i ran into rick shapiro tonight as i was going into the starbucks on broadway up the street from caroline's comedy club. i wanted a warm dry place to eat my ranch fries. he was with his writing partner i think, another stand up comedian who's name escapes me but who, like most stand-up comics i know that aren't famous, looked vaguely familiar.
rick always looks as though he just murdered someone. whenever i run into him, he is always wide-eyed and scattered and brimming over with a fear so real, it's almost tangible. he's the kind of guy that walks around in the snow with his coat open and his chest completely exposed, absentmindedly thinking too much. it's a disturbed psychotic look that (nyc) girls like because the effect says dangerous and menacing which tranlates downtown as cool.
i don't see him that way. to me, he is extremely vulnerable and open and sweet, and very very sensitive.
i caught his act a few times. he's like a pit bull that's finally clamped onto the mailman's leg and he can't let go. as i watched go off on another one of his tangents, i felt compelled to look away but God help me, i couldn't. the mailman, screaming. the dog, biting. and me, watching. and feeling sick and wrong and bad for watching. but watching anyway. that's rick's act, pretty much.
i don't know where all that anger is coming from. when he's with me, he's a cupcake.
when i hang out with him, he's soft-spoken and polite and slightly neurotic. neurotic enough to be endearing, not annoying. he's very funny but in a casual, unaffected way. it's all very low key and sweet, which is strange because he looks so mean. sometimes his sentences come out in bits and pieces and i surprise him by stringing them together the way he meant to in his head but for some reason, couldn't say exactly. i did that a lot when we met. that's how we knew we were going to be friends.
when i'm with him, i'm really funny. or maybe i'm funny all the time and he's the one that points it out to me. he says i should do a rant, too. he encourages me to rant whenever i'm with him, just so he can hear me go off. write that down, he says. you could use that. to me, that's solo performance. i could try it if he was standing there, daring me to do it. the world of stand-up comedy is so brutal, though. and now everyone in nyc is about to go on strike. you wouldn't believe how much money the clubs make, rick said softly. his friend made a face and nodded solemnly.
what am i thinking? i can't do stand up. i've got enough on my plate...