New Year’s Eve in Times Square – what a bother

Published 6:15 am Friday, November 22, 2013

My agent recently shot me an email enquiring if I would be interested in a potential corporate booking for New Year’s Eve, in the lavish banquet hall of a lovely hotel … in Times Square.
The youth that still lingers within me jumped as my eyes devoured the request. What fun! New York City on New Year’s Eve!
When you’re a stand-up comic, the New Year’s Eve gigs are generally the most lucrative of the year, although they are often the most difficult.
You must make absolutely certain with management that you will be finished and off stage by quarter ‘til the witching hour, otherwise you will have lost the attention of the audience as they begin checking their watches (who am I kidding? – cell phones!) and begin worrying they’re going to miss the highly anticipated count down if the person on the stage doesn’t shut up.
There have been some wild and wonderful New Year’s bookings, too: Atlanta for the millennium with the crowd noticeably tense as Y2K loomed before us – would the mic go dead and the power shut down?
I calmed them by saying if that should happen, how fabulous, as no one would be able to pay their bill and it would be on the house. (Management was not pleased).
Then there was New Year’s in Chicago, having just got off a plane from Salzburg, hours earlier, and blurry from jet lag and running on fumes, when I somehow managed to perform three separate, sold-out shows in a row.
I don’t remember any of them. But I’m pretty sure I slept for 16 hours, straight afterwards. In my 30s, with countless frequent flier miles and an aggressive agent, the world was my oyster.
“Yes,” I can remember saying, “Let’s take that gig in Jersey because I can hop a flight to London from there, when I’m done, and go hang out and see some friends, then be back in Los Angeles in plenty of time before filming.”
You can do that sort of thing in your 30s, when you have no children or responsibilities, but it does require tremendous self discipline and staying power because it takes stamina, people, to party that hard for that long.
I re-read the email request one more time before replying.
New Year’s Eve in Times Square? What a nightmare, I decided. All those people crushed next to each other with the traffic and the noise. Not to mention the certain delays at the airport and the potential security threats.
Nah, I thought, I’ll probably just stay put and go to the ball drop in town where someone stands behind the relatively short clock tower and tosses it over the top around 9 p.m. because folks have to get up in the morning and take care of their livestock.
The best part – no chance of running into Kathy Griffin.

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