Main | Thursday, April 13, 2006

Worst Job I Ever Had?

That's an easy one.

Not the summer I spent as a busboy at Red Lobster. Not the month I spent as a copy editor for an start-up Orlando newspaper that never published, never paid me, and whose owner was dragged out of the joint in handcuffs. Not even the semester I spent as an assistant in the news department of a public television station, which primarily involved me spending my afternoons on my hands and knees, hand-writing that evening's copy on a paper scroll (pre-teleprompter).

No, the worst job I ever had was the six weeks I spent in 1985 as the emcee of a comedy club. Six nights a week, two shows a night, I had to introduce the same six lousy comedians. Who did the same lousy material every lousy night. Two times. And three of them did Nicholson impressions.

I'd stand there, staring down at the audience, most of them totally hammered conventioneers, most of whom would talk right over my intro and right on through the comedian's set, and think, "I shoulda never left Red Lobster."

Three of the comedians were already never-was-es, having done every comedy club in the country, tried out for Johnny, maybe appeared on Merv, but basically unwilling to realize that it was never gonna happen for them. The other three were totally unfunny weirdos, thinking they were gonna be the next Andy Kaufman. They weren't even Gary Muledeer. Existential humor is very, very hard. Do not try it before the sodden attendees of the United States Bowling Congress. Really, don't. Did I mention that three of them did Nicholson? I did? Do you need some time to stop the screaming?

These guys all had their intros written on index cards and I was to memorize them and make sure to hit the right lines the right way during their walk-on music. Did I mention that two of them used "Party Train" by The Gap Band? Cuz they did. The worst of our performers was the guy who did a bit involving imaginary conversations between the keys of typewriter. Unless....it was the guy who did a bit about what traffic signs on the moon should say. "Slooooooooooooow." Ha, ha, ha. Slow. Ha, ha. ha. Moon. Oh, maybe it was the guy that did the bit about Ronald Reagan visiting a hooker. Actually, I take that back. That bit killed.

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