Seth Rogen: America's Funnyman

“When I apologize to people, generally I do not take to a public forum to do it,” whispered Seth Rogen into the microphone.

He leaned back in his seat and allowed Howard Stern to go on another diatribe, peppered by comments from Robin. Seth was upset at Katherine Heigl for calling him a sexist, and when she apologized publicly, he felt it wasn't enough. He wanted a personal apology, and he just told the world. His manager would be upset, but he didn’t care.

A few years ago, Seth was sitting in his apartment, sobbing. Funny People bombed and the Green Hornet’s returns were tepid, if not cold. His phone had been off for days and yet nobody came.

Except for one person.

After failing to get a callback from Seth for over 72 hours, Rogen’s manager crawled through a window and found Seth slumped against his refrigerator.

“What’s the matter, champ?” he asked.

Seth looked up and answered, “I am no longer able to conjure humor.”

The manager took the Jack Daniels bottle out of Seth’s hands and said, “that’s what I’m here for.”

After pouring a pot of black coffee down Seth’s throat, he ordered him a chef and a trainer. No longer would he be the rotund clown. No, he would be repackaged as a half-handsome everyman. His ability to conjure humor gone, his goofy eyes and hearty laugh were now two pieces of wreckage of his old self upon which he would float on for the rest of his career. But what about the comedy?

His manager took care of that.

Days earlier on the Tonight Show he lip synced and danced to “Hot-Line Bling.” When his handlers submitted the bit to Jimmy Fallon’s people, they balked.

“Eh, this song is like a year old now, and it’s already been parodied and lip synced, even on this show,” said the head writer.

Seth sat stoically and eyed his manager, who continued.

“Not only will Seth be lip syncing this dumb fucking song, but he’s gonna do it within inches of your band and they’re gonna act like they fucking love it. They’re gonna act like it’s the funniest fucking thing in the world.”

This was a tall order. Jimmy Fallon’s band was The Roots, a group of talented African-American musicians. They would not like seeing a white actor mocking a fellow African-American artist. Seth stood up and walked out of the room, leaving his handlers and the Tonight Show team quietly looking up from their seats.

His manager waited until Seth was out of earshot and glared at the executive producer.

“Or he walks, like he just fucking did out of this room.”

The Tonight Show couldn’t lose a draw like Seth Rogen. It was not as though Jimmy would care anyway, they had lost him months ago.

When Seth got into the back of his car, his manager was sitting there waiting. After a few miles, Seth broke the silence.

“I said what I believe. I am owed an apology. Judd is owed an apolo...”

“Shut your dumb fucking mouth,” answered the manager, “shut it right now."

Seth stared straight ahead. His manager continued.

“I put you on Howard Stern to laugh and talk about getting high and then laugh again, that’s all you fucking do. You don’t take a big steaming pile of shit on your female demographic!”

Seth stared out his window, expressionless.

“This will be in the news cycle for a few weeks but it’ll die down. Sausage Party isn’t counting on the female demo, thank God, but this shit better die down for your next dumb fucking rom-com.”

Seth continued staring as his car drove down Madison Avenue. He liked to look into the shops. He decided to tell his assistant to buy him a new suit in LA. Gucci. He looked at his manager, who was now scrolling through his iPhone. Seth started to feel badly that he let down the one person who saved his career. But he would not apologize. Those days were over. Now, people apologized to him.

He was America’s Funnyman.

The Subway Bouncer

I got on the front car of an N train headed into the city, as is my wont, when I noticed a man who appeared to be both mentally disturbed and homeless at one end of the car. He was loudly grumbling to himself, and I paid him no mind,  until he stood up and sat at another seat. He then stood up and sat at yet another seat, inching closer towards everybody seated at the other end of the car.

At this point I went into my classic Jamaica, Queens defensive posture, which is to pretend I don't see, hear or smell anything until I get to my destination. As the man continued moving towards the populated end of the car, the subway train stopped between stations. Now this isn't unusual, what with train traffic and the MTA's commitment to making sure trains don't work too hard. However, the conductor's door then slid open, and a very upset engineer emerged.

"What did I tell you? Stay on your side!" he screamed.

The disturbed man continued mumbling but went back to his original seat. Apparently there had been an earlier confrontation between these two, but when the man sat down the engineer warned him, "Now stay there!"

I was shocked by this. I'd never seen an MTA engineer take interest in anything that happens within a train, and I've seen fist fights, dance shows, mariachi concerts, and occasionally, all three at the same time. As the train inched towards the city, the disturbed man again started sitting in many seats. To my bewilderment, the train stopped again and the conductor's door opened.

"That's it! I warned you!" shouted the engineer. 

I was a little peeved now. The engineer was going to call the police and this poor man would be harassed and arrested. Not to mention the 10 minute "police investigation" by which we'd be delayed. The disturbed man ran through the doors to the back of the train and the conductor got back in the cockpit and we were off. I figured this was the end of it. But I was wrong.

When we got to 57 and 7, the largest man I've ever seen got on the train.

Now I've never met Shaq, let alone played with him, so I guess there are larger men out there. But a man I could only describe as an actual giant, who had to bend down to both fit into the train and walk throughout it, walked on dressed in all black, the only official thing about him was "MTA" written on the back of his jacket. 

"Where he at?" he roared.

I stared at him slack-jawed. The conductor's door opened again and out came the engineer with a bottle of Febreeze. 

"He ran to the back!" said the engineer, and the giant lumbered out of our car towards the back of the train.

The engineer then walked to nearly every seat the disturbed man sat in and sprayed Febreeze and wiped it down. He turned to us.

"Folks, I run a clean train! No ruckuses aboard my train!" he yelled as he sprayed.

About 10 people stared in utter shock as he took about 3 minutes to wipe down all the seats and then hurriedly made his way back to the wheel. 

Wow, I thought to myself. The MTA found a giant man living in the tunnels and gave him a job.

God bless him, and God bless the MTA.

Gas with Benefits

Years ago when I owned a car in NYC, I drove to Staten Island to visit a friend. This was when gas prices were reaching record highs, and I believe it was $4 a gallon at the time.

As I drove to his house using my printed out MapQuest directions, I spotted a gas station sign on the next block offering extremely low prices. 

"$1.89 a gallon?! Hell yeah," I said as I made my way over.

I started wondering how Staten Island could offer such low prices compared to the rest of NYC, since we all pay the same taxes, when I pulled up to a completely boarded up Mobil station. My heart sunk, until I read something somebody had spray painted on one of the boards.

"And a $5 blowjob too!"

I sighed and drove away.

Gas for $1.89 and blowjobs for $5, how did this place ever go out of business?

Bodega Home

My dream home has always been an old bodega. 

Obviously, I’m single in this dream (I asked and she said no.) I bring home a lady, and as we approach the bodega, she asks, “Do you live above this bodega?” and I smile wryly and go, “Not really.” She wonders why the gates aren’t down even though this bodega is clearly closed, and why the windows are replaced with frosted plexi-glass.

I unlock the bodega door, and as we enter, the bodega’s automatic lights come on.

“Oh my God, you live in a fucking bodega,” she says.

The old bodega floors are polished light brown. She sees the familiar bodega counter, but it’s now a kitchen with tall seats around the counter, now a kitchen table. To her right, she spies a small living room set up, a couch, a coffee table, a TV against the wall, and to the left of that several familiar shelves, now filled with books instead of corn flakes and cat food.

There’s a door.

“What’s that?”

We enter the bedroom, aka the old bodega backroom. It has exposed brick walls, and I’ve replaced the harsh cement floor with some sandalwood. The small bathroom has been expanded with a bathtub, and the door to the back has been replaced with a large window.

“Holy shit I can’t believe you live in a bodega,” she says before she shakes my hand and leaves.

The next morning I wake up alone, as I often do now, and walk over to the kitchen. There are two plates and two sets of silverware that I had pre-set the day before, and I pull a large Turkey from the fridge and slice it on the old deli slicer.

The ringing question, “Why did I do this?” is never answered.

Phone Tag

Somebody’s been calling me every day from the same number once a day for the past 18 days without leaving a voicemail. I never pick up. Usually, I just look down at my phone and see a missed call. However, there are some days where I see it ringing and I summarily ignore it. As with most things I find peculiar, it’s made me think a lot about how I feel about phones and other things.

I feel like there’s a growing anxiety towards the phone. Most people hate voicemails, and I too am uncomfortable when ANYBODY leaves a voicemail because I assume it’s bad news or somebody asking me to call them back because they want to tell me the bad news in real time. Why do I think that? It’s actually never ever happened to me. Do other people feel that way?

From what I’ve gathered, an almost equally large group of people don’t want phone calls at all and would rather just get a text. I somewhat understand that, as texts provide immediate information that phone calls and voicemails do not and give the receiver control over whether or not he or she responds, but I like phone calls! I spent my entire high school talking on the phone. When I was in high school, asking people out on AOL was a huge faux pas because it “wasn’t real” and I for some reason have not shed that idea.

Which brings me to my next point - whenever I believe there’s a chorus of people who feel anxiety about the same thing, I want to go in the opposite direction. It’s like - so many people hate voicemails that I kinda want voicemails. So many people hate talking on the phone that I want people to call me. “Dude just text me.” Oh ok then fuck texting.

So I think about all these things every time this phone number calls me. In my head it’s one of two people: a robocalling service that calls numbers until they pick up, or a person who is tied up and who has been hitting dial on a cell phone when her kidnapper takes his or her daily afternoon nap.

But today I just decided to block the number. I just felt like, no matter who was calling, if I picked up after 18 tries, they won and I lost. I really did feel that way and it’s embarrassing to admit that.

But this is the internet and this ain’t real.

The Most Illegal Manicure Ever

When I turned 17 my mom told me to try and get regular manicures because she used to be a housekeeper for rich men and they always had nice nails.

“Also your father’s nails are horrible. Don’t be like your father,” she added.

Most people feel uncomfortable about nail salons after the breathtaking NY Times piece about the mistreatment to which manicurists are subjected. This would be my first time since the article, and I decided that not going would just hurt more people and that I would tip my nail professional 30%.

The owner of the salon made a blowjob motion to me midway through my manicure, but I’ll get back to this.

So anyway I walked into my usual place, a few blocks from my office, and the owner, who recognizes me as the only man who ever walks in there, brought me to a table in the back. There were plenty of manicurists sitting at their stations, but I am never allowed to sit with them. Instead, whenever I go to this nail salon, I am taken to another table in the back and the owner shouts for her 25-year-old or so daughter to come out and do my nails.

I have two theories about why she makes her daughter do my nails. First theory: her daughter is new and needs practice. Instead of unleashing her on obdurate critics of the female persuasion, why not get some reps on a shy man who is ok with everything? 

My second theory is that she wants me to date and/or marry her daughter, and honestly, she has good taste. Not only am I respectful and clearly have a job (provider), but I know the family business! But I digress. 

I might add I don’t have a wedding ring but I digress again.

Well anyway midway through my manicure, already feeling uncomfortable about the daughter thing and the fact that workers here may be mistreated, the owner walked up to me and said, “You want?” and quite literally made the universal sign for blowjob (holding a small invisible toilet roll in her mouth and sliding it up and down.)

I was pretty shocked by this. Of course, I’m not an idiot. I said yes please. I knew she meant something else. However, WHAT THE FUCK COULD IT BE?!

“You want?” she said again pantomiming a blowjob.

After finally gathering myself after 2 or 3 seconds, I finally asked, “I’m sorry. What?”

Her daughter, for the first time in months, finally spoke up:

“Water.”

“Oh, water, no thank you,” I answered, my face beet red.

The rest of the manicure went without incident. I walked out (after tipping 30%) and took a deep breath. A homeless woman danced in the street and a police car drove around her to ticket a truck. 

All was back to normal.

Words to Live By

We were at 49th St. on an extremely crowded N train this morning when a young man walked up to the doors as they opened.

“Is this the N going to Queensborough?”

A man next to me shook his head and pointed the other way, ostensibly explaining that he’d have to go the other way. I decided to further elucidate his point by uttering, “You gotta get on the other side.”

The young man nodded, but very weirdly just went to a bench and sat back down. I was pretty bemused by this, and I looked at the guy who pointed and went, “he just sat back down again,” thinking it’d get a laugh.

Instead the guy looked at me liked I dropped an ice cream cone on his shoe and went:

“His life. His rules.” 

I then felt very embarrassed, as I often do about everything. I’m sure this guy is gonna go to his office and complain that two strangers in a row talked to him on the train while he “tried to make heads or tails out of the Johnson Report” or something. But at the end of the day, I (hopefully) will not feel ashamed for passing along something I thought was peculiar to a person that was involved in the whole ordeal.

We got a guy waiting for something that will never come, asking for answers he doesn’t listen to. I then started thinking about how a lot of us are probably more like that guy than we’d like to think.

Eh, fuck it: Our life. Our rules. 

Chocolate Barred

I was at the counter of my local Key Foods buying the essentials (water, milk, and a Lindt: Classic Recipe Milk Chocolate bar) when the cashier grabbed the chocolate bar she had just scanned back out of the bag. She rescanned it. She typed something into the register. She scanned again. She typed something again. I supposed there was a problem with the price, but with a long line behind me, she shouted to the back.

“Luis! Come here!”

I’ve been a customer at this local Key Foods since I moved to Astoria, and I had learned in that time that this woman was not just a cashier, but also the mother of the owner. Why the owner’s mother works the counter has always been beyond me, but I suppose she’s part of the last generation of people who understand the value of hard work. Luis, a short, extremely bored-looking Latin man with a small handheld computer, approached us.

“Luis, why is this $2.50? It’s supposed to be $2.99,” she asked.

I was surprised. I was hoping she had stopped the line because I was grossly overcharged, but instead I had inadvertently saved 49 cents. Luis took the candy and started typing into his handheld machine.

It was at this point that I began to feel the stress of the people behind me in line, and because I am not a part of this woman’s generation, I care very little about 50 cents. However, before offering to just give her two quarters, I saw on the screen next to the Lindt Classic Recipe Milk Chocolate bar the word “sale.”

“It says it’s on sale,” I told the woman.

Immediately, the woman grabbed the candy bar from Luis, put it in the bag, and quietly shushed me. 

“Shhh. It’s ok. Shhh,” she whispered as she handed me my bag.

As I left, I initially figured she didn’t want anybody to know she messed up. But as I walked home, I realized it wasn’t that. She’s the owner’s mother. She can mess up as much as she wants. The real issue was that she didn’t want me announcing to the store that the Lindt Classic Recipe Milk Chocolate bars were on sale.

Well, that’s something she’ll have to work out with her son.

Among other things.

Birthday Man

As I turn 31 I am reminded of something that happened at the UCB ticket booth only a short while ago. I approached the booth, and as is my wont, I tepidly said, "Hi, one please, I'm a performer." The gentleman behind the gate, whom I did not know, gave me a big smile and went, "Dude, of course, you're the man."

An almost sheepish euphoria came over me. Here I am - performer at this theater for nearly 4 years, making comedy videos, been on TV a few times - here I am acting like a nobody when in fact I am actually "the man." I collected my ticket and flashed the ticket-man a winning smile that I was sure he'd treasure the rest of his life. "Alexis Pereira smiled at me once," he'd tell his kids or say in an Splitsider oral history.

As I waited to get my ticket scanned at the door, the person behind me in line walked up to the booth and asked, "Excuse me, is this where you get tickets for a UCB show?" The ticket-man's answer?

"Dude, of course, you're the man."

100 Male Virgins

Yesterday there were signal problems on several major MTA lines and every train that made it to the station was basically the last chopper out of Saigon. This led to a confrontation between two men who immediately apologized to each other and agreed that it would be wrong to argue because they don’t know where it could go.

“I’m sorry buddy, why am I yelling at a stranger? You could be a killer.”

“You really never know in this city, some cop killed a kid yesterday, and he was an old man. You never know who can do what.”

They had a very friendly chat about crime in New York City, how dangerous it used to be, and one got off and the other told him “best wishes to you and your family.” Everybody in the train car was heartened by this interaction, especially an older woman who approached the man still in the car.

“We need more people like you, good people,” she said.

I was able to move away from this conversation as more room in the car opened up, but suddenly the two of them, both white with thick old school NYC accents, began talking about the Koran.

“You got those people over there using the Koran for no good,” said the woman, “None of that nonsense is in the Koran.”

“Nowhere in the Koran is the word war,” replied the man.

I felt a little nervous about this conversation. Where is this going? They were speaking quite loudly and the train was about 3/4 full. But then the woman continued:

“And they’re blowing themselves up for 100 virgins, even the women are blowing themselves up. What would a woman want with 100 virgins? 100 guys who don’t know what they’re doin!”

I can best describe New York City as the answer to the question, “What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?” It’s 24 hours of madness organized as neatly as possible.

And I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

My Comedian Friends in LA

The following sentences were pulled verbatim from a recent email I received: 

"As a fellow lover of all things comedy, I love the videos you’re making and the connection you have with your subscribers. My comedian friends and I here in LA have been huge fans of yours for some time and can’t get enough of the energy and freshness that you inject into every video you put out."

Obviously, this isn’t a real email. Oh, at first I was flattered, but then I re-read it and realized there wasn’t a single unique phrase in the entire thing about me or my channel - just a smartly written copy-and-pasted email that would have made 21 year old me sign away his life.

(I’d like to thank all the scams I’ve fallen for and horrible experiences I’ve had in comedy the past 10 years for preparing me for this day.)

However, I’ve been laughing at the phrase, “comedian friends in LA” for days. It’s the most perfectly vague thing to say to an amateur comedian, and I hope to one day write a line with half as much inspiration.

My comedian friends in LA would love it.

Passivity in the Time of Cholera

I visited my dad yesterday and asked him what he wanted for dinnerlunch. I call it dinnerlunch because as my parents have aged, dinner has moved earlier and earlier. When you factor in the intense fear they have that I will starve to death, dinners with my parents begin at 2pm.

"Anything," he answered, and I suggested a pizza with sausage and onions, to which he gave a thumbs up.

The biggest thing about Jamaica, Queens that drives me insane is that the customer service, and any service in general, is horrible. For example, the local Baskin Robbins doesn’t have birthday cakes, and the woman behind the counter told me that somebody tries to buy a cake every day. I told her they should get cakes.

"Maybe," she replied before going back to playing Snake on her phone.

And so I called up the local pizza place preparing for an onslaught, and I got just that.

"Hi, I’d like to order a pizza for delivery," I said as politely as possible.

"Address," he said bluntly. I gave him my parent’s address, and he quickly said, "Buh-bye" and slammed the phone down.

Now, I’m not a business man, nor am I a pizza man, but “pizza” is pretty vague. I knew that he was probably not going to send over a slice, but I had wanted sausage and onions on a large pie and a bottle of coke, and instead, I would be receiving “pizza.” I debated calling the gentleman back, but because of my EXTREME passivity, I decided to just see what happened. 

Thirty minutes later, I was heartened to see a car pull up and a delivery man get out with a large pie. I asked him how much, and he replied, “$300” paused and said, “Nah, $17” I gave him a 20 and sent him on his way. I then opened the pizza to discover sausage and pepperoni and a receipt that was addressed to somebody else.

People say when you’re passive, everybody walks all over you. This is true, except often people walk over you to fuck up someone else’s day.

People Gotta Stop Hatin' On Star Trek: Voyager

I saw an article headline on io9 that read, “Why Star Trek: Voyager Meant the World to Me.” Oh how my heart sang. A pretty major website published an article about my beloved Voyager. Then, in the second sentence, the author claims that the show is tied for worst Star Trek with Enterprise.

Oh how my heart sank.

The only reason people dislike Star Trek: Voyager is that it’s the only Star Trek that ISN’T propaganda for the American Military Complex.

For the uninitiated, Star Trek is about a super-powerful space organization called the Federation, which is based on Earth and expanding its influence throughout the galaxy while keeping its less powerful, yet still dangerous, enemies in check. There’s a male captain who wrestles with tough ethical decisions every episode, the hallmark of the series, though behind every option is his super powerful space army. Perhaps in the original series the Federation was a bit susceptible, but The Next Generation’s Captain Picard is basically Space Ronald Reagan.

Star Trek: Voyager, on the other hand, takes a wholly different approach. A powerful ship is launched through a wormhole 70,000 light years from Earth. Alone on the other side of the galaxy, Captain Janeway, a decidedly flawed female captain, has to bring her crew back to Earth.

Alone.

This to me this is the series’ greatest strength. Whereas TOS and Next Generation and even DS9 under-equip their forces, sending one crew into a caustic situation and then sending an away team of like 3 guys into a dangerous planet, the Voyager crew has no choice. More often than not,  they can’t fight. Sure they have a powerful ship, but there’s no space army behind them. You wanna talk about boldly going where no man has gone before - Voyager is doing exactly that.

Voyager’s second biggest strength is that it reaffirms Roddenberry’s vision of diversity. One of the earliest criticisms I heard of the show was that it was some sort of affirmative action, that a female captain, a black vulcan AND a Latino gangmember first officer was too transparent. But this is almost literally what TOS was. Gene Roddenberry purposely made his cast diverse just to inject some into television. Nothing wrong with that. The next series, The Next Generation, nearly undoes Roddenberry’s good work by claiming that if you’re not white, you gotta be weird. I mean, look at the cast.


The only non-white people are a monster, a blind man, and Worf.

Now, was the series perfect? Eh, of course not - but you’re not gonna get much perfection on UPN in the ‘90s. The Next Generation is pretty good, of course, but it was broadcast just a few years before. Voyager has to do a lot of side-stepping in an inspired effort not to touch upon the same themes and plots. Also, I’ll put Voyager’s series of episodes through Borg space up against any other show’s episodes. Species 8472? A masterpiece. For the first time, the Federation goes from being untouchable to a helpless sidekick desperate for help.

Deep Space 9? It’s ok, but there’s something a little silly about a Federation space station that is hard-up for light bulbs. And Enterprise? Yeah, that’s what people want - ships and weapons we’ve seen work for 40 years suddenly not working.

So let’s stop hating on Voyager. Or at least, if Voyager pisses you off, really think about why. 

May I also add: the Doctor is basically the best character in series history.

New York City in the '80s

I remember standing with my dad, December 22nd, 1988, at Rockefeller Center. There were hundreds of people in a circle, staring at a bunch of shiny balls and tinsel laying on the ground.

While the tourists looked on confused, every New Yorker knew exactly what had happened:

Somebody had stolen the tree again.

New York City in the '80s was rough.

Take the subway ride home, for example. The biggest mistake a father and son could make was to ride in the same car. Thieves were abound in those days, and in fact, several moonlighted as subway conductors. A father and son looking like they left their posh Upper East Side mansion on their way to Yankee Stadium was an easy target. And so, my father would get on one car and wrap a dirty blanket around himself. He’d even pee his pants if somebody got close. I would go into another car and sit by myself. A 4-year-old sitting by himself might seem defenseless, but thieves would assume I was either a. a trap or b. a ghost.

“Weren’t there police in the '80s?” people often ask me.

Oh there were police, but before “Broken Windows,” barely anything was illegal. Today, even having a broken window is illegal. In the '80s? You could set a park bench on fire and a cop would just call you a knucklehead and ask you to “take it to the next block.” Somebody even kidnapped Mayor Ed Koch for a month, but they had such a good time together, he let the Mayor go and nobody thought twice about it.

One of the biggest differences between the 1980’s and today is that today the police have something called a “Commissioner.” (It’s an idea they got from the Batman comics.) In the '80s, people just went to the Police Store, bought a uniform and baton, and beat the shit out of anybody who averted eye contact.

My father and I get to our stop and are walking home. We’re together now, except I’m on his shoulders with the blanket wrapped around my body and his face as to appear like we’re just one 8 foot tall man. Somebody opened a fire hydrant, cool in the summer but deadly in this -10 degree weather. We walk around it.

When we get to our stoop, my father makes me wait there while he goes inside to make sure my mother isn’t making love to the landlord. I look around. Cars with their wheels stolen sitting on bricks. Apartment buildings boarded up. Women stepping out, having their purse snatched, going back in, only to come back out and get their purse snatched again. NYC in the ‘80s was the wild west, except way worse.

“It’s gotta get better,” I think.

And it does.

Celebrating 2014 - My Last Unfamous Year

I’ll miss it.

2014 will prove to be my last unfamous year. In 2015, after a slow start coupled with some shocking news (you’ll debate whether or not you saw it coming but agree I was kinda a douche), I’ll be famous and my new, better life will begin. But I’ve always been a man who looks back longingly on humble beginnings. What I wouldn’t give for one more week as a 12 year old in Jamaica, Queens, or one more day as a 20 year old painting a college theater set all night, or one more hour teaching 7th grade Social Studies to rowdy kids when I was just out of college.

And when I’m famous I’m sure I’d give everything to remember what it was like to not have…well…everything.

2014 will be the last year I worried. I know what you’re thinking, “Isn’t that relief?” Well that’s exactly the problem, I also won’t get any relief. No need for it. Like a lollipop after a good doctor’s visit - no shot, no lollipop. 

And I’ll miss real friendship, too. My friends now are actual people who are with me not to be close to riches or fame. There’s no Hollywood back-scratching. As my friend Francis once said, “I have nothing to gain by being friends with Alexis and instead am often dragged into his sick psychological cat-and-mouse games.”

At least that’s what he wrote that time he left his gmail open on my laptop.

My friends in 2015, on the other hand, will either be other famous actors whose soul left them long ago or hangers-on desperate for a “piece of the pie.” As my mom would always say, “If you want a piece of the pie, you better bring a knife.”

It’ll be a battle every day.

Last but not least, the thing I’ll miss most about not being famous back in 2014 is myself. I’m myself quite a lot, but next year in 2015 when I’m famous, I’ll have to go on talk shows, and act in movies and tv, and talk to publicists and producers, and impress Kevin Spacey at parties. I’ll rarely be the “real” me. When would I have the time?

And then one day a party at my mansion will end, everybody leaves. And I’ll look in the mirror and wonder, “Who are you? Who the fuck am I looking at?”

And then I’ll look at the cover of People and go, “Oh, that’s me.”

I would have known that in 2014.

I've Never Internet Dated Because There Was No Internet 7 Years Ago Back When I Met My Girlfriend

I often ask my friends what it’s like to meet someone on the internet. Tinder, OKCupid, what-have-you. Must be exciting. Also, must be a drag sometimes? I wouldn’t know, because there was no internet 7 years ago back when I met my girlfriend.

My girlfriend and I are tickled about the idea of meeting each other on the internet. What picture would we have used? What would our bio say? Once we sat down and wrote each other’s internet dating bio as a trust exercise. We just get such a kick out of it.

Of course, we met at the library back when we were in university. Would have been nice for there to be a digital database of ideas back in 2007! But that’s ok, because when I pulled “Reconstruction:1865-1877” off the shelf, there she was: writing (remember writing?) an outline for her impending term paper with a pencil that was down to a nub.

I gave her a new pencil and she gave me the phone number of the house in which she was staying.

“The most important thing is you gotta have thick skin,” said my friend John Townsend once. If that’s the case then I better hold on to this one. I would never be able to handle people being able to see a picture of me and read my interests ANONYMOUSLY and at ANY TIME. And also, what if my interests changed? Or if I changed my appearance? All that outdated information is stored forever on the cloud!

Trying to change the internet is like trying to redesign a lake with a bottle of Poland Spring.

One thing that I am envious of though is the ability (of a single man) to meet many women. My friend John Townsend spends most of our time swiping left or right on Tinder and he gets 15-20 matches every time. Can you imagine having 15-20 possible dates at your fingertips?

When I first laid eyes on my girlfriend, she was the first woman I had seen in a week.

The downside to 15 dates is math. 15X$150 = $2250. And that’s not including second dates! My friend John Townsend said he usually tries to meet girls for coffee or at the park, but she’s a date not my AA Sponsor. I spent well over $200 on my first date with my current girlfriend, and unlike a loan: you’ll get MORE interest down the line if you put up a ton of money upfront.

The internet is a young person’s game anyway. I’m pushing 30 and soon, a surly orderly will be pushing me in a chair with wheels. Or on a hoverboard? So have fun you crazy kids, and most importantly, don’t write anything that might offend a future employer!

Or a future girlfriend.

Like the one I met 7 years ago back when there was no internet.

The Nicest Thing I've Ever Not Witnessed

My dad has driven a 4x4 SUV his entire time in America. In 1996, he had a Chevy Blazer, and he took it to Firestone for an oil change. The mechanic broke the oil cap, and without telling my dad, quietly slipped into the shop and replaced it.

With the wrong cap.

It was really cold that night, but not cold enough that on his way back from work deep in the Bronx, the cap melted, spilling precious oil into the street. You don’t need to know much about cars to know that without oil, an engine basically explodes. And there he was. A 60 year old man. Alone. At 2am. In the warehouse district of the Bronx. And the temperature just fell under 20 degrees.

My dad says that nobody drives along that road, and since he sets the alarm for his warehouse, no co-worker would be coming his way. My dad was in a tough spot. The nearest phone was probably a mile or so away. Should he get out and brave the cold while he still was warm, or should he try to stay in his car until morning? With both choices a risk for hypothermia.

Or a stroke.

But suddenly, a bright light appeared before him. A car. WHAT? And before my dad could jump out and flag him down, it parked and the driver walked up to him.

"What’s up?" said the young Latino man.

"I don’t know," said my dad, "my car broke down."

The man asked my dad to pop the hood, and a few minutes later he walked back, “Your car is done, we gotta call a truck. Come and wait in my car where it’s warm.”

My dad walked back to the man’s car, a nice car. He figured the young man would drive him to the nearest bodega where he could use a payphone, but instead, the man pulled out a carphone. As my dad watched confused, this was about 8 years before cell phones would be available to all, the man then called the tow truck and gave the address.

My dad offered to get back in his car so the man could leave.

"So you could die in the cold? This truck might take hours. Just wait here."

They sat in silence for an hour and a half. My dad, who has severe social anxiety, didn’t even try to start a conversation, and he said that the young man seemed content to sit there in silence, too.

When the tow truck finally did show up, my dad took out his wallet.

"Please, let me give you money."

The young man just shook his head, “nah, I don’t need your money and I don’t want it. I like helping people.”

"That man was an angel," my dad later told me with tears in his eyes, "He was my guardian angel."

My mom told me that the doctors she worked with had carphones. She said that maybe this person was a doctor.

I kept quiet, but I knew the answer:

He was a drug dealer. A lucrative one at that.

And he liked helping people.

Real Time with Alexis Pereira

New rule: In the next election, Democrats have to start using a word that they don’t use very often. It’s a controversial word that can mean many things, but it’s a word that the American people need to hear. That word?

"Democrat."

::turns to camera::

I know. I know. You’re saying, “Democrat? Those extremists coming for our guns and our oil?”

Yes.

Democrat. The people who won over 50% of the vote in 2008 and 2012.

Democrat. The people who gave healthcare to the poor and sick and made it better for the middle class.

Democrat. The people who ended the unpaid wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Alison Grimes, the Democratic Senate candidate in Kentucky, was asked who she voted for President, and she refused to disclose her answer. Say what you want about the American people.

And use big words so they don’t understand you.

But you know what Americans hate the most? A coward. They can smell when somebody is gonna drop their gun and run from the battle. Hell, we still can’t get the gun off of Charlton Heston, and his hands are cold and dead.

Democrats didn’t even run a Senate candidate in Kansas. You think if McDonald’s, which makes billions a day, was losing ground to Burger King in Kansas they would close down their restaurants and give up?

No, they’d open up more restaurants and fill you up with even more shit until you got sick and died.

You know, like the Republicans.

Ok that’s our show! Thank you, you’re a great crowd, I’d like to thank Reza Aslan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Kristen Gillibrand, Dr. Oz, and Kevin Hart, and join us a little later on Overtime.

Not Enough Sugar

About 8 years ago when I was a server at a smokehouse in Long Island City, a small coffee shop opened up a few blocks away. Tired of our restaurant’s terrible coffee, I walked over there before my shift and ordered “a large coffee, light and sweet, please.”

The barista poured the coffee, handed me the cup, and saw me make a sorta surprised face. 

"Milk and sugar are in the back," he muttered, clearly frustrated.

This was my first ever experience in a coffee shop, having only gone to Dunkin Donuts or bodegas. I hadn’t even ever been in a Starbucks, and yes, it is difficult to admit that I was once an adult who had never before walked into a Starbucks. Why did I just pay 2 dollars for a cup of coffee if he’s not even gonna put milk or sugar in it? I wondered. Does everybody know this?

That coffee shop went out of business about 3 months later. 

Probably for being assholes.

I don’t even drink coffee with sugar anymore, but from childhood to just a few years ago, I would always ask for a little White Pony in my coffee, and it was often difficult. Either the barista had to reach under the counter and give me not enough, or I’d have to leave a long coffee line to then join a long sugar line behind a man adding it to his coffee grain by grain.

When I was 10, I was having coffee with an uncle who had just arrived from Colombia, and my mom brought over some sugar. He passed, and I made a face before I put three spoons into my cup. He then looked at me seriously and said, “One day, when you are a man, you will realize that coffee is best without sugar, and only then will you know coffee.” It was a moment that has stuck with me, and I try to apply that lesson to every facet of my life. However, even though I’d like to consider myself an adult male, I gotta say - a little sugar never killed anyone.  

In the Land of the Blind...

Yesterday I saw a man walking with a white cane, the stick used by the blind or visually impaired to detect objects in their path (yes I had to look this up on Wikipedia).

However, whereas usually a person gently swings the white cane just off the floor in front of him, this man was dragging his stick behind him.

And fast approaching a wall.

"Watch!" I gulped out. I meant to say "watch out" but I panicked. 

The man stopped at the wall, grabbed a sheet of paper off it, and turned to me.

"I’m not THAT blind," he announced.

But I guess I am.