in the basement of a church. There were probably about 150 of us there and it took about 2-1/2 hours for wardrobe to look at the change of clothes we brought along, to approve them, and to let us know what they wanted us to wear (there were 4 different set-ups to be shot with 3 changes of clothing).

After they got us straightened out, we went to the set which was a short bus trip away. It was in a beautiful building (I don't know what this place is during regular business looked like a cross between a church and a restaurant and a hotel). They had one area set up with white sheets all over to shoot a party that takes place backstage after a fashion show. I was chosen to stand right next to Meryl Streep and Valentino as they enter the room and I believe this is where I got my best shot at some nice screen time. It was fun.

After that, we were led into the main room where they had a fake fashion show runway built and we all portrayed the people in the audience. They shot 3 different fashion shows and changed the set each time, so if you ever see this movie you may have to watch it on DVD to pause it and pick me out each time. But I'm in there, trust me.

It only took 14-1/2 hours to shoot all of this, so needless to say I'm a bit tired but I had a lot of fun. It was cool seeing Stanley Tucci. He's actually pretty witty.

I could go on but I won't. I'd bore you and I'm tired anyhow.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

And to think I shop at Old Navy

Just got a call from my agent and tomorrow I'm wanted on the set of the movie The Devil Wears Prada. That's right, ladies and gentlemen. I've fooled them all.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Me & the McBobs

Yesterday was a great day in New york indeed. I'd been looking forward to it for some time now, as my buddies Justin and Amy from San Francisco were in town. They'd both been to New York before, but since they're always on the road traveling from one gig to the next, they never had time to stop and see the city the way they wanted to.

I met them at Penn Station and then it was off to Times Square to pick up a friend of Amy's she hasn't seen for a few years who would be hanging out with us as well.

Our first stop of the day was The Met. Good night, this museum is huge!! At first the "suggested" admission price of $15 might seema little steep but by the time you've gone through the place (or at least attempted to go through it) you find that it was more than worth the admission price. They had an amazing Van Gogh exhibit there. Absolutely huge. You have to understand that the last art museum I was at was the one in Nashville, where a Van Gogh exhibit might be two actual pieces, so it was nice to be blown away by an actual real museum. We spent a few hours there and also visited the displays of art from Prague and by then we were starving and just trying to find a way out. I felt a little guilty rushing past paintings by Monet and sculptures from ancient Asia and Egyptian mummies and sculptures by Rodin and medieval stained glass without giving them a second look. "Yes, yes, I know you're steeped in culture and history and probably worth millions of dollars, but right now I just need a burger." I'd like to go back and see everything I missed. I could try to go on about how huge this place is, but you get the point. If you're in town, check it out.

From there it was on to Central Park. It was an overcast day yesterday, a little chilly, but not even close to what I would call cold so not a lot of people were out and about which was fine by me. The park wasn't very crowded at all and we were free to walk side by side wherever we wanted and hog up the entire walking path. We took some fun pictures and bought some nuts from a street vendor and saw a Japanese woman in an ugly outfit being photographed on some steps and a film crew filming a dog and a lady in an ugly multi-colored 70s shirt talking to what looked like a Jawa.

We managed to come a good way and Amy realized she had forgotten her camera case further back in the park on a bench. Justin and I went after it, not knowing if it would still be there or not since almost an hour had passed. And it was! So thanks for that New York City!

We stopped at a Cosi diner for lunch/dinner and then the girls were distracted by an H&M store. Justin and I went down to FYE while they were shopping for clothes and then we waited inside for a while and were told we could't sit where we were sitting so we went back outside and commented about the passers-by and then went back in and wondered some more how long they were going to be.

Finally from there we went back to the Upper East Side to a little club called something like BT-UT. It was pretty cool. We had S'mores and Rice Krispie Tootsie Roll treats and drinkns as the evening drew near to a close. We made our way back to Penn Station (saying goodbye to Amy's friend at Times Square along the way) and I made sure Justin and Amy got to their train safely at 11:14pm.

What a great day it was. Laughs abounded. Random references to earlier occurances in the day were shouted out at the appropriate times (Segway! Gant! Ever so lightly! No touching!) and there was much laughter and taking of pictures.

Nothing like a good day in the city with friends.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


As I returned from my lunch break at work this evening, I saw a lonely umbrella on the sidewalk leaning against a fence next to a scooter. I really wanted to steal it. Well, I guess it wouldn't be stealing so much as it would be taking. It looked like a really nice umbrella, too.

But I didn't take it (nor did I steal it). But not because of my extreme sense of responsibility as an upstanding citizen. No, I didn't take it because it was a large umbrella and when it rains in NYC and everyone has their umbrellas out, large ones are annoying. And I don't want to be annoying.

So, umbrella owner, whoever you may be, your umbrella is still right where you left it. And you're welcome.

And in the role of Cliff Robertson...Me

Earlier this year I was in a production of Sunday in New York in Nashville. Last week when I was at the library I found the old movie version of it starring Jane Fonda and Some Guy. The part I played was played by Cliff Robertson. It was interesting seeing the differences in line readings and approaches. It was also interesting that for the film they wrote a lot of extra scenes with Adam (the character I played). I wonder if that's because Cliff Robertson was a big star back then and they wanted him in the film more often, or if they just wanted more of that character. I don't know, and I'm too lazy to research my speculation.

At any rate, it was an interesting viewing. It was an OK movie. The play itself isn't the most brilliantly-written piece of American literature but I liked the changes they made in parts of the film and the way they flushed things out a little more. All in all, I think the film was better than the play (and how often can you say something like that). But, with that said, if I had watched the film without previously knowing anything about it I think I would have been bored.

So really, this is kind of a waste of a posting. Sorry about that.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Money for Nothing (Kicks are Free)

Last night I worked as an extra on a TV Pilot called "The Black Donnellys." It was written and being directed by Paul Haggis, the guy who wrote the films "Crash" and "Million Dollar Baby."

It was crazy cold last night, and I was there from 5:30pm until about 12:30. A cold night in Spanish Harlem indeed. Loyal readers will recall other occasions where I'd done extra work and some of the other extras who showed up were not used. Well, last night was my time to sit out. Didn't do a thing, but I got a really good meal and I got to watch them film a fight scene and I still got paid, so I'm not complaining one little bit.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Natural High

Last night was my first rehearsal with the National Comedy Theatre. I had a blast; so much fun! It's just really cool to be doing what I love to do so much once again. There are about 6 of us from the audition who got hired but a couple of the people couldn't make it last night. The theater also offers improv classes and a few of the people from their 3rd level class (what they refer to as the minor leaguers) were there as well.

Those of us who are brand new will be rehearsing on Wednesdays for about 6-8 weeks and then we will switch over to Tuesday nights when the rest of the troupe rehearses and we will then start doing shows. At first it seems like a long time, but if you think about it, since rehearsals are only once a week we are only rehearsing about 8 times before we are up there and performing. A lot of improv theaters require that you pay to take classes before you can get any stage time, so I am fortunate that's not the case with these guys.

Last night went really well. The other new members are a lot of fun to work with and we played a couple of games I had played before and some that were new to me.

If you live in an area that offers improv classes of some kind, I highly recommend looking into it. The adrenaline rush is amazing.

On a side note, has anyone else seen the new show Everybody Hates Chris? That's my pick of the litter for the new season (or at least of all of the new shows of the new season). Between that show and Arrested Development, Lost, Desperate Housewives, and SNL TV is my friend.

Hollywood and New York

If there's one thing that living in New York has revealed to me, it's the accuracy (or inaccuracy) of how the city is portrayed in film.

If I'm watching something on TV that is set in New York and one of the characters is hanging out on the street or walking down a sidewalk, it is suddenly very obvious to me if they are the only one walking down that street. It's such a small, minute detail but I am amazed at how startlingly obvious that seems to me now, because you're never the only one. I was out last night walking around at 3am and I wasn't alone, so don't even get me started on the daytime.

The other thing that struck me is often times in movies when someone gets thrown out of a restaurant or an establishment, they often land on a huge pile of garbage bags that are conveniently lined along the sidewalk. Oddly enough, that is true. I always thought that was just a device Hollywood made up but lo and behold, I was mistaken.

So the next time you're watching a movie set in New York pay attention. If the characters are outside and alone, then it's wrong. If they're thrown onto trash bags, then everything is fine.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Oh no, wait, I'm just a dork

So I didn't hear from the improv theater this weekend. Bummer. I just got a new phone last week (actually a new account on an old phone) but then yesterday I realized that I hadn't heard from anyone.

Long story short, I didn't realize I had to go into my voice mail and turn on the message notifier thing, so I had three messages that I didn't know I had. And, wouldn't you know it, I did get a call from the National Comedy Theater. And they called me again yesterday and left another message that I didn't know about, asking me to join their merry little band.

If ever there was a dork, I would be he.

I was able to reach the guy who ran the auditions, Gary, this morning and it sounds like I'm in. I'll be rehearsing with them for a few weeks before they throw me into the shows (which are Friday and Saturday nights) so I'll keep you posted on those developements. One of the best things about it all? It doesn't interefere at all with my work at Accomplice NY.

Sometimes things work out perfectly......

....too perfectly.....

(cue dramatic music)

Monday, October 10, 2005

Malcolm & Lara

Over the weekend I was able to hang out with my two favorite South Africans, Malcolm & Lara. I met them a couple of years ago when Dee was working on the cruise ship. In the three weeks I spent on the ship (and the week I was in LA while they were in rehearsals) the four of us hung out quite a bit and we became fast friends.

They're still performing on ships and were in port in NJ Friday so we were able to get together and hang out. Dee was really sick (food poisoning we think) so she wasn't up for company but the three of us had a really good visit.

We got a quick bite to eat and just had an all-around nice hang. They could only come into town for a few hours, but I haven't seen them for a few years so it was nice to catch up. Hopefully I'll be able to see them again before their ship begins porting out of Miami in November.

I mean, these are the people who introduced me to the phrase "Howzit?". How can I not love them??

What's wrong with me???

When I was a kid, my brother and I had a record album called Goofy Gold which was basically a collection of funny songs from the 50s and 60s. It had songs like "Monster Mash," "The Purple People Eater," and "Chantilly Lace."

I woke up this morning with "Pepino the Italian Mouse" from that album stuck in my head.

What the...?

Sunday, October 09, 2005


Well, I didn't get a call from the American Comedy Theater, so I guess I didn't get the improv gig with them. But at least I know.



Tonight after performing with Accomplice NY I hung out again with everyone for a bit and chatted. Had a really good talk with one of the other performers, James. He's a good man and we see eye to eye on a lot of things from comedy to work ethics. It's always nice to meet and hang out with new friends who think on the same weird brainwave. Good times.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Off the Top of My Head

Big audition today at the National Comedy Theater. They're an improv theater here in Manhattan and they had a call today to cast more troupe members. There were probably about 25 or 30 of us who showed up (I'm bad at estimating).

The audition itself lasted about 2 hours and they basically had us play a bunch of different improv games, usually in groups of 4. There were a couple of guys there that I thought did a great job. I had a lot of fun. You know me, it's always good to do improv again, and I was pretty happy with how it went.

A time or two, after doing a scene, I had a couple of short bouts of second-guessing myself or what I did, but you can't hold on to that for too long or it'll just mess you up, so it was onward and upward. All said and done, I feel pretty good about it without letting myself expecting anything.

After the audition was over they told us we'd know something by tomorrow evening so if we get a call, we're in, and if we don't, well, you don't. That's always good to know. A lot of times after auditioning you wonder how it went with no idea of how long before you might hear something. So at least with this I'll know for sure one way or the other by Monday.

And you know what they say. Knowing is half the battle.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Today I went to an audition for a new VH1 show, "Whatever." They were looking for people with improv skills and that's all I knew going in.

The audition was in Soho (I think that's where I was, I don't know) and the people there were really friendly. The girl auditioning me, Karen, told me that basically it's a show set up like the interview segments on "The Daily Show." Not the celebrity segments, but the parts where they find a kazoo whittler or whatever. You know, where the person being interviewed is totally serious and into it and not realizing that the rest of America is laughing at them. So that was the set up.

They brought in a guy named Bob who was to play an old man who was in a "Jazzy" race (you know, those little scooters for the elderly) and I had to interview him. I had a lot of fun. After that, Bob left and Karen filmed me as if I were doing a nature show in Central Park and wanted me to talk about the two animals I was in search of. I chose "a bird" and "an old Broadway has-been actress with Botox injections." Don't ask me where that came from, this is improv people.

Finally I had to do a sign-off report as someone who just witnessed a race between an Olympic athlete and a heroin addict.

So, again, who knows. I got Karen to laugh quite a bit so that was a plus.

Another plus was the doorman/security guy on the way out. His name is Ira, a native New Yawk-er, and he gave me the names of some of his favorite places to eat in Manhattan.

And there you have it. Good times.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Today I saw something on the street that was so funny (or at least to me it was) I had to stop and write it down. I walked up another half-block, ducked under the awning of a hotel, pulled my book of funny thoughts from my back pocket, and wrote about the Big Scary Black Lady For Jesus.

On the corner of (I think) 6th and 47th there was this tall Amazonian black woman dressed nicely in a black and white power-outfit. Black skirt and white top. She looked like your average businesswoman except for the fact see she was waving yellow pamphlets and screaming angrily.

As I got closer I heard what she was yelling about. She was mad about The Good News. Not that she was necessarily a fan, she was just mad about it. "Think about how good God is to us!!" She wasn't just raising her voice so she could be heard, she was actually yelling at people like she was in the middle of a fight. "Think about how good God is to us!!" Not suggesting people think about it, but demanding it.

Then a short little bald white guy walked by and she got right in his face and screamed, "THINK ABOUT IT!!!!"

I'm not exaggerating. She yelled it right in this guy's face and I laughed my crazy head off. People walking by probably thought I was the crazy one because I was walking by myself, laughing, but man it was worth it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

My funny bit

I came up with a comedy bit for my stand-up yesterday that I really like a lot. Usually when I come up with an idea for a bit I will fit it into a blog somewhere and see what kind of a response I get but I like this one so much, I don't want to reveal it yet for fear of someone stealing it from me.

That's right. I don't trust any of you people.

Quit following me!!


Another audition today. This time it was for a Neil Simon play that's going to Broadway in the Spring, Barefoot in the Park. Most of the roles have already been filled but they were looking for understudies and I thought understudying on Broadway ain't too shabby. It was an Equity call (and for those of who who may not know, that basically means people in the actor's union get to go in before the rest of us schmucks. And as they run out of Equity people, then they send in the non-union gang) but I decided I would go anyhow if for no other reason than to get out there and be seen by casting people. The casting person was a name Dee was familiar with, so she thought it was a good move on my part to show up. The place was packed and even though I shouwed up shortly after 10 I wasn't able to actually audition until around 2 or so.

All we needed to have prepared for the audition was a comedic monologue. As we were waiting in line, the proctor was telling us to keep it short. Apparently a lot of people today were doing monologues that just went on and on and on. Mine is only about a minute long and I shaved off a few sentences here and there while I was waiting in the hall. I was ready to go (and eager to perform my Steve Martin monlogue again!).

I went in and the girl was really friendly. She asked what I was going to be performing and I told her it was "A Public Apology" by Steve Martin. She perked up a little bit and was like, "Oh, I haven't heard that one!" so I was eager to take her on a comedic journey.

I started the monologue and she stopped me a few lines in and asked me not to address it to her, but to look above her. I said "No problem" and began again. As I was doing it, out of the corner of my eye I could see her covering her mouth and trying not to laugh out loud, which of course, was just adding fuel to the fire for me, and by the end she totally lost it and was laughing out loud.

After I was finished (and she finished laughing) she said she teaches acting classes in the city and usually focuses on scenes rather than monologues but she wanted to know where she could find that monologue because she really liked it and wanted to check it out.

We chit-chatted for a short bit and that was pretty much that. I must say, it was one of the best responses I've gotten on the monlogue so I left feeling really nice. Since it was an Equity audition and there were a ton of union people there auditioning I'm not getting my hopes up too much, but man I had a good time and I think she did, too.

Another successful ride on the E-Train.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

No wonder it's free

Today I made my way uptown a bit to stop by the Performing Arts branch of the New York Public Library. Basically, this is where they keep all of their plays, musicals, music CDs, et cetera. It's in the middle of Lincoln Center, so it was my first time walking past The Met (the outside of the building is a lot more modern than I pictured) and I also walked past Julliard.

After visiting the li-bary I made my way downtown to work and was a little early so I decided to swing by the National Museum of the Native American. Since there is no admission price, I figured it was about time I went and got cultured. It's this huge, old building that looks like it should be a library. There were armed guards outside and I had to put my backpack through an x-ray machine.

The guards inside said the exhibits were on the 2nd floor only (it's like a 5-story building). About a third of the 2nd floor was blocked off, so the exhibit was very limited. And not extremely diverse. Hey look, a pot. And there's another pot. And this pot looks just like the last two I saw. Here's a moccasin. And another pot. And more moccasins. And now we come to a pot.

I don't know what I was expecting, but I wasn't expecting The Great Pot/Moccasin-alooza Festival. Darn. And I really wanted to like it, too. I just wonder what goes on in the other 4 floors of the building. But I didn't want to get shot trying to find out.

Next time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Not the Lead

Funny story.

The short film I mentioned in my last blog? Well, I didn't get it. Sure, it's not the first time I haven't gotten a part, but it IS the first time I got a callback and before I could even show up for the follow-up audition find out that I didn't get it. Ha!

When I left for work tonight I got an email from the director confirming my 4pm callback tomorrow and when I got home I had an email waiting for me stating that the part went to someone else ("but let me know if you do any improv in the area!" Sure. I'll get right on it).

I'm very much an "everything happens for a reason" kinda guy, so I am eager to find out what I'll be doing instead. Good times.

The lead

Sunday night after performing with Accomplice NY I had an audition for a short film. I usually make it a rule to not audition for non-paying roles (I gots ta pay the bills!) but this film sounded interesting, very dialogue heavy with some good interaction between the lead actor and actress and it was the lead role (cool!). It's a movie basically about two people trying to navigate through the ups and downs of a relationship. I could use the experience on camera and my Spidey sense was telling me it was something I should do. So we'll see how well my intuition is peforming.

At the audition the director Jason was really cool, and I had fun. The reading felt natural and I was pretty confident with how it went. It sounds like Jason has gathered a really good crew and he is in school getting his doctorate in media. He spends a few months out of the year in Europe working with film directors like Atom Egoyan. His girlfriend will play the female lead and she is currently on Broadway performing in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It sounds like it will be a nice production to work on. When I was in Chicago the only non-paying gig I took was working with Keith on the 48 Hour Film Project and it turned out to be one of my best Chicago experiences mostly because of the people I met working on the set. I am hoping if I am cast in this project it will be a similar experience.

Jason told me he really liked my performance and I would hear back from him this week. He said he and his producers would watch the audition tapes on Monday and Tuesday and I would hear something by Wednesday.

Last night while at work I got an email from him informing me that they would indeed like to bring me in for a callback. He wants me to re-read the scenes I read on Sunday night and possibly read a new one as well. I would be reading opposite people who have already been cast or are very high in the running. Right now we are trying to coordinate schedules but it looks as if it might be happening tomorrow afternoon before I head in to work.

I'm stoked about the opportunity and will definitely keep you posted on the progress and further developments. Right now I am excited and am hoping for the best. We'll see.