I got permission from the producer of the show to write this (I was afraid to otherwise)...
I did a show last week in a lounge in NY's meatpacking district. I found the gig on Craigslist. By the way, nine out of ten stories that begin with, "So, I looked on Craigslist..." ends with "Well, that's what I get for looking on Craigslist!" And this was not the exception to the rule.
This guy, Vinnie Parco, emailed me the day of the show, asking if I can do it. I didn't even remember responding to the ad so I called him to see what he was all about. Turns out, he's a P.I., who works on some reality show on Court TV.
He told me, in a Queens/Brooklyn accent, the show is supposed to start at 7:30 but may start late as a lot of his friends are coming in from Howard Beach. I asked how much time I had to perform, he responded, "Ya get ten minutes, more if you're doing well, and we'll kill you if you're not." Then, he laughed. So I did.
"I'm jus' kiddin' ya!" He said.
I assumed I was kiddin' of course, but when I got to the venue, I began to wonder.
I arrived at 7:00. Vinnie was there, talking to a couple of ladies in front. I introduced myself and he said we'll get started as soon as the guests arrive. I took a seat in the lounge and watched Vinnie greet people. He kissed everyone on both cheeks. The guests looked like they walked out of central casting - men, with slicked black hair, barrel chests and impeccably tailored suits; the women all looked like they woulda blended well hangin' with Carmela Soprano.
Vinnie introduced me to one of his friends. I forgot his name but Vinnie told me he just got released from jail. He was there for six years as a partner of Victoria Gotti's husband (and I'm not looking it up...I don't even wanna know his name).
As I waited for the show to start, I texted Josie to tell her what was going on. She suggested I tell them my her maiden name (she's Italian) to get them on my good side.
Finally, around 9 PM, the show started. Not only was I first, but Vinnie didn't really warm up the crowd before inviting me on stage.
"For our first comedian, here's, umm, Harry... Harrison..."
Walking up, I helped, whispering "Harris Bloom!"
"Oh yeah, Harris Bloom, everyone!"
Worried how my act would be received, I decided that if I was gonna go down, I was gonna go down with my good stuff...I abandoned any notion of doing any new material and decided to do my Best Set. I was nervous enough to have wished I took a pill before leaving the apartment.
Thankfully, I did well. I even had a lil fun during my set with the audience. When I noticed that three (scary-looking) men to the side weren't laughing at all, I said, "I feel like you guys are the ones I should be trying hard to impress."
"You got that right!" One said, to the delight of the crowd. He continued, "Ya ever do a show with two gangsters sitting with an FBI agent?"
"Nope, I believe this is a first. Does it help if I told you my wife's maiden name is XXXX?"
"Sure, it helps her!"
"Touche!" I gave him that one, and moved on.
After getting offstage, several audience members shook my hand, congratulating me on my performance (while another comic was onstage no less).
All in all, the show was fun. They asked me to stay and hang out, but having found the one out of ten Craigslist ads that work out (even if it was a lil touch and go), I wasn't about to press my luck.