Speaking of being a wannabe journalist, I still haven't heard from St. Thomas yet! I was doing an open mike at The Chatterbox (hosted by the lovely and talented Rana May) and I ended up driving down Cretin Avenue toward St. Thomas. Even though I was right by Paul Ryan's house, I wasn't even thinking about him! I mean, kind of. But as "All I Want for Christmas is You" was blaring, I realized that all I wanted was to be a Tommy!
They e-mailed me and said they needed my transcript from MCTC. Then they e-mailed me and said that my MCTC transcript said that I went to Kingsborough Community College (which is in Brooklyn -- maybe CUNY Brooklyn would have deferred me there had I stayed as I technically flunked my second semester?) and that I had 12 credits from a non-U.S. school. That sounds lovely and interesting, but it wasn't my life.
At that point I was going to give up, but people accurately on Facebook told me that I had come too far to just quit. So on Christmas Eve Eve, I went into the offices of MCTC, immediately had PTSD, received my accurate transcript, and dropped it off at St. Thomas. I would return to that neighborhood again that evening, but we'll get there later.
Because first I have to tell you about the time Joey and I hung out with a porn star!
It was soooo weird. We were at The Saloon and this attractive boy told us he was having an after-party. He was very good-looking in a dirty way. Tall, kinda scruffy, piercing blue eyes, lanky but toned body. Since I never go to the club until midnight and I always take a 5-hour energy shot like a moron, I was all for an after-party. Joey paid for the Lyft and we took it to the wrong side of town at first.
I forget if we knew then he did porn or if it wasn't until we got to his house. And I shouldn't be throwing around the phrase "porn star" because I think if you even do one porno, you're certified as a "star". I don't know. All I can say is we got to his house at 3:30 A.M. and holy crap, am I in the wrong business. He had beautiful artwork done for him by a fan in Japan. We discussed how much he paid for rent here as opposed to his life in New York. "I used to live in New York," I had said about eight times. I fantasized about a different life, in which I had a good body and a healthy appetite for sex. I was even realistic in this fantasy because I am 28 and now I'm too old for twink porn and could only maintain my career if I gained 50 pounds of muscle, stopped shaving my body hair and became an otter muscle top, and that is not going to happen anytime soon.
Anygay, there were two other dudes there that were older than us, and Joey went upstairs to watch American Horror Story with them. Here I was, standing in front of a kitchen island, with this beautiful strange man who can't stop making "meow" sounds.
"I like cosplay," he said. "My favorite is Gambit."
"Gambit is Cajun," I said. "Can you do a Cajun accent?"
"No," he said. "But I can show you my costume." Then he changed into his Gambit outfit and slightly lifted up his shirt and oh, boyyyyyyyyyyy.
Somehow we got on the topic of height because I am good at flirting. "I'm not that tall," he said. "I'm 6'2'."
"That's tall," I said. (Height is a fascinating topic to me, really. Joey is 6'2" and often laments that there's not enough tall men at the clubs, and this is Minneapolis. Men were always my height or shorter in NYC). "I'm only 5'7'."
"Really?" Porn Dude smiled. "No you're not. You're way taller."
Then he walked around the island.
"Oh," he said, almost disappointed. "I thought you were sitting down."
"Maybe I want to sit somewhere else," I said as I ripped his Gambit outfit off. Then he picked me up by the armpits, sat me down on the kitchen island and banged me senselessly and the men upstairs in the loft watching American Horror Story had a raucous three-way above us.
OK, that last part didn't really happen. I just thought the story should have had sex in it at some point.
The five of us ended up going to the Nicollet Diner as opposed to the Uptown Diner, a fact I enjoyed because that meant Joey and I could walk home. I played Mariah Carey on the jukebox and the waiter rolled his eyes. I already have a rep there. They have TouchTones! I can even play "One More Try"! As I sat across from the meowing porn star, I realized ...
Holy crap. I've met him before!!!
He has no idea who I am, but I put the memories together and no longer felt insecure about myself. Behold, this episode from December 2012:
Victor had two ridiculously attractive boys with him, one of whom had a T-shirt on advertising a porn site. I didn’t speak to him at LUSH, but he was in our eyesight at The Eagle, where I overpaid the jukebox to play “We Belong Together”.Those were the days! He showed up on my Facebook 'People You May Know' the next day. I added him back and he added me back three weeks later, but only because he got spammed and his profile was trying to get me to buy Ray-Bans. Such is life. On we go.
“We were friends on Facebook,” Liam was telling the porn star.
“You deleted me,” Porn Guy insisted.
“What? I wouldn’t do that,” Liam balked. “Oh, this is Jakey. He thinks you’re really hot.”
“Wait, what?!” I balked, and then I got lost in his lapis eyes. “I don’t -- I mean, I’m not, like ---Hi, how are you? I’m just -- Mariah.”
“Are you, like, really shy around guys or something?” Porn Guy asked. Then I imagined he was really good at kissing.
There is no appropriate segue for me to talk about Bill Young's death.
I don't want to make it sound like both of them were my best friends -- they were acquaintances if I was lucky enough to even say that -- but the experience of having two peers die, both tragically and suddenly, really does a number on your psyche. I first knew Bill when I was just starting out. Regardless of what you are pursuing, you never forget who is nice to you when you were a novice and not very good and not sure if you should stick with this new endeavor. I don't do nearly enough open mikes, and I thought about this when I was at Gus's memorial service, too. And I have my excuses, which is that I work second shift and not first shift so I have less free evenings, and because I won Funniest Person in the Twin Cities one year and for a while that meant I didn't have to work as hard (that feeling lasted for about a year, and then I saw people who started comedy after me getting booked more than me because, um, they work way harder. Interesting how that works). But I realized there's a very strange brethren in this community, one that can't be adequately described.
The service was a surreal experience. It reminded me of the season of Saturday Night Live when they did Superman's funeral because there were, like, 23 people in the cast and everyone was a different superhero. So many of my favorite people were in this room. And yet, we were here to say good-bye, to mark this tragedy, and it felt wrong to say "Good to see you". I said that to Greg Coleman and then I was like, "Oh, shit. I didn't mean that. You know what I meant." "No, I get it," he said. I am lucky enough that I haven't had to go to a lot of these things, certainly not enough to understand the etiquette. Then you throw in the fact that 75% of this room is comics of various levels in our careers and we're already kind of screwed up anyway. We held hands and watched videos and looked at pictures and had coffee and listened to "Smile".
Everyone told stories. Hilarious, poignant, visceral stories that, to repeat a theme, couldn't be made up if someone tried. I went last. I talked about how when you start out doing comedy, it's so scary. The rooms are dark. You have this stupid dorky notebook. You got there two hours early because you're new and stupid and just want to impress everybody. Bill was the guest host one night at Grumpy's. I did okay but I still didn't know how to properly put the microphone back on the stand, so I jumped in his arms instead like he was a koala. He could have totally dismissed it, but he went along with it and said "Yay! I'm gay now! Awesome!"
"He wasn't gay," I told the room. "But he was still a really good person."
Bill and I did Punchline Punchout at the 10,000 Laughs Festival last October. Our word was fish. I talked about boys and he talked about a Phish concert. I didn't really talk to him after the show in part because I was headed to the club (yet another downfall of mine) and because he was just going through a divorce -- like, it was just off the press that week if I remember correctly -- and his ex-wife was a producer of my Fringe show and I thought it would be awkward. I realize, of course, that he would have been the first person to tell me that was the dumbest fucking thing he had ever heard and if his ex would have been there she would have been the second person to tell me that was the dumbest fucking thing she ever heard. They got along just as famously uncoupled as coupled. It wouldn't have been an issue. Insecurity makes you think really stupid things.
Later that night, I had heard in the green room after the show the compliments that he had said about me. It feels wrong to even print them because they were so beyond the scope of how I perceive myself. I can only say that I didn't properly receive them. I dismissed it as someone just being nice. I learned not to do that anymore. Bill Young didn't have to say two words about me if he didn't want to and I would have revered him just the same.
The service ended with a 21 Nerf gun salute. Why anyone would want to do anything other than comedy as a living is now completely lost on me.
It has been just a little over a month now. What has stayed with me -- and likely will forever -- is that the root of so many of these stories was "the last time I saw him" and nearly all centered around humor, and all were from people who would have never known that their moments with him would have been the last. It made me think how life is short and cruel and mean, and we use our humor because we have to survive.
It was around this time that Joey and Jared were in a really stupid fight. And I'm not dogging them because I get in stupid fights with them all the time, too. And sometimes I get on a high horse because I am five years older than they are and I have to remember that I was stubborn and unwilling to concede anything when I was 23, too. But I was so mad. Two people who I had known had, in the last two weeks, woken up on a December day in ostensibly fine health and then they were dead. Life is short. Too short to stay mad about stupid crap and the kind of fights where you don't even remember what the fight is about anymore.
Did I want to tell everyone I had ever met how much they meant to me and how much I loved them? That was the current vibe of the month, but as human beings, we just don't do that, and I am an emotionally repressed Cancerian. I am expressive as hell and everyone and their dog knows about my stupid boy trouble, but actual direct communication is surprisingly not my strong suit.
"Two people I know died this month," I texted the boy I love. "Just don't go anywhere, okay?"
He wrote back "lol". Of course.
There is a difference between saying the boy I love and a boy I love.
He is the least constant person to have ever been in my life. We are not always on speaking terms because our lives are different. Some days I don't even know if I will ever see him again. I think about him a lot. And not in a Dear diary, he's soooo hotttttt THE FUTURE MR. EMMERT way, because there are plenty more men in that department (really! next episode!). No, I think about his smile and the whiteness of his teeth and how he doesn't look old but when I can get him to laugh, like really laugh, lines will show up at the corners of his eyes and that is where I want to stay forever.
I'm sticking with the for now. Son of a bitch.
"You were right," said Jared. "I apologized to Joey. I thought about what it would be like if he died tomorrow. I wouldn't have wanted it to end that way."
"Mommy is proud of you," I said, and then I marked another point on the Jakey vs. Jared Right/Wrong Scoreboard. I am ahead 86-12.
We were off to the 19 to see our friend Steve. Steve is 21 and flirts with me all the time, but Steve is also one of those people who flirts with everybody, like a Bill Clinton born in 1993, so I don't let myself think about it too much.
Anyway, I wanted to run to the ATM at SuperAmerica because it's a Wells Fargo and I would save on fees (look, Mom! I'm budgeting!). I have ADD so it took me forever to leave the apartment and Steve was already at the 19 from The Saloon and said he was leaving.
I finally showed up and told Jared an elaborate lie about the ATM malfunctioning as he was outside smoking next to a lady. "ButohmigoditwassohorribleandImherenow!!" I cried as I went inside.
"Oh my god," the lady said. "What is he on? I want some."
"Oh, that's just how he is," Jared said. She was disappointed.
I went inside, reunited with Steve and Joey, and then Jared walked in. And then behind him was Football Guy!! It turns out Jared had been talking to him outside for 20 minutes!
"I hate you!" I cried.
"I don't know who that is!" Jared said.
"I've had a crush on him forever!" I cried.
"How am I supposed to keep all your crushes straight?" Jared asked.
"Most of them aren't straight!" I cried. "That's the problem!"
Football Guy was as dreamy and muscular as ever. For someone so extroverted and ostensibly confident, I completely clam up whenever I see Football Guy. He's nice and smart and less than 10% body fat and I am just without words. I think I gathered that he had New Year's Eve plans, and I still plugged my shit anyway because I wanted to be impressive.
One night at The Saloon I met up with Walter, who runs an entertainment company, and Jack, who is beautiful and works at a leather sex shop. It was a Saturday night and I was full-on Auntie Debby. Auntie Debby is my alter ego when I drink too much. We are both built like post-menopausal women, our better days are behind us, and we just want to flirt.
Remember when I would go to secret warehouse parties? Like, in the very first episode?? Walter invited me. Who was I to turn him down? We drove in his brand new car and got in a fender-bender on the way there. A policewoman told us to pull over and that Minnesota was a no-fault state so we just had to share info.
Despite that damper, the after-party was still festive. I got in for free because I was with Walter. I became fascinated by this world, because Walter approached it like a businessman, and apparently even this world of underground parties is full of politics and networking, and so-and-so isn't a very good leader and so-and-so has better parties and so-and-so thinks the money should be spent this way. Life is just so interesting.
Nevertheless, Walter suggested we go up to the attic, where we laid on a big couch from the 1970's and danced with hipsters in their thirties.
"Jakey," a red-haired woman said. "What a lovely name. I am Blossom."
"Dance with us," said a raven-haired woman named Spring. "It's solstice
And Auntie Debby danced, hopeful for a year of new beginnings, strengthened friendships, and finally a way to conquer her insurmountable financial problems.
Speaking of someone with no insurmountable financial problems, I went to Paul Ryan's house on Christmas Eve Eve. He is single again. What??? We played Goldeneye on his Nintendo 64. I was horrible at it. He chastised me for not having a bathrobe. When we went to bed my stomach kept making weird grumbling noises and I was self-conscious, so I escaped to the living room, but he doesn't have a couch, so I laid myself over two chairs. It wasn't very comfortable. At 5 AM I crawled back in his bed. I sleep in pajamas and he sleeps naked. I had to work at 9 AM the next day, but he didn't have to wake up as early and I wanted to be respectful of that.
I woke up at 8 and I just wanted to stayyyyy there. He is handsome and has a big chest and I could get used to waking up next to him. I didn't want to tell him that, though.
I moseyed downstairs and realized that there was no possible way I could get the front door to open. Panic set in. I walked back up to the kitchen (he lives in the upper part of a duplex) to try to escape through the patio, but I realized there's just a smoking patio and there was no clear fire escape to descend (which concerns me. I should have said something).
"Paul," I whispered. "I can't get the door to open."
"Just pull hard," he groaned.
I tried again. This massive door was not moving.
After two minutes of realizing how I was going to explain to management why I was late (what a doozy of an excuse this would be!), Paul Ryan finally came downstairs in his boxers.
"I'm smart, I promise," I said.
He rolled his eyes and opened the door. I was thankful that even he was struggling with it, because he is tall and muscular. I was also thankful that he was in his boxers, because he is tall and muscular. Merry Christmas, Jakey.
Christmas Eve was a shitshow! Joey asked if I wanted to go see Into the Woods. I agreed. Then my dad told me we were doing Christmas Eve that night. I cancelled plans with Joey. Then I got to my parents' house at 7:30 and my brother and his girlfriend weren't even there. Why is it so impossible for Emmerts to directly communicate with each other? My inability to do so is now genetic.
Dane and his girlfriend showed up at 8:30. They unpacked their car, then announced they forgot some of the presents at home. Then they came back and were like, "Oh, surprise! We have them all!" Then they suggested that maybe they should just come back tomorrow anyway.
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. I just got drunk. My brother initially had reservations about giving me Ketel One for Christmas, but I assured him that it would be appreciated and that it meant that he loved me. If he had given me Phillips that would have meant something else entirely.
This is me and Grandpa Larry doing shots of rumchatta! I think we had the most fun at Christmas. "I wish I could do shots of rumchatta with Grandpa Larry," my friend Greta later forlornly sent me via text message. Christmas was low-key. First of all, every other present was for my grandparents. It was like childhood in reverse. My uncle came from Portland and his son from Duluth, and my other uncle's kids live in far-east Wisconsin and usually come the day after, and only part of that is because last time we saw his wife she called all of us worthless.
Speaking of worthless, I didn't bring a significant other. I could have asked Kevin, but that would be weird to not see somebody since Thanksgiving and then ask them to Christmas. I texted boys I know instead, including DJ Fancy Restaurant, who made sure I was going to his event at Honey!
It was a Missy Elliot theme, and a gay rapper whose name escapes me was there. I had fun mingling! There was a really cute boy who I wanted to talk to, but I kept talking myself out of it. "I don't get how you know everyone," said Joey. "I'm glad I met you when I did. If I knew you now, I probably wouldn't talk to you."
Our friend Abercrombie was there. I regret giving him that code name, but I met him two years ago and he was blonde and ripped, so there you have it.
"I want to go to The Saloon," he said.
"We just got here," I said. "If you want to go in half an hour, we can share the Uber."
"I drove," he said. Abercrombie sounds like Trent from Daria when he talks and I find it enjoyable.
We agreed to leave together in 20 minutes. I texted him asking him which car his was.
"Black Audi," he wrote. Okayyyy thennnn. Joey is 6'2" so I let him sit in the front seat. Christmas is all about giving. And receiving. Abercrombie really is a hoot. I think because he's so beautiful people don't realize that. Such problems!
At long last, it was my New Year's Eve show! New Year's Eve is my favorite day of the year. You mingle! You dress up! You talk to cute boys! You painstakingly reflect about your year and your life!
And if you're lucky, you get to do live comedy!!!!!
My mother was "sick" and couldn't go to the show. No, she was really sick. I just gave her crap for it.
I pre-gamed with Charlie and Sean at the latter's apartment, conscious of how much I was imbibing before the show. I didn't want to be wasted up there!
Charlie and Sean sat by my dad, and there was a mini-snafu because it turns out the venue wasn't able to serve beer and wine! Oops. Maggie Faris, the emcee, assured us that there was a liquor store next door and a bar across the street. They didn't have to tell Sean and Charlie twice, and they snuck beer in a bottle of Lipton Ice.
A dude called me right before I was gonna go on, so I dropped the call. "Really???" he wrote back angrily. He wasn't sure if he was gonna do The Saloon or not, and the boys and I were planning on Jetset. Once I knew that he wasn't gonna be at The Saloon, I was fine on the Jetset bandwagon.
But then, back at Sean's apartment, it was big thinggggg. Charlie kind of wanted to go to The Saloon, but both of us agreed to do Jetset until at least midnight, and if it was lame we would walk to The Saloon. It would be a long walk, but we would be drunk and therefore it wouldn't feel as cold.
Then, at 11:45, Sean announced that he got us a cab to The Saloon.
"Are we gonna spend midnight in the cab?" Charlie asked the driver.
"It'll be fun if we do, Charlie!" I said, trying to spin anything positive. "Think of what the memory will be!"
We got in at 11:54, got our coats checked at 11:58. I didn't kiss anybody. That's okay.
I drunk-dialed at 3 in the morning. On New Year's Day. Who does that??? It wasn't me. It was Auntie Debby.
After I lamented on social media about this plight, my very talented friend Brian Herrera made this for me. Aww!
The next day was the comedian brunch at Jake's Grille in Eagan, which is always a highlight of my year. Afterward, I stopped at our friend Seahorse's house, where Jared was passed out on the couch, loudly snoring and with his gut spilling out of his shirt and greeting the world. That's my hubby. Esquire, Seahorse, Quinn, Joey, Liam and I went to the Lowry where I showed everybody my name in size-10 font in City Pages. I clearly thought I was hot shit.
"Did you use to do comedy here?" asked the cute waiter. Now I am hot shit. Then I prayed that my credit card would go through.
Liam was acting immature, Quinn was reading Liam and sparring/flirting with Esquire, Seahorse was falling asleep, and Joey was spending an hour deciding if he was going to eat or not. I wouldn't have had it any other way.
Greta and I were about to go to The Saloon together when Jared frantically called, finally awaking from his slumber. I had to pay for his Uber to get home! The nerrrvveee. My mood was placated when Jared met us at The Saloon, anyway.
"Look who's all rested!" I cried.
"I'm moving to Taiwan," T.J. the bartender announced.
"What?" Jared asked.
"Don't look at me," I told Jared. "If you cry, I will cry."
I tried to distract myself with flirting. Steve walked in and jokingly kissed me on the lips.
"I don't get why he does that," I told Jared. "We should just make out and get it over with."
Greta and I continued discussing Joan Didion because we party hard. Five minutes later, Steve walked in, grabbed me by the waist, and kissed me like he meant it.
Happy New Year, Auntie Debby. I was relieved to find out that Jared didn't even pay him.
Now I have to be annoying and cryptic and say that 2015 is going to be a year of uncertainty, and a lot of changes, and that change doesn't necessarily have to be scary. But ask me tomorrow.
Next week: Auntie Debby realness!! It was a full moon.