Friday, January 07, 2005

Year of the Monkey

Well, happy New Year everybody. It's now 2005.

So far, the kick-off to this year (which obviously has some relevance for Nosedive, which I'll natter on about later in this Jamespeak) has been quite interesting for me. In other words, it's only been a week, and it feels like we've been in the New Year for a couple months.

First off, an interesting thing happened at the New Year's Eve party I went to.

A bunch of us Nosedivians went to a party hosted by Stone Soup in Williamsburg that was great fun. If you want to see some of the drunken photos (including one of me and Christmas Past Marsha Martinez), check this link out here.

After several hours of drinking soda pop and discussing Wittgenstein (shut up, you weren't there, shut up), two youths approached me and asked me about the T-shirt I was wearing (which was a shirt for the sketch comedy group I helped form when I was in college, Boston University's Slow Children at Play).

"Excuse me, but where did you get that shirt? Was it at a thrift shop, or are you a fan…?” asked one of them.

Just to make sure we were on the same page, I asked if they were indeed referring to the sketch comedy group or the Allston-based ska band of the same name (actually, the ska band is called Slow Kids at Play). They assured me it was the comedy group.

“Uh…well…I helped form it. It's the group I was in when I was at school,” was my reply.

Their eyes then lit up and insisted that I had to meet some people. It turned out that they were BU students who were fans of the current company, which was still going on.

Honestly, I hadn't given the group much thought after I graduated (with the exception of staying in touch with the members from my tenure).

So shortly thereafter I was introduced to one current undergrad and two recent BU alumni that were sketch comedians and part of Slow Children at Play.

I must admit, this was a weird, weird experience, meeting my disciples. Flattering, intimidating, fun and scary (do they look up to me or am I a washed-up creep no longer funny? Am I a complete dick for not seeing a single show after I graduated or does that help with my mystique? Is it cool that I'm living in the real world and writing "serious" plays or is it unimpressive that I've slowed down my sketch comedy performing? Do I try to hide my drunkenness or do I try to ham it up and show off how funny I think I am?).

So I became quite self-conscious as well as exhilarated.

We talked for a bit, and apparently the company three other dudes and I started (for the sole reason that we didn't get cast in BU's improv group, Spontaneous Combustion; yes, our underlying motive for creativity was based on spite) is still going strong, performing on- and off-campus, and enjoying a nice fan-base in Boston.

I should go check them out at some point.

So, shortly thereafter midnight tolled and (very thankfully) I did not have to kiss anybody (I fear romance and intimacy, in case you haven't figured that out by now). It was now 2005.

The Year of the Monkey had begun.*

* * *

On the second day of the New Year, I had to go to Vegas, baby, Vegas for a company conference. Now, I have never (ever ever EVER) been invited to an out-of-town conference by a company I’ve worked for in my life. So, I was quite honored and nervous that my new job was indeed shipping me out to Sin City.

And I missed my flight.


Now, I’ve never missed a flight before in my life. And I really wish I could use some bullshit excuse (“Man, traffic…” “Long lines, sheesh…”).

Oh, no.

I prepared myself for my 10:45 am flight to Vegas, baby, Vegas, and got to JFK super-early (I’m very anal about flying; I like to get to the airport at least 2 hours before the flight is scheduled). I went to the E-Ticket kiosk and typed in my ticket number.

Rather than give me my boarding pass, the machine suggested I see an agent.

So I did; I went up to an agent and told them I was there for the 10:45 flight to Vegas, baby, Vegas.

She looked at me funny. “What? There ain’t no 10:45 flight to Vegas.”

Uh-oh. “Yes there is,” I insisted, thinking, I’m not on the wrong day, am I? No, no, the itinerary says Sunday, January 2. It’s Sunday, January 2. I’m on the right day and at the right airline.

“We don’t have a 10:45 flight,” she insisted.

I pulled out the itinerary. “Yeah, it says right here…” Oh, fuck. “…ARRIVING in Vegas at 10:45.”

The flight departed at 8 am. It was now 8:15.


Considering that all the big-wigs from my company would be there, and there was a.) No way I’d be able to get there on time, and b.) No way I could make a smooth entrance to the conference (scheduled to start at 1 pm PST), I was contemplating at the airport just when they’d decide to can my dumb ass.

Well, after waiting to be on stand-by for the noon flight (I got on), and wondering just when they would fire me for being such a moron, I cooled off after the plane took off and I realized it was totally out of my hands now. I read my Dark Tower book (Song of Susannah, Book VI) and waited to see what would happen.

I got to the conference a few hours late, and nobody cared.

I forgot: it was Vegas, baby, Vegas.

So, after that departure snafu, I had a great time hanging with my co-workers and employers (many of whom I had never met, since the bulk of the staff is based out in San Francisco). They are, as Daniel Clowes would say, “Good People.”

“You’re the only one who feels bad about missing the flight,” assured one co-worker.

“YOU’RE A FUCKING ROCK STAR!” assured another, clearly impressed with me sauntering into the conference hall hours late.

I know, I know. For a moron, I’m pretty impressive.

The Year of the Monkey had begun.

* * *

Nosedive has recently had its first production company for the year. Even with the closing of A Very Nosedive Christmas Carol barely having passed, we have to get moving on our fifth anniversary season (Monkeys, our first play, being staged in February 2000), which means:

a.) we need a space for The Dying Goldfish,

b.) We need a space for our fundraising comedy show (tentatively titled
Nosedive’s Bucket of Chum, Cinquo de Nosedive or
Hey! Wanna Make it With a He-Bitch? Nosedive’s Fifth Anniversary
[no, the ship hasn’t sailed on that idea yet, as much
as Pete would hope]), and

c.) We need to book talent (read: he-bitches).

Hey, maybe we can invite the current Slow Children at Play!

I told Pete at our meeting that this very much could either be what pushes Nosedive further as a company, or cause us to completely implode.

I’m very curious to see what happens either way.

It’s only been a week, but 2005, but I already feel balls-deep in the year.

The Year of the Monkey has begun.

Your boyfriend,

James “Rooster” Comtois

January 7, 2005

*Before I get angry emails letting me know that 2004 is the Year of the Monkey, and 2005 is really the Year of the Rooster, as far as Nosedive Productions is concerned, 2005 is the Y.o.t.M. And by now, you really should know why.


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