Thursday, February 12, 2009

you should see the other guy.

I am currently writing this with a black eye. And WHY do I have a black eye, you might ask? Because I went on a date with a very nice gentleman. Who happens to possibly be the biggest klutz in the entire world.

I'll keep this one short, as according to Brooke, my eye needs icing and a steak (and after she's done, I get to eat the steak and then the icing) but I accepted a date with Randall, the Other Straight Guy in my Improv group, Gettin Crazy with the Cheeeze Whiz, and it really should have been my first warning sign that he walked INTO my car door after last Wednesday's show. I mean, I'm not the most coordinated person on the planet, but walking INTO my door? It was right there in front of him and he just kept walking. Even I'm not that bad, except for that time I walked into a tree, but still. A car DOOR?

So after I'm finished bandaging him up (for walking into a door? How fast was he walking?!) he asks me out, and when I point out that Bob already said actors in the same troupes couldn't date he said that rule was for pussies.

I agreed immediately, and I think he thought that I saying yes to the date. Well, whatever. I still had Thursday through Tuesday to score free food, now that my Wednesdays were now performance art dining, so I went along with his idea to meet at a Mexican restaurant the following night.

Dinner: lovely. I ate nachos and lots of guacamole and then a nine layer burrito and three enchiladas, plus a taco salad because Brooke told me that girls should always order salads on dates. And then the waiters came over and brought balloons (was it my birthday again?) and after dessert was when Randall got what I can now deem officially as the Worst Idea Ever, which is that after a three hour Mexican food dinner with lots of margaritas and tequila, to tie a balloon to each of our wrists and then try to pop the other one's balloon. It seemed like a good idea when Randall's face was really blurry. Hindsight provides me with a solid Nay on that one.

So this is how technically Randall and I got in a fight, because as he was trying to hit my balloon, he accidentally punched me in the face. Hard. Hence, black eye.

But wait, there's more, as, in my drunken stupor and Randall being all blurry and having just punched me in the eye with his FIST, I swung wildly to pop Randall's balloon and may or may not have accidentally shoved him down a flight of stairs. Really, everything after that is kind of a hazy memory, but I do remember proudly telling the paramedics that the un-popped balloon that was still attached to my wrist meant I was a warrior princess. And then I threw up on someone's shoes.

This is the part of the blog (Brooke is reading this over my shoulder) where I'm supposed to state what I learned, but honestly, except for the part where I think Randall rolled over my left-overs as he went down the stairs, I wouldn't change a thing. Although I do feel slightly guilty that Randall broke both his legs.

Suddenly I don't think that rule about not dating people in the same improv group as you is such a bad idea.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bob the Knight, part 3

I mentioned I’m not an actor, right? Good. Because that should explain a few things about the date later on.

Really, all I want right now is a good medium rare steak and garlic cheesy mashed potatoes, but instead I’m stuck onstage with a group of people that may or may not be insane, and Bob my date and knight in shining pink is trying to get me to play some random game called “Yes And” with everyone else, and I have no idea what the hell he’s attempting to do. The audience is kind of laughing, but it’s usually when I say something that is neither “yes” nor “and,” and Bob is looking fairly grumpy at this point. I wonder if this means I’m not getting dessert.

Finally, at some point, I just crack. You can’t just put a girl on stage when she has NO IDEA what’s going on and she hasn’t been fed for almost two hours. You just don’t do those kinds of things.

Bob turns to me, after having what seemed to the audience a particularly hilarious scene with another actor about bargaining for the price of tomatoes, and says, “You have a third leg!”

Now, at this point, my brain kind of splits into two, one of which slightly remembers the very complicated rules of “Yes And”, which means I am supposed to reply, “Yes, I DO have a third leg, and…” and then insert whatever cleverness pops into my head.

But the other part of my brain, the part that is hungry and tired of being hungry and the fact that I almost got lost coming here but didn’t really get lost because it turned out to be the right place but I still went through the STRESS of feeling like I was lost, doesn’t really care about Bob or the audience or the rest of the improv group or my invisible third leg.

I calmly turn to Bob and say, “No, I don’t.”

Silence. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a guy in tight bright pink spandex look more like he was going to faint.

The crowd kind of gasps, too, and there’s a stirring among them, which makes me wonder if I’m going to end up on the evening news tomorrow under the headline AMATEUR ACTOR GETS LYNCHED BY AUDIENCE and someone whispers on stage, in one of those loud whispers that people in CHINA could hear, “She said NO.”

Bob looks stricken, but recovers quickly. “Yes, I can see that you don’t have a third leg, AND I can tell that you’re my long-lost sister!”

“No, I’m not. We’re not related, Bob.”

This is the point where the entire room sort of exhales one long horrified breath, and Bob whispers, almost to himself, “She broke character…” Like I even know what that means.

So I’m just standing there, on stage, and Bob’s just standing there, on stage, and we’re facing each other, and no one really knows what to say or do. The audience just waits, Bob waits, everyone else waits to see what I will do, and all I’m doing is trying to figure out how to steal food from the audience members.

After a couple uncomfortable seconds of neither of us doing anything, Bob catches me staring longingly at a cheese platter being passed around the back row, and suddenly, history is made.

“Jody,” he says, “Do you want to eat something?”

And I look at him, like, well duh, you idiot, why else would I be on a date with you, when it occurs to me what he’s doing. I straighten up and give him my best smile.

“Yes, I do want to eat something. And I want to eat something NOW.”

For whatever reason, the entire audience goes crazy, clapping and cheering, so Bob hops down off the stage and asks someone to volunteer their plate of food. Lo and behold, more than one person eagerly offers up their plate, which is awesome, because I wasn’t looking forward to having to choose between the chicken and the steak, and then Bob is back on stage and holding food in front of me in mere seconds.

“Do you want the chicken?” he asks, and by now I’m a pro.

“Yes, I want the chicken, AND I want the steak. And French fries. With ranch dressing. And rice pilaf. Also with ranch dressing.”

Again, the crowd laughs and claps, and Bob finds me a corner of the stage, puts the food in front of me, and gestures to the audience to cheer me on as a I polish off both plates of food. I’m an improvisational GENIUS.

Long after the show is over and I’ve had seconds and two slices of chocolate mud pie for dessert, all in front of a very supportive audience, the Gettin Crazy With the Cheeeze Whiz members try to talk me into joining the group.

“Jody,” says the other straight guy, “you don’t realize how awesome you were. The crowd loved you!”

I try to tell them as politely as possible that I’m not an actor, but they all say I’m a natural, it doesn’t matter, the audience loved me.

At this point, I’m totally confused, so I ask exactly WHAT Gettin Crazy with the Cheeeze Whiz has in mind for me to do.

And here’s where I strike gold, my friends: Bob the biker knight leans forward and says excitedly, “We can incorporate you eating into every show!”

At which point even I had to admit the brilliance of it all. So I’m in an improv group now. And Bob and I decided it’s better for the professionalism of the group if we’re just friends.

Although according to everything I’ve heard about actors, that last sentence makes no sense.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bob the Knight, part 2

I have to be at the wrong place. I have to be.

Let me give you a little back story at this point and let you know that I’m supposed to be out on a date with Bob, the actor/knight/whatever, and the address he gave me is totally and completely wrong. I mean, I’m not the best at following directions, and there was that one time I ended up in North Dakota (it totally exists!) but I have followed the directions that the GPS gave me really, really well, and I haven’t even argued once, and I’m in front of what looks like a dark office building, and Bob asked me to meet him here for dinner.


Except that Bob shows up, out of nowhere, on a bicycle. No, wait, I’m still confused. I look at him, as he un-straps his neon pink bike helmet, and he gives me a huge grin. I try not to notice that he’s also wearing what looks like a unitard. That matches his helmet.

Bob notices me noticing his outfit and I honestly think he thought I was checking him out, or was impressed, or was even the slightest bit interested in an explanation. He was wrong on all accounts.

“Cuts down on wind resistance,’ he says, and I nod thoughtfully, as if what he has just said completely explains the fact that he looks like a neon pink ballerina that could be targeted from outer space. “Ready to go in and meet everyone?”

And the surprises just keep on coming. Is this a surprise party? Is it someone’s birthday? Wait, is it MY birthday? No, Brooke would have remembered…

So we go into the dark office building, which I’m still kind of cranky isn’t a restaurant, and lo and behold, it’s… a theater.

It’s a dark theater space that is lit up once Bob gets in, and there are several other people there too, just sitting in the dark, although they are dressed somewhat more normal than Bob is, so that’s a relief. I’ve heard about gang initiations before and honestly, if I have to join a gang, I prefer it not be the tight bright pink spandex gang. You wouldn’t want to mess with people like that.

And Bob keeps smiling the whole time, like everything is going exactly according to plan, and at some point I have to ask, I just HAVE to.

“Bob,” I say, in my most patient talking-to-an-idiot voice, “Where’s the dinner and the show?”

And everyone kind of laughs as Bob makes some sort of sweeping gesture and says, “We ARE the dinner and the show!” and my heart drops into my stomach as I realized I have stumbled upon a gang of evil ballerinas who eat people.

Okay, that wasn’t it EXACTLY, but it was close. I’d unwittingly stumbled into an improvisation group.

“Wait, what?”

Bob explains that when he asked if I was interested in doing dinner and a show with him, he literally meant, WITH him. As in, onstage. Because he’s an actor. And he thought I was an actor. Which leads me to the next big Wait What.

“Why did you think I was an actor, Bob? Acting takes ambition. Do I look ambitious to you?”

Bob shrugs, says he just assumes everyone is an actor, and then says it doesn’t make a difference and I need to hurry up and get in character because the house opens in thirty minutes.

Wait, WHOSE house?

So here I am. Backstage. Every Wednesday night Bob and his friends put on dinner and a show for their improv group, Gettin Crazy With the Cheeeze Whiz, and he thought it would be a fun date if he physically forced me to join the improv group for an evening and then let me eat what the rest of the cast gets to eat after the show is over.

Brilliant. I love it. Can I go home now?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bob the Knight, part 1

I'm in the middle of watching The Real Housewives of Orange County Season 3 (well, I WAS watching a re-run of CHiPS, but Brooke changed the channel and the last time we fought over the remote, she kicked my ass. Because she's a HAIR PULLER, plus the knitting needles hurt a lot when jabbed into your neck) when Bob calls me back. I should probably back up a bit.

After that fiasco last week with Alvin and the medieval restaurant burning down, I was rescued from burning wreckage and unsound infrastructure by Bob, one of the knights that worked at the restaurant. Now, TECHNICALLY, because the restaurant/horse stalls burnt down, Bob is now unemployed, which is usually on my list of dating Hell No's, but I feel like Bob saving my life should count for something. So I accepted his woo-age in a moment of weakness, quite literally actually, as I was lying down on the ground between some goblets, and a still-smoking candelabra, watching hot firemen put out the blaze while horses galloped around. It was actually kind of romantic.

So it turns out that Bob is an actor, not a knight as I originally thought, and as he's looking for other employment, he wanted to take me out on a date. As long as he can still pay for food, and doesn't sew me a goddamn dress to wear while I eat aforementioned food, I'm good.

But Bob, it turns out, is really bad about keeping his cell phone on him. Or near him. Or on, for that matter. Or charged. So we've been playing phone tag for a while now, and every time I'm tempted to blow him off he calls back after like three days and says something sweet and totally explains about how he dropped his cell phone into his car engine while he was performing his own oil change, and then I'm kind of forced to think about how nice it would be if I had a guy around to change my oil too, so all is forgiven.

So anyways, Bob calls back, and after staring in utter confusion at my cell phone for like, three rings, I pick up, surely expecting it to be someone else. But it's Bob, he's really sorry, he lost his cell phone on the train and has spent the last week tracking it down, isn't it a miracle that he just got it back and would I like to do dinner and a show with him?

I say sure, and he asks if I'm free tonight. I say yes, and Brooke (who's listening on my shoulder to our cell phone conversation, as usual) whips her head around at me and glares. And as usual, I ignore her. I've just finished making plans to meet him at a theater later that night as Brooke has resorted to waving her arms in some sort of erratic fashion that makes me think she's having an asthma attack, so finally I hang up and ask her in my most polite, indoor, respectful of roommate voice just what the fuck is wrong with her.

Her eyes are wide with terror, and I'm beginning to think maybe she's having another episode about the bugs in our apartment, but instead she says, "You can't tell him you're free tonight!"

When I ask why not, her face gets this weird shade of red and purple (that's maroon, right?) and she practically screams, "BECAUSE YOU'RE FREE TONIGHT!"


Then she goes on to explain that when a girl is free for the evening, she can't actually tell a guy she's free, because then it makes her look desperate or needy. I'm still confused.

"You need to look busy, Jody," Brooke says. "You have to be unobtainable, hard-to-reach, and you should never, under any circumstances, accept a date on-" (here her voice got all hushed, like that little kid in The Sixth Sense) "-THE SAME DAY."

Um. Right. I roll my eyes and head to Brooke's room to try on clothes, and I can hear her yelling from the living room, "YOU'LL DIE ALONE!"