Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Spoiler: Part 12 -- A Spoiler is Born

Because there was a lot (five grand) riding on this gig, and because I believe that you can’t ever do enough preparation for anything in life, I thought I would try to book myself a test “spoil” or two. I placed an ad in the trades with the hope it would result in a couple of relatively low-pressure opportunities – my out-of-town tryouts for my new act. It read:

Need somebody to “spoil” your next party? Hire
“the Spoiler.” I’ll be your drunken brother-in-law,
the boyfriend that makes your husband jealous, and the
guy who when the priest asks if anyone objects
to your marriage, blurts, “I do.” Make your party an event to remember.

For responses, I got a wedding party and some eight-year-old’s birthday. For the wedding, they asked me to suddenly appear halfway through the proceedings, right after the wedding dance and before the “Bride Cuts the Cake” number, pretending to be the bride-to-be’s secret lover. Then they told me I would have to jump out of the cake and do a striptease. What they didn’t tell me was that it was an ice-cream cake. Nearly froze my ass off. Still, I made a big impression by developing a porn-star character I called (as it turned out, appropriately) Rocky Road. For authenticity, I even bought a penile prosthesis from a creepy surgical supplies store on Canal Street.

I tried not to dwell on the indignity of the thing, but worked more on what Marguerite called “inhabiting your character.” Also on the timing. They couldn’t give me a run-through, so I just worked out that I would make my entrance when they gave my cue. Which was something like, “Tracy, we know you’ve been a bad girl. So before we eat the cake – which, by the way, has no-fat and no carbs – let’s bring on your secret lover, Rocky Road!”

And out I jumped, gasping for breath and wrenching myself through the frozen chocolate muck like a Willy Wonka avalanche victim. While the entire wedding party – bride, groom, family, friends, cater-waiters and the band – stood there slack-jawed, I humped and bumped to a hip-hop tune called, “Love is a Booty-ful Thang,” all while ironically commenting on how idiotic the whole thing was. Except I don’t think they got that part.
The dance ended when the best man grabbed me by my prosthetic penis, which flopped out of my boxer-briefs (another unfortunate choice) and landed in the no-carb potato-salad. Two bouncers from the restaurant, a place called The Savoir Fare, in Orange, N.J., escorted me out, past about one hundred and eighty people pairs of averted eyes. One woman shouted that I should be ashamed of myself, and my dancing was so bad I should have had to tip her. (I later paid the videographer who had caught the entire proceedings to delete my scene. He said he would.)

Later I found out that the person who hired me, a barrel-faced man named Stu, was an ex-boyfriend of the bride who still carried a torch for her.

Though I wasn’t allowed to retrieve my clothes and had to blow most of the two hundred bucks from the gig on paying off the videographer and a car service to take me back to Manhattan, I considered the night a victory. I’d gained invaluable experience as a “spoiler,” plus I realized that the Rocky Road character could be fleshed out and added to my repertoire.

The kiddie birthday party? The woman who hired me, a soccer mom-type with harsh features who wanted to get back at the parents of the birthday boy in a dispute over access to a posh pre-school, wanted me to play “someone really scary.” After several days of brainstorming got me nowhere, I settled on Giant Baby George, an infant who was the victim of a human growth hormone experiment. I figured that with only minor adjustments I could turn Rocky Road’s boxer-briefs into an extra-large diaper.

How did it go? Well, outside of being totally shunned, making every single kid cry, causing a shouting-and-furniture-breaking melee, threatened lawsuits, and again having to make an impromptu exit (only this time I grabbed my raincoat on the way out), it wasn’t a bad night. And I learned something important: There are a lot of mean, sadistic people out there who are too chickenshit to act on their feelings. And a guy who is willing to act on those feelings for them could clean up.

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