Friday, September 7, 2012

My Kind of Place

I walked by a bar tonight called the Qi Club, and it looked very exclusive, really not my kind of place.   I like the the places that the select people wouldn't select, that would never appear on Sex and the City or Girls (or HBO in general).  A neighborhood bar, a local haunt, the kind of place where the owner works the bar and knows the regulars by sight, is apt to offer one on the house to a good customer and stop by long enough to make conversation and not just make change.
I don't have a Cheers, where everybody knows my name.  I did have that kind of place for a while out in LA, because my friend worked there and a bunch of us played bar trivia every Wednesday night, and we always ordered the same things, so that we didn't even really have to order.  That place doesn't really exist anymore, it was completely renovated into something more hip that doesn't resemble our torn-cloth booth, sticky bar, light you could actually read by place.

There is a corner bar I frequent, with an old Irish man who owns it and employs students from the UK to work the bar and live in the apartments above.  Everyone is friendly and takes the time to let the Guinness settle while talking to you about the neighborhood or the picture of Gene Hackman hanging in the back of the bar.  There is a pool table and dart board in the back room, and on weekends they have live bands play, even getting some of the waitresses up to do a little Michael Flatly Irish dancing at times, very impressive.  I like this place very much and have brought many other people there when going out near where I live.
Recently, I have also adopted a pub near where I work for long Friday lunches, where the bartender/waiter we have befriended will pull up a chair and talk to us for long enough to forget to take our orders, but we forgive him.  We were told that when we don't show up for a week, he finds himself drunk at a bar depressed at 2am wondering what happened, and then remembers that we abandoned him.  He will go on to serve us shots of mimosas and tears (an interesting salty and bubbly concoction).  Despite the fact that this is a beer and (house) wine only kind of place, and I don't drink beer, I have come to love as well.
If you asked me where the happening new places in NYC to go out are, I would tell you to look online, try Huffington Post or Time Out NY.   I will be at the nearby spots where the drinks are cheap and the hospitality is abundant.  And if there is some trivia going on, I will be ecstatic, because I'm just that kind of nerd.   

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Best of SNL

A look back at some of the great Saturday Night Live skits and actors before the "Dick in a Box" era. (Or, How I'm procrastinating re-writing my novel, working title "Third Times a Charm.")

We have all come to love the comedy stylings of Andy Samberg and Seth Meyers, and we loved the years of Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Kristin Wiig, and Jimmy Fallon.  I can go back and watch any of the combination of these actors do Weekend Update, and recently watched all the clips I could find of Bronx Beat.  

 But before all of this, we had Adam Sandler (back when he was funny) and Dana Carvey (the Church Lady) and Mike Meyers (Coffee Talk) and Chris Rock (around when he was voted the Funniest Man Alive) and Chris Farley (RIP) and Will Ferrell (Jeopardy has never been the same).  The 90s had some superstars of comedy that we don't think about very much now, but I feel like they need some credit.  

There have been many terrible movies made out of SNL skits (Night at the Roxbury stands out as well as Superstar), but Wayne's World is a time capsule of the early 90s, complete with Claudia Schiffer references, a car trip to see Alice Cooper in concert, in which the famous Bohemian Rhapsody sing along takes place, and of course, the bad guy being a greasy hairs yuppie in a suit who wants them to sell out.  

And of course in addition to being the sidekick to Mike Meyer's Wayne, Dana Carvey had a number of other great performances, from the Church Lady, "well isn't that special," to his uncanny impression of George Bush Sr. (until Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, there hasn't been a better political impersonation on the show) to his Choppin' Broccoli song.  

Just about the time that Adam Sandler made his classic Billy Madison, he was on SNL singing the Chanukah Song.  I have to admit, I was never a big fan of the Chris Farley and David Spade combo that went on to create such masterpieces of irritation as Dumb and Dumber and Tommy Boy.  But I did enjoy Chris Farley's audition against Patrick Swayze for Chippendales.  

And of course let's not forget, Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy (so proud to say that the original book of Deep Thoughts was published by Berkley in 1992).  These are classics, and the website gives you a Deep Thought of the day.  One of my favorites is, "If you ever drop your keys into a river of molten lava, let'em go, because, man, they're gone."
I also enjoy the story of Uncle Caveman, “When I was a kid my favorite relative was Uncle Caveman. After school we'd all go play in his cave, and every once in a while he would eat one of us. It wasn't until later that I found out that Uncle Caveman was a bear.”

I have no idea why I'm reminiscing about old SNL skits except that they are mostly free to watch on Hula when new seasons of TV shows haven't started yet and most of what I want to watch on there is for Hula Plus members.  Fascists.