Archive for September, 2004


Friday, September 10th, 2004

My friends Deb and Steve got married a few weeks ago. They were staying in my house right before the day and Steve was trying to find his toothbrush. Instead of looking through their bags he asked Deb, who knew exactly where it was (it was in the toothbrush slot in their bag) and asked him why he didn’t just look for it. His defense was, “if I don’t ask you where my toothbrush is, comedians will have nothing to joke about.”

And it’s true. What are you supposed to do about the fact that a lot of cliches are correct? One of the more disturbing ones to me is the fact that every person who is coupled up wants their friends to be coupled up as well. And it’s not that we want our friends to find love, in fact that is *wildly* incidental. We want our friends to have a partner that they can bring to social events, and we want that partner to be awesome.

My friend Mac has a girlfriend that he loves and that Jordana and I adore, but he’s failing us. Because she’s busy. It just won’t do. What’s the point of my best friend having a girlfriend if she doesn’t *accompany* him to stuff? We like her, she likes us, but it still isn’t fulfilling our need to have *two goddam people at dinner*.

It isn’t natural, it isn’t right and it isn’t kind. We have many single friends and about 14% of what Jordana and I talk about when we’re alone is how to hook some of them up with the others. Would Scott like Amy? Or the other Amy? Wouldn’t it be great if Carrie fell in love with Aaron? I mean, it is patently *RETARDED* how much we want our friends to fall in love with each other.

I don’t know why. Have we ever suffered because Mac shows up without a date? I mean, totally the opposite. I am so jealous of the time I’m around Mac that no matter how many people are around I keep trying to find a way to slip off with him. Is it some kind of patriarchial thing? Absolutely not, our gay and lesbian friends are just as likely to get dive bombed with our coupling instincts (which has led to powerfully awkward “coffee dates” where Jordana and I stare across the table at two guys who are obviously here because we want them to date). Do we want to expand out group of friends? Jesus, no. I’ve got about six more friends than I have time to spend with them at any one time. I am constantly missing my friends because I never get to see them.

It’s too self congratulatory an answer to say that we want others to find the happiness we’ve found, I’m guessing that it’s more the opposite. Cult members must, at some point, want to ask someone not in the cult what they think of the cult, sure, but it’s much better to ask smart people *in the cult* what they think of the cult. That way, they know everything about the cult that you know and they’ve still decided to stay in it. Mormons may question the validity of the church in their private moments to each other, but they’ll never ask a Baptist.

There was a group of married or recently divorced men sitting on top of Ian’s hill around a fire and Ian asked how often everyone masturbated. The answers varied from essentially none to an impressive 14 times a week, but it was interesting because we were all in similar circumstances and we were all using the same barometric scale, as it were. I could ask my single friends who live alone, but that answer wouldn’t tell me anything about myself.

(I, of course, lied and yelled out “15!.. In fact I’m doin’ it right NOW!” and belched)

(Also, I’m lying in the above paragraph. No-one said “essentially none”.)

So, yes, the comedians are right. We’re trying to get you coupled up. But please understand, we’re doing it because we think you’re smarter than we are, and if you do it then a) it’ll seem like doing it is smart and b) we can ask you questions. Please know that we don’t want you dating because we feel like you are pathetic without a life partner, we want you dating because we’re scared that we are with one.

Labor Day Email

Wednesday, September 8th, 2004

Mac said: Who’s got the report on Labor Day at Ian & Tessa’s? It was really boring without me, right? Right?

It was actually really fun, and by Monday morning I had one of those Carolina headaches, the ones that hurt from not enough sleep and too much liquor. I would say it was an incredibly fun weekend, except that at some point, when at Ian’s, we always play a game and I always limp away from it wishing everyone was dead.

I hate parlor games more than I can describe.

Other than that, it was incredible. My bowling scores: Game one – 43, Game two – 158. It takes me a coupla frames to get the spin down. We had a fire up on the hill and drank scotch and talked about masturbation. Seth danced. My sister showed up, we explained to her that our friend M would touch her in a way that would make her feel weird, then M kissed her on the mouth and ran her hands down Michelle’s pants and said, “I love these pants”. Salem got drunk and announced that while he didn’t want anything going in his ass, he’d like things pulled out. Then he qualified that “anything” to “maybe a finger, y’know, just a little wiggle” and then he passed out. Seth danced some more. I beat the be-jesus out of all comers at foosball. We had a talent show which featured Jamie Block singing a song about his mom and Jordana singing a song about radioactivity and Michelle singing about conversations and heartache and me singing about cicadas and locusts and the shrieking of innumerable gibbons and Seth dancing. Brian Walsh slept in a tent up on the hill until he woke up because inside the tent it was 187 degrees. “I have an inside thermometer. It’s Nordic.”

We went to a fair and they had corndogs that I could write a blog about. They had a display of art from all the k-12 schools, and it blew my mind. There was a one weird cubist drawing of a woman in a green slip that was billowing up around her waist so you could see her bare butt and it was only after staring at it for a few minutes that I realized it was the statue of liberty holding her torch upside down and dropping her tablet as if in a giant wind. Painted in acrylic by some tenth grader. They had live animals and kettle corn, the latter smelling far better than the former. Off in a corner, I thought I saw Seth dancing, but it was actually a sheep contest. A gay sheep contest.

I golfed and did much better than I would have guessed. I’m a golfer now.

But yeah, I would have loved it if you were there, although you would have had to sleep in Brian’s tent.

Why writers write

Tuesday, September 7th, 2004

You’ve got to go read my friend Mac’s blog . It is simply incredible, and it deals with not just the specific problem it addresses outright, but also with the problem of art in our world right now.

When Arthur Miller wrote The Cruible, it was us who saw it as a dressing down of McCarthyism. When I went and saw the movie “Hero”, I thought it was a condemnation of Bush’s critics and Jordana thought it was pro-communist propaganda. Politics is like air, even when you aren’t thinking about what you’re breathing, you’re still breathing.

In Your Life

Friday, September 3rd, 2004

Think for a moment about the things in your life you are most passionate about.

C’mon, just do it, Jesus, I don’t ask for much.

All right. You could probably make a short list of things that you really, really love. And if I told you to remove your spouse, dearest friends and family, the list would probably be only maybe three things.

For me, at the top of that list would be acting in the theater. Producing in the theater and making music would also be in the top five, but I’m gonna concentrate just on the thing I’ve most dedicated my life to, acting. I spent three years after high school studying and performing. I’ve described these years before, but to give you just a small glimpse of what it was like consider the following; we had a handbell choir that met in people’s apartments from 1 to 5 in the morning, the treble bells would nap while the bass bells practiced and vice versa. We had to meet at that time because every single other hour of the day was full of either performances or rehearsals.

I once lost 35 pounds in four weeks in order to play a character I loved, and I would do it again if it were necessary. This past summer I was cast in two plays at the same time, and I still auditioned for a third because I loved the part. I did two tours lasting *months* where I was napping on the floor of the dressing rooms before the shows because we drove all night to make the next gig.

I’m not the world’s greatest actor, I’m a blue collar guy and I’m totally dedicated to getting the job done. I think there are probably actors out there who are *insane*, who live by the craft, who are only happy when they are performing. However, I love it, and I don’t come by it easily. My father wasn’t an actor, I wasn’t given an easy route because of family connections or fantastic looks. I can say that I have dedicated myself to the study of the craft, that it is one of the two or three disciplines that I take most seriously.

That being said, I have spoken out against the the theater world, the same way I’m sure you have bitched about the thing you love. I’ve criticized American theater at times. Because I love it, and in order to have a leg to stand on, you must first love something and then you must criticize it, and then you learn. My favorite songs, my favorite performances on screen, my favorite singers, all of these have, at one time or another, fallen short upon repeated experiences, because of who I was when I was listening that time. And then I discovered what was wrong with *me*, why I misunderstood the art or the artist, and I fell in love again.

(I really do believe this. I think you can’t really talk shit unless you love something. My friend Mac is the master of not sweating stuff he doesn’t care very much about and then unleashing when something precious to him is fucked with. If I tell you that someone’s poetry isn’t good or someone’s improv doesn’t live up to expectations, you should ignore the *hell* out of me.)

(The also accounts for why we can complain about our family members but we get pissed off when anyone else does. I can talk shit about Ian, but the second you do, I’ll jump down your throat.)

(Y’know, speaking of people who criticize stuff they don’t like anyway. You’re gonna listen to a guy criticize theater when he’s already admitted he hates the *chairs*?)

Now, I have dedicated my life to the craft of acting, and I’d be willing to guess that you’ve dedicated yourself to something. Even if it’s *comfort*, there is something in your life that you have spent a little bit of time every single day trying to achieve.

If I was nominated for a Tony, let’s say, and it was between me and another person, and that person started telling everyone that, because of my criticism of American theater, because I have considered moving out of New York, because I have spoken out against the unions on occasion, then I don’t deserve the Tony… I’d be flabbergasted. I’d be speechless. It wouldn’t be fair for *anyone* to say that about me, unless this person had been through everything I’ve been through and more.

But let’s say the guy who was telling everyone this was just a pretty boy thug who actually had done a really bad job in a play, but he was nominated because, let’s say, the play was particularly hard and he had managed to at least say all of his lines in order. Or, he was nominated because at one of the performances someone rushed the stage and attacked him but he survived it, and now people think that if he’s in a show, the rest of the cast will be safe from future attacks. In fact he has been offered several jobs because producers think he can fight possible attacks from the audience, without considering the fact that the attacks happened only once this guy got on stage because people hate him so damn much.

And if he was just this guy who got in the play because his dad was a producer, he was actually a baseball player who had never spoken out for or against American theater because he had never really cared. He had gotten a chance to do a couple of national tours, the way I did, but he didn’t do them because being on the road is just hard…

You’ve got something you’re dedicated to, right? You have tried hard to succeed in your life, and you’ve done the dirty work, right? You would be appalled if someone questioned my dedication to the theater, despite the fact that I have testified against certain aspects of it, despite the fact that I have turned down shows because they were a bad idea with bad characters. You wouldn’t be fooled into thinking that critical thinking equals anti-theaterism, right?

Just in terms of *honor*, wouldn’t you vote for me?