Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Funny in the Family

The e-mail from my cousin's husband was short: Their son, a really good kid, 23 years old and working hard to break into show business, would be performing with his comedy group at a rather small and almost seedy little comedy theater in Manhattan on Sunday night. Wanna come? Well, his comedy group is named Chocolate Cake City NY -- need I say more? (I was a bit disappointed they didn't hand out chocolate during the show, but I digress.)

Sure, we'll come. Any excuse to hire a babysitter (really, the in-laws), get out of the house on a weekend night, cross the river to the city that is only 15 miles away but that we often ignore for months at a time, see some family, and by the way, do it all for 21 bucks ($14 for two tickets to the National Comedy Theater and the $6 tunnel toll -- we scored free street parking, a feat practically unknown to those who drive into New York City and worth the trip and this blog report all by itself, but I digress.).

And now the really good news....the kid is actually funny. And talented -- he wrote the entire 1/2 hour comedy sketch, "The 7 Deadly Sins." And smart -- turns out he put together the original Boston-based Chocolate Cake City comedy group while an Emerson University student (the group, now a legend, went on to create the web-fueled spoof trailer, "Brokeback to the Future.") So after earning his theatrical degree, the kid ventured to California, where he studied with some cool and well-known groups, interned with Jimmy Kimmel Live and eventually fled from the insanity of LA to the relative normalcy of New York (go figure).

So, if you are the type to seek out new names in comedy, or just enjoy a laugh at a decent price, get thee to see my young cuz, Rob Asaro. Do it now, before he gets famous. You read it here first. Did I tell you I once hired an unknown by the name of Ray Romano to entertain at a charity fund raiser -- about 17 years ago. I think he charged about $300....see, I know talent when I see it.

Monday, July 24, 2006


And so, I am back. Back from two weeks away, away from my kids and my husband and my routines and my house and my life, I suppose. It was great and it was sad and I missed my two boys and my hubby so much that when I got back I wondered how I could ever leave again. Unless of course you argue, as I might, that it was two weeks that have the flicker, an inkling, a small chance, to perhaps alter my life in a way that may be wonderful and scary and just right. I will leave again in January, and I will want to.

I was away to attend an intense 11-day session of a graduate school program, 400 miles and five states away. I was merely on the Atlantic coast of Maine, but it felt like a gazillion miles from my little (and, I have to admit, small-minded) New Jersey suburb, at least if you count those miles in the type of people with whom I was surrounded, the wash of ideas and thinking, the shower of intellect and blizzard of possibility. Sure, I know there are smart people where I live, and interesting types with cool jobs and searing intellectual curiosity; problem is, I rarely get to meet them. They don't seem to hang out on line at the supermarket, waiting outside the elementary school, on the soccer sidelines, or at the family-school association meetings that make up a fairly big chunk of my everyday.

And so, how did my little family fare in my absence? Amazingly, surprisingly, competently, and really, very very well. Damn them.