I’ve loved theater since I was nine. I’ve lived in Manhattan (in some form or another) since I was eighteen. And yet, it took me until Thursday night—just weeks before my twenty-seventh birthday—to get my ass to Don’t Tell Mamma for Seth’s Broadway Chatterbox. And after that show, I am so mad at myself for that!
It might have been the two extremely boozy gin & sodas, but I think that was the most fun, funny night I’ve had in ages. Certainly of any night that was theater-related. That’s not to say that dancing on stage at the Hirschfeld isn’t fun. It’s just… Well, it’s not that kind of fun. That laugh-out- loud, try-not-to-howl-and-draw-attention-to-yourself, wonder-what-took-you-so-damn-long-to- try-this kind of night.
Part of the fun, I’m guessing, is the way it feels so insider-y. You snatch tickets up at the very last second and drop your plans for the night and proceed through a bar to this almost hidden, darkened back-room with a velvet rope across the entrance. And every joke, without fail, requires some sort of knowledge of theater and its attendant universe in order to be understood.
You’re surrounded by other people who get it, too, which can’t hurt the atmosphere. By other people who laugh at the jokes. Jokes, which, if you repeated them in front of any other crowd of friends, would fall dead at their feet. And you realize whether or not you know them, these are your people. There is a kinship.
And then there’s Seth. Who is hilarious beyond measure.
I have this thing in my head that I keep wanting to put on paper, about how if I were in any position in this Broadway universe, I’d want to be Susan Blackwell. Because she’s hysterical. And she’s got this incredible skill, this way of asking the burning questions, or poking at the just barely healing wound, without being too forward or rude or hurtful. She makes you (and her subject) laugh, without ever laughing at their expense. She has a subtlety. And that is a word I’m sure no one has previously applied to Susan and her face-licking antics, but it’s totally true.
I think in reality, if I were in that kind of fantastic position, I’d actually be more like Seth. Which is not to say Seth pokes too hard, or earns laughter in a hurtful way, at someone’s expense. Because he does not. But where Susan has a slightly defter hand, Seth is like a steam train. And I fucking love it. He just says it. It’s just out there. Very off the cuff, very unedited and direct. I think I’d end up more like that because I lack the ability to filter the way most people do. Often when it’s most necessary. I’m sure over time the Craptacular will show that. (Only, let’s be real, Seth has way more panache than I ever will.)
Anyway. Chatterbox, Mick, Chatterbox.
Seth is wonderfully pointed and hysterical and he makes you want to be his friend. So that you can laugh like that all the time. Plus, he knows things about theater even you don’t know, and it makes you feel more normal and yet curious and hungry for more all at once. And he gets his guests to share the most fun stuff, without ever rehashing the stupid shit you’ve read in every Broadway.com article ever posted. (STFU, you know you’ve read it all.)
This past Thursday’s guest was Will Swenson, and part of me wants to share so much. Because I think he’s smart and funny and thoughtful and poignant. He’s also hot as hell, with insane & hypnotic eyes, so that doesn’t hurt either. And, maybe best of all, he’s quite loud (seriously, he didn’t need that mic to fill the room with sound) which makes me like him even more because, you know, a girl’s gotta have love for her fellow loudmouths.
But something about sharing what we heard inside that tiny cabaret room feels wrong. Like maybe that’s part of the whole experience, and the moment becomes less remarkably New York, less yours, if you blab too much.
So for now, I’m going to shut up.