My Big Celebrity Poker Schmooze
In my first ever Jewcy blog post, I lamented the fact that I didn't have anyone's coattails to ride to fame. It's funny how fast things can change. Not that I am necessarily any closer to fame and fortune, but … Read More
In my first ever Jewcy blog post, I lamented the fact that I didn't have anyone's coattails to ride to fame. It's funny how fast things can change. Not that I am necessarily any closer to fame and fortune, but I have decided which coattails I will be clinging too. Over the weekend, I played poker with Jennifer Tilly and Ben Affleck. I kicked it wit SNL alum Norm MacDonald. And I got comedy advice from a genius. A comic genius. I owe it to Jacob Zalewski. One of my best friends and a kid with more heart than John Henry and a mouth that runs like Carl Lewis on a seven day meth binge. Jacob has cerebral palsy, but that has not stopped him from pursuing his dream of making it in Hollywood. It has, on the other hand, stopped him from being able to walk. But we work around that. That has always been a hallmark of our friendship. He needs to be lifted pretty often. And I am really good at lifting stuff. And this friendship is what got me an audience with the genius. Jacob used his considerable networking skills to meet a ton of big-name celebrities at the 2007 World Series of Poker. He told each and every one of them about his intentions of going into film after he gets his degree in Media and Broadcasting from the University of Houston. And guess what? They listened. And that is what led to my audience with the genius. One of the many luminaries that Jacob charmed was a dude named Sam Simon. Yeah, that Sam Simon. The guy who is both a creator and executive producer of The Simpsons. A guy that has written, directed or produced for shows like Taxi, Cheers, Friends, The Drew Carey Show…must I go on? Simon invited Jacob to spend a week at his humble little mansion in Los Angeles. Since Jacob needed someone to carry his bags, I was invited too. Jacob mentioned to Simon that I was a stand-up comic. Simon asked me to run some of my act past him. And while I realized that this was like Einstein asking a freshman who just made a C in his Intro to Physics class for his take on relativity, I did my best. But there was one problem. And his name was Ralph Cirella. Cirella is the stylist for the Howard Stern Show. He is such a frequent guest at Simon's, that the guest house on Simon's Pacific Palisades property is known as "The Ralph Cirello Suite". Unfortunately for me, at the time that I went into my act, I had only known the guy for a few minutes. I did not yet know that Cirella was the living embodiment of every obnoxious caller that has ever dialed in to the Howard Stern Show. In short, he heckled me relentlessly. And I must admit, that it threw me off of my game. I am usually good with hecklers, but beyond a firm kick in the teeth, I really don't have any good comebacks for repeated catcalls of "douchebag", "faggot" and "you suck!" And a kick in the guy's teeth was out of the question, because no starting fights was one of the promises Jacob made me make before the trip. The other promise was no pinching his cheeks. So there I was. Melting down before one of the great comic minds of our time. And he was enjoying every minute of it. But when the verbal abuse died down, Simon offered me a bit of advice that went straight to my heart. He told me that I was funny. He told me that I seemed driven. And he said that I had great stage presence. And his advice was this: He told me to use my art to bring people together. He said that love should be the driving force behind humor. And that makes sense. If the driving force behind your art is to find that which is common within us all, it seems you would only appeal to a wider audience. Ergo, an act that brings people together gives you a shot at the big time instead of making a room full of retards laugh for 20 dollars and a six-pack of Fat Tire. I think I just dropped the bit about setting up check-points between my front door and bedroom every time my Palestinian ex-girlfriend used to come visit me. I think I'll add in the one about knowing that the Apocalypse is upon us because the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Base is now selling souvenirs made out of panda poop. I think we can all relate to that. In short, it was a life altering visit. I got advice from the genius. I learned that Ben Affleck might be the nicest guy in the world. He went out of his way to stop in and holler at Jacob. He also has the most symmetrical face I have ever seen. Unless that guy runs into a frying pan, I don't see anything keeping him out of the Oval Office if that should ever be his goal. Jennifer Tilly thinks that I have a sexy accent. Well, she said that I have a southern accent. The sexy is implied, right? And I can take a beating from one of the harshest hecklers in the world. But maybe that was just Cirello's way of telling me that he respects my balls. Or maybe it's just his way of saying that I suck.