Saturday, May 30, 2009

Veruca Salt and Fairuza Balk

Same Person.

Was anyone else confused when they saw Return to Oz around the same time they saw Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? You see two girls who look like the same actress, but then you ask the lady at Blockbuster, and learn that the films were made fourteen years apart.

"Well, they can't be the same person then. What's this girl's name in the Oz movie?"
--Fairuza Balk.
"Wait. Isn't that the character's name in Wonka?"
--I don't think so.
"I have to watch it again."

Then you watch it again, and learn her name is Veruca Salt, and you think, "Well, that name is a character name." But you turn on the radio, and the DJ says, "Special appearance by the hip, young, funky and fresh Veruca Salt, this Saturday at the Hoosier Dome."
And you think, "Well is it a character or a real person?!" And you complain about it to your friends at 6th period lunch. They tell you that Veruca Salt is a cool new band, like Beck or Zhane.

So you resign yourself to the fact that it is a wacky coincidence. Two women with the same face and eerily similar names both happen to go into acting and make cult kid films. But then you watch Back the the Future, and everything becomes clear.

Performing tonight at Delusions of Spandex Show!
Parkside Lounge
317 E. Houston St (@ Attorney)
New York, NY 10017
7:00PM, FREE

Friday, May 29, 2009

Ask Abbi: Annoying Introductions

Chris from asks:

What's the most annoying thing that happens when you meet someone new and tell them you're a comedian?

Thanks for writing without adding, "Hey here's one you can use in your act! A priest, a stripper and an amputee are at an aquarium..."

Upon introduction I like to show--not tell--my profession, and I find a hand buzzer does the job nicely. Ususally they're too irritated to ask me any questions.

Actually, I prefer the Bruce Wayne approach, where they never know that comedian Abbi Crutchfield is the same as the millionaire who is hosting the lovely party they are attending. There are a number of reasons for this, all based on past reactions I have had. Here they are in order of my loathing:

5: (Incredulous) You're a comedian? You don't look funny.
4: (Aggressive) Say something funny! Aw, come on. If you was really a comedian you'd say something funny RIGHT NOW.
3: (Patronizing) Oh, that's nice. Maybe we'll see you on Leno some day, huh?...what's that? Or who? Conan? I don't know Conan. I don't watch any of those late night talk shows.
2: (Feigned interest) Where do you play? (after I start listing comedy venues) Oh. Neat. I would now like to leave immediately because I just remembered I hate people.
1: (Overly Enthusiastic) Wow! Really? When's your next show? (After having missed several opportunities to see me) Come on, you really have to tell me about your next show! I'm dying to see you! Keep me posted! (When told my schedule is listed on my website) You really have to give me the name of that website! (After I've given it to them three times and told them to just Google me) You got a show coming up? I'm coming this time! (I tell them to wait until I come to them on their TV) Television?! Maybe we'll see you on Leno some day, huh?

Feel free to post your questions for Abbi in the comments section, to be answered in a later post, or write curlycomedy (at) with "Ask Abbi" in the Subject.

Photo credit:

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Oh Solo Mio

Had a good time on the ol' birthday yesterday. I felt a lot of pressure to have planned something extraordinary, but the day crept up on me, and skydiving is too expensive. So I spent some time alone doing what I like to do. While these may sound like the events leading up to someone's suicide, they were actually a welcome departure from my normal grind.

Activity #1: Go to movies. I watched Dance Flick in an empty house except for two guys a few rows in front of me. "Yo dawg, we almost got this place to ourselves!" Luckily my presence didn't stop them from loudly rating the previews. The weirdest part about the event was carrying a bouquet of flowers given to me at work. I looked like I was in a pageant. Also, when you walk into businesses with flowers, people think you're there to deliver them. Even the homely girl who works the popcorn.

Activity #2: Loiter. I returned my wilting flowers to work using a shredder bin as a makeshift vase. With time to kill I went straight to a nearby Bed Bath and Beyond, standing in the entrance and inhaling the new stuff smells. Smelling's free! And looks as weird as it sounds.

Activity #3: Cake for one. I had a cupcake in the adjoining Barnes and Noble and resisted the urge to sing to myself.

Activity #4: Showtime. I performed at Gabe Pacheco and Dan Mahoney's show Haiku in the Village for a stand-up set. Comedians are also invited to write their own haikus. I took advantage of the Korean venue to recite the following.

Anyone like dogs?
Not if you are eating here!
Not racist when black.

You will be relieved to know I did not have a frozen dinner or curl up with a cat at the end of the night. That's for next year.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Shiny Happy Birthdays Holding Hands

Fun and fancy birthday tidings to you!

Every Living Room, we select one of the performers to be the Funniest Comedian of All Time. A blue baseball cap filled with names holds each comedian's fate, so we ceremoniously request the same thing each time: Bring out the Hat of Chance! At Friday's show, Luke interrupted the normal closing to proclaim, "Bring out the Cake of Birth!" To my surprise, a lovely chocolate and cherry masterpiece was unveiled from behind the bar.

This face is showing surprise, and not the orangutan mating call.

Instead of candles it had stirring straws. So instead of blowing on them, I sucked the cake through them. It took five hours.

I feel grown. When I was younger, if you asked me what a grown up's life looked like, I would say, "She has kids and drinks coffee and reads the part of the newspaper that's not the comics and wears shoulder pads." Luckily the only part of that prophecy that is true is the coffee. I often forget that I am an adult. Sometimes I will walk along the perimeter of a playground and make eye contact with a 10 year old as if to say, "Psh. Parents. Ya feel me?" and he looks away because to him I am the most attractive drug dealer he has ever seen.

Come see me perform Wed May 27 on the Haiku show at Jeollado!

116 E. 4th St (1st and 2nd Ave)
New York, NY 10003

Photos by Alex Urde

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

When Bloggers Unite

Me with my buddy blogger Tom Pryor of the amazing, Wonder-Years-Meets-A-Bronx-Tale blog Yorkville: Stoops to Nuts

On May 7 I ventured out to DUMBO, not to eat a piping hot pizza pie from Grimaldi's, nor to get schooled on the use of quinoa in visual art from a resident eepstair (European hipster), but to celebrate writing my blog with other bloggers from Brooklyn. It was the 2009 Brooklyn Blog Fest, and I had a front row seat.

That was pretty much all I had. I participated in a small talking circle, but mainly just listened and learned. Most attendants were treated to some creative filmwork by BlueBarn Pictures, showcasing the photography of local blogging artists, the diversity of the blogs that come from the borough, and celebrating the memory of a contributor who had passed away.

Then Juno interviewed a panel of bloggers.
The raven-haired beauty on the end is Melissa Lopata, editor of Hip Slope Mama, the parenting blog to which I contribute.

There was a pretty good turn out, thanks to the work of Eleanor Traubman (of Creative Times), as the seats of PowerHouse Books filled quickly.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dodo Cat

We all mourn the loss of the infamous bird by the same name, but no one ever discusses the disappearance of the Dodo Cat, first depicted in the 1980 cartoon Heathcliff, where a cat named Mungo would say stupid things in a low-register.

Arguably a cat that can speak English and dress itself in a red tank top should be lauded as intellectually advanced, but it is theorized by the aforementioned cartoon that the Dodo Cat is a follower by nature who seldom has the answer to even the simplest of questions. It was this ignorance and lack of cunning that is thought to have contributed to cat's endangerment. It was constantly duped into being eaten by its predators after losing at a game of checkers.

Today, in a photo recently released by the National Geographic, the cat once thought to be extinct has been discovered in Suburban North America.

Its survival instincts still drastically lower than that of the common domesticated feline, the Dodo Cat may be preserved if housed in captivity away from flammable items and snap-lid containers.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Thanks For Coming

Comedian Matt Ruby recently posted about producing a live comedy show, and the things he wished he could say to people hounding him for stage time, but that his good manners and business savvy keep him from blurting out:

I'd like to be honest with you though. I'm extremely picky and I turn down the majority of people who ask to be on the show. If you wind up not getting booked, here's the most likely reason: It's not clear to me that you're funny enough.

Click here to read the whole post. It is very interesting.

On the heels of that idea, I would add that as a producer of a show you are also not supposed to tell people why you choose not to have them back. In the interest of providing insight into these decisions, here is one imagined response to a re-booking request.

Well LOOK who it is,

You have a lot of nerve requesting a spot again. (Pours glass of whiskey) Are you sure you know your way to the show? Because you cancelled twice for getting lost, once for going to the wrong show and staying there, and once for bad weather and so you sent a friend in your place. (Swigs drink. Sets glass down.) We have now booked that friend regulary over the past year.

Let's talk about your contribution to the show on the night you came. (Gets up, walks over to blinds. Looks out window.) You requested to go early so that you could hit another show afterward, and then you were late, which caused us to delay the opening and rearrange the lineup at the last minute. You regaled us with a bit on edible funderwear, whatever that is. (Turns around.) The rule of threes does not apply to the number of times you should say, "Y'all look bored". I take it you did not read the e-mail that reminded you not to swear. The first few F-bombs came unconsciously. In all fairness it IS your adjective of choice when you have no idea what to say next. But once you realized it, you brought attention to it, which prompted you to make fun of the venue and the audience. (Wags finger in visitor's face) Get back on your motorcyle, and go knock up some other town's teens you rebel!

You hated your time on stage so you did not thank us for the spot. (Pacing) You don't recognize us, the co-producers, outside of the show and continually confuse us with other comedians. (Sits down) You heckled the host, you abused the equipment, you left early and with a lot of noise. You smell like feta cheese, and you make me sick. (Gets out of seat and lunges at visitor across the desk) GOD CURSE THE DAY YOU WERE BORN! (Composes self) Get out of here and don't you ever come back! Wait just a moment you self-absorbed, knock-kneed parasite. I do have one more thing to say to you, you dispicible piece of marinated garbage:

I hear the show you do is great--got any open spots next month?

Photo of Matt Ruby at The Living Room Show by Aemiessence Fine Arts

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Ask Abbi: Too Far?

Chris of writes:

As a comedian, where do you personally draw the line?

Many comedians take pride in being able to say they write and perform "edgy material." Edgy material gets its name from the jagged edge of a can of anchovies. It harkens back to the days when housewives did not have electronic appliances, or the good sense to serve something tasty for dinner. Upon hearing about the contents of his meatloaf, one man was known to push his plate away from himself. The result is that no one wanted edgy material from women.

Fast forward a few decades where it became trendy for comedians who were lesbians to speak about this duality and more importantly wear white socks with black shoes. Telling stories about their lives caused network executives to bristle, and televised comedy from white women was only acceptable in self-deprication form. Because a woman who puts herself down is not threatening. Black women were exempt from having to put themselves down because they were typically cast in second class roles on sitcoms.

This limitation has not kept female comedians from exploring the sordid (Sarah Silverman), the silly (Ellen DeGeneres), the relatable (Rita Rudner) or the unexpected (Maria Bamford), and because of such things as The Women's Liberation Movement and The Cosby Show, women can now choose to be self-depricating, self-assured, rude or shocking with their material. And they only have to be naked depending on where they want it to air.

I draw the line, dear reader, at a number of topics so as not to offend a long list of people. As a woman of color who does not wear bikinis onstage, I tend to keep my content relatable and silly and my demeanor pleasant and confident. That is because I want to win the crowd's trust so that I may pick their pockets later.

Feel free to post your questions for Abbi in the comments section, to be answered in a later post, or write curlycomedy (at) with "Ask Abbi" in the Subject.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Practice Like You Play

In the theater, when you gloss over mistakes instead of correcting them during rehearsal, you are sure to flub your lines during opening night of the play. An athlete who does not give his all during practice will not give his all during game time. Such is the case with comedy. When you're not on stage, you need to keep your mind sharp, either by verbally exploring ideas or writing them down. Otherwise you risk giving a weak performance.

I have spent the past two weeks being completely unfunny off stage. The first week highly stressed in preparation for a major life event, and the second week relaxing on a tropical island.

The first week or so back to the stage is sure to be a rocky one. In two weeks, this is the only joke I wrote, as influenced by too much sun and dubbed soaps from the 1970s:

What kind of yogurt does Herve Villechaize like?

De Plain! De Plain!

Pray for me.