The best thing about New York is, you never know who could show up.
Last night I was hosting the 8 o’clock at Gotham Comedy Club and my friend was in town, visiting from Montana. I told him to come hang out with me at the show because Gotham is a pretty swanky place and as I walked in the door and everybody saying hi to me, I looked like a pretty swanky guy.
As soon as I arrived one of the managers came up to me and said we needed to talk. My stomach immediately went into knots as I started making up excuses to things I possibly could have done.
He shut the door in the light booth and said:
” Seinfeld is going to closing the show.”
“Jerry Seinfeld?” I asked, like there was another famous Seinfeld brother.
“Yes. He’s called the club and it’s confirmed.”
Now Seinfeld is a fairly influential figure in my life. I have probably seen every episode of his sitcom. The night of the last episode in 1998 was the first time I ever tried to kiss my wife. A move she politely declined. And here he was, about to be closing the show I was hosting.
This was awesome. To my friend, I was going to seem like the hippest person in the city. Hosting at this uber-classy club, working with Seinfeld, just a normal Tuesday. Having a late dinner with Woody Allen at Nobu later on. De Niro might join us.
I walked back to my friend and wrote on the back of a napkin, “Seinfeld is closing the show.” He gave me a fist pump and said, Wow. I know. That’s what happens when you roll with David Lee Nelson.
As the time he was supposed to arrive began to draw closer, the tension amongst those who knew began to mount. As I brought up the different comics I began to arrange the stage to his liking. Stool placed back in the corner. Bottled water placed on the corner of the stage. The crowd probably thought I was OCD and crazy.
When Seinfeld walked into the club I became totally star struk. And not in the way I thought I would. Not of him as the comic icon and television star, but of him as a multi multi millionaire. I had never been that close to someone who had that much money. It was an exhilaratingly humiliating experience. Here is this human being, with a heart, a liver, a life expectancy, yet he has more money than all of Africa combined. And before I introduced him I started to worry if I should shake his hand as I brought him on stage. Or if that would offend him? That’s when it became clear to me that money is royalty in this country. And since he had so much of it, I had to wondered if I was worthy to shake his hand or not.
I shook it. But as I walked back to my friend, for some reason, I no longer felt like the hippest guy in the city. I felt like someone with empty pockets in a room full of millionaires.
But hey, at least I’m in the room… right?