Clueless in Manhattan

I’m not an avid “Curb Your Enthusiasm” fan, but I’ve enjoyed quite a few episodes. So when I heard Jeff Garlin and Susie Essman were the headliners at “Unleash Yourself! A Night of Comedy to Benefit the ASPCA” I bought a ticket. I’d always wanted to check out Gotham Comedy Club, it was for a good cause, and hey – maybe I’d meet some interesting people men.

The evening held promise. “Bipolar,” a curiously named jazz quintet, kicked off the event. The opening acts along with Susie Essman were enjoyable, though her shtick consisted of menopause jokes and picking on a Doctor from NJ who was sitting in the front row and wearing short shorts.

Jeff Garlin and Susie Essman ASPCA Benefit New York City

Then, Jeff Garlin took the stage. Little did I know that within 30 minutes I’d go from a peaceful woman to one who wanted to use a shock collar. On a human.

He asked the audience for questions and I exposed myself as 30-something singleton living in NYC with 3 cats & 3 fosters and did he have any dating advice?  His response? That men and lesbians alike run away from my fur covered body. Fine, I should have expected that.

But I didn’t expect him to launch into a rant about his dislike of animals. He proceeded to tell us that his wife had a cat when they met and that he wasn’t a fan. Oh, and by the way, their neighbor killed the cat (no explanation as to how or why was provided). And while he likes his dogs – I guess we should be grateful for that – he doesn’t like pit bulls.

It seemed that while standing beneath an ASPCA emblazed sign sporting photos of a cat and a dog, he’d plum forgotten where he was.

 

In fairness, which one of us can honestly say they’ve never misread a room – or failed to read it all together? I began to think about times in my life where I’d been completely out of touch and clueless about it in the moment.

*************

It must have been about ten years ago when I attended my friend K__’s wedding in New Jersey. It was a large affair and the bride promised she had the perfect guy for me – M___, the groom’s banker friend from college.  She’d be sure to seat him next to me at the reception dinner.

In an effort to avoid an awkward moment of approaching the table and trying to locate M___, I made sure to be the first person seated at the dinner table.

When M___, a tall sandy-blond cutie with long lashes took his seat I was at the top of my game. He was friendly and seemed pleased (or perhaps relieved) upon meeting me.  M____ was a good conversationalist, entertaining the table with the collegiate escapades of he and the groom.

Glasses of champagne were passed as the groom and bride were announced and entered the hall. We all took a swig of our champagne, save M____.  I lifted his glass and placed it firmly in his hand, reminding him it was tradition to toast the new couple. Not doing so would be bad form – not to mention bad luck.

At some point M___ excused himself to use the facilities. Oddly, he did not return. I hoped he hadn’t gotten ill  but I didn’t know him well enough to go off in hot pursuit.

In fact, I never saw M___ again.  As I found out after the bride returned from her honeymoon M___ was a recovering alcoholic.  Hadn’t she told me?  No, she had not.  And without that important tidbit of information, I’d greatly misjudged my audience.

*************

And there was that business trip to London four years ago. Off I went to help on a new business pitch for a brand I was already working on in the States.  I understood the product and if we got the account, there was a chance I could go to England myself (read: an entirely new pool of eligible men).

The meeting had gone swimmingly. I was engaging and knowledgeable, the prospective clients smiled and nodded throughout the presentation reinforcing we were on the right path.  My British colleague and I “ham-and-egged it” (that’s when you trade off talking, going back and forth – kind of like playing ping-pong).  We all left feeling very good about our chances.

It turns out Ham-and-Egging it didn’t go over well with the Brits. At least not when a Yankee is involved. Seems they find our kind a bit entitled. And loud. The nods and smiles were likely tight smiles of annoyance and a desire to be polite. There would definitely be no trans-Atlantic work for me. Gone was my chance at finding my very own bloke.  Hrumph

*************

Well, I’m grateful for the knowledge that however inappropriate or clueless I might have been in any life situation, Mr. Garlin has me beat by leaps and bounds. To wrap up the evening he told a story… about an imaginary pit bull farm.  Most of the dogs were “nice and normal” and a quarter ‘fucked up.'” Earl, the pit-loving guy who ran this imaginary farm, loved pits, but longed for a woman. A woman who lived in Manhattan in a small apartment with 3 cats and 3 foster kittens.

It all sounded slightly familiar…

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  • Please tell me you complained about this to the ASPCA – because this guy in not the right person for an event to raise money for animals (though who knows, maybe they would be fine with it – stranger things have happened). His attitude is nothing short of appalling – nothing even remotely close to the examples you gave of your faux pas moments – yours were honest mistakes (and really, the second one, sounds like it was not you that was the problem, it was the people you were presenting to (because the person you were presenting with was British and should have mentioned it if it was a common issue – sounds like he was as into it as you were). And the wedding one – seriously, if the bride knew she should have said something, she should have had a non-alcoholic option and heck, he could have said something. Nope your issues were not even close – his isn’t misreading a room, he is just a jerk.

    • Ihavecat

      I didn’t make an official complaint – it was kind of hard to tell who the ASPCA people were that night actually. I was surprised no one else seemed offended!
      Even if he was not an animal lover he should have known better than to have gone the path he did for that evening!

  • Yikes!! What a sucky evening. I will be *curbing my enthusiasm* for that guy! What a ass! I never liked him to begin with. Wiener.

    • Ihavecat

      it def took me out of the intended spirit of the evening!

  • ThreeTuxedos

    What a huge mistake the ASPCA made in choosing that guy to speak at their benefit-I don’t get it! He sounds a bit antisocial, as many UNFUNNY comedians are, as well as an animal-hater.

    • Ihavecat

      I was really shocked that they picked him and/or that they never acknowledged his performance. For shame! perhaps someone at the ASPCA will read this post!

  • I sure hope someone from the ASPCA reads this post. That was a horrible thing to have happen. I think I would be tempted to write to the ASPCA just because they need the money so bad and someone needs to be in charge of who is going to be speaking for the organization. It is hard enough to raise money for the animals without some jerk talking like that to you.

    • Ihavecat

      I agree, and I’m sure he got PAID on top of it! Marg, Janiss and everyone have inspired me to look into who I can contact at the ASPCA – PR, Events someone, so we can voice our displeasure@!

  • jmuhj

    Sounds like some real losers — I avoid domestic comedy like the disease it is. Yes, I’d lodge a complaint with the ASPCA, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on getting any positive action from this big, bloated organization.

    • Ihavecat

      okay, now i feel totally clueless, what is “Domestic comedy”? AMerican comedy?

  • I too, agree that someone from the ASPCA should read this, and acknowledge their gaff. And shame on Jeff Garlin for not informing himself of his audience — all he had to do was read the sign.

    Like jmuhj, I do not buy into domestic comedy. I also do not support the ASPCA or the HSUS, for their lack of action in supporting and advocating for actual change.

    I’ve never watched Curb Your Enthusiasm, and after reading this, I never will.

    • Ihavecat

      Thanks Melissa, let me see who i can find as the appropriate point-person and i will let you know so we can all voice our displeasure! Thanks for taking the time to read, and comment.
      T

  • Some people really think that kind of humor is funny, like the “friend” who tried to tell me about all the fun ways he and his brother used to torture cats when they were kids–they didn’t do it any more, of course, but they thought it was funny and I liked cats so I would probably think it was funny too and he really didn’t understand what was the matter. I locked myself in the ladies’ room at work.

    What I really like, Tamar, is your honesty about both your faux pas and looking for a man. It’s always amusing, but it really kept me from clicking off while reading about this idiot. I don’t have a TV, he’s one reason why.

    • Ihavecat

      Bernadette, thanks as always for your thoughtful comments.
      I really appreciate them all. xo

  • mar

    Hmm. I’ve always considered the kind of humor that is targeted at someone else’s expense as “low brow”. Booo, Garlin…Boooo.

    • Ihavecat

      Let alone at the expense of the people for whom he was (i am sure) being PAID??!!!! big time BOOOOO!

  • I DID send an email, because this has really been bugging me. In fact, here is the text:

    Have you seen this blog post?

    (link to your blog post here)

    If Mr. Garlin’s performance was half this offensive, he should never have been let within a hundred yards of an ASPCA benefit.

    As someone who donates to your organization, and who is on your email and mailing lists, I hope that you will use better judgment in the future when booking entertainment and planning events like your recent comedy benefit.

    • Ihavecat

      Thanks Janiss, you have inspired me to look up who i can send an email to .Who did you send it to specifically?
      T

      • I sent it to the press email, figuring that they may be close by to the event organizing department. Also because, well, I don’t think Jeff Garlin’s performance made for very good press.

    • Oops, I meant to send that from in my own name! Fortunately, I know the email I sent the note from was in my name alone.

  • ASPCA hasn’t been very careful with their PR strategy. I have been a donor for years and cancelled my membership when the organization euthanized Oreo, an abused pit bull.

    ASPCA received numerous offers from trainers and other rescues to tame and train the highly aggressive dog who had been thrown out a window of a tall building. Would you be calm and friendly after so much violence? I wouldn’t.

    Anyway. ASPCA decided to end Oreo’s life even with so many wanting to save it. To me, this is unacceptable.

    I know ASPCA means well, but, really, the organization’s board should pause and think about the decisions it is making.

    • Ihavecat

      Wow, that’s terrible. I recall a story about OREO but I didn’t know the details.
      From what I am learning from TT’s peeps, it seems that the lead Vet at ASPCA is actually working for HARTZ as well. So that’s why they sell/recommend those products, and could be a reason the ASPCA isn’t trying to protect animals from toxic over the counter flea and tick medicines. Really super disappointing.

  • Wow – talk about going off the rails. I can understand making fun (a little) of the famous “cat lady” syndrome. But he went WAY off track. I can only hope someone from the ASPCA stops the check they used to pay him.

    • Ihavecat

      Hi there! Thanks so much for visiting I HAVE CAT and taking the time to post a comment (please do sign up for email updates and check out some of the older posts too!).

      I TOTALLY agree with you (obviously!). And on top of it, at the very end he actually said “Screw the animals…they’re getting enough already” – – i guess meaning the money from the event?

      I am not sure anyone at the ASPCA has even picked up on the entire thing. Or maybe they are hoping no one noticed…

  • This guy sounds like a loser to us. And the ASPCA does need to be much more careful!

  • Ah, did not know who he was until I googled him…yeah, not a fan even before this. He just seems to be one of those overly self involved types. Not really a big fan of the ASPCA either.

    • I HAVE CAT

      I’ve been really naive in terms of the ASPCA. I’m sad to be learning about some of their policies and actions that don’t align with what I would like to see them do.

    • I HAVE CAT

      thanks for reading and posting! 🙂

  • KC

    Of all tha folks the ASPCA could get and they picked this guy???
    How much “reading” does it take to realize you don’t make anti-cat and anti-dog remarks at an event sponsored by the ASPCA. Duh. Double Duh.
    Pleeze reepurrt this loser, maybe the ASPCA doesn’t know how offensive him was.
    Love & Purrs to you,
    KC

    • I HAVE CAT

      HI KC, I don’t think the ASPCA are very saavy when it comes to social media or they would have surely responded to the FB posts (or one would think). I will persue sending to their PR folks and the head of the organization – whomever that might be. Will let you know what i hear.

  • I think I would have been tempted to get up and walk out. I just saw on FB where there is a killing cats page. I do know that I won’t go see this man if he is ever around here.

    • I HAVE CAT

      Hi Sweet Praline, there is actually a great group on FB called Cat’s Cause – Speak For Those Who Can’t Speak For Themselves http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=265154232155&ref=ts – they get folks to report pages and get them taken down. It’s super easy to do (there is a button for it on the lower left of each FB page). I encourage you to join and make a difference! Thanks for reading and taking the time to post!

  • That’s horrible! It’s appalling that the ASPCA actually PAID this jerk to perform, and gave voice to his totally inappropriate — and not funny — anti-animal rants.

    • I HAVE CAT

      It’s totally unacceptable – – spread the word, let’s make a stink! thanks for reading and commenting!

  • We’re kinda impressed that no one started booing this poor schmuck. We’ve pretty much given up on HSUS, now it is starting to look like ASPCA is not much better.

    • I HAVE CAT

      Really? Impressed? I was totally disappointed that they didn’t BOO him!

  • Bella

    Have you seen this about the SPCA? I don’t support them at all — they are very disappointing!

    http://animaladvocateswatchdog.com/cgi-bin/watchdog.pl/noframes/read/1501

    • I HAVE CAT

      please tell me this isn’t verified! this is heartbreaking! mites and blindness/deafness are reasons they can euthanize? I need to look into this! so upsetting!