On Monday I attended the Christmas Party at the Broadway Comedy Club. Well, attended may not be the right word; crashed would be more appropriate. I was not invited.
It was no matter. This was not a terribly formal affair. I arrived on time, because I am an idiot. There was a buffet line, although the only thing I could actually eat was some awful pasta salad that probably had chunks of meat in it anyway.
After only a few minutes there I was verbally chastising myself for not getting drunk before coming to the party. Mental lapses of this magnitude are simply not acceptable. Not only could I get drunk on the cheap, but I'd have the courage to converse with the crowd. I could buy drinks there of course, but I only had 20 dollars, and 20 dollars wouldn’t get a squirrel drunk in Manhattan.
I resigned myself to paying eight dollars per drink. I figured I’d get something stiff, a Vodka tonic or a shot of whisky, something to make the two drinks worth it. The barkeep, a young man with arms covered in pseudo-tribal tattoos, informed me there was only beer and wine available, but not too worry because cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon were only a dollar each. Merry Christmas.
Hearing this news, I felt a wave of joy and relief wash over me that I’m sure is similar to what Sir Edmund Hillary felt when he reached the summit at Everest. I wanted to scream out to the bar-dwellers, like Kramer: “It’s a Festivus MIRACLE!” I asked the bartender if I could get more then one at a time, and the conversation went, almost verbatim:
Bartender: “Yeah sure man, get 10, 11 whatever.”
Me: “But I only have two hands…[index finger to mouth, head-down in deep contemplation] Better give me six.”
And so the night got better and better. I quickly sat down at a corner table and began speed drinking, anticipating my metamorphosis. The club was playing a loop of the same old Christmas songs that probably played at Jesus’ prom. But inexplicably, every fourth or fifth Christmas song was followed by Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance and this pattern continued all night. Silent Night and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, were followed by Bad Romance, and then back to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. As puzzling as this trend was, it was a great way to keep track of how drunk I was becoming, as this could be gauged by how happy I was to hear Bad Romance come back on. My affinity for Gaga escalated slowly from “What the hell is this song playing for?” to “Hell yeah! This is my jam!” as the empty PBR’s stacked up.
Once I felt the warm buzz I got up and started to mingle with the crowd. Even with the drinks I didn’t have the courage to just walk up to people alone, so I followed close behind my friend Angela and forced her to introduce me to everyone she talked to. This led to some awkward moments as I shuffled my cans from hand to hand in order to shake with people who couldn’t care less about meeting me. I decided I needed to be drunker. As I headed back to the bar, Bad Romance came back on, and I remarked to myself that it wasn’t really that bad…
I want your ugly, I want your disease, I want your everything, as long as its free
I loaded up with three more PBR’s and headed back to the crowd, which was now filling up the club. I reconnected with Angela and we talked with Mike, a comic from Long Island. The three of us talked for over an hour, ostensibly about stand-up comedy but increasingly about the fact that the beer was so cheap. Mike had been a comedian for a couple of years, and was a genuinely nice guy. He introduced me to several guys around the party who booked and ran shows, wonderful connections, but I was getting to drunk to retain any of the information. The PBR’s were accumulating, the night beginning to blur, the Bad Romance, as always…
Ra Ra, Uh Uh Uh, Rum-a Rum-a-a, Ga Ga, Oh La La
Now the bartender was a short older lady and I was disappointed; I enjoyed the first bartender’s escalating bewilderment at my behavior. I grabbed a few more blue-ribbon-winning dollar beers from her and headed back to the floor, stumbling over the buffet table on the way. I talked with a belly-dancer, a woman at least 6 inches taller then me. I asked if her she was some kind of stand-up comedian, belly-dancing hybrid. I vaguely recall asking her if every time she practiced her belly-dancing, snakes appeared from random baskets and started doing the hula, which may or may not have been a racist question. This conversation, as drunken conversations tend to do, didn’t end in any conventional sense, it just kind of melted into conclusion, probably because one of us had to take a leak
I had three dollars left and I used two of them for my final two drinks and one to tip the short old bartender lady. I drank one waiting in line for the bathroom and most of the last beer while in the bathroom, because I am a that classy. I finished and staggered around, my mind pulsating and my eyes dancing. A man sing-speaking in bass was detailing the many reasons the Grinch was an a-hole. I walked around inserting myself, uninvited, in as many conversations as I could. Then I started dancing, I believe.
By miracle alone, I made it back to my apartment. I nestled snug in my bed, and head-spinning dreamed of sugar plums, humming that venerable Christmas Classic:
I want your horror, I want your design, ‘Cause you’re a criminal, As long as your mine.