Saturday, January 30, 2010

More on the “7 Things”

This appeared in my last post:

4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
a. I’ve been inside of a professional wrestling ring.
b. I’ve inquired to become a justice of the peace.
c. I’ve performed stand-up comedy – 4 times.
d. I’ve proposed to Joan Jett live on the radio.
e. I was at Joey Ramone’s birthday party one year.
f. I’ve auditioned for Family Feud.
g. I once quit a new job after 2.5 hours of the first day.
I thought I would expand a little on each and tell you more about each, assuming they are actually interesting to you.

a. I’ve been inside of a professional wrestling ring.

When I was a senior in high school, they actually had professional wrestling come to my school and because I was a wrestling fanatic at the time, I signed on to “work” the event as, get this, staff security (to put that into perspective, think Uncle Frank on Jimmy Kimmel).
There were two pretty big names of that era there, Pedro Morales and Adrian Adonis. Arnold Skaaland, famous for being Bob Backlund’s manager was also in attendance but he was working in the background for the promoters.
At one point, I went into the dressing room for something and there was a larger group of wrestlers and suits (including Skaaland and a few other older folks) playing poker with wads of cash all over the table, Skaaland pulls his fat cigar out of his mouth, looks my way and says something like, “kid, it would be a good idea if you left this room now and didn’t come back in unless you want to…” I left not wanting to even hear the rest.
Anyway, when the wrestling event, which was fun, was over, a bunch of us worker bees got to play around in the ring so we did – yes, the mat has a giant compression spring at the bottom but if you hit it hard enough, it doesn’t feel nice.

b. I’ve inquired to become a justice of the peace.

Recently, the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of MA gave his blessing to all priests in the diocese to preside over same sex marriages. This cause another stir amongst some older and more conservative thinkers in the diocese. I am baffled why people would be opposed to such a thing and it occurred to me that maybe I can have some positive effect in some way.
I had recently learned of a friend of a friend who recently was marries to his same sex partner and because of their plight, he had decided to become a justice of the peace and offer services to any and all who wanted and promised to make available a safe, comforting and welcoming atmosphere where the ceremony would be the focus, not the gender or beliefs of the participants. I was inspired understanding that a wedding ceremony shouldn’t have boundaries other that those placed upon it by the participants. I want to be able to provide a safe haven as well, so that all who desire to be married can do so in an environment free from bias.
The process of becoming a justice of the peace here begins with an inquiry to the secretary of state (which I have done and am awaiting a response), having an application processed through the secretary of state and signed off on by at least five prominent members of the community in which you live, an opening must exist – there can be no more than one justice of the peace for each 5,000 residents of the town in which the applicant resides (I think I am okay on this), and then once the application is approved, an appointment to the position by the governor of the state (for a 7 year term). Wish me luck!

c. I’ve performed stand-up comedy – 4 times.

This didn’t start out as anything other than my pain in the ass friends being asshats. We were at an open mic night at Pips Comedy Club in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn and while we were laughing it up and getting hammered, the host calls out, “our next comic tonight is a young lad from East 28th street…” (I’m thinking, someone from my block is here?), “…let’s give it up for Chris, the Beaver (don’t ask), Da…(me).”
Almost instantly, my (former) friends are egging me on to get up to the mike and chanting my name and I ma cursing them out violently but in my liquid courage induced state, I said to each of them, “F&$K youse all, I am doing it!” I got up to the microphone and everything became surreal, like in slow motion I could hear every clap stop individually and the sound just drop out of the room. I began to stutter, not really sure of what I was going to say and then came out with a line that is as unoriginal as any, “hey, why do they call the Belt Parkway the Belt Parkway? Shouldn’t it be called the Belt Driveway?” (boos ensued). “I mean really, most of the time traffic on the Belt is so bad it may as well be the Belt Parking Lot…” (that was when actual food items began getting tossed to the stage) and do I leave? No, not yet! I know that I stammered out at least one more “joke”m the food thing became enough of an issue for management concern and I went back to my asshat friends and drank as much more as I could until passing out.
Sometime a day or two after, in a totally sober state while chatting with one of my asshat friends I actually said, “that was kind of fun, I’m going to actually prepare to do one intentionally.” My friend thought I was nuts but I did jus that, prepared what I thought would be minutes worth of material and a few months after the first debacle, I was back at Pips and was called on to the stage as “A brave soul looking for a second chance…” I might ahve heard something of a chuckle for a second but  I could have been mistaken. the thing is, there was no food being tossed this time and in my feeble brain, that means I had potential.
My third try was totally a result of the encouragement of my friend Jerry who, like me, loved comedy and the idea of creating it. We had even developed an idea for a cable access talk show format that I still think would be funny, but we never executed it. We were at a company holiday party and there was a general talent show portion. Jerry thought it would be funny for me to go on last and close the show kind of poking fun at the acts before me.
I studied each act and the two in particular that cracked me up were a trio of plus size ladies singing “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” and then a dude dancing and lip syncing to a Prince song. So when I came out, I made some small talk about the event and the performers and then said I wanted to pay tribute to my two favorite acts by doing an impersonation of Prince singing Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.
I went all out with the drama, turning my back to the audience at first then the dramatic head spin, the Prince-ish smirk and facial gestures and then I began to belt out the song in as close to a Prince-like falsetto as possible shorlty after climbed onto the piano and began dry humping it in a Prince-ish way never stopping the song. The crowd went wild and were on their feet – hundreds of people, standing and howling with laughter because of something I did.
I learned a very valuable lesson just seconds later. Once you have a crowd where you want them, you must be able to keep them there or they will turn on you faster than you could possibly imagine. It was less than 30 seconds later every cheer became boo-ish and seconds later, I stammered my way from the stage not even sure if I completed the thought of the next joke; and yet, apparently I didn’t feel I was through even then.
I gave one more crack at an open mic night after putting some time into thinking about some material and while the reception wasn’t great, I actually got more of what could be considered laughter than completely negative response. That last attempt was in 1992 and while on many occasions I have put the pen to paper in hopes of putting together another set of material, I’ve yet to to brave it again…one day perhaps.
To Be Continued…


ria said...

very interesting things about yourself! i'm glad that you elaborated too.

egan said...

I find this wrestling thing very fascinating. Was Jamie Foxx in the ring with you?

Chris said...

Ria - more to come. Can't wait to read yours :)

Egan - You are the best :) THough it was 1982 - I didn't know who Jamie Fox was back then.

SM said...

I want to know more about Family Feud! Seriously - I am addicted to that show! I watch it every day on GSN! I love the ones with Richard Dawson...he was sexy!

radioactive girl said...

Family Fued is awesome. I love that you are sharing all of this.

I just wanted to check in to see if you are doing ok too.

Chris said...

Tori - I am hanging in there. Thanks :)

I'll post more about the Family Feud audition in its own post.