April 22, 1981 / April 22, 2004 / that makes me 23, nut

On the day I was born:

The Number 1 single was: Bucks Fizz- “Making Your Mind Up”
The Number 1 album was: Adam & The Ants- “Kings Of The Wild Frontier”
In the UK, that is.

Shortly after eating my Irish breakfast, I called Jessica and went into the city early to hang out with her and the baby she sits, Quinn. (Babies rock.) She bought me dinner: a burrito. (We would have gotten Thai but we, rather I, was pressed for time.)

Then I headed to Chelsea, to the UCB Theater, to work. (It’s really sad when the quickest way to get from the East Village to Chelsea is to walk, innit?)

I’d been bugging my mum to go to the 8:00 Thursday show for weeks, and she finally did. And she brought me a cake! She put it in the box office and told everyone it was my birthday when I was scrubbing toilets elsewhere in the building. (The only reason I was “scrubbing toilets” is that we wanted to make the place look real sharp for the Stella dudes.)

I got to watch the show with her, and that plus all the work and birthday greets and insanity and Stella anticipation I had this crazy mental buzz. (So much so, in fact, that I gave Chuck, my boss, the beer I bought, because I didn’t want to risk my natural buzz.)

Rode Hard And Put Away Wet

Oh, the show… it was its fourth week, and the third-and-a-half time I’d seen it. It’s called “Rode Hard And Put Away Wet” and it’s a sketch show by these two women, Casey Wilson and June Raphael. Betsy directed it, and when I saw her a few days before it opened, she recommended it highly. So I watched it, and it blew me away. The next week it did the same. The next week, I listened to most of it from the box office and still the same. Last night, again. I hadn’t written anything about it because it’s like, what can I say about something so flawless? Without spoiling it, of course. Because it’s one of those shows where it’s best to see if you have absolutely no idea what to expect.

And there’s so much in there. It consists of 10ish 5ish-minute sketches. Two are solo, with each of the women, and the rest are with both of them. Some of the sketches are presented on video projection. Included in those is, in my humble opinion, one of the best bits in comedy history. Seriously. Only I’m not saying anything about it here- again, don’t want to spoil!

Stella

After the show, Chuck let me hang out with my mum for a while. The Stella guys were setting up, and I pointed them out to her- she kind of remembered them: Michael Ian Black from “Viva Variety” (though it’s been years since either of us have seen it, of course) and Michael Showalter from Wet Hot American Summer. About Showalter, I said to her, “He’s the one who played the dork that liked the hot chick that spurned him for the hot dude” (adding that “hot” was a relative term considering it took place in 1981, hey looky there, the year I was born!)

Checking him out, she replied: “He’s still kind of a dork, isn’t he?”

“Yea pretty much. But dorks are cool.”

“Oh yea, definitely. At work all these dorks come in, computer nerds, and I think, it’s just so cool to be a nerd right now.”

“Nerds are hot!”

She didn’t stay for that show, but I got to, yay! My usual spot, standing in the center aisle. (The place was, of course, fucking packed- 244 reservations for a 140-seat theater- fun!).

Woah, show. Another fucking awesome one. Fuckin-A. As the angry guy in the pedestrian traffic jam in the Times Square subway stop said: Jesus Christ All-Mother Fucking Mighty. Seriously.

It was an “open rehearsal,” for their show next week. The stage was set up with pedestals for their scripts. (Some of the funniest bits were, of course, when they’d lose their place on the page, fuck up the pages entirely, etc.) The whole show was pretty much just them talking to one another, in seemingly “normal” conversation, one bit naturally flowing to the next in such a way I hadn’t seen before. And the things that were funny, the specifically chosen bits and lines, were things that would probably only be funny coming from them, and lay largely in their movements, voice inflections, and delivery. The absurdity and randomness of it all was classic Stella. Similar to Stephen Colbert last month, they inspired me because they displayed to me a new kind of funny at a time when alternatives and variety and newness are all I’m looking for.

I was born at quarter to 10 at night, and didn’t notice until after 11 that I’d missed it. I thought, what was I doing at exactly that time?

Oh yea- watching Stella.

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