Utter and Hysterical Total Recall

(This little guy’s blurry face rather reminds me of myself on better days)

Hey so I was in NYC this past weekend! To be in another lady show! Technically, the last female humor frenzy was in DC, but this particular one (the Ambiguously Brown Comedy Hour) was part of the first Hysterical Festival, an all-women’s comedy extravaganza, and the whole weekend was lots of heartsnuggling and eyepuffing moments (commence eye-rolling for the worldweary readers among you).

Hey lookit. It’s my name on a billboard outside a club.
No, really! Look closer!
Thank you so much to all my friends who attended my show and who sat in the back in one long row like judges just about to hold up scorecards with smiley faces on them. All the women I performed with were amazing, and I was lucky to be a part of it.

In fact, I got to see so many oodles of female comedy noodles that I had never seen before who inspired and amazed me (hint hint—check ’em out if you’re in the NYC area!): Jess Wood, Joselyn Hughes, Lisa DeLarios, Adira Amram, Jamie Lee, Lynne Koplitz, Tastiskank, Sara Benincasa, Emily Epstein, Shayna Ferm, Katina Corrao, Retta, Desiree Burch (festival executive producer), and Maureen Langan, to name just a sample.

And then plenty who I look forward to watching time and time again: Jiwon Lee, mah dawgirl Diana Saez, mah local homie Erin Jackson, Becky Donohue, and the inimitable Maria Bamford (lovelovelovelovelovelovieloveloves her).

And then there’s just NYC in general, always a good time—doesn’t charge extra for the kooky memories!

Let’s break it on down, R. Kelly-style, shall we?

Where to start? I will break it down categorically, for archival purposes. (That really means nothing if you were wondering.)

Itty Bitty Celebrity Sightings:

  • Lewis Black (comedian) looking for produce at the Union Square Farmers Market
  • Recent female college grad who got makeover on the last season of Project Runway checking her laptop next to me in East Village coffee shop
  • Eugene Mirman (comedian) checking out billboard in front of Comix. By the time I went to investigate further, he had vanished into the mist.
  • Meeting the face behind the Comic’s Comic again! Whee!
  • Friend Sightings:

  • Eating Tick Tock pancakes with Joo and commenting on the injustices of society, including but not limited to leaky apartments!
  • Lunch with Dan and he got lipstick on his glass (actually it was on there before he actually took a sip). But still! How embarrassing for him.
  • Getting to spend the night in Helen’s fancy apartment (replete with upstairs neighbor bed-squeaking noises) and hear all her juicy news. She’ll be glad to know I got up much, much later than her disciplined self and walked around her pad nonchalantly, as if I owned the place!
  • Requisite vegan cupcake with Andy plus dogwatching. I mean, camman! I bow in the face of greatness.

    We also perused an economy candy store with M&M’s in every hue imaginable. That is Candy Caynes’ handy haynes.
  • Important convo with Nadia that got cut off because I had to change lines on the subway and she didn’t. Public transit! You’ve foiled us again!
  • Cheering Rashi, Dip, Norman, Mary Ann, and the rest of her team (Goldtoe Lightfoot) in the Terry Fox 5K for Cancer Research. Then following that athletic feat with a delicious, nap-inducing Cuban brunch. Saturday mornings never felt so wholesome!
  • Seeing Tony, Nick, and Jason performing comedy. It’s weird to see people you know from one place all in another place. But then again, I think it’s weird to see people in general.
  • Dinner with sistah! And loading off of requisite package from the parents. We also ran into Cap’n Squidface. Lucky us.
  • Other Events of Note:

  • Tim Burton’s church, which I passed on my busride into the city.
  • Seeing a man fully dressed up as Spiderman in Union Square just walking around. He wasn’t advertising anything. I want to say he was just testing out the costume before Halloween making sure it was getting a good reaction and all that jazzhands.
  • Buying lunch at a yuppie grocery store…wherein I also discovered these bad boys (frosting shooters)!

    Then wandering around Chelsea trying to find a utensil to eat said food, walking into a random deli, and seeing Rashi sitting there and eating lunch with her coworker. YAYAYAYAY. Not only did I get the spork I quested for, but we also observed a nearby model’s daily diet (Hint: It was all baby vegetables).
  • My well-intentioned multiple-mentioned friend Rashi actually gave me the wrong keys to get into her apartment. But having the wrong keys allowed for fateful encounters like standing wide-eyed outside her building and bumping into her roommate Norman and his friend who was also visiting from DC for the weekend.

    And lo and behold, somehow we figured out that his sister had seen me at a show in DC and told him about how much she enjoyed it. Commence back-patting and chorus of “It’s a Small World After All.” I told him I would add him to my imaginary mailing list immediately, if not sooner.

  • My Shiniest Memory:

  • Standing outside the club post-shows (they were both AMAZING), a bit after midnight, just hangin’ with Maria Bamford and some other assorted comics and folk. One of the club staff whose birthday it was comes outside with a big bouquet of balloons, and he’s all lookin’ glowy from the birthday fun (it became his birthday as of midnight).

    And he says, “What should I do with all these balloons?”

    And Bammy goes, without missing a beat, “Oh! We should hand them out to kiddies!”

    Then someone else comments, not unkindly, “It’s 1 A.M., Maria! There are no kids around.”

    And Bammy says, “Ohhhhh well,” a bit wistfully.

    Then Kevin release the balloons up, up, up into the sky so we could wish on them. And we all watched them float away. To NeverNever Land where kiddies abound. Bammy actually moved so she could watch the balloon voyage better. TOO ADORABLE. CANNOT COMPUTE.

    She even said she was sorry she hadn’t gotten a chance to see me perform. I cannot express how nice this woman is! Not in one blog entry! Not even close!

  • Big Apple…Ya outdone yaself again, kiddo. Chin chuck, and wink.

    Real World Confessional/Depressional

    This past weekend I was in Chi-town living in close quarters with my improv group (more on that later), and one of my dear cohorts said the following after a day or two spent in entirety together…

    Anonymous Dear Cohort: Hey, do any of you guys ever listen to Aparna? You should! She says some really funny things.

    Ho-hum! *auto-blushing* They listen sometimes. It warms the cold brittle cube located in the part of my body where most people’s hearts are.

    Aparnabot initiating smile sequence followed by mild inner core meltdown, bloop bleep bloop.
    photo courtesy of Flickr and pusgums

    Oversensitivity Training Exercise

    i have some incredibly amazing friends and lovers.

    i took some of my comedy clips’ one-star YouTube ratings pretty hard this morning (they all have one star! which YouTube rates as “poor”), pretty darn hard. i immediately benched myself from the game of life, retired my sweaty pinny, threw back a few warm gulps of self-Haterade, and other wornout metaphor-play.

    e-moi pining

    and then, faster than i could say “tahme oot” but slower than i could get into the fetal position, i had some good sense cuddled/browbeaten into me by aforementioned good people i wink at on a regular basis. i was given tough love, happy hugs and handholds, and reciprocal winks aplenty. that and an unsolicited giggly email was all i needed to get me back in the ring of the lords and ladies of calmedy.

    i am truly the lucky one, and no, that’s not a [punch]line i’m using on you.

    the internet, en general, is brutal with its anonymous vigilante judgment, and my sensitivitypants are the primary target of many an e-buttkick, but at the end of the day, even if perez hilton is leaving me unhappy cat frowns, the most effort i can expend is to close my browser window. i refuse to go e-mo for one mysterious stranger danger’s pointing and clicking. it’s not even romantic, let alone cost-effective.

    plus, let me be the first to say, i’ve had an incredibly, edibly fortunate, amazing past few months in comedy. and i am very, very, very grateful for all of it. [you can use that syrup on your waffles, yes]

    Dressed Up to Get Down

    Oh the tangled webs we weave on Halloween! We were getting together – the coworkers and I – for a night of shenanigans. Our first. As a team. As a collective singular heartbeat of revelry and camaraderie. Location: Adams Morgan. Pizza to start. Drinks to finish. The rest we would make up as we went along. And went along we did.

    photo courtesy of We Go West

    The players: A Waldo (a la Where’s Waldo?), a sock monkey (moi), Sgt. Slutty (i.e., Army Barbie), a JAP (Jewish American Princess), and Sonny & Cher. The night could only go upwards.

    As soon as we debuted onto the street, it was “Waldo! Waldo! We found Waldo!” Waldo posing with kids. Waldo taking pictures. Waldo signing autographs. We even developed a sketch wherein we chased Waldo shouting “Waldo! Come back! We found you!” We got sick of his fame soon enough though and started to spurn him. “Waldo doesn’t put out!” “Yeah, yeah, it’s Waldo. BFD.”

    First stop: The Reef. We get inside. Start laying game. Sock Monkey whips a few people with her tail. I use the term ‘whips’ loosely. It could have been construed as a tap. We make friends with the Fanta girls. Cher got her picture with them. Indiana Jones. A Care Bear. And the best costume of the night: The Ipod guy. He is dressed all in black except for the Ipod that he has on. He has framed himself against a green background (paperboard attached to his backside) and he dances around frenetically like the Ipod silhouettes in those commercials. Freaking genius. We spot the Pope. A rabbi. Elton John. Yawn. We are ready to move on.

    Next stop: En route to Madam’s Organ, I hug a gentleman for about 5 minutes. We meet. We hug. We move on. It was the shortest relationship I’ve ever had. He promised a followup, and I said “That’s a likely story.” Madam’s Organ had all kinds of rock/punk types. I stop outside the bar post-hug session to chat with the old-timers sitting out on the porch of the bar. They are into watching a sock monkey dancing. Even the blind guy (I hold his hand while I dance). I twirl around for them. I shimmy my tail. They dig it. I make friends with two more guys on my way into the bar. “What are you? You’re nothing!” This is what one of them shouts at me. “I’m a SOCK Monkey!” I yell back, perplexed but tipsy. “And you!” I point at him accusingly. “You’re a DREAM killer!” He guffaws. He likes me immediately. “You’re my favorite.” His friend agrees wholeheartedly. “You must be the sexiest man alive,” I tell him. They’re both won over.

    I enter the bar. I see a doctor who gives free breast exams. We do the whole ‘nother round of drinks thing. And then we leave. And we bump into, none other than, the Wu Tang Clan. They are surprisingly attracted to Sock Monkeys. In fact, they try and bearhug Waldo into seducing the Sock Monkey back over to them. I refuse to tell them my name, going only by the tricky moniker ‘Sock Monkey.’ We escape the likes of Lil Jon and DMX, and continue onwards to Tom Toms.

    Sgt. Slutsky keeps up the good work, planting a kiss on the right bouncer to get to the front of the line. Waldo is similarly let ahead because of notoriety. Imagine saying Waldo is in your establishment. The people will not be able to get enough of it. Waldo gets digits as soon as he gets in the door. The rest of us get shoved and pushed around. Some mafia men tell Waldo “Hey, we ain’t sayin’ nothin’ but somethin’ might go down, you know what i’m sayin’?”

    Tom Tom’s fizzled out quickly. We saw some Heinekens, the Afghan pride assembly, the Blues Brothers. We shake it. Or rather, are shaken. The night wraps up. Sock Monkey’s lipstick is starting to look more like the remnants of Parkinson’s disease.

    The only thing better than the night itself was discussing it over brunch the next day. Will there be a sequel? Yes, please.