Monday, February 21, 2011

No strings attached, we promise.

Don't think we haven't noticed. You've had your eye on us for a long time now. The coy looks, the backward glances, "accidentally" brushing your hand against our thigh when we walk past each other? Oh yes, we've noticed.

I think it's time we stopped with all of these little games. Let's be mature adults about this. You're clearly interested. We're open to that. There's some baggage, but that shouldn't hold us back. Don't worry baby, it won't get too freaky. We know how you like it.

So why don't you swing by our place, the Ninth Street Independent Film Center, say, this Friday, February 25th, from 6 to 8pm? Yes, I know it's National Clam Chowder Day, we had plans too, but we're willing to cancel. That's just how important this is to us.

This is, after all, "An Intimate Evening with the Variety Society", an opportunity for investors, sponsors, colleagues, and press to learn about the show. And we do mean all about the show. You know that one thing we don't tell anyone about? We'll tell you. It'll be our little secret.

Piano Fight will be there, and so will the Dime and Toddy Shipley, but don't worry, they won't cut into our alone time. This is going to be a night to remember. Or, depending on how the bar is stocked, a night that you'll forget as soon as it's over.

Either way, we'll still respect you in the morning.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Yesterday's news. With jokes.

You know the problem with topical humor? It has to be topical.

Sometimes you think of a really great joke that would have been hilarious...four months ago. Sometimes you sit on that joke for years afterward, bitter and angry. Sometimes you cry yourself to sleep over it and wake up a hollow shell of a man. Yeah, we take our humor seriously around here.

For example, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom put off his January inauguration for a week for political reasons. Which might have prompted us to say this:

"Gavin Newsom was finally sworn in today after a week of stalling. Yeah, I would probably put off moving to Sacramento for as long as I could too."

Oh yes, major Sacramento burn. And you know what? There would have been pretty much nothing they could do about it. Because they're Sacramento. If only I had thought of it back when it was relevant.

Actually, I did have a chance to squeeze that one onto the teleprompter at the last minute before the most recent show, but then I didn't do it because I was too busy forgetting to do it.

Some jokes stay funny for years, but they're like that tire with a slow leak; the more time goes by, the less safe it is to use them. Although I never once got ticketed because an untimely joke caused my hubcap to blow off and injure an elderly man and his clinically prescribed therapeutic dachshund.

Can anyone place this reference anymore:

"I don't want to sound like a cynic guys, but I'm starting to think that OJ is just never gonna find the real killer."

Yeah, that one had a pretty good shelf-life for a while, but after a decade or so nobody remembered that he had said that in the first place. And then fate conspired to pretty much ruin it forever. Damn justice system.

Over the years, it got to the point where making jokes about Michael Jackson was like taking a dump on a compost heap; there really wasn't anything of significance that you could add.

Then he died, the world starting loving him again, and at that point a Michael Jackson joke became like taking a dump on a tire fire; there wasn't anything you could add, and the blowback was downright toxic.

There was probably a narrow window after his death but before it became off-topic when we could have said this:

"You know it's amazing, the funeral home said it was the first time they'd ever had a body that came to them pre-embalmed."

Actually, it still might be a little too soon for that one.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

For similar reasons, we are called neither Sharks nor Jets.

Allow us to explain everything you need to know about how the world works.

First, there was the internet. Presumably, something came before the internet, but we no longer remember what it was. Probably some sort of primitive Dark Age where men vied with mammoths and worshiped logs and ate roots three meals a day. Best not to think about it.

Next came Google, and Google pretty much runs the show now (not our show, the big show. The universal show, as it were). We're not really sure what Google is up to or why they are now the hub 'round which the world turns. We know better than to ask questions. Questions can mean being sent to the Goolag. We just keep our traps shut.

Google results are pretty important when you're an emerging entertainment enterprise. If you type "Variety Society" into Google (which, by the way, you'd just be a dear if you actually did), you get a whole lot of results. See that results page? That is, and here I'm going to use a technical term, our turf. And we do not like people stepping on our turf.

In fact, for a long time someone was stepping on our turf. See, we're not the only Variety Society. Apparently some wine-tasting group was already the Variety Society, and let me tell you, it took forever to knock them off of the first page. I had to do some things I'm not proud of. And you would be appalled to find out what I'm capable of taking pride in.

You may be wondering, if they had the name before us, wouldn't that make it their turf? You might think so, but that's just because you don't understand how this complex system works. See, we're just plain better than they are. And that makes it ours. You know why? Because we're funny. Most of the time.

Now, wine, wine isn't funny. Go ahead, show me your funniest wine.

Yeah, no one is gonna laugh at that. What is that, a Riesling? Nobody laughs at a Riesling. You could maybe get a laugh with a Steuben, but that's about it. That Riesling just goes to show exactly what kind of amateur operation these people are running. Bottom line, we're funnier, so the name is ours, double bogey no take backs.

So the wine snobs have been banished to page two, and all was right in the world. Until tonight, when a new usurper emerged from the shadowy shadows. "GPT Variety Society"? Who the hell are they? According to their Facebook profile, they used to be the GEC Variety Society. Well, that explains everything.

No! Don't Google them! It'll just entrench them further. Leave this to the professionals. I've still got some detonator wire left. I can get this done. You might think we're being a bit too protective of our name, but you would be too if you'd had this many "Variety Society" tshirts made.

And do you have any idea how long it took us to come up with a title for this show in the first place? Really, really long. We were almost called "The Sutro Tower Hour", but one of our producers thought it sounded like the title of a gay porno. Seriously, titles are hard.

So we're putting the word out: GPT, GEC, GED, whatever you call yourselves, you can do your little theatre song and dance all you want (up to and including actual song and dance. I recommend "The Music Man" this season, actually), but stay off of our turf. By which I mean our Google.

You don't wanna find out what'll happen if you don't. And neither do we. Let's all not find out together, capiche?