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Asheville Recap: From TSA to TNA

This weekend I was in Asheville, North Carolina for the Laugh Your Asheville Off Festival.  Here is the whimsical recap:

I woke up at 530 AM to get my flight from Newark.  Not my first choice, but when it is a free flight from American Express you go to Newark.  For anybody that doubts the toughness of Newark, NJ you need to look no further than their TSA agents.  A woman in her early 50s obviously gave a Napoleanic TSA agent some guff when she was told that she would need to have a separate screening.  I did not hear what she said, but she received a “you got something to say?” from the TSA agent.  Actually she received about 4 “you got something to say’s,” with each one drawing the TSA agent closer until he was literally in her face, which was followed by her silence.  He then said, “that’s what I thought,” and started walking away, to which she started saying something, which was followed by TSA agent turning around and walking back saying, “Don’t start talking when I turn around baby girl.” Now to clarify the tension this was not some sassy black queen talking to this woman, but a slightly more thuggish young man, so it probably didn’t help when I kept muttering, “hit the bitch.”  When it was my turn I looked at him and said, “You think you bad?  You ain’t bad!  You ain’t nothin’!”  So my trip started with an inauspicious start, as I thought of something that sounds like a tag from a terrible horror or thriller movie, “The TSA protects you from terrorists, but who will protect you from the TSA?”

Newark TSA: Let me see your motherfu-kin' boarding pass bitch!
Newark TSA: Let me see your motherfu-kin' boarding pass bitch!

So I arrived in Asheville on one of the smoothest small plane rides I can ever remember and had plenty of time to kill before my 930 pm show.  I had lunch with the producers of the show, which was nice and allowed me to get the scoop on the Asheville scene (bottom line – if you are a comedian and get a chance to do a show there – do it).

Then I spent the next few hours in my Super 8 Motel room working on my set, but then I got hungry. Seeking an authentic Southern experience I went to the only non-Waffle House across from my motel: Hooters.

There are several things strange about my trip to Hooters.  I brought a book to read, which already can indicate homosexuality to certain neanderthal thinkers at anytime, but bringing a book into Hooters is like going to a Neanderthal meeting and saying I prefer tales of Richard Nixon’s election in 1968 to breasts.  But I brought the book simply to avoid gazing into the dead eyes of the waitresses.  Another strange thing was that the televisions were playing That’s So Raven on the Disney channel.   It seemed ironic to me, but maybe Hooters can be a family restaurant,considering that signs at the restaurant indicated that today was Conceive Your Daughter At Work Day.  I kid the Hooters waitresses – but I felt like I should be pimping them to come to New York, “Ladies you know what pretty girls with big boobs can get in NYC?  Anything you want!  But you’ll want to lose that cheerful attitude.”

PYOT: Pretty Young Objectified Things!
PYOT: Pretty Young Objectified Things!

Then it was time to go over for the night’s shows.  The shuttle from the Motel was basically a golf cart, but less masculine and cool (my door closed by Velcro).  It would have been less humiliating to arrive at the show dressed as Professor Dumbledore riding a Big Wheels truck.  This was at 6 pm, which only meant that I had 6 hours until my set.   After waiting for what felt like an eternity I went on and had a great set in front of an amazing crowd.  Really amazing. 

After the show a guy came up to me to tell me that he thought the Obama impression was really good and that he is an impressionist and is struggling to get an Obama.  I very much wanted to go Kenny Powers on him and say, “Actually I don’t understand you.  I’m a comedian, not trying to be the best at imitating,” which is a lie since I like doing impressions, but it would have been funny to me to say that.

The next morning was Waffle House time, where I ate a ton of food for $7 before getting on my flight back to Newark.  it was very bumpy the whole way back and then I realized that we had a female pilot and co-pilot.  I have never seen that before, but other than the emotional instability of the flight it was pretty much a normal flight.

Water, no ice and some peanuts ple-ohhh sorry.  Awwwwkward.
Water, no ice and some peanuts ple-ohhh sorry. Awwwwkward.
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The New Yankee Stadium

If you thought the American Pastime needed more meatpacking district influence – here’s your baseball stadium.

A couple of days ago I received an amazing investment opportunity in the mail.  If I invest the GDP of a small country I can receive some entertaining sports surrounded by all the bells and whistles of a Manhattan club delivered in the form of a product that has had diminishing returns over the last decade.  That’s right I received my Yankees prospectus a/k/a ticket information and fan guide in the mail.

Like General Motors the Yankees have cost the American taxpayer more while providing less over the last several years.  There are several problems I have which were only augmented by the mailing I received.

To quote Notorious B.I.G - "Gimme the loot"
To quote Notorious B.I.G - "Gimme the loot"

The Prices

The Yankees, my second favorite team in all of sports, belong up there with the executives who received bonuses from AIG.  The ticket prices are absurd – it literally feels like what a night out to a Broadway play was before Broadway had to sell out to get seats filled in the theaters.  Baseball was not supposed to be high society  – it was supposed to be a day or night for families and working class folks who could enjoy entertainment with superstars without a bank loan or a blow job being involved.  There are now six (that’s six) special tiers of tickets for which the prospectus does not even list prices.   Presumably because they are so special and elite that only people with American Express black cards can even hear the prices without going deaf.

The Bronx

The Stadium was completely unnecessary and with the economy as it is , completely irresponsible.  What’s worse is that with the hollow promises brokered by the Yankees and the city and in part by former Bronx Borough President Adolpho Carrion, the Yankees got a subsidized stadium and in the process destroyed a massive, well-attended park with no equivalent replacement in waiting.  In one of the poorest communities in America, do you think destroying a quality outlet like a park with softball/baseball/soccer fields, a track and all sorts of other amenities is a wise decision?

The other promises that are often made – pumping money into the community, a school structured for high school students interested in sports management, etc.  seem to not be panning out.  Even worse is that all the restaurants (NYY Steak, Hard Rock Cafe) will actually probably take from the local businesses that thrived with the extra customers coming in for games.  Why would a tourist try local fare when they can go to the more familiar and ethnically-cleansed Hard Rock Cafe.

I would also love to know if Bronx residents were given priority for jobs created by the stadium and all its surrounding new businesses.  The Bronx has the highest unemployment rate in the city and this could have been an opportunity to make a small dent in it (very small, but at least meaningful as a step that says the Yankees will give something back – even if it is only salaries earned).

The Stadium

This thing looks beautiful.  Plush lounges, high end suites, a sports bar in centerfield, numerous quality food retailers at the stations in the stadium are just a few of the upgrades.  Hell, there’s so much at the Stadium that if they have a store producing Latino people they could render the Bronx completely obsolete.  However, isn’t this a fu-king baseball game?

Will there be a cover charge on top of tickets and techno blaring as you enter the stadium and some giant black dude frisks you and some sleazy grown-up prep school kid asks you if you party?  The American pastime should not be so slick and corporate looking.  People used to go to baseball games for the game – but now it seems that Manhattan spirit of needing to be seen has officially immersed itself in the Bronx, even if that immersion does not spread 20 feet outside the Stadium.  Now you can say “I have tickets to the Yankees” and it can mean more than “I like baseball and the Yankees.”  Now it can mean “I like status symbols and high fives.”  It won’t be long until Yankee fans become, due to financial restrictions and character depletion, like an LA Dodgers Crowd – famous for arriving in the 3rd inning and leaving in the 7th inning.

Isn't there a baseball game going on?
Isn't there a baseball game going on?

The old stadium used to be called The House That Ruth Built.  This one seems to be destined for The Club That Douchebags Inhabit.  Or maybe in the spirit of its apparent inspiration, just call it Stadium.  Or Douche.

I have my tickets for May 18th.