Monday, October 5, 2015

Loring Park Episode #55: Blue is the Grossest Color


Hello, children! Again, we are three months late. Since my financial situation is screwy again, I am hoping it leads to more nights in of blogging. I'll have less to write about it, but maybe it'll even out, no?

July began with our hot water being turned off! Apparently when you move to a duplex instead of an apartment, you have to establish a water bill. I am lucky enough to have parents who live nearby and I had no problem using their facilities. While waiting for the Centerpoint representative to arrive, I spent an entire afternoon reading a Forbes article about the wealthiest person in each state. Wisconsin's is the owner of Menards and he's a total Republican, but I found it interesting that he makes everybody (including executives) clock into work. Neat!

***

I enjoyed myself at Drag Queen Game Night with Piano Man. Piano Man moved further east of the Cities and I don't see him very much. We were going to exercise around Lake Calhoun (ha! last time I went I wore flip-flops and Steve and I walked around the whole lake and I had disgusting blisters for a month), but our schedules got delayed, so I convinced him to accompany me to Drag Queen Game Night. Piano Man is one of those men who is really attractive but since I don't see him very much, I forget about it until I'm in his presence. He picked me up in his car and smelled musky.

"Should I wear my glasses?" he asked. He was wearing a basketball jersey.
"Sure," I said. "You look smart."
"Or should I wear my hat?" he asked, and put it on backwards. "I know you like your broskis."





None of us got called up to play games (Drag Queen Game Night operates a Price is Right-format where your name is announced). I still enjoyed the show, as they rotate their cast monthly and I had a heck of a time being in the show in May, where I may or may not have sold the most tickets by a cast member. Hashtag humble brag.

We sat across of drag queen Jamie Monroe during the show and got our picture with her later. She enjoyed the view of Piano Man's biceps. Is that your man? she mouthed. I blushed but told her no. I used to do that thing where I would hang out with a cute boy and let people assume things, but I realized that it isn't fair to people to do that anymore. Piano Man went home with somebody else and I wasn't even mad. I got to sit by him for two and a half hours, dammit.

Former high school classmates of mine had a house party, and I attended before going to Big Louie's bingo (addiction is real). I enjoyed seeing everybody, even though it was jarring knowing that our ten year reunion is coming up. Some of us are a little paunchier. Some of us got hotter. Some of us have kids and dogs. A ridiculously attractive broski who announced he was voting for Trump was there, and I wanted to hate-fuck him for Bernie Sanders. Just my luck I would feel the bern. Of gonorrhea.

No, I'm kidding! He was perfectly nice and weighed 220 pounds. I shamelessly invited everyone to my shows the following week, because I was lucky enough to be working for a whole week at House of Comedy!





This was at Boy Kisses Comedy, which is every Sunday at Universe Games. It's an innovative show that always does a theme, and the show that I attended was a prom theme! FUN! I bought a kids' sport coat that was a little big for me, and the gummy bears I had weren't helping. Two days later I attended the House of Comedy's Funniest Person with a Day Job Contest, and these events helped re-invigorate my love of the local comedy scene.

July marked my birthday month. I wasn't planning on having a birthday party because my House of Comedy gigs were during the same week (a Wednesday-Sunday schedule, with my birthday being that Wednesday). In a miraculous occasion, I was off work that Sunday so I could have brunch! I scheduled a ten-person brunch at Union, then panicked when I saw that 34 people had RSVP'd as attending. My parents and grandparents could both attend and that made it five people already! Before my birthday brunch turned into a social Hunger Games, I tried to explicitly state who would be at "the table". My friend Julie called and asked if she and her boyfriend Adam could be placed to sit near us, and the reservationist just made it a table for 12.

But before that, I had SHOWS to do! Nick Turner was my headliner for the week and was beyond affable. The emcee was perfectly nice in person and, also, emceeing at the House of Comedy is HARD! They changed their format so it goes Emcee, Feature, Emcee for Another Ten Minutes, and Headliner. It requires an insane amount of energy. Featuring is rather easy, which may be why I wasn't booked for a year and a half after they changed their format. That being said, every now and then he would do a Caitlyn Jenner joke, and then he'd have to introduce ... me. I'd like to think I'm not uptight about gay or transphobic jokes. It certainly helps if they're, y'know, funny.

My best friend Erin and her husband came to the Wednesday show, as did my parents. Erin brought me a birthday bag of Listerine strips and Dots. I was ecstatic, except I couldn't open the Dots! I looked around and thought who could ....


...Okay, that is soap opera actor Brandon Beemer back from when he was on Days of our Lives as Shawn Brady, but they looked close enough. House of Comedy had employed an international model as one of their hosts and waiters. He had that jet black hair/blue eye combo thing going on, AND HE WAS SIX FOOT FOUR AND EIGHTEEN (which I would learn later).

"Can you open this?" I asked with a smile that I'm sure I thought was flirty.
"Sure," he smiled. And then he struggled! And couldn't get it open either! The entire time, Erin, who was eight feet away, was severely judging.
"Jacob Emmert!" she cried. "I can see you."

The gorgeous waiter had to fetch a knife to open the Dots, and then I didn't even want them anymore.

Anygay, as for the Wednesday show itself, they almost cancelled it due to low turnout. At the last minute, we were saved by a bachelorette party (who I would later learn were from a super duper conservative Christian school  -- so conservative it was profiled in this excellent piece by Andy Birkey). Before their arrival, I was torn if I wanted the show to be cancelled. Of course, I wanted to perform!!! But cancellation would mean I could go out earlier for Dane's birthday (for those new to the blog, Dane is my twin brother. Twins have the same birthday. One time Joey asked me how old Dane was and I laughed for two hours).

Cancellation would also mean I would have the best, saddest, show business story for my birthday.

"Jakey! How was your birthday?"
"My show was cancelled because six people were in the audience and four of them were my friends and family! Bring it, 29!"

The show went swimmingly, and we were off to The Bulldog (NE) to celebrate with Dane! My mom picked up Jared so he could join the festivities, since we were going to Uber to The Saloon afterward. Also, it would be fun to explain to everybody what a "nonsexual life partner" was.

He had 12 people at The Bulldog without a reservation! Oh, heterosexuals. My mother was mortified when a girl introduced herself as "Dane's dating consultant." "That's the last thing he needs," my mother huffed. Erin and Robbie were running late and I was worried that it meant they went to the wrong Bulldog (there is also one in downtown, and soon to be another one further Northeast in the old Gastaf's). My mother kept trying to get everyone to take pictures and my brother and I reverted to the behavior of petulant first-graders.


Erin and Robbie, on the other hand, never met a camera that they didn't like (or vice versa. Look at that gorgeousness!)

It was our time to head to The Saloon. It wasn't too crowded since it was a Wednesday, but there was a random shirtless hottie dancing and that was good enough for me! I chose to give Jared the following lessons in flirting:

  • See a hot guy about to put his shirt back on and convince him to wait half an hour because it's your birthday.
  • Unsolicitedly show him your driver's license in case he accuses you of lying. Purposely block out the year.
  • Have sympathy when he realizes he thought today was the 14th and may have had to go to work today.
  • Neglect to tell him your name. Make sure your keys on a lanyard stab him when you insist on a broski style hug.
  • Class is in session.


And while we are doing bullet points, these were my birthday wishes (three months later):


  • *Claritin and eye drops, now
  • *For you to come see me at House of Comedy any time this week Wednesday-Sunday (check their page for showtimes)
  • *Uppers
  • *World peace
  • *Hot broskis to do that thing where they take their sweater off but their shirt under it lifts up
  • *Scott Walker to be revealed as an evil robot invented by the Koch Brothers 
  • *For me to remember how to do a 15-minute feature set
  • *Six-pack abs by the next birthday
  • *A talk show


The social media narcissist in me LOVES birthdays, even though next year will be an unmentionable year. My favorite Tweet was from Emily, who wished me a day filled with shirtless bros and cooperative bowels. To wish I say: May my year be filled with that.                          

 ***

Thursday night we were to celebrate Charlie's birthday. Jared and Chuck came over to play Mario Party and Jared invited somebody else over. This houseguest -- who I will not name -- ate my sandwich that was on the table. Just walked up right to it and ate it!!! I screamed and swore at Jared and stayed mad at this person for two awkward months.

The comedy shows continued, and the crowds got better. More bachelorette parties (they were bitchier than the Christian girls)! I met people who are now my Facebook friends. The gorgeous host wasn't there every night, thank goodness. The Friday night show was attended by the same high school classmates that had the house party earlier, and their presence warmed my heart. My friend Kate came to one of my shows and somehow we got into an argument about entering a raffle. "I don't need a raffle to valiate my life!" she cried. "And neither do you! You're a beautiful person! You're so .... pink and yellow!" My friends Tan Man and Rene came to the show and I forgot to do the routine about Tan Man and I at Valleyfair! Failure! I ended up doing it later and made a 50-year-old woman in the front row pretend she was a fitness model. Friday was also attended by my cherished co-workers and nonsexual life partner.




Another wonderful guest to see at the shows was The Jason, who I have been friends with on Facebook forever and was thrilled to finally meet in person!


This is Jason with Frankie "The Clown" Mustari, who I used to appear on a wrestling podcast with once upon a time. Frankie is a much more successful (and genial) clown than I am.

Anygay, after the show I was going to meet Jason and his friends at the club! (They were visiting from Omaha) I must have been drunk enough, because I dared to actually hit the dance floor. Usually I just walk by it and wave. But the combination of alcohol, friends new and old, and my newfound age made me want to dance!

Jason was dancing with a girl and then dancing with me. And then, lo and behold, was Celebrity. And I'm used to seeing him at the club -- it's nothing new at this point -- but I wasn't used to him acting like kind of a dick.

You see, I firmly understand the politics of the dance floor. Having a good sense of humor does not offer the same capital that good dance skill (or, hell, any kind of dance skill), a masculine conduct, and a good body does. I get all that. Yet I certainly wasn't prepared for the high school antics of Celebrity completely brushing against me and trying to steal Jason for himself. Whatever happened to "May I cut in"? Am I reaching for the stars here?

I jokingly pushed at Celebrity, who brushed me away like a gnat, and that was the end of that exchange.

"What the hell?" Jason asked. "Who was that guy?"
"I have no idea," I said.



 I was no longer swayed by the power or jawline of Celebrity. I still told my jokes about him in my act over the next few months, but that was only because I was too lazy to write new stuff. Oh, well. We'll always have the time when we were in Miami over the same weekend or the time he told me the bathroom at The Engine Room didn't have a lock. Remember, children, this is gay high school, and he's the valedictorian/baseball stud and I'm the goofy gay kid who tried and failed to get everyone to join the drama club.





Jason escorted me out.
"Can I kissssshhhh youuuu?" I slurred.
"No," he smiled politely. I think I tried anyway.

                                       ***


Sunday was my birthday brunch, but I was already EXHAUSTED!!! Suck it, 29. I should note that on Thursday I was out and about for Charlie's birthday party, since his is the day after mine. With all these birthday parties going on, I was beginning to wonder if the Jehovah's Witnesses weren't on to something.

But back to me! The staff at Union was fantastic. I got there at 11 and Liam was first to arrive, followed by Steve, Joey, his friend Luke (who since moved to New York), Adam, Julie, and Paul Ryan. My parents and grandparents were half an hour late because Grandma Shirley was too busy mingling at church. I may not have inherited her voracious church attendance, but I did inherit her high level of extroversion.

Everything went swimmingly despite the 90-minute limit of table time at Union brunch. My aunt Megan and uncle Ander arrived and hoped to get me a Saloon gift certificate, but the manager wasn't there ("but the bartender knew you!" Megan cried, and my mother rolled her eyes in epic fashion), so they settled for a Domino's card instead. My mom gave me an Oscar that said "World's Greatest Son". I flirted with Paul Ryan and Esquire and Megan was convinced I was dating both of them. Paul Ryan wanted to go to Lake Calhoun but I opted for LUSH instead.

However, I couldn't drink at LUSH because of the Sunday show. Which was fine, except I was so tired I would have just gone to bed had I not been celebrating my birthday. My friend Andrew was flirting with Esquire while Abercrombie was there with his two friends who are tall, hot models.

"Jakey's funny," Abercrombie said.
"Whatever," said one of the tall models. "I'm funny."
Uggghhhh. Just let me have this one thing, Adonis.

Andrew gave me a caffeine pill, but I wouldn't feel its effects until RIGHT BEFORE MY SHOW STARTED. Being onstage felt like I was in a Final Destination film. Jack took the train to the mall to see the show, and my friend Jenny came for a second appearance. I was sad that the week was over  but was relieved to get paid. I neglected to tell the gorgeous waiter that I would miss him the most.

Also, I told the young DJ earlier in the week that I wanted to come out to "anything by Mariah Carey," and he would later tell me that "I couldn't find a song by her called 'Anything'." Oh, youth.


I still showed up at The Saloon later that night. I wore sunglasses so I could fall asleep without anybody noticing. Jack and I sat with his friend Barrett, who is sweet and twinky and works at the leather shop.

"You guys look like you're bad kids in detention," Barrett said.
"Whatever, teach," Jack laughed. Then I probably drifted off.



But when I woke back up I saw this gorgeous woman! Her name is Amy and I legitimately hadn't seen her in ten years. I met her when I was living in New York and was a depressed hole of suck. She has since married and graduated with honors, and personally reached out to me when I was going through a rough episode (still my favorite episode of the show, but a rough episode nonetheless).

After a week that was a whirlwind, I found myself thankful and reflective. I poured my heart out to Facebook (and apologize for any repetition):

On the feelings train. This is going to be SO LONG and I should just get a damn journal.
This was one of the best and busiest and most exhausting weeks of my life. I got booked at House of Comedy for the first time in over a year and a half. It coincided with my birthday, but mine was on a Wednesday this year and I could be annoying and do BIRTHDAY WEEK or BIRTHDAY MONTH or BIRTHDAY YEAR. I figured it meant I wouldn't do a party, which was fine.
Not only did my real job generously let me work all early shifts to accomodate my schedule, but I shockingly got a Sunday off! Brunch was in order. The staff and service at UNION were great. I was joined by my parents, my paternal grandparents, my aunt and uncle, new friends, close-knit friends, old friends, and a friend I have known since fourth grade.
So many friends (and two family members! And an Internet friend visiting from Nebraska!)) of mine came to the shows this week and their laughter and support mean everything to me. I didn't always remember every punchline or slow down. Audience members were so sweet after the shows, including a girl named Bailey who talks as fast as I do and refused to believe Loretta was the mother of a 29-year-old. Loretta asked Bailey how many drinks she had. The answer was three. And even though I was low on the totem pole, the staff at HOC treated me like a freaking diva, even when I was awkwardly flirting with most of them. (I didn't just schoolboy flirt with the 20-year-old host who looks like the ex-boyfriend in a high school comedy. I spread that goodness around. I want my brother to date the nursing student who runs the desk.) They even let me come onstage to Mariah. When I first asked the cute DJ to play anything by Mariah, he tried looking for a Mariah Carey song called "Anything". I think he was also 20.
I actually hung out with comedians this week -- at Boy Kisses Comedy(which is not the name of my memoir but an incredibly innovative and entertaining showcase on Sunday nights), at the Funniest Person with a Day Job Finals, and throughout the week. I should reach out and see these people more often instead of hiding behind my excuses or, when I do show up, jet off to the bar right away. The bar will still be there an hour later. I don't know why I am so awkward around other comedians when we're *all* awkward. It's why we get up there and talk about our issues and traumas and genitals. Mike Brody said something similar tonight and it is sticking with me.
I don't have anything booked right now because show business. I am back to my real job for eight days in a row, where I hope to remain energetic and positive, even in the mornings or if I close on a Saturday.
There is so much hatred and nastiness in the world and on the Internet and I can only try to be cognizant of gratitude.
I could be making and saving more money and paying Loretta back more money. My torso could be tighter. My sexy and painful gastric issues could be better improved with eating habits of a healthy adult and not a 10-year-old with a generous allowance. I could stop hearing sad songs or reading sappy quotes and constantly letting my head and heart go to someone who I really thought I was gonna make happy someday. Maybe he's happy because I'm not around anymore. I am not owed a progress report.
My life is really big. I don't know how much of that is me wanting it that way or if it's the Universe or God. I know that my heart is FULL when I think of all those who have lived it with me, in various depths and capacities.
And I also want world peace.                                        
Ugh. That's a lot.


                                  ***
The debt solution people I am working with told me they were almost ready to settle with Wells Fargo, but they just needed a thousand dollars. If I had a thousand dollars on hand, I would not have gone into debt consolidation. Weeks later, the deal was settled! HOORAY!!!



I was still going through health problems and finally went back to the butt doctor. Without being TMI, I didn't have anything ... wrong. And I knew it wasn't cancer. Okay, like 95% of me knew that. Whenever you have a health scare, you will have that 5% of your brain/heart/stomach that thinks death is imminent and the only outcome. But this time I did not have a nervous breakdown, even though I was still frazzled because I was going to have to pull my pants down and the doctor is relatively easy on the eyes. Also, if you ever have a rectal exam from a doctor, he will bring in a nurse without introducing her and she's just, like, there for the party.

"Hi," I said. "Good to see you again." I believe in etiquette. My asshole may have even winked at her.

And while everything was fun, he dyed my butt blue. He said it was supposed to help with discomfort. I agreed wholeheartedly with the proceedings.
"Most people at least ask questions because I'm going to dye their butt blue," he said.
"Maybe it's the new bleaching," I said.

If hell froze over and I were to get laid that week, I could have had Smurf Sex. Instead I'm sure I just had blue balls to match my blue asshole during a blue moon.

     ***

Steve, Joey, Jared and I went to the casino because I had a free room. Jared stunk up the bathroom and Steve wouldn't cuddle because he had a boyfriend. We chicken fought in the pool and lost all our money and I bonded with an elderly couple in the hot tub who were driving in from the Mayo clinic because the husband was dying of colon cancer. She was remarkably resigned yet upbeat about the whole thing. I learn every day that life is short and precious and we should tell people in our lives that we love them.

Except for that one dude or that one dude, because come on.

Next week: Jakey learns about open relationships! Everyone but me gets a new job!






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