Thursday, December 31, 2009

That's New York For You.

I don’t pick up on things. I have what you might thoughtfully call a slow mind.

Whenever a pretentious individual comes to me and begins asking me a riddle, something that inevitably begins “you have 30 cents but one of them is not blah blah blah,” I immediately ask them to stop, because I know I will never figure it out.

Often times I will go out to breakfast and discover to my horror one of those infuriating “golf tees on a wooden triangle” games staring me in the face, just waiting for me to embarrass myself. You know the game. It’s the one where you have to hop over the other golf tees to eliminate them until there is one golf tee left, or you can no longer hop a tee. The chart in the corner indicates your relative intelligence based on how many tees you left behind. The usual scale is 1 equals True Genius, 2 -3 is Pretty Darn Smart There, Cowboy, and 4 and up reminds you to have mommy cut the sausage. I usually strand between 11 and 17 golf tees. Like I said, I ain’t the sharpest cookie at the candy story. Or however that saying goes.

All of this is just an extremely longwinded way of telling you that it took me 4 weeks of attending The See You Next Tuesday open mic to get the joke. I didn’t even know I was supposed to be looking for one. It seemed like a perfectly fine name for an open mic. In case you haven’t figured it out yet (bless you) the joke is in the name. See You Next Tuesday. Take the first letter of each word and form an acronym. Now imagine you’re texting, and replace the “See You” with “C U” and wallah! Hilarity ensues.

How absurd I must have looked telling my comedy friends that I would see them next Tuesday and being sincere.

At any rate, I always do see them next week because this mic is awesome. Everything about it is agreeable, right down to the location. The club is on the corner of MacDougal and Bleeker St, on the west side of Lower Manhattan. This is Greenwich Village, called simply by the locals, the Village. Apparently the Village was a thriving artist community before high cost of living essentially exiled the artists to Soho or Tribeca and eventually to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The neighborhood is still lovely though, the back streets skinny and lined with bars, coffee shops and theatres. Merchants set up shop along the side of the road, selling books and records and thousands and thousands of back-issue Playboys.

The mic is in the basement of the Comedy Corner. It is somehow routinely packed and, in vast contrast to other Manhattan mics, full of rowdy, attentive comics. The hostess, I’ll call her AC, is a lively woman, and can often be found smuggling bottles of beer into the club via her purse. She clearly revels in hosting, and is a pro; mastering the balance of being funny and friendly, but also getting people off stage when their time is up. Always appreciated. AC has a tradition where she presents a topic of the day and challenges the comedians to riff on it. The comic with the best riff gets their $5 mic fee back. I took part in this contest once. The topic was "first crush," and I detailed my childhood obsession with The Little Mermaid. Not the titular mermaid herself, mind you, but the obese, sea-witch antagonist Ursula. I liked ‘em freaky from a young age apparently. I did not win the contest.

The lineup of comedians at See You Next Tuesday consists of a group of regulars and the occasional oddball walk in. On one particular night, I shared the stage with both a pre-op and a post-op transsexual. Now that’s New York for you.

A few weeks back a comic got on stage with a unique shtick. He was flamboyant, decked out in a preposterous fur coat and pink boa, looking how I imagine Jesse “The Body” Ventura looks at church. He went on and claimed that he was simply modeling for his acting class, and needed pictures of himself telling jokes for an “assignment.” His assistant was sitting front row, silently taking pictures. (This was the Teller to his Penn) After three minutes of striking various poses, often with props, he vowed to tell an actual joke to close out his set. He spent the last two minutes constantly getting around to his joke, stalling, until he was given the light and got off stage without ever getting to the punch line. And it was all kind of hilarious.

I also had the pleasure of meeting the Bad Slava at the Comedy Corner. Anyone who has ever told a minute of comedy in New York City knows about the Bad Slava, as they most certainly use his website on a daily basis. is a site that lists all the open mics in the city. Indeed I used the website to discover the See You Next Tuesday mic. I had no idea, but the Slava is an actual person and a comedian himself. We’ve chatted after a few of the shows. Slava is - by far - the most famous person I have rubbed elbows with since becoming a comedian.

All things considered an excellent mic. Well I suppose I should be on my way now, it’s New Year’s Eve after all and I still haven’t figured out which trains to take to meet my friends in Manhattan. This, clearly, could take a while.

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