A Botched Audition, A Hand Dryer & The Hunt for Piña Colada mix.

Friday, 10th June 2017

 

Dear Diary,

This morning I awoke with a throbbing frontal lobe, the after-effects of an extended evening of copious imbibement at The Boathouse with my pal, Anthony. I cursed the glorious sunshine streaming through the windows as I limped to the bathroom. My right heel is still riddled with plantar fasciitis, so I now resemble my 97 year-old grandfather when I first wake.

I had to shower, badly, but not before re-recording a voice audition for a TV commercial for Paul McCartney's Australian tour. I sounded a bit scratchy, but they asked for 'a bit more gravely' so I think I pulled it off -and in my pyjamas no less!

Post-ablution, I wandered down to Remedy Diner where my dear pal Ethan Hall was sitting in a booth, scrawling madly in his journal (No doubt about how late I was to our weekly 12pm Friday coffee date we've held for the last 2 years and counting.) I had texted him while I was walking, asking if he could order my usual, but with a side of sausages.

He texted back, "What's your usual, Sweet Yoghurt?"
I replied, "I told you not to call me that."

I'm the funniest guy.

I sat to find he'd ordered precisely what I usually get, but with a side of sausages. If I could marry this man, I would. But sadly, I'm already taken. And I'm sure same-sex marriage will be outlawed by Thursday if Trump/Putin has his/her way.

We discussed mostly politics, as is our usual agenda. I'd met the head of PR for the Hilary 2016 Campaign the night before and had some fun stories to regale him with. We both admitted we'd been listening to Sam Harris' The Path To Impeachment episode of Waking Up, for comfort.

The Comey hearings had held the nation captive the day before, and we'd both watched in anticipation of some definitive articles of impeachment. No dice. 
Speaking of dicey, I ate all of my sausages. Immediate regret consumed me, and my digestive tract.

We meandered back towards our neighbouring apartments on 3rd street, taking in the sun and the accompanying smell of ripe dogshit. Summer in New York is a wild symphony of stenches.

I realised I'd left little time to do anything else but panic, as I was running late to head to the depths of Brooklyn to record the Let's Talk About Sets podcast with Jeff McBride and Harrison Tweed.
I drew their podcast artwork.

letstalklogo1920.jpg

At the conclusion of the 1.5 hour recording, Jeff hit the 'save' button only to be met with a frozen laptop screen. His face mimicked the screen, frozen in an expression I can only describe as sheer terror, as he waited for the progress bar to move past 4%...

After what felt like the length of an entire Comey hearing, the progress bar kicked back into gear and saved the episode. Jeff, however, had shaved years off his life from stress. The giant vein on his temple was still throbbing, adding an extra 2 inches to the circumference of his skull.

With the poor fella now 1 part relieved, 2 parts pure cortisol, we shared a car back across the bridge to Manhattan while I learned my sides for a commercial audition.

We hit traffic on the FDR, leading to me now taking over as the stressed-out, vein throbbing sweat gland with a face. The audition was in the Financial District, but this car was headed up to the East Village, and Lyft being Lyft, I wasn't able to change the final destination.

Jeff jumped out at my apartment and started walking the wrong way down 3rd street. He reappeared moments later with a gunshot wound to his leg, realising he had ventured towards Avenue D instead of Avenue C. It happens.

I asked my Lyft driver if I could request a job and see if he could accept it, with me standing right by the car. He said he didn't think so.
(Isn't technology marvelous.)

So I just flagged down a passing cab and hurtled South back down the FDR towards Wall street.

I checked in for the audition and filled out my particulars. A small Asian woman pulled me aside, pushed me against a wall and took my photo with the flash less than 10cm from my face. Now permanently blind, I wandered into the audition room.

The director was reclined on the couch. He'd had a day, and I was between him and happy hour. Perfect conditions for success.

"Just be yourself." he said. "But, you know, be the character we wrote."
"Oh... yeah, of course. Totally." I nodded, not understanding what the hell that meant.
"I mean, don't Act, but when we say action, act out the things we wrote."
"Got it." I said, confidently.
"And... Whenever you're ready."

"Sorry." I stopped. "I just - one thing before I.."
"Yeah." He said, annoyed.
"I'm Australian. Do you want me to do it as me, or me as an American?"
"You." He said.

"Okay. So, okay. Good."

He paused. Sighed deeply then said, "Aaaand... whenever you're ready."

I took my time reading the sides, attempting to memorise them on the fly.
I stared down the barrel and said,"Hi." being careful not to act.
"I'm Guy, and I... hate soda."

"Okay, stop." The director interjected.
"That was a little too "Big". You know?"
"Oh, yeah. Totally." I said. Not knowing what the fuck he meant.
"Just, do it again, but not so "Big."
"Okay.   Cool."

"Aaand... whenever you're ready."

I took a breath. Sat down and looked at the camera, then at the cup sitting next to me. Then back at the camera.


"Hi." I said, less Big, "I'm Guy, and I hate Soda."
"Okay, we're good. Thank you for coming in."
"We're done?" I asked. "I can do it differently if you want?"
"No, we're good. Thank you." he said, anxiously wringing his wiry grey beard and adjusting his transitions lenses. "Have a nice night."

I walked out, realising I'd blown $14.13 on a cab to come and look like a gormless moron in front of a frustrated director who certainly didn't envision his career directing soda commercials. I needed a drink.

Luckily for me, my trusty companion, Sophie, was just finishing work and also in need of some refreshment. 
"Drink?"
Almost immediately, she texted back, "See you at the Ludlow Hotel. 30 minutes."

I zipped up to the Ludlow on the packed, terminally delayed subway and arrived 45 minutes later. Sophie still hadn't appeared, so I ordered a Negroni and a Gin, betting both ways on what she'd want.

She arrived and ordered a gin martini. 

After a couple of rounds, I said it was probably time I went home and showered before running out to do my 8:30pm spot at Dangerfields. I was wearing a hat, you see, and had chronic hat hair. I looked like I'd stuck my head in a food processor.

We closed out our tab and made our way toward home. On the way, I mentioned I needed a coffee to perk me up before my 8:30pm show at Dangerfields Comedy Club. We were just passing Yerba Buena on Avenue A when Sophie said, "Oh! We can just go in here. They have coffee."

We walked through the door to find a bar full of gentleman who had enjoyed a few too many happy hour lemonades, waxing lyrical about the wonders of green energy and the evils of high fructose corn syrup. Between our ordering two espressos and receiving them, the German man at the end of the bar had begun a TED Talk-style lecture on American organic food and how the FDA is the devil.

The stress of the situation led us to exit the building and immediately push the door open to 2A; the bar next door, to wash away the crazy with a whiskey.

As we sat, swilling the devils drink, a lanky old man sat behind us at the window, listening intently to his walkman and downing copious amounts of booze. He looked like he was made of wind and sinew.

At this point, time was creeping up on me and I didn't think I'd have time to get home, shower and get back out to head up to 61st street for my Dangerfields spot. Sophie said, "Why don't you just use the bathroom here to wet your hair, dry it, and style it using the product that's already in there!"

"Genius!" said the whiskey.
I jumped up and headed to the bathroom as Sophie ordered us another round.

I turned on the moldy old tap and shoved my birds-nest of a head under the water to soak it, before turning on the hand-dryer and attempting to find an angle where I could get my head under it without breaking my neck. I cupped my hands to redirect the hot air towards my hair, like some kind of Macgyver pro hairdresser.
I styled it with my hands and strolled out of the bathroom feeling like I'd gamed the system.


I knocked back one more whiskey before whistling for a cab and zooming North towards the club.

I walked in to the club with 10 minutes to spare, fist bumped the owner and was immediately asked by Chario, the waiter who'd been working there for 47 years (not making that up), to come and help him carry a bunch of bottles of piña colada mix from up the block back to the club.

 

We went searching up and down the Manhattan streets for a liquor store that would stock piña colada mix, but to no avail. Chario grumbled about how much the neighbourhood had changed, and finally settled on buying one bottle from a random store before marching back in to the club, plopping the bottle on the bar and saying "There. Thassit. Thass all they got!"

I then put down my bag and walked on stage to do a 20 minute set to the Friday crowd that consisted mainly of people who had got lost coming in from Jersey. I did fine, but then Patty Rosborough arrived and showed us all how it was done. A masterful set to watch at the oldest comedy club in the world.

It was then that I was informed by one of the waiters that the entire time I'd been on stage, I'd been sporting a gigantic birds nest on the back of my head, courtesy the blowdryer at 2A.  

 

'til next time,

 

Jason.