Lucky Cheng's is located immediately next to a funeral home. This funeral home seems to be almost as busy as Lucky Cheng's on any given evening, which makes sense, I guess. Lots of people die in NYC every day. It's probably a pretty good business to be in, all things considered. Death doesn't wait for the economy to pick up. It got me thinking, another great business to get into would probably be shoes. Everybody wears shoes. To paraphrase a lost genius, "Even dead bodies wear shoes."
But back to the story, I'm not really a "scenester" in the comedy world. Not for any political or sociological reasons; it's more a social anxiety thing that transcends any hang-ups I might have about comedy. I have a handful of close friends in the scene, several more acquaintances, but for the most part, I know most other comedians etc, from our Facebook "friendships."
So, in an attempt to overcome this obstacle in my life, I've started trying to introduce myself and socialize with other people involved with whatever show I'm attending, whether I'm performing or not. It's pretty easy to pick out the other comics who don't really know each other, because we're all usually standing outside, discreetly scanning the passers-by for familiar faces, or maybe pacing around looking at notes, seeming slightly nervous yet aloof, smoking cigarettes, or trying to make small talk with each other, etc...
Anyway, recently I went to attend/participate in a show at Lucky Cheng's, organized by John. I got there early, and saw a group of people outside, seeming slightly nervous yet aloof, smoking cigarettes, trying to make small talk with each other, etc...
Since I don't really know too many other comics in the scene, I went up to the group and casually introduced myself. I asked how they knew John, which seemed to confuse them. But if you know John Murdock, you might not want to immediately divulge how you met him, either.
A few of them said they were family friends; one guy said he was related.
I responded with a laugh, "Oh, well this is gonna be an interesting night for you guys!"
Then I explained that I know John through Penny's Open Mic. They all stared at me, completely baffled.
I continued in a slightly joking manner, "So are you guys going up tonight, or just here representing for John?"
My words hung like cheap perfume in stale subway air.
It was at that very moment that I realized these people were not attending the comedy/karaoke show at the drag queen bar, but were, in fact, attending a funeral, next door to Lucky Cheng's.
I slowly backed away from the group, then quickly scurried around the corner and walked around the block until the group of people was gone.
An hour later, I was onstage singing "Bye Bye Baby" by the Bay City Rollers, surrounded by men dressed up like women.