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?"