Only Jerks like Supper Clubs

I always sit in Chuy’s section, granted he could spell it Chewy, but I’ve never asked. I ordered chili sides the first few times I went and got trapped in that being my usual order because there is something tangibly awkward when someone asks you “the usual?” and you say “no”

Then the bowling alley diner became the opposite of awkward and I would go at least once a week with a book or friend and drink way too much caffeine at 6pm because I was just out of college and invincible. I was also in a new neighborhood where I didn’t know many people and on my first bout with being relatively self-sufficient (i.e. poor). I could get a good cooked meal for $10 with tax and tip and sit next to a row of old men and a strange and talkative younger doctor at the counter, who were friendly faces and largely the same faces (night after night, not same faces as each other). Oh, also, and a lot of overweight friendly cops sitting with sides of ranch dressing.

I feel like this whole thing would be amiss without mentioning the one-armed long-haired chain-smoking league bowler I would pass on the way in.

As someone who largely prefers books to conversations with strangers, I kept to myself and my waiter friends and I loved it. Over time I got busier with comedy, hanging out with my cat and losing my college 20, so my visits had largely slowed down. Last week I drove by and there were 100 people protesting the eviction and as a Berkeley grad I was hoping for some important societal change. Turns out the local AMF is effectively evicting them at the end of the month and replacing it with a supper club that I hope no one in my neighborhood ever gives his or her patronage.

Phone Phoney

There is something very jarring about receiving a phone call from an unknown number, extra terrifying if it just says “Out of Area” because you don’t even get a zip code to hypothesize about. It’s like a knock on your door from a burly dude wearing a mask , except that you’re armed with an “end call” button instead of a hair straightener heated up to 470 degrees.

I have been a lifetime phone phobic and also a phoneyphobic, but that’s not a tale for the now. I guess I like to have face-to-face conversations with people.

If you are a “typical” American, I imagine most calls from new-2-you phone numbers are from the dry cleaner, the credit card company or telemarketers. As an actor who is a believer in buying hand wash OK clothes, my calls are a bit different. It could be a call saying I booked something, that a CD called my agent to say that I suck (hope this never happens) or it could be my vet saying my cat’s check-up was great. Actors are people with cats, too.

An unknown number can be a game-changer, and that’s a little bit terrifying, but probably not as terrifying as my home defense system. Note to self: get a baseball bat.

Sometimes You’re the Douchebag

Sometimes You're the Douchebag

Happy Holidays from Venice!

Two weeks ago there was a street festival in Venice sponsored by GQ on one of our main drags that GQ magazine dubbed “the coolest block in America.”

I don’t consider myself more judgmental than the American norm, but I just needed to see all the coiffed hair, smell cologne to help my figure out what France smells like and gawk at shoes that cost way more than my Christmas shopping budget.

Well, we went, and everyone was nice and we had a ton of fun. So maybe I am a douchebro for being judgmental? If I judge myself for being a douchebro for being judgmental, does it cancel out?

Anyways, my December resolution is to be less judgmental. But being “observational” is totally OK. I also reserve the right to judge evil people because, not cool.

Still not sure what France smells like. Bread?

Comedy Devil

There is one thing about comedy that makes my skin itch. Neutrality. Like khaki pants and dry turkey sandwiches, I just gotta ask why.

This could be my Berkeley brainwash, but I think the mass rewards of formula and structure lead to a lot of mass boring (i.e. almost every buddy cop comedy, except for the one with Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifah because what). I would say that all the people who have had the largest impact on me as a writer and performer are very unapologetic about the lens in which they view the world. I find that so refreshing, inspiring and captivating. Hubert Selby Jr., Lucille Ball, a scientologist wanting to give me a stress test. All fascinating. May we never settle!

Things Learned from Reality Singing Competitions

  • What people from other states look like
  • How bad my sense of geography really is — I think this is a general Californian problem, or a specific Los Angeles Unified School District Problem.
  • If your parents are priests, you are going to blow my mind
  • No one on The X-Factor is even vaguely cool, but everyone on The Voice is way cooler than me. Is there a singing show for averagely cool people? What about averagely cool people that can only kind of sing?
  • You can come back 10 years later and be on a reality show about losing weight (Ruben Studdard)
  • I know how to spell Ruben Studdard without looking it up
  • America, we have seemingly infinite talent, but also seemingly infinite distalent
  • If your child/roommate/love interest/ potential love interest (PLI) can’t sing, PLEASE TELL THEM BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE
  • I love judging people, even though I pretty much can’t sing well at all

Not on Writing, but on Being a Writer

Self-identity nouns should be given great weight. Like more weight than those things our grandparents used to keep papers from flying away on a desk of whichever mid-century school of design was their preference.

One of my generation’s most gratuitous self-identity nouns is “foodie.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the following Twitter bios:

Writer, Dog-Lover, Foodie

Packers Fan, Aspiring Cellist, Foodie

Stripper, Pop Star, Foodie

Died last Tuesday, Foodie

You know that really intense almost physical reaction you have to seeing a cute kitten or puppy? The opposite of that

I feel like one needs to reach a certain level of commitment and experience to something before using it as a self-identity word. I’m not saying you need to publish a best-selling novel or land an internship at an easy beach-read mag like The Economist, but if writing is what your soul breathes, you are a writer.

I read this article that introverts are more likely than extroverts to only identify as one thing. So this could be my personality dictating my opinion (OMG BRAIN, FREE WILL), but I think in order to be brilliant at anything you have to be pretty aggressive about it, leaving little time for being considerably above average at anything else. This means that maybe we can only truly have one self-identity noun that is skill-based at a time. That means that maybe we shouldn’t waste it on “foodie” unless your soul craves good food above all else.

As a side note, I appreciate good food. It’s just not my word.