Saturday evening found me sweatin' to the oldies.... and by oldies I mean a crappy old R train bound for Queens, where the air conditioning was apparently optional. I have generally been on the fence/don't give a rat's ass about the whole stadium debacle, but between riding the shitty shitty subway and hearing about how Pablo's classroom does not have air-conditioning (and is located on the third floor, thus making it extra steamy) and is generally lacking in all sorts of suburban goodness, I am now thoroughly opposed. How about Bloomberg puts some more money into the schools and fixing the subway? Damn!
Anyway, I headed out to Queens because Pablo has lived there for over a year and I still have not seen his place. The "R" train was sadly unairconditioned. I have spent a lot of time on the subway, and generally have found it to be a cheap and speedy way around the city. But I kept thinking about the DC Metro while I rattled over to Astoria - its cleanliness, air-conditioning, and new signage that tells you how long you have to wait for your train. Sure, it's not as cheap as the subway, generally, but I like it.
Paul's apartment was quite nice and I'm glad I finally got to see it - he's done a good job with the decorating, proving that he's watched a few too many episodes of Queer Eye. After dinner, we headed back to Manhatts for the 9pm show at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. UCB is a theater for improv comedy and the 9pm slot on Saturdays belongs to a group called Respecto Montalban. I've seen Respecto twice before, and I keep going back for more because they are so goddamned funny.
The basic premise is that the group comes out, asks the audience a question and then performs something very funny based on that. For example, once they asked the audience to yell out a traumatic event - someone called out, "my bar mitzvah." The audience member's bar mitzvah, as it turned out, was in Roanoke, Virginia at a hotel that was hosting a midget convention on the same day. The group then performs a bunch of hysterical sketches on that premise. This past Saturday's performance involved a cranberry bog.
The second half of the show involves the group bringing an audience member on stage, interviewing them about their day, their job, their life philosophy, and then performing a sketch of what that person's nightmare would be like. Funny is an understatement for this part of the night. The Village Voice's description is spot on. The guy who went up this past Saturday is a cardiologist. The following ensued during the interview:
Respecto Member: So, is the main reason for becoming a cardiologist so that you can go to parties and when people ask you what you do, you say, 'I'm a cardiologist."
Cardiologist: Yeah, it's pretty cool.
Respecto: Cause, if I were you, I'd be like (gives the finger) 'Fuck you. I'm a cardiologist,' at every party.
That played heavily into the nightmare sequence, and I think that "Fuck you, I'm a cardiologist," is going to be my new line, right up there with "Good times" and "So I've got that going for me."
We stuck around for the next show, Mother, which relies partially on the CDs and Ipods brought in by audience members for inspiration. Mother was funny, although I prefer Respecto. Pablo felt that Mother was definitely off that night.
Pablo has pointed out that the sad thing about improv is one cannot repeat the funny stuff - it's just not funny unless you see it for yourself. So, get yourself to the UCB theater, located on 26th Street between 8th and 9th Ave. It's $8 a show, which may be one of the cheapest guaranteed good times on the isle, in my humble opinion. I've walked out with a belly ache from laughing every time I see Respecto. Go! (and take me with you!)