Given the times we are in, I am strangely reminded of this story. Early in
my stand-up career, I became a regular act at Catch a Rising Star. June
1981. Catch a Rising Star was a showcase club featuring comics and
singers, on First Avenue between 77th and 78th. It was the East Coast
center of the stand-up universe, as the Comedy Store was in LA. I was just
beginning to kind of make a living at this. At Catch, they paid you $6 if
you got on stage, which was called "cabfare," but to most of us, it
was a livelihood. Everybody got $6. Me, Rodney Dangerfield, Robin
Williams, Jerry Seinfeld. It was strangely egalitarian. Back in 1981, $6
could get you a decent meal at the Green Kitchen, the diner on the next
block. One night, around 3 am, a bunch of comics were seated around a
table. Me, Adrianne Tolsch (who was the house MC at Catch), Larry Amoros,
Jimmy Vallely, Eric Zoyd (my roommate) and Michael Hampton Cain. This is
months before Adrianne and I started dating, two years before she moved
in, nine years before we got married, 25 years before she went to
I went to the john in the middle of the meal, and stole a roll of toilet
paper, which I had run out of the day before. I jammed the roll into the
pocket of my sportcoat. I came back to the table. We kept yakking.
Suddenly, Adrianne lifted up the bottom of my jacket, where the toilet
paper was bulging out of the pocket, so the rest of the table could see
it. She yelled, "What kind of man reads Playboy?" We got the check. No
one could follow that.
Bill Scheft is a writer living in New York.