When I got here, the first ad I saw on Craigslist asked me to “Step right up and apply for the HOTTEST positions in NEW YORK CITY NIGHT LIFE.” It was for a carnival-themed bar and nightclub. The ad was for a walk-in interview for all positions; go-go dancers, bouncers, security guards, bartenders and “booth attendants,” and it was right next door to where I was (stealing Internet at Staples), so I went.
I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. My hair was doing that thing where it inexplicably looks like I’ve been riding in a convertible all day. At the place (a high-end bowling alley) there were a lot of girls with tattoos and guys with ringleader mustaches. I saw a few midgets too.
I was really intimidated. The only open audition I’d ever been to was for my sketch comedy group in college, and I’m pretty sure I was still drunk from the night before for that one (To try out I performed that scene from Zoolander where Owen Wilson pulls his underwear out of his pants). At this open call however, these people were not attention-starved drama nerds wanting to be on a comedy team. They were people with checkered pasts and lighters with their names engraved on them. The only thing controversial on me was a pack of matches stolen from the Mirage hotel. You know, for emergencies.
By some twist of fate I was hired as a bartender on the spot along with a girl who didn’t speak English but was super hot and Asian. Now I work at a Carnival-themed bar that’s a lot like Dave & Buster’s.
First thing I learned about joining the Manhattan circus was that this bar is very corporate and very sterile. There are three managers, two women who used to be servers and a really cool ex-bartender who mumbles.
We had a seminar run by one of the female managers where we got to sample the food that will be offered at Carnival so we’re able to suggest to guests what they should order. We went through each menu item and after every single one we had to go over “suggestive selling.” For example, if a guest gets Taquitos you should suggest they get a margarita.
Our manager would say after each dish she described, “what do you think would go with chicken corn dogs, hmm?”
We were always silent when she asked these questions, because really, what DOES go with corn dogs? Soda? A Heart Attack? Corn dogs don’t exactly have partners in flavor. But whether it was corn dogs or mozzarella sticks she would ask us this, and none of us ever had the right answer, because her answer was always “white wine.” After she described the chicken fingers and asked this question I yelled “white wine” out of turn and got a laugh from the guys in the corner. She looked at me like she was going to fire me right there in front of everyone. I now know better.
Tonight we will get to sample the drinks which I’m not looking forward to because they are melted candy mixed with alcohol, a lethal combination for me and many others. One is blue curacao, rum and gin with Swedish Fish on the rim. I haven’t had Swedish fish since I binged on them right before my last comedy show and then promptly chundered red goo in the girl’s bathroom of CGS. Red goo that would not flush down. I never told anyone that because I didn’t want it to get traced back to me, but I doubt any Boston University janitors are reading my blog.
One drink is called the “dunk tank.” It’s served in a gigantic 3-gallon plastic container. It’s 30 ounces of liquor and a whopping $70. It’s also bright pink, so I can guarantee I’ll sell it to Daria when she comes.
Yesterday we sampled the most expensive of our beers, the Coney Island Albino. It was a white lager, which are pretty rare. It tasted like pee to me when I sipped it. It was like someone took a Hoegaarden and said, “I think I’ll add some pee aftertaste to this already perfect beer, just so people know it’s from Coney Island.”
I looked over and saw one of the other bartenders chugging her glass like it was freshman year. She then chugged the rest of mine. When I stared at her with judging eyes she told me she was eighteen and in her first year at NYU. I then realized why I was hired after having only 1/3 of an interview. They don’t really care.
Meanwhile, the club is coming together in preparation for the soft opening this weekend. There are carnival game booths lining the walls and a giant dunk tank in the middle of the room. Guests can buy a “tanked kit” which gets them a shirt, shorts and a towel. They then get to sit in the dunk tank and their friends can try to get them tanked.
There are also carnies all over the place. Tightrope walkers, trapeze artists, contortionists, and some girl who makes out with her snake. This club also books a lot of celebrities. Brtiney Spears is doing the opening (supposedly) and one night they’ve double booked two acts; Paris Hilton and a chimpanzee show.
As I’m working I keep seeing really rich 12-year-olds coming in with their parents. They’re looking for the perfect place to have their outrageous bar or bat Mitzvah. This annoys me, because as a Jew I can attest, we don’t tip well. It also reminds me that I’m living off of my Bat Mitzvah money right now, and using it to buy booty shorts and fishnet stalkings so I can work at a Coney Island-themed bar. I just don’t know what my rabbi would make of that.
I wish that I could get a real job instead of whoring myself out to so many different ventures. I’m freelancing for everything I can get my hands on, that includes green contracting companies and African American women’s interest magazines. I guess it feels kind of good to let go of the pride that comes with having a degree and just put myself out there for the world, but not that good. I mean, maybe this will go someplace. Perhaps if I work hard enough, I’ll be the bearded lady one day.