The guy gets it. He really gets it.
I plan to weigh in every other day or so with what I hope are yak-worthy thoughts, musings and reconditioned events from my alleged past, my assumed present and my delusional future. If you want to comment, I will respond almost as quickly as those spam guys who claim you can make $500/day in your underwear.
The guy gets it. He really gets it.
Here are a couple of photos from the Harvard-Colgate football game, October, 1977….
The author, wearing a too-small Arlington High School hockey tam I got from a postgraduate I went to Deerfield with, Gerry Ciarcia, who was a good enough hockey player to play for Team Italy in the in 1984 Olympics. I loved the tam because it was the same color crimson as Harvard.
The author with fellow Crimson sportswriter Rob Sidorsky, who became a v-successful lawyer in NYC, wrote and edited a few beautiful coffee table books on golf and lives in the same building across the hall from one of my best friends, the actor Grant Shaud.
The author with fellow Crimson writer and classmate Honey Jacobs. Note the tam in full view and my eyes trained on her laugh, which was great. Honey Jacobs also became a hugely successful lawyer and married Sam Skinner, former chief of staff to Poppy Bush. She was incredibly and justifiably popular, and if you don’t count taking her younger sister Mimi to a Red Sox game (which you shouldn’t and I may tell you why), this was as close as I ever got to a date with her.
….the brilliant brilliant mind behind Otto and George, who died earlier this week in his sleep. He had contracted meningitis a year ago and never completely shook free from that.
Here’s the deal with Otto. He was, by his own admission or any yardstick, a terrible ventriloquist. His lips never stopped moving. Even his dummy would give him shit. But the stuff Otto launched through George’s mouth was sheer unexpurgated fearlessness. The best kind of filth. The stuff that cleans out your insides. Nobody, I mean nobody, got the kind of helpless laughs that Otto got from an audience. (“Fucking broad thinks I’m real….”) And the fact that he rose from a teenage puppeteer cursing people out on the streets of Manhattan to a guy doing midnight x-rated shows in Jersey shitholes to a nationally known act who appeared regularly on Opie and Anthony— the fact that he did six minutes on Letterman for Christ’s sake! (below!) — underscores how deeply gifted he was.
It was a kind of joyous tourettes. One Tuesday night in the mid-80s, Adrianne and I were working at the Bitter End in front of Otto. She brought him up and he was talking to the crowd. There was a guy up front. George: “Hello, Sir. What do you do for a living?”/Guy: “I’m a musician.”/George: “That’s very interesting. What kind of musician? Are you a jazz mus — JUNKIE!!!!! I’M FUCKING TALKING TO YOU!!!!”
There have been many many Otto and George remembrances on Facebook. The best one Adrianne and I read came from Jim Mendrinos, a comic who was once the head writer on the Tonight Show. Mendrinos was emceeing a show in Jersey. There was a 400-pound drunk woman in the front row who belligerantly heckled him for the minute he got on stage. Same thing with the middle act. Nobody could get anything going. Finally, Mendrinos brings up Otto and George, the headliner. Everyone couldn’t wait to see George tear this woman apart. No one could bury a heckler like Otto.
Well, they go on stage, and Otto, for the first time maybe ever, works completely clean. Not a remotely offensive word. And the woman is giving it to him. And every time, Otto stops and says, “Lady, why are you yelling such awful things at my little puppet?” He keeps saying it, and completely turns the audience against the woman. Every time she says anything, they boo and shout her down. Finally, after ten minutes, she gets up and walks out. Otto and George silently watch her leave, and once she’s completely out of the room, George turns back to the crowd and says, “Jabba the Cunt….”
It took two minutes for the room to stop laughing, then Otto and George destroyed the place for 45. As always, there were no survivors. Now, there’s just George. Mike Eagan, another comic, put it best. “George has the best stories.”
We have a new lead guitar player for this gig, John Merjave, who is George in the otherworldly Beatle tribute band, Liverpool. And yes, I am utterly intimidated….
Barnes and Noble liked the new cover of SHRINK THYSELF so much, they’re putting it on the front display table when it comes out. Like I have to tell you, I haven’t been at a front table since my bar-mitzvah….
JUNE 6 — MARK MARON WTF PODCAST (Mark is an old stand-up colleague who has this beyond-popular podcast. I cannot believe he is having me as a guest. I hope/have a feeling this will be the single most effective promotional event I’ve ever done.)
JUNE 12 — SIGNING/Q&A WITH BEST-SELLING AUTHOR ADRIANA TRIGIANA AT THE STRAND BOOKSTORE, NYC (Adriana is an NY Times bestselling author. She is hilarious and gave me a wonderful blurb for EVERYTHING HURTS. The fact that she always draws and we’ll be in the Rare Books Room at The Strand is more than I could have hoped for.)
JUNE 19 — READING/SIGNING AT WORDS BOOKSTORE, MAPLEWOOD, NJ (Adrianne’s stepsister’s daughter — follow? — works here and recommended the place. It will be my first reading in New Jersey….unless Christie closes the Lincoln Tunnel.)
JUNE 27 — READING/SIGNING AT HARVARD BOOKSTORE, CAMBRIDGE, MA. (Who says you can’t go home again. Across the street from my freshman dorm room at Harvard. We may break my mom out of long term care for this one.)