The original big Apple obsession, before Steve Jobs made it fit in our pockets.
As many of you know, I’m headed to NYC in 2 weeks’ time. I’m going to be exploring the underground stand-up comedy circuit, jumping on stages, lurking in audiences and taking selfies backstage… and in times square, because… cummaan!
Lesser known fact is that I actually lived in NYC during my Gap Year (and I bought gap jeans there, true story, although the pun wasn’t intended. I wasn’t very funny at 18. it took years of failure to cultivate this. Literally actually 10 years, since i started stand up at 28.) So it’s going to be 15 years, almost to the day since I was last in New York.
2001 was a pretty big year for the big Apple. Most notably, 9/11 happened. And yes, I was in New York for that. And no, i wasn’t in harm’s way. It was 8am. I was in bed. I might not have been a comedian yet, but I had a comedian’s sleeping patterns. (I was actually modelling… which is much the same thing, with less junk food, same amount self loathing and drugs.) Look at me acting all funny about drugs, like I’m cool. Look I wear high-tops now, so I think I’m kinda thug. (I recently bought my first pair of high tops. And I actually feel like every non-white person is laughing at me when they see me walking with what can only be described as ‘adidas bought white people swag’) No, I didn’t notice a single drug in NYC in 2001, I wasn’t even legal to drink at 18 (America is messed up like that) and had to brown bag Coors light, which is ironic, given it’s lame alcohol content.
2001 was also the year that was pre digital. I don’t even think the ipod had come out yet. I literally walked around with a FILM camera in my handbag, incase something awesome happened (no points for guessing that I DIDN’T Have my camera on me the day I left my Greenpoint, Brooklyn apartment on Tuesday Morning, which turned out to be September 11th.) I had a film camera and a CD walkman, that took batteries. I also didn’t have my camera on any of the days I met celebrities, which included Liv Tyler naked (in a changing room) I suppose she was glad I didn’t have my camera that day. No one else is.
To be honest, I don’t really know what i DID take photos of. Photos were so underrated in 2001, pre digital, pre social media, pre not having to have a slideshow of travel photos to make anyone actually see the pics aside from strangers in a bank queue. I think I have one blurry photo of the Statue of liberty and a few overexposed images of us drinking indoors, which could have been ANY-FUCKING-WHERE.
So, yes. I will be snapping EXCESS of photos on my 2016 voyage to NYC. I was so worried, at 18, with fitting in, and not looking like a tourist, and one of the things New Yorkers told me to do in order to blend in was ‘look pissed off’ and ‘don’t look up’ (because only tourists think tall buildings are cool. Or clouds, apparently.)
Well fuck. I DO NOT CARE about looking cool at 33. I am PAST my prime. I will be looking up like a short guy at a strip club… and the buildings will be the exotic Russians clothed in angular glass and cement. So I’ll be looking up. But I’m older now – and have resting bitch face. So maybe I’ll still look pissed off. I tried so hard to fit in when I was 18. I remember trying to walk in Times Square (rookie error, no locals go there) thinking I blended in, when a street vendor greeted me, “hey pretty lady, what country are you from?” Dammit. My cover was blown. I hadn’t even spoken. How did he know? I was truly mortified that I didn’t look local. Shame. Poor little Angel.
One time, I was in the subways and Joshua Jackson (yes, PACEY from Dawson’s Creek. Which was still very much A THING then) was waiting on the same platform as me. It was 2am so we were the only people there, and the trains were running slower than they do during business hours. I recognised him but was too shy to say anything, then my train arrived, after I got on I noticed that he didn’t make a move to get on, so this wasn’t HIS train. In a moment of YOLO I jumped off the train and decided to ‘pretend to be a foreigner and pretend that I was lost’. This is where it gets really good. 18 year old Angel was so convinced that she fitted in, seamlessly in NYC that SHE PUT ON A FAKE BRITISH ACCENT TO CONVINCE HIM THAT SHE WASN’T AMERICAN. Yes. I did that. This is true. No, my REAL South African accent isn’t exotic enough. I pretended I was lost, (british) asked him if he knew which train I needed. Turned out he was more lost than me, and I had to help him realise he was at the wrong station and walked with him to his new station (pretending I needed the same train). So Mr. Jackson doesn’t realise that his Guardian Angel, Angel helped him that night. Halfway through hanging out, I started trying to phase IN my normal accent, and phase OUT my Fake british accent. It was like a drunk Australian doing an Irish accent, I didn’t even bat an eyelid because he told me I was the first South African he’d ever met, so I knew he had no frame of reference. He did side-eye me pretty hard every time I swung from Pom to Saffa. He probably thought I was an American, fucking with him. Damn. I was THE WORST at 18. I didn’t have my camera that night either. I went home and wrote it in my diary though, which is almost as good. *hangs head*
So now it’s the NYC reboot. Bigger, better, less lame. Or maybe more lame. But Awesome all the same.
I have sorted out some epic hosts via friends and couchsurfing. (I love the internet.)
I will try to be better with blogging and just have massive brain-farts on here, so keep in touch for that chaos.
I’m looking forward to hitting the hustle in the Comedy underground, just to get on stages, or to chat with NY comedians, to hear their world views, and experience THEIR comedy. I cannot wait to stretch my brain and document this time – and I will have my iPhone6s, Apple belongs in the big Apple, i hope I see Liv Tyler naked again. For all our sakes.
*This Post was not sponsored by Apple. Although, if you work for Apple. Let’s talk.
(If anyone has any comedian connections in NYC, please let me know – I’m so interested in networking and finding out about all the underground gigs.)