“Bitch Got a Dancing Horse”
“Bitch Got a Dancing Horse”
What did the gnarled face spewing saliva and guttural terror-sounds mean to me? What was the first thought that went through my head as this gray-haired gypsy woman convulsed and screamed in my general direction?
“Oh, it’s Thursday, isn’t it”.
I thought that because I now live in New York City, and in New York City, sights like this are the norm.
The sights that I see aren’t always this terrible. It’s not a city filled exclusively with bums shitting in stairways and old men wearing space helmets while licking their sooty shoes. There just happen to be a lot of these, and I’m alright with it. Of course I’m alright with it. Today marks my first year anniversary with this city, and I wouldn’t have stayed if I felt otherwise.
I run into a lot of cynics who continue to preach to me that the “ooh-ahh” factor fades away quickly. I’ve been told that eventually I’ll come to my senses and realize that paying so much for basic living isn’t worth it. That you can have a better life someplace else on a much, much, much much much smaller budget.
This is true. You can have a good life on a tiny budget. I know this because before I lived here, I lived in New Orleans, Louisiana, where you can live a fabulous life and barely have a job. People are available to hang out almost 24/7 and there are impromptu parades almost every month, if not every week, if not every day.
New Orleans is magic. It isn’t real. It’s an ancient land where men still don elaborate feather indian suits and dance to to tribal drums and nobody bats an eyelash. If Blackbeard’s pirate crew ever got their hands on a time machine and ended up in the french quarter, nobody would ever know. They would just be the “other” drunk men stinking and wearing scarves.
New Orleans has a much deeper nook in my heart than even the town I call my “hometown”, but I had to go. It was time to move on. All of the clocks in New Orleans are made of molasses, and I needed to speed things up.
Flash forward to now.
Life is in constant fast-motion. Every day I commute from Astoria, Queens to Lower Manhattan. Everyday I join the ritual. Everyday I’m one of millions in a hot tin box. There are old orthodox Jews and Puerto Rican mothers and Jamaican nurses all side by side by side. There are business men and college students and young working professionals all going about their day.
I often think about a quote from the Charlie Kaufman film “Synecdoche, New York”. When referring to the vast amount of people in this world, Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s character says that “none of those people are an extra. They’re all the leads of their own stories”. Every morning when I’m staring at my fellow New Yorkers for 45 minutes, I dissect them and think of this. Where is she going? What is his job? Why is he frowning? Why are they smiling? It’s these people that make this city electric. They are the reason you get that job offer. They know the guy who knows the guy who knows the guy. They are the ones who know the fastest route. They are the reason you fall in love.
They are also the ones with no teeth, growling at you on a train.
The reason I wasn’t phased by this dementia-ridden gypsy woman is because here, you never know what is going to happen next. New York is constantly pulsing with everything new. New opportunities, new friends, new restaurants, and yes, new horrors. Every time you take a step outside, it’s like you are choosing the mystery box on a game show. It could be a new car, OR it could be a homeless man eating your neighbor’s dog. That’s the gamble you take living here, and it’s a gamble I’m glad I took.
I am lucky in that I work very close to Greenwich Village. Often times I find myself ending my work day by walking across the Village as the sun begins to set and New York’s workers all begin their journey home. At this point in my day, I’m usually pretty exhausted, as are most of the people I see out on the street. You could probably fit all of our wardrobes into the massive bags under our eyes.
Then, something changes.
As I walk toward the subway, I look down the street to see the Empire State Building looming above us. It’s 30 blocks away and it still stands out as this glimmering behemoth dwarfing us all. When I stare at it, I’m overcome with this feeling of immense awe and wonder. New Yorkers built that. New Yorkers WORK in that. Millions of hard working, exhausted New Yorkers probably look at that building every night before they go home and think about how special a place it is that they live in.
And then a hobo probably pukes on their shoes.
It is Thursday, after all.
I’ve haven’t written on here in a while, and I’m sorry for that. It turns out that life in New York City is actually quite draining, and instead of instantly becoming famous and drinking choco-tinis with that horse Matthew Broderick is married to, you just come home and fall asleep.
I was lucky enough to go see Louis C.K perform an hour and a half of comedy at this tiny venue called “The Bell House” on Monday. It cost ten dollars and the ticket literally said “Louis C.K: Working On His New Hour of Material”. He came out and said that we were “falling on a grenade for later, higher paying audiences”, but I almost think that seeing him in this way was better than seeing the final product. It was fascinating and inspiring to see a comedian working out his comedy and finding what worked and what didn’t. Having already seen some of these bits earlier this year at the Comedy Cellar, I was amazed at how he had really re-arranged some of them to squeeze out all of the funny he could.
Louis has been a hero of mine in the past couple of years. His show, “Louie”, is probably one of the best things on television, and he is constantly figuring out new ways to avoid the corporate system that ties down most forms of art these days. It is because of him that I plan on actually writing in this blog more often from now on.
After the show, I stumbled upon this really interesting back and forth that Louis had with Doug Stanhope. In it, they talk about their lives, and more specifically, the way the treat their bodies. Louis said something that I thought was rather inspiring in this conversation, and without any further ado, I give you Louis’ wisdom.
“For me, it’s not really about weight loss. Training just makes me
sharper and mostly increases my endurance.
let me put it to you all this way: Trying to be a standup comedian for
a living, or beyond that, trying to pursue a life in comedy that has
longevity and bredth, is crazily hard.
Lots of folks say it takes 15, maybe 20 years to make a great comic.
Lots of people start out with a lot of talent but by the time they hit
that many years they’ve given up, become bitter and crusty or have died
from ill health and depression.
Outside of all that, it seems to me that if you’re trying to do
something extrordinary, which succeeding as a comedian is, if only by
virtue of the fact that almost no one pulls it off, then you should get
yourself into the best possible shape. I don’t mean looks, I don’t
mean weight. I maintain a pretty good belly. I just mean getting
yourself ready, steeling yourself, improving your abilities and
stregths as a person..
Given the odds of making it as a comedian, I am amazed at how little
effort so many comedians make, while complaining bitterly about their
lack of breaks. I mean, you should be thinking like an olympic athlete
but you think like dorito-eating high school brats, doing nothign and
expecting everything. Of course I’m not talking about YOU, whoever is
reading this. I’m talking about YOU, over there. Yeah.
Every time I run, I reach about fifty points in my run where I want to
quit. I reach about 100 points where I am SURE I’m going to quit. But
I keep going and when I finish, I’ve just proven to myself that I can
survive self doubt and exhaustioin. This is an invaluable tool for me
as a comedian, writer and producer. Everything I do is helped by
exercize. Even if I can’t spell it right.
One other thing, I NEVER listen to music when I run. This is my
reason: When I get to those points, going up a horrible hill, running
staright into a cold wind, I have to reach somewhere inside myself to
get through it. If I have an ipod suplying me with “Eye of the Tiger”
or some wonderful Cher song, then that gets me through. That’s no good
to me because next time I’m on a stage getting tired, or next time I’m
shooting number 9 of 20 shows or next time I just want to fucking eat a
bag of poison because I get sick of my life, I’d rather have whatever
tool I built inside myself on that hill, then have to listen to cher
Does that make any sense?
Now, I’m sure a lot of you young folks are thinking, “Fuck you, CK ,
Doug Stanhope does drugs and he is cool.” Well, you’e right. you
should do drugs. But this works for me.”
This happens to me at least twice a day. GET A TINY JOB YOU TINY PEOPLE.
This video is the first to appear on my new youtube channel: Laugh Til You Puke. Go check it out at http://www.youtube.com/user/LaughTilYouPuke !
Every sea gull that has ever been born is better than any human being.
There. I said it. Someone had to, right?
Perhaps I should start from the beginning.
The other day, I was standing on a pier in the lovely hot-dog-puke-soaked part of town known as Coney Island. As I stood there letting the salty air blow over my head, I started to observe a majestic white sea gull flying towards me. He looked so dignified, so majestic as he soared over my head, landed on the ground, and put his all knowing bird head inside a soiled Cool Ranch Dorritos bag. It wasn’t the Dorrito-pecking that amazed me, but what he did immediately after.
He picked up his head, spread his wings, and within ten seconds he was on a post over five hundred feet away from me. Just like that. Here one second, there another. It amazed me, and that’s when I had an epiphany.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to make a political statement about what humans are doing to the earth. I’m also not trying to say that MANKIND sucks. What I’m trying to say, is that we, as human animals, SUCK.
And it all boils down to the fact that we don’t have wings.
Listen, I know that birds have been around a lot longer than humans, and most people seem to think that they are the direct descedents of totally awesome Dinosaurs. I would believe this, because birds are totally kickass. Every bird can get wherever they want by just DECIDING THEY WANT TO BE THERE. Oh, it’s cold? Guess I’ll fly down south. See you in a couple of days.
Birds don’t need to make reservations. They don’t need to show up at the airport three goddamn hours early so some guy in a blue shirt can touch his testes and make sure there isn’t a bomb in his artificial leg. Birds just go.
And that’s why we, as humans, are below them. I don’t care how evolved our brains are. I know we have “consciousness” and “philosophy”, but guess what? I would give up all of philosophy for a set of wings. Humans used their big brains to build airplanes, but I still have to go through all the bullshit if I want to end up at point B and I’m at point A. If a seagull wants to go on a trip a few miles away, he isn’t forced to sit next to a fat baby and watch an edited version of “How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days”.
I feel like you can’t even argue that we are even evolving our brains anymore. We’re on autopilot, with the occasional Jersey Shore related downgrade. If anything, our big dumb nerve gunk is going to cause us to miss out on the chance to have awesome wings. We will probably just build nuclear bombs and blow each other out of the water, denying us the millions of years needed to have a badass feather back.
We’ll all be freaking out. Nuclear winter. Cannibalism. Massive riots and power outages and wars and famine after famine after famine.
And then there will be the seagull, just chillin’, eating our leftover Dorritos. He’ll look at the big dumb humans, think “ Huh, wonder what that’s about?” and then fly away.
Fuck you, Gull.