Letters

img_4360-1

Hey Michael, 

I’m the guy from Duke University/UCB that you talked to on Friday at the Blue Boar. Since talking to you I’ve followed your advice by not fucking anybody in the comedy world and so far it’s going great. It was fun hearing gossip and an honest perspective about UCB, and I’d love to pick your brain again about how one goes about turning comedy and song writing into a career.

Rick

Hey Rick,

It was fun talking to you, too.

So, yeah, don’t fuck any comics. I’ve watched a few of my friends date themselves out of career options when relationships with other comics go bad. One friend in particular springs to mind. She’d had so many failed relationships with UCB comics that there were few teams at the NYC theater who would have her perform with them. Politics, politics…  She’s still successful in her own right, but for my money I’d do it differently.

Aside from that, my only other advice is keep going. And, don’t just improvise. Write jokes. Write sketches. Write pilots and spec scripts. You never know when you’ll meet the person who can put your script in the right hands. Also, just keep writing and performing as much as possible. That sounds cliche but it’s true. Keep at it.

I hope this helps, and please invite me to your shows?

Michael

Dear Michael,

 
You may not remember, but about two and a half years ago, I wrote you about being in the closet at the Naval Academy. I just wanted to say thank you so much for the advice you gave me to stick it out. Soon after you posted your response, I started to come out and the response was mixed but mostly good. My last two years at school were much better since I wasn’t worried about people finding out about my sexuality and I actually found a great group of friends who were either out or in the process of coming out. This past May, my boyfriend and I graduated from Annapolis and started our careers as officers. I am so glad that I decided to stay and just wanted to again say thanks for helping me make that decision.
 
Sincerely,
Brad
Thanks, Brad.
It isn’t very frequent I get a follow up from one of my advice letters, and it’s nice to know I didn’t steer you in a disastrous direction. You and your boyfriend sound totally adorable and everyone in the world must be jealous when you two arrive at a military function in dress uniforms, holding hands. In fact, I’m picturing that right now, and I’m wondering if you two would like to come photograph for the blog in uniform?
Thanks for coming out of the closet. It’s important we stay visible, since the world needs positive gay role models. You boys are an inspiration.
xo
Michael
img_40421

MYQ Kaplan’s HANG OUT WITH ME

IMG_3183 as Smart Object-1

tri vo studio

Honorary gay and incourigible straight lothario MYQ Kaplan had me and Ben Lerman over to the Hang Out With Me Playpen to talk about our sex lives, what it means to be ‘monogamish’ and how to solve racism in a room full of white people. It was a blast and you can laugh about it here:

http://www.keithandthegirl.com/Show-Detail/2782/Gays-Upon-My-Works.aspx

Thanks for the funzos boys. It was a hoot.

Oh, and MYQ, wear underwear next time? You kept flopping out of your silk smoking robe.

IMG_2878 as Smart Object-1

IMG_3182 as Smart Object-1

IMG_3164

Stop. Be still.

IMG_3150 as Smart Object-1

tri vo studio

Him: Are you okay?

Me: No. Obviously.

Him: Stop. You look tired. Stop. Don’t. Don’t hug me. You always try to hug me.

Me: I need affection. Please hug me.

Him: Stop. Fine. Yes. Here. Hug me.

Me: Thanks. Let’s lie down?

Him: No, I’m not here for that. I’m here for you.

Me: I’m fine.

Him: You’re not.

Me: I am. I’m fine.

Him: No, Michael. You’re not. You’re not fine at all. Some very traumatic things happened. You’re trying to act like you’re fine, but you’re bouncing off the walls. Be still.

Me: I can’t. I don’t. I don’t have time for being still, not for one second. I have so much to do.

Him: Why am I here? Why did I come over here? Do you know?

Me: Kiss me.

Him: Stop. No. Stop.

Me: I need affection. Hug me again.

Him: Okay fine. What happened?

Me: Lots of stuff.

Him: How was LA?

Me: It wasn’t as nice as I’d hoped it would be.

Him: Are people mean?

Me: Uh. Some of them are, yes. Extremely.

Him: You mean at the Network?

Me: No. I mean other comedy types that I thought were my friends.

Him: How was the Network?

Me: They were nice enough.  I had no idea what I was auditioning for. I had to stay in my hotel room for three days straight while they grilled me about who I was. I was isolated. I quit my job, lost Alex over it, and I got so exhausted that I might have showed too much ‘realness’ in the final interview.

IMG_3183 as Smart Object-1

Him: Wait, you lost Alex over it?

Me: He was terrified of being alone for six weeks. Maybe he just didn’t really love me to begin with, though? Soon as he said yes to moving in with me, the smiles stopped.

Him: He stopped smiling at you?

Me: Yes. He would look for reasons to provoke me. He wouldn’t smile. He wouldn’t eat food I made, even when I knew he’d skipped dinner. I got a few promotions, and career advancements. He wouldn’t show up to celebrate them.

Him: Wow.

Me: He left me right when I needed him most. He left during the hardest callback process of my life. Whywouldyoudothattosomeone?

Him: Michael. Slow down. Things are fine now, right?

Me: Sure?

(long pause)

Me: I hate this so much.

Him: Stop.

Me: Lie down next to me.

Him: Stop.

Me: That’s why you’re here.

Him: Stop. Stop pacing around. You’re crawling out of your skin.

Me: Why did he do this?  I hate this the most. I told him I didn’t want a relationship but he kept at it. He kept coming over.

Him: You need to be still. People play games. They don’t even know they’re doing it.

Me: Somewhere along the line he stopped smiling at me. Started making me beg for affection. Cruel. I had to work so hard for every morsel.

Him: That’s how us Asian boys act when we don’t get monogamy.

Me: I offered him monogamy.

(pause)

Him: You offered him monogamy?

(pause)

Him: What did he say?

IMG_3130 as Smart Object-1

Me: He told me it was too late – that I should have wanted monogamy the whole time. That I should have known when I met him. I told him the next time he tries to change the mind of a grown man, expect it to take much longer than 8 months.

Him: Hm…  That doesn’t sound right. That sounds like an excuse. Maybe he’s just a kid? Maybe he doesn’t know what he wants?

Me: People are cat-fishing me now, online. They’re making up fake profiles in order to say cruel things. Why is everyone so awful?

Him: Stop. Be still. Okay. Lie down. I’ll lie down with you.

Me: Kiss me?

Him: No. Just lie here with me. I want you to be still. It’s okay to cry, but don’t move. Just be still. I’m going to touch your face a little.

(he touches my face. tears slip out of me. we are quiet for a long time.)

Me: (whispered) He tricked me. I don’t trust anybody now. He took that away.

Him: Stop. You trust too much anyhow.

Me: No. Not anymore.

IMG_2885 as Smart Object-1

(long silence. i am still. my diaphragm shakes.)

Him: Stop.

(long silence. tremors build inside me.)

Him: Still. Be still.

(long silence. i control the tremors)

Him: Good. Still.

(i turn away. i am still. i breathe, but not too deep. he starts to snooze. he has no idea i’m still crying)

IMG_3138 as Smart Object-1

 

-3

L.A. Story #3: Where’s Your Voice?

IMG_0061

Him: It’s steep. I told you not to wear Converse, Michael.

Me: Eh. I’ve hiked the Adirondack trail in Converse. I bet I’ll be fine.

Him: I forgot to tell you how steep it is. Where’s my car?

Me: I don’t know?

Him: I took a photo of the street signs. It’s okay. I know how to find it. Don’t worry so much?

Me: I wasn’t – Fischer –

Him: I’ve been here for 6 weeks, Michael I know how to get around.

Me: Okay.

Him: Don’t walk over there! It’s really steep! What if someone came up and pushed you?

Me: I’m four feet away from the edge. Also, if someone pushed me that person would be a murderous sociopath. I prefer the company of narcissistic sociopaths, personally.

Him: This is way deeper than it needs to be. Look at the canyon!

Me: I’m looking. It’s beautiful.

IMG_4952

Him: Look around – do you see any recognizable faces?

Me: Yeah. Everyone sort of looks like everyone else. Part of that is conformity, probably. Part of that is surgery, probably.

Him: Do you know that to be true?

Me: I’ve been in town four days, three of which I was sequestered by Network.

Him: So you’re just making blind assumptions.

Me: I’m just making jokes.

Him: Well, people could be listening.

Me: Good. I think my jokes are funny, sometimes.  Maybe they’ll give me a dollar? You’ve only been here three weeks, by the way.

Him: Doesn’t mean I’m not careful what I say and when.

Me: Let’s yell really loud into the canyon and listen for the echo.

Him: OMG no! Is that Aubrey Plaza?

Me: No. Aubrey is prettier than her. Also, she’s gabbing away. Aubrey listens and judges.

Him: How do you know?

Me: I might’ve been on an improv team with her, once upon a time.

IMG_4947

Him: REALLY?

Me: Who can remember? Ancient history.

Him: Introduce me to her!

Me: She’s not here! But that’s Gus Van Sant.

Him: Let’s get a photo with him.

Me: I’m joking. That’s not him. He lives in Williamsburg. That’s a Pilates instructor that takes screenwriting classes on Thursday afternoons.

Him: Michael, people could be listening to you!

Me: They should be listening to you. Are you singing?

Him: I don’t sing anymore. I want to write television and that’s the only thing I care about.

Me: You have a lovely voice. Frank and I had our eye on you. You probably would have made a team.

Him: You’re not my teacher anymore, Michael. This is Los Angeles.

Me: Yes.

(pause)

Me: It certainly is, Fischer.

(pause)

IMG_5007

Me: Even at Peg’s apartment you wouldn’t sing. Even just in front of the dogs.

Him: I don’t know about my voice. It has problems.

Me: It’s a legit musical theater voice. You have a great voice. I want to hear you sing my songs.

Him: Could we make money selling songs?

Me: We certainly could.

Him: How’s that done?

Me: I imagine you go over to Gaga’s house and sing her a song you wrote on your uke.

Him: That’s too twee. Also she writes her own.

Me: That’s true. Gaga has actual writing talent. But quite a few pop stars don’t.

Him: People could be listening.

Me: Fischer.

Him: What?

Me: You’re my friend.

Him: So?

IMG_4948

Me: So, I know this is L.A. but let’s just pretend this is New York, for a sec? Let’s just pretend, Fischer, that it’s totally okay to just talk without getting incredibly paranoid Stephen Spielberg might be listening to us. He has bigger problems than two homos talking philosophy. Trust me.

Him: It’s not the type of conversation you have on Runyon Canyon.  I think that’s Omarosa.

Me: It’s not. It’s Michelle Obama.

Him: Really?!

Me: Who cares?!

(pause)

Me: I think it’s Serena. No – Beyonce. No – Miley. It’s Miley.

Him: Don’t walk so close to the edge!

Me: Why did you stop singing? Where’s your lovely voice, Fischer?

Him: I don’t. I don’t want to perform.

Me: If you want to sell a song, you gotta sing a song.

Him: I just want to write.

Me: All the best comedy writers I know perform all the time.

Him: I don’t have to. Don’t walk so close to the edge!

Me: You’re right. I’m going to run the rest of the way.

Him: What? Why?!

Me: We have to remind ourselves to do brave things, sometimes, Fischer. Otherwise we wind up moving to Hollywood with a beautiful voice – and then become too shy to even sing.

Him: What? Stop! Don’t!

Me: See you at the bottom of the canyonnnnnnnnn!

(I run away, singing, and flailing my arms. Fischer looks mortified. Paris Hilton is amused, then annoyed. Also, she wasn’t there at all.)

IMG_4968

IMG_3164

No Straight Potential

Screen Shot 2013-02-15 at 1.05.31 AM

I was feeling lonely in LA.

Some blog followers and former students pointed me to these guys.

They were very sweet to me, and we played cards all night long.

Gays helping gays. The most beautiful thing in the world.

That, and the Asian kid from Walking Dead. He’s also beautiful.

If you’re feeling lonely, I suggest you invest in your community.

Maybe that’s starting a gay poker game.

Maybe that’s joining a gay improv theater.

Maybe that’s auditioning for a community theater play, or doing a stand up open mic.

Point is, once you start saying yes to yourself, and other people, the world opens right on up.

Invest in yourself. Invest in your community. Side by side. All together. In harmony.

IMG_5016

 

-1

The Narrator

Screen shot 2012-12-06 at 6.35.19 PM

Hey fags.

I directed a show at The Magnet Theater.

It’s part of the Director’s Series. Once a month they ask a seasoned comic to direct a show on Thursday nights. December is going to be my month. Shows will be tonight, the 13th and the 27th. Tickets are 7 dollars.

Here’s some pretentious shit I pulled out of my ass for the Magnet blog:

“Rather than doing an improvised musical, we’re doing a musical that is improvised. This means that we’re going for compelling stories with high stakes emotional conflicts to underwrite our funny moments. Audiences should expect a wild ride. Certainly there will be laughter. Possibly there will be tears, and definitely one actor will be in the driver’s seat calling the shots for a completely realized musical narrative.”

What an asshole, right? At least the cast is good. Not only are they hilarious (duh, I taught them) but they’re all damn good actors. Come check it out. I’m proud of the work we did. Jerks.

img_9782

-2