ASSSSCAT Initiations from 8/26/07
I was going through my sketch notebook and saw that on August 26, 2007, I wrote down initiations from UCB Theatre’s ASSSSCAT show. At the time, I was still doing improv and I guess I wanted to be better at initiating with fun, active things, so I decided to write down the ways that really good improvisers did it. It’s a little out of context here, but you might find something fun/useful in it. These are all the first lines of scenes (and a few second lines as well).
ASSSSCAT 8/26/07 – Initiations
- Brian Williams monologue about Amsterdam
Jason Mantzoukas: I’m Tony, the new guy.
John Lutz: Yeah, I know who you are.
Jason Mantzoukas: Guys, if we don’t have our passports, we can’t go.
Amy Poehler: This is gonna be a long meeting. We need to fire one of the sex workers.
Miriam Tolan: The kids are almost here. We should get dressed up. Rip your jeans.
- BW monologue about family trips when you can’t stop and pee / news standards
Seth Meyers: We’re gonna start this broadcast soon. Standards people all have the flu today so there are NO standards for news… three, two, one…
Miriam Tolan: Is that all? You want any soup or anything to wash down with that?
Peter Gwinn: This is gonna be a fantastic trip that we had better deal with before we go.
- BW monologue about borrowing jeans from dad
Seth Meyers: Dad, I’m going to an asshole party tonight. Wonder if I could borrow your pants?
Amy Poehler: Guys, I need to talk to you about casual Friday. It’s getting WAY too casual.
Seth Meyers: So, I looked at that tape of that tampon ad.
Jason Mantzoukas: Pretty good, right?
Horatio Sanz: I’m just gonna say it. Your shirt smells.
Jason Mantzoukas: What are you talking about?
Jason Mantzoukas: I don’t want to take showers after gym class.
John Lutz: You have to. It’s the law.
A very angry letter I wrote to a newspaper in 6th grade.
I don’t know if I ever sent in a version of it or not. Probably not. My guess is once I got this out on paper, I felt a whole lot better.
“A December to Remember” - I wrote this sketch for my UCB Maude team Dinner. Starring comedy geniuses Don Fanelli and Cody Lindquist, featuring my voice, and shot/edited by the wonderful Alden Ford.
I never write video sketches, so this was really fun for me! I also love Christmas and making fun of commercials. Happy Holidays!
Conversation With A Cab Driver
Cab driver: Look that club say “all nude!”
Me: Uh huh.
Cab driver: Maybe both men and women nude there.
Cab driver: What you do?
Cab driver: Ah, photographs. Some photographers, they do nude pictures.
Me: Yes, some do.
Cab driver: Like Playboy.
Me: That’s right.
Cab driver: You do nature photographs?
Cab drivers: Like movie posters?
Me: No, headshots.
Cab driver: Paparazzi?
“Karma Police” written by Radiohead
I’m not sure if I can aptly put into words what music means to me. And by “music” I don’t even mean “songs” or “bands” but rather the notes themselves, the structures they fill out, the colors of intervals and spaces in between. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t picture every sound in terms of what it is musically. That’s like saying “Remember when you never brushed your teeth?” I’d be like “GROSS, NO.” I don’t understand a non-musical life.
It wasn’t until college that I really started playing seriously, and by that I mean I’d spend hours in practice rooms making stuff up and trying to play Billy Joel and Tori Amos songs from memory. My ritual during exam weeks would be to head straight for the practice rooms immediately after a test, usually buying Chex Mix and Mountain Dew first (because those seemed like the healthiest junk food!). I would always feel better after I banged on a piano for a few hours and, especially after exams, it felt good to drain my stress. It was both a mental workout and physical workout (and given all the Chex Mix and Mountain Dew I consumed in college I should have done more of the latter, seriously, they are not healthy foods).
After college I was an Official Singer/Songwriter™ for years and even though I now focus on photography and comedy writing, I would still count music as the number one thing that defines me and how my brain works. I still use playing and singing as a form of stress relief. I played and sang a lot this summer.
I like lots of artists and lots of songs. I genuinely don’t hate any music. I fell in love with Radiohead on August 16, 2001 when I saw them perform on Liberty Island (back when you could GET A RADIOHEAD TICKET), and this is one of my favorite songs to play. I’m not the best player and I’m definitely not the best singer. But it makes me feel good to do both.
Music makes me feel good. And sharing music makes me feel good. And that’s kind of why I’m posting this. It’s also my little way of saying hello to everyone. Because I am shy.
More of my cover song audio recordings are here.
(For the record, I was initially going to post this to my private Facebook page but I decided to bare myself here—no make-up and all—because it seemed scarier. And I’m trying to do more scariery things.)
I grew up on Long Island. My parents, both born and raised in New York City, would bring my siblings and me into the city every so often and I always loved it. I knew from a young age this is where I would end up. I’ve never considered living anywhere else.
Anyway, I drew this when I was 6. It’s pretty accurate, I think.
September 10, 2001
I was working on my album during that time, stressing out over artwork and when it would be done. Everyone helping me with the album were friends working for free so I felt weird about rushing them (reason #1 why you should just hire people for projects and pay them money).
I had seen Radiohead in concert for the first time three weeks earlier, so they were a new obsession of mine. I was probably also still listening to Madonna’s “Music” a lot. I was working part time as an assistant at a hedge fund. They would later offer me a full time job and I’d turn it down—something I still wonder about in terms of how that would’ve affected not only my finances but my eventual career trajectory.
I was living on the 24th floor of a Columbia University graduate student building in Washington Heights with a former college roommate. She was studying biology and graciously let me move in with her a year earlier after a serious relationship of mine had ended and I needed a place to live.
I was at the mid-point of what would be a two-year relationship. At the time, we weren’t getting along very well and on September 10, we decided not to talk for awhile. We thought it would be better if we had some time apart to figure things out.
That moratorium only lasted about 12 hours. We called each other the following morning. I went to his place where for the next four days we sat around, ate pasta and watched dumb tv comedies. We probably watched every episode ever recorded of “Whose Line Is It Anyway.” We avoided the news, something I now regret and probably wouldn’t do today.
On September 15, 2001, I had an overwhelming urge to take photos. Of something. I just knew I wanted to try to preserve whatever it was that was happening in NYC at the moment. I wound up in Union Square and took these pictures.
I distinctly remember subway rides being eerily quiet for the next few weeks. People mostly stared, shell-shocked. Everyone seemed unusually polite. A friend postponed a birthday party for a couple weeks, eventually having it on the night SNL had its first episode of the season. We watched the beginning of that episode at the party. Some of us cried.
Mine is not a terribly compelling story. Most of our stories from that time are not, and I think that in itself fuels our desire to tell them, to remember how normal life can be when it isn’t.
Is this heavy metal?
One time we were in the car (and I can only assume listening to one of my mixes) and Depeche Mode’s “People Are People” came on. There’s a recurring sound in the song resembling a metallic clank that I’m certain was created with a synthesizer but actually does sound like a hammer hitting a piece of metal. My dad listened for a minute or two and then after one of the clank sounds asked “Is this heavy metal?” I said no and then tried to explain the difference between heavy metal and Depeche Mode.
Anyway, I just wanted to further explain my tweet and let everyone know that my dad is ADORABLE.
Depeche Mode’s “People Are People”
Edit: that apparently IS an actual hammer on metal! Thanks, Poupak.
Ladies: Let’s Stop With All The Fucking Around With Other Ladies’ Men And All That
Let’s stop kissing and fucking each other’s boyfriends, fiancés and husbands.
Let’s stop asking for men’s numbers when we know they’re in relationships.
Let’s stop treating men in positions of power like gods.
Let’s stop flirting with in men in relationships.
Let’s stop kissing men with girlfriends.
Let’s stop blowing men with fiancées.
Let’s stop fucking men with wives.
Let’s stop blaming the drugs.
Let’s stop wondering if he’ll leave her for us.
Let’s stop allowing men to use us.
Let’s stop trusting men who lie in order to see us.
Let’s stop justifying it.
Let’s stop making excuses.
Let’s stop giving men so much power over us.
Let’s stop letting attention from men affect our self-confidence.
Let’s stop forgetting that infidelity will result in another woman’s pain.
Let’s stop fooling ourselves into thinking she deserves that pain. She doesn’t.
Let’s stop pretending she doesn’t exist. She does.
Let’s stop hoping she won’t find out. She will.
Let’s stop assuming she’ll get over it quickly. She won’t.
Let’s use our power for good. Let’s remember we have it.
Let’s be as smart as we know we can be.
Let’s trust our instincts.
Let’s respect each other.
Let’s love ourselves.
This is my writing blog, so I thought I would upload this magnificent book review of Beverly Cleary’s “Fifteen” that I wrote when I was 11 years old. It was published in a local paper. You are very, very welcome.
I Tweeted a #FF For Some Gay Friends
This was in part a true #FF and in part a gesture of congratulations now that New York State has passed a bill that will allow gay people to marry people they love.
I left out poor, sweet, wonderful Will Choy from my tweet (and he was quick to remind me). I’ve since added an additional tweet with his name in it and then realized I had also left out a few other gay friends, and I was like, well, now I should probably go through my entire “following” list to remember who’s gay and who’s not because I don’t want to leave anyone out. Or should I? I don’t know, that’s a lot of work. It was really just a small gesture I made while falling asleep to Ghost Adventures on my couch.
Then I realized that the reason I didn’t initially think of Will Choy is not that I don’t like him (I do) or never see him (I do) or that’s he’s Asian (he is). It’s that I don’t compartmentalize my “gay friends” and my “straight friends.” They are just “friends.” It was somewhat of an effort for me to think “okay, who is gay?” Because, you know, all my friends are just people first and foremost.
And people deserve basic human rights, equality and dignity. I’m glad there are smart people in charge of making big decisions who understand that.
I am sorry, Will Choy. I mean… Will.*
*inside joke I share with my friend Will Choy
My father taught me how to play chess when I was about 6 or 7. I loved the game and I loved playing with him. I always felt like I was playing against an equally skilled player who took the game as seriously as I did. During our games, he never made me feel like a kid, or a girl, or a beginner. He made me feel like a person.
He is the best man I’ve ever known. Happy Father’s Day, dad.
Conversation with Fran
Fran: When is your birthday?
Me: In 15 days.
Fran: Wait, what day is your birthday?
Me: The 20th.
Fran: Today’s the 15th.
Me: Oh, I guess it’s in 5 days.
My brain no working too good lately.