Rice Queen

allison michael orenstein

Here’s a video of me doing stand up at UCB’s Soul Glo Project show for September.

I sing a song about dating Asian guys, and though I try to keep it PC, it spirals beyond my control. Just kidding. I’m in control of every single awful thing I say! You’re welcome.

Thanks to Anna Suzuki for taking the footage. And thanks for watching my horrible, racist song.


What Makes You Smile?

Be very, very quiet.

I’m hunting a wabbit.

Er, more specifically, I’m braising a rabbit.  An entire rabbit.

I’m going to bake this bunny into pie.

I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking, Michael, did you buy a frozen rabbit from the butcher, make him cut it into 1/8 pieces with his band saw, braise it, and then pull out the bones, like you would for pulled pork?

Yes.  That’s exactly what I did.  I braised it with scallions, onions, and celery.

Yes.  I feel bad about it.  But only because today is opposite day.  (no it isn’t – I’m late by a few days – GET OFF MY BACK)

It was a special occasion.  I had a tech rehearsal for my sketch team, Thunder Gulch.  We put up a new show every month on the first Monday.  It’s hard work, and I usually bake something simple for tech rehearsals, because they’re long and arduous.

But this one was more like a party.  It was Shannon O’Neil’s  birthday, first of all.  And then secondly – one of my team mates (he’s shy and doesn’t want me to say his name)  was offered a job as a writer on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  Both of those people are actors on my team, so it was party time.

My friend Kris came over.  He helped me braise the bunny and bake it into 20 miniature pies.  I’ve known him for almost a year now.  He’s got a good head on his shoulders and he learns stuff quickly.  Also, in case you don’t have eyes, he’s super cute.  So pretty.

So, this is the first time I’ve tried to make mini-pies.  There’s about 15 people involved in making Thunder Gulch happen every month – 6 actors, 7 writers, a director and a tech person.  I wanted to make at least 20 pies.  I wanted there to be more pie than people could eat.  Usually that doesn’t happen if I make a single pie for 15 peeps.

I braised the rabbit etc at a reasonable temperature.  400 maybe?  I don’t remember.  I don’t cook my pie fillings from recipes, I just go by instinct.

We added potato after the bunny had braised for a few hours in its own juice.

My butcher said it would thicken up the filling without using cornstarch or a butter roux.  He was right.

For good measure, flavor, and texture, I also added some collard and turnip greens i was making for this week’s lunches.

Give them some fiber, right?  Let the funny idiots have a little fiber, I say.

Look at that guy.  What an idiot. But not a constipated idiot.


(Not-Opposite Day:  Get your fiber, guys)

Me:  Come on, Kris – you’re the boss.  You’re the boss of that bunny.  Get that meat off the bone.  Pull it.

Him:  I just want to do it right.

Me:  Okay, but quickly, huh?  Aren’t there sweat-shop workers in your family?  Aren’t you Chinese?

Him:  Great.  A sweat shop joke.  Made by a white person.  Just what the world needs.  More of that.

Me:  Touche.  I shall think of a good poop joke.

There was a carefully staged spill!!!  We got some bunny bits on the floor!!

Kris was nice enough to clean it up.

Look at those socks.  Cute.

So, Kris is currently working on a really cool project for his thesis.

He wants to know What Makes You Smile?

Him: Smiling is one of those innate reactions in human life. This isn’t to say that happiness is the only reason why we smile, in fact, it isn’t. There are an infinite amount of reasons to smile and there are various types of a smile. I am fascinated, however, by what makes others smile. The kind of smile I am looking for is a Duchenne smile, or simply put a genuine smile. I see this thesis as a way of being able to change someone’s life by simply talking to them. In a world where digital interaction is on the rise and physical declining, the act of having a conversation in-person can be seen as refreshing. By asking people I have never met “what makes you smile?” an unfamiliar experience is made which can then inspire those to talk to those around them and re-create the experience.

Um.  Isn’t that the nicest thing you’ve ever heard?

You should contact him, and get interviewed.  Unless you’re too cool for that sort of thing.  You’re probably too cool for that.  You’ll probably hang around on Data Lounge all day complaining about stuff that doesn’t matter, instead.

Well, as long as you’re having fun. That’s my philosophy.

No, scratch that.  That’s not my philosophy.  I’m pretty sure the Columbine kids were having fun.  And Stalin.  He had a blast.  Manson was a good time Charlie.

New philosophy:  Don’t have any fun, if you’re an online hater.  Just hate.  It’s what you do.  It’s who you are.  Have fun!  (Opposite Day)


Contact Kris, if you want to interview with him about what makes you smile.

Contact me if you want to hear sweatshop and poop jokes.

Or if you have a question you’d like me to answer.  Like, should you leave your  boyfriend?  Or, why does your younger brother act homophobic around you?  Or, how can you smile through dinner (and serve pie) when your condescending hipster friends say things like ‘you should put that in your comedy routine?’

Reminder:  Poop comes from my butt.  It’s where half of my sex happens too.  (The other half happens in YOUR butt).


(Opposite Day – we never wash our hands because we’re filthy homos!!)

Kris liked tidy little flat top pies.  I favored bulging, abundant ones.

We put an egg wash on top of them and sprinkled with coarse sea-salt.

We spiced the filling with French Tarragon and Cumin.

What’s that hater?  Those two spices don’t work well together?  You’re wrong.  Go fuck yourself.

(Opposite Day – no sex for you.)

Big thanks to Thunder Gulch for a great tech rehearsal and a great show last night.  Big thanks to Kris Louie for helping me with these 20 pies – THEY TOOK FOREVER!!!

Big thanks to the Data Lounge for being massive Jerks this weekend.

As for the rest of you?  I love you all and don’t think you’re Jerks.

(Opposite Day)

Feel Better, Japan

Oh Jesus.  Are you kidding me?  A BENEFIT?  I have to make and DONATE a pie?  Why?

Oh.  Japan.  That’s right.  Sorry.  I’m self absorbed.  It’s a real problem.

Of course I’ll make a pie for a benefit for Japan.  What am I a monster?   Yes.  But I’ll do it anyway.

My friend Kirk pretended to go to Japan.  About four or five months ago he started telling everyone in the New York sketch and improv communities about how he booked a show in Tokyo.  He was going to play a role in Picasso at the Lapin Agile.  It was an elaborate ruse.  He stopped coming to The Upright Citizen’s Brigade where he performs regularly while he was ‘in Japan.’  He even set up a sham tumblr where he photographed food and tried to convince people that breakfast can talk.

Sidebar:  This is Corey.  I know, right?  DOING!!  He’s a really nice guy and he helped me make the pie for the Kettle of Fish Benefit for Japan.

He’s a dancer.  He just got back from doing a dance show in Pennsylvania, and now he’s traveling around the country, judging dance contests.  That’s what he does for a living.  Pretty cool right?  He’s been asking to be on the blog for a while, and what am I stupid?  Of course he can.  He’s successful and beautiful.  (doing!)

So, back to Kirk – he claimed to have a friend from school who runs an ex-pat theater company in Tokyo.  Also, he claims that the show was written by Steve Martin, which doesn’t make any sense because why would Steve Martin write a play about a guy who’s obsessed with cake puppets and female roller derby.?? But we all went along with it.  We joked to each other things like “Oh me too!!  I’m going to Afghanistan to star in Sylvester Stallone’s performance art installation piece about British Colonialism.  He’s not even known as a movie star there!  It’s where he gets the real work done.”

We made a triple berry pie.  It had Strawberries, Blueberries and Raspberries.   I found all of them cheap and ripe at the local Korean market.  People always ask me to post recipes, but I don’t.  Mostly because I improvise a lot of my pie fillings.  Here’s what I did:  An assload of strawberries.  Like, Two big things.  A titload of blueberries: two small things or whatever.  and a little penisload of raspberries.  One tiny thing.  They’re tart and they can take over. I stirred all that together with a couple of tablespoons of corn starch, and a couple of heaping tablespoons of sugar. I put some powdered ginger to brighten up the tartness of the berries.

“Oh, I’m leaving town too!!  Me too!!  Carnie Wilson wrote an opera and we’re doing it in Dresdin in this huge bomb shelter that’s been converted to an ampitheater.   It’s about the Irish Potato Famine and Feminism.  She’s real down to earth. I hear she might bring her dad, Brian Wilson, but that’s just a rumor.”

We dotted the filling with butter.  About two tablespoons, give or take.  I eyeballed it.

I put an egg wash on the pie too – just the whites, because I’m racist.  Then I sprinkled it with cinnamon sugar.

There was a really funny improv team that performed at the benefit.  They’re called Thank You Robot.  They had a great set.  I kept mentioning to one of the team members (who I don’t know at all) that Kirk was the absolute wrong choice to host a show, and didn’t anyone realize how he was just milking this earthquake benefit to call attention to his tumblr about his fake trip to Japan.  The guy kept talking about how great Kirk is and asking me if I’d been drinking a lot.  I told him that I was totally sober and didn’t anyone realize that Kirk keeps bidding on the prizes where you get to be alone with girls?

Anyway.  I was just joking, guy from Thank You Robot.  I think Kirk was a funny, charming host.  I just like to break balls.  It’s the only real way I can show affection.  Well, that, and…  ‘pie making.’

That’s Kirk and Poupak.  Poupak runs the UCB Difference Tumblr.  They both helped organize the benefit.

Corey was fun and easy going.  It has been a while since I’ve seen him, and we had a good time together.  I’d have him back anytime.

And guys, listen.  Kirk’s not a bad guy.  He’s funny and charismatic and charming.  So he made up a theater gig in Japan, and created an elaborate hoax to support that theory – so what?  He’s my friend.  And listen, if you’re in the New York sketch/improv comedy community – I say, let’s just humor him about it, huh?  Let’s all pretend that he actually went to Japan, and actually lived through the earthquake there.  What’s the harm?  Becasue the end result was a great, fun, funny benefit.  A good amount of money was raised to help Japan, which is a real place (I checked).

I mean look at that face.  You’re not a monster are you?  Yes, of course you are, but why spoil Kirk’s fun?  He doesn’t read this blog (he thinks it will make him gay), so if we all agree, we can just pretend that he went to Japan.  That will make us kind, benevolent friends…  Because what are we, without our delusions?  We’re nothing. Artists are nothing without their delusions.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go back to being an internet superstar.  Jerks.


My friends are, by and large, a bunch of would be celebrities.  That’s kind of how I like it. I hang out with would be celebrity Jerks.

When you’ve got delusions of grandeur, you sort of have to have people around to help you sustain them.

Someone who will go, no, you’re not wrong – you could TOTALLY play 23.  Other comics.

We’re a funny bunch.   Of Jerks.

Some very funny people came over for dinner and pie:

“Hi, I’m Jason Blaine.  I am an adorable elf-person.  I am  an actor and a t-shirt designer.”  I did a show  with Michael once that led to our eventual friendship.  I could never be a boxer because my fists are so tiny.

“Hi, I’m Pam Murphy.  I had  a horrible, debilitating cancer.  But  that doesn’t stop me from chain smoking all the time and making  homophobic wise cracks.  I wrote a show about what a jerk cancer is.  Just kidding.  It’s more about what jerks PEOPLE are when they find out you have Cancer!

“I’m Enrico Wey.  I’m in this tiny little Broadway play called War Horse.  Heard of it?  Well I also travel around the world.  I love playing with puppets.  Please don’t complement me.  I will short-circuit.”

“Hi.  I’m Matt Pavlovich.  I’m on a UCB sketch team with Michael.   I love to rollerblade and hang out with my comedy and yoga friends.  Did you come to my murder mystery party?  There was a naked albino man peeing on people.  I don’t like it when it rains.”

“I’m an egg yolk.”

“I’m Tim Dunn!  I’m an actor and a comic at the UCB theater.  I’m on a Maude Team and it’s really fun.  I also do a show on Broadway.  I’m super fancy.”

This is why you let a blueberry chocolate pie cool before slicing it.  And also, maybe don’t make it.  It was not entirely successful.  Reminds me of that time I got the squirts on spring break in Mexico.

“Hi I’m Garrett Palm.  I’m a homeless hipster that showed up begging for food.  I got the idea to beg for food in India.  Did I tell you I went to India?  I totally did.  I went to India.  India.  India.  India. India.  India. India.  India. India.  India.”

“Hi.  I’m Marcy Jarreau.  What can I say?  I’m pretty damn funny.  I wrote a musical about a lesbian camp that everyone loved.  I’m also on the UCB team Badman.  That adds up to awesome.  By the way, that character on Maude that I’ve been doing?  Totally Cajun.  I swear.  SHUT.  UP.  GARRETT.”

We ate dinner and then played Celebrity.  Then we ate that Blueberry Chocolate pie before it was properly cooled.  The crust is perfect.

These Jerks won.  They were an amazing team.  Except for Garrett who was a poor sport and shat his pants on accident.

Then on purpose.  Then on accident AGAIN.

Don’t ask silly questions.  Of course we enjoyed the pie, Jerks.

Keep on Shitting, Ray Ray.


Okay, see this guy?  What?  No that’s not a puppet.  It’s Chris Gethard.

Why would you ask me if it was a puppet?  It’s clearly a person.  Weird question.  Stop asking weird questions and listen:

Okay.  Chris Gethard is a local comic.  He’s a good guy, and he’s done nice stuff for me.  One time this sketch show was looking for gay comics and he got me seen for it.  I didn’t know him very well at all, he just got me seen because he thought I was funny.  He’d seen me in a show.

If you’re not in show biz, that’s a big deal.  Actors and comics don’t often go out of their way to get friends seen for stuff, much less acquaintances.   I never forgot that.  I doubt I ever will.

Sidebar: I made a gluten free quiche over the holidays that nobody in my family will ever forget.

Looks great, doesn’t it?

It was terrible.  It was really not a success.

The filling was fine, but the crust was just…  let’s not talk about it, okay?

Back to Gethard:

Okay, so Chris is a downtown comedy icon.  He’s been on the scene for more than a decade, and he’s a respected teacher and performer at the UCB theater.  He booked a sitcom in 2010 called Big Lake with Horatio Sanz  and Chris Parnell.

Who’s Chris Parnell?  Don’t you dare say that to me, ever.  He was on SNL (fired and re-hired more than once) and he’s widely regarded as one of the most talented, underrated sketch comics of his generation.  Seriously.  Stop asking weird questions.  It’s annoying.

So, Chris Gethard has a show, The Chris Gethard show, at UCB theater.  Usually he does crazy stunts with his ragtag group of funny friends.  Once in a while they pull a nice prank.  But every so often they do something totally inspiring.  You should check out The Chris Gethard Show – it’s worth it.

What?  Oh.  Here’s the thing with a gluten free crust.  Apparently you can’t just substitute your regular pie recipe.  Things should be tweaked, or you should do some research on the internet.  I followed my normal white flour recipe and the crust was nearly inedible.

Some of my family pretended to like it.  Some did not.

HEY.  I said I didn’t want to talk about it.

Him?  That’s Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs.  Puff Daddy.  P.Diddy.  Diddy.  Flapjack and the Doodle Gang.  Sean John.  He goes by many names.

But you know who he is.  Stop acting like you don’t.

Here’s what he has to do with all this:

About a year ago Gethard made a video asking Diddy to come on his show.  I think it might have started as a joke, but maybe it wasn’t.  With Gethard you never know.  But he makes these crazy things happen.  He sets his mind to stuff and he doesn’t ever let go.  Just like Diddy.  Gethard and his friends started hounding people on Twitter to bother Diddy into doing the show.

Seriously.  It was a shitty quiche.

It was really bad.

My family ate it though.  And I’ll tinker with the recipe.  A lot of my friends (including my sister in law, Robin) have gluten intolerance, and a tasty gluten free pie should ABSOLUTELY be in the arsenal.

What?  No that’s not a puppet.  It’s clearly a shitty quiche.


A year and tens of thousands of Tweets later, and Diddy appeared on Chris Gethard’s show.  Sounds easy?  I’m sure it wasn’t.  Sound exhilerating?  I’m sure it was.  Diddy did the show.  All hour long.  He participated in all the bits just like a regular cast member.  Everyone in the community was super psyched that Chris made this happen.  It was hilarious and emotional.

Chris.  Thanks for inspiring me.  Here’s some pics from the show.  Enjoy it, jerks.

Oh look.  It’s my internet (and real life) stalker, Alan Starzinski.