September 26, 2012

Jerry's Ink


I can't get myself up to write a new column this week.

For those who may be wondering, the "Shlomo Good Luck" charm for the New York Giants is going strong. Shlomo sat on my lap when I watched the game on Thursday night.

Final score: Giants 36 - Carolina 7.

As his agent, if he brings one more week of good luck for the Giants, I will start negotiating with them for a contract.

So here's a column (slightly re-edited) that I wrote in 2005. It describes a night I dreaded that turned into a high point of my wretched life.

I did a stand-up comedy act at Caroline's Comedy Club.

I have never been so frightened in my life.

I was so terrified I wouldn't allow my wife, the beautiful Judy Licht, or anyone I know to attend the show because if I was going to die I wanted to die alone.

I also couldn't stand the thought of getting a mercy laugh.

It's one thing to attempt to write funny, but it's another thing to get up on stage with a few hundred strangers staring at you and saying to themselves, "Make me laugh!"

The other two corporate types who took part in the show were James Lebenthal, the famous tax-free bond expert, and Carl (I can afford to buy a sense of humor I'm a billionaire) Ichan.

Lebenthal went on first. He's a lovely man but the crowd was deadpan and quiet during his entire "act."

This scared me even more. Now there was a good chance that I would get up on the stage and either vomit or wet myself out of fear.

Then I heard them call my name and I stumbled on to the stage to face hundreds of strangers.

I delivered my first line and they laughed.

"Hey," I said to myself, "this isn't so bad."

Then I talked about advertising. "Was I wrong in proposing a slogan for Feminique vaginal spray: 'Feminique is not the best thing in the world — it's next to the best thing'?"

Crude stuff, but they were laughing and applauding.

Here's the closing part of my act:

"Now the only reason I'm up here embarrassing myself is because it's for charity. I hope someday Caroline's will hold such an event for my favorite charity. I've written a commercial that you'll all soon see on television. I have that famous bleeding heart, depressive Sally Struthers.

"She whines, 'Hello, I'm Sally Struthers. For years I've ruined your dinner by coming on television for some dubious charity and showing you starving children covered by flies. Now I'm here for an even more serious appeal. Today I'm here to urge you to give to JEWS WITHOUT SECOND HOMES.

"You see them on the weekends lunching at Fred's at Barneys and having dinner at Sette Mezzo.

"Jews with no place to go.

"During the day wandering among the German and Italian tourists . . . at night going to boring foreign films about pregnant shop girls in India . . . Saturday . . . Sunday — the hours drag.

"Mothers who have to admit to their children, 'I'm sorry your friends are not around this weekend. I know they're all in the Hamptons. If you're lonely go downstairs and talk to the doorman.'

"Jews who don't have that sad confusion of wondering which house they left their heavy coat in. And why are those shoes that would be perfect with this dress in my closet in the Hamptons?

"And why are the clothes I want to wear always, always 120 miles away?

"Jews who will never spit out their Saturday morning coffee with milk that went sour because it was left on the counter of their second home all week.

"Jews who will never know the joy of waving to their friends on a Saturday night at Nick and Toni's or The Palm.

"Jews who will never be able to say, 'I have to go now, my phone doesn't get service in Montauk.'

"Jews who are the hopeless victims of a rapidly shifting economy. They must be helped. Do they not have a second home because they didn't want to buy at the top of one of the many Hamptons real estate bubbles? Or worse, did they sell their homes before the bubble started and can't get back in?

"Jews who sold their second home on the ocean in Southampton for $900,000 in 1979 now, when they drive past it, they realize it's worth $14 million and they burst into tears.

"Jews who cannot look at the real estate section of this newspaper without having heart palpitations.

"How about those poor Jews who sold because in 1985 their children were under the influence of some sadistic private school coach at Dalton or Spence who called for soccer and hockey practice on Saturday mornings?

"Now their kids have graduated and left home and these poor people are reduced to being houseguests of people they frankly can't stand.

"When you go to your second homes this weekend, think of those poor Jews who only have one giant kitchen, just five gorgeous bedrooms. Only one Viking stove. Only one Sub-Zero refrigerator.

"I'm Sally Struthers urging you to reach into your pocket and give a donation to JEWS WITHOUT SECOND HOMES."

The applause was incredible.

I felt like Sally Fields at the Academy Awards many years ago whose whole acceptance speech was, "You like me. You really like me!"

If you wish to comment on "Jerry's Ink" please send your message to jerry@dfjp.com.

  1. print email
    My Brush with Fame
    September 27, 2012 | 05:48 PM

    Hey Jerry,

    At least you had the moxie to get on stage. Case in point ...

    I was pretty much a regular customer at New York’s Improv during the ‘80s and eventually came to be recognized by Silver Friedman " Budd Friedman’s estranged wife. Sometimes I’d bring an official date for the actual feature show. But most times, usually on a whim, I’d simply jump in a cab from my apartment in Murray Hill and walk in alone just to hang out for a while and see what was happening. Maybe sit at the bar or stand in a corner, it didn’t matter. Just being part of the scene and getting a quick fix of stand-up was enough for me.

    But here’s the rub ... One night I walked in kind of early just to hang out and I noticed Joe Piscopo sitting at the bar. Holy shit! Joe Piscopo just sitting there like a normal person!

    I said to Silver, “Hey, isn’t that Joe Piscopo?” She said “Yes, would you like to meet him?”

    Next thing I know she introduces me to Joe and we’re sitting at the bar together just having a drink, talking it up a bit, and having a few one-on-one laughs. And that’s when the stand-up comedy bug really bit me! In front of Silver, Joe said I was a very funny guy and I ought to get on stage for an audition and give it a try.

    Needless to say, I never gave it a shot and I still regret it to this day. Making people forget their troubles for a while with laughter. The ultimate elixir for everything and what a great way to make a living. Bill Crandall

    Bill Crandall
  2. print email
    The Next Best Thing
    September 27, 2012 | 06:38 PM

    Jerry ... Also enjoyed your anecdote regarding Feminique vaginal spray and your proposed copy for the brand ... "Feminique is not the best thing in the world " it's next to the best thing'?"

    We once had an unofficial creative contest at SSC

    Bill Crandall
  3. print email
    Next Best Thing Again
    September 27, 2012 | 07:02 PM

    My last post was cut short for some reason. So here's the whole thing again ...

    Jerry ... Also enjoyed your anecdote regarding Feminique vaginal spray and your proposed copy for the brand ... "Feminique is not the best thing in the world. It's next to the best thing?"

    We once had an unofficial creative contest at SSC

    Bill Crandall
  4. print email
    September 29, 2012 | 09:50 PM

    You and Jerry need to get a room, 3 posts?!

  5. print email
    September 30, 2012 | 11:35 AM

    This column made me fall off my chair laughing - this was really one of the best.

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