For a lot of people, living in New York City and being a waiter means one thing. Actor. Of course it’s a stereotype, but over the years I have come to believe that many stereotypes are based on some hint of truth. It may not be an easy thing to accept, but it does seem to be true. I live in New York City. I am a waiter. Does that mean that I fall under that auspicious umbrella of unemployed actor? Darn tootin’ it does. I am one extremely talented and extremely out of work actor. And so are most of the people I work with. It’s a fact of life.
When I was working in Times Square’s Houlihan’s, all I ever served were tourists who were on their way to see Cats or Phantom of the Opera. Tourists are known for being wide-eyed and eager to know about the people who live here so a lot of them would pepper me with questions. “Where do you live?” Where are you from?” “Is the hamburger really $15?” But there was one question I got asked more than any other.
TOURIST: Are you an actor?
TOURIST: Oh, how exciting!
ME: Well, not really that exciting.
TOURIST: Have I ever seem you in anything?
ME: Well I dunno, are you accustomed to seeing theater that happens in basements in Brooklyn?
ME: Then, no.
TOURIST: Have you been in any movies?
TOURIST: Oh, how exciting! Which ones?
ME: Did you see Across The Universe?
TOURIST: Yes! Were you in that?? Oh my God!
ME: I was in the riot scene. There were 300 of us. I’m the one in the very back about 150 yards from the camera. I had on fake sideburns so that’s probably why you don’t recognize me.
TOURIST: Oh my God! And are you on Broadway?
Okay. It is Thursday night at 7:20. Every Broadway show is about to start within 45 minutes. Obviously, I am not there. I am here. Holding a tray with dirty dishes and empty glasses on it.
ME: Yes, I am currently starring in Houlihan’s the Musical. Right now. You’re in too. It’s your line.
People asked me that all the time. Like if I was in Chicago or Grease, I would want to keep a few shifts a week at good old Houlihan’s just to remember what it was like to wait tables. Bitch, please. Hell, no I ain’t on Broadway. I’m a fucking waiter who has to get up at 6:00 AM so I can go get in line at 7:00 to go audition at 9:30 so I can get to the restaurant to cut the fucking lemons by 10:30. I guess, technically I was on Broadway. It just happens that Houlihan’s was on 49th and Broadway. Look ma, I made it! I’m on Broadway. How would you like your burger cooked?