Saturday, January 26, 2019

Weekend Post

The thing about living in Los Angeles – today’s waiter could well be tomorrow’s super star.
Lots of actors starting out taking jobs as waiters or bartenders. The hours can be flexible and you can get night shifts, which allow you to audition for parts and take classes during the day.

Among the actors who once took your order were Jon Hamm, Megan Fox, Chris Rock, Sarah Silverman, Rene Zellweger, Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm, Amanda Seyfried, Marisa Tomei (at Tony Roma’s), Kristen Wiig, Chris Pratt, Julianne Moore, Jennifer Aniston, Russell Crowe (he probably beat the shit out of diners who didn’t tip well enough), Sandra Bullock, and Amy Adams (who worked at Hooters). Julianna Margulies was one of the smartest. She knew to work in a high end restaurant because the tips were better.

The point is when you dine in LA there’s a very good chance your waiter is an aspiring actor or writer or director. And usually you can tell. They emote when reading the specials.

I’ve always said that my heart goes out to young wannabes. There’s no guarantees, there’s lots of rejection and frustration, and customers who eat half their meals then complain and want whole new orders.

I must say that on a few occasions I’ve learned that my waiter is an actor and have arranged for them to read on projects. And in a couple of cases even hired them. So take heart. It does happen. Not often, but it does.

My only truly awkward experience was one time when casting for a guest star role I rejected a certain actor and two hours later he was my waiter. God knows if he spit in my food. Although if his aim was as good as his reading I was pretty safe.

But if you’re a waiter I hope you make it. And if by chance Sarah Silverman was once my server I think you forgot the side of toast.

MEANWHILE...

Last two performances of UPFRONTS & PERSONAL at the Gallery Players Theatre in picturesque Brooklyn, NY.  7:30 Saturday and 3:00 Sunday.  After Sunday's final performance I will be doing a talkback.  Join the fun.  Here's where you go for tickets. Thanks. 

18 comments :

Adam Goodman said...

Saw upfronts and personal last night and both wife and I loved. The show is start to finish truly hilarious. Ken's script is absolutely awesome!!

Wendy M. Grossman said...

I recently saw an episode of the 1960s sitcom THAT GIRL, in which Anne Marie (Marlo Thomas) was rushing off from her waitress job to get to an audition. Quoth her boss: "Just once, I'd like to see an actress who wants to be a waitress."

wg

Joseph Scarbrough Puppet Productions said...

Conversely, in Nashville, every waiter will eventually be a country superstar. Especially if they're blue-eyed, blonde-haired, hairy-armed bombshells.

Gary said...

Has there been any waiter who has successfully passed on a script to a big star or a big studio suit?

I searched the net for it, but didn't find any such anecdotes.

For aspiring actors, its different.

Aspiring actresses working as waiters must have been hit on or promised big chances by sleazy agents or "Producers".

Charlize Theron was "discovered" at a bank by an agent. That's the story we all are supposed to believe.

George Clooney was "discovered" at the beach when he was playing volleyball.

And then the story that takes the cake - Jennifer Aniston "accidentally bumped" into Warren Littlefield at a gas station. And just like that, Littlefield became her savior angel who not only cast her in 'Friends' but also made sure that the sitcom she was in at that time was cancelled or she was written out of it and became free for "Friends".


Isn't Jennifer like the luckiest gal to have the met the gentleman savior Warren Littlefield?

Ok now, Charlize Theron story was more believable.

kent said...

Shanola Hampton of the show Shameless was our favorite waiter at BJ's Brewery in Santa Clarita. We still, occasionally, run into Shanola around town. She is still as sweet and down-to-earth as she was as our waitress.

E. Yarber said...

When the Cheesecake Factory was in my neighborhood, I got used to all the waiters being aspiring actors, but was always a bit uneasy after I learned that the cook was studying forensic pathology.

VP81955 said...

Next time I order a large Scottish Breakfast tea at a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (my fav location now is Wilshire & Western after the Wilshire & Vermont site eliminated customer restroom access), I'll have to ask my barista -- are there tea baristas? -- if he or she works in the industry. Who knows? I might find a writing collaborator.

Mike Bloodworth said...

I was never a waiter, but I was a busboy at the CBS commissary in Studio City. Unfortunately, anyone that could do something for me was usually gone before I got to their table.
I was also worked at a Baskin Robbins in Sherman Oaks. (It's no longer there.) I wasn't trying to be an actor back then. But even if I was, with only a few exceptions, most of the show biz types that came in couldn't help me anyway. Because they were all trying to get their own work.

I LOVE Sarah Silverman. I wonder if she ever worked in a Mexican restaurant? I would...[Crude, double entendre of a "taco" reference CENSORED for your protection.]
M.B.

Lemuel said...

How about the dancers of Gazzari's who made it to Hollywood movies? I can only think of June Fairchild but there may have been others.

thirteen said...

Mary Steenburgen was a waitress at a crepe place on 57th Street (I think) in New York that I was fond of in the '70s. Then she suddenly disappeared because she'd been cast in Goin' South. Migod, that's more than 40 years ago now. Also, I suddenly want a crepe.

Donald Benson said...

A quote from Mark Evanier's articles on Unfinanced Entrepreneurs:

"I once had a wanna-be producer tell me he was "in tight" with Sidney Lumet. All through the call, it was "Sid said this " and "Sid said that." After relentless cross-examination, it turned out that the guy hadn't actually met Sidney Lumet, but had a brother who'd done some carpentry work at his house. Top directors do not sit around and wait for some relative of their handyman to suggest their next picture."

Apropos of that, have you been assailed by Unfinanced Entrepreneurs -- as either the talent being wooed to work on spec, or as a writer / director / show runner being approached by the acquaintance of an acquaintance?

Roger Owen Green said...

I just heard Sarah Silverman in Ralph Breaks the Internet. She's so good I forget it's her.

RW said...

Just a bit different, but I was at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Cerritos, CA a few years ago where the bus boy smugly volunteered that our trainee server was also a porn actress. The young lady was a very cute and tiny filipino/caucasian mix who wore braces. She looked 17. Curiosity getting the better of me, when I got home Google confirmed it. I really do forget her name, but apparently her specialties were being the young girl "daddy" and his "friends" would double penetrate while she fellated someone else, sometimes while tied up in some fashion. No idea how long she worked at Buffalo Wild Wings because we never went back, it being out of our area. The entire thing just seemed odd, seeing her in person and then watching her on the web, like two different people. It also made the "daddy" and "friends" all the creepier because they were all at least old enough to be her grandfather.

Anonymous said...

I waited on Kathy Bates a couple months ago. I am not surprised she use to wait tables. She was very kind. I said to a co-worker, 'Kathy deserves the Oscar for best restaurant guest'.

Dr Loser said...

When you think about it, it's a bizarre step on the career path, isn't it? And as mentioned, it only seems to work for waitrons who are perspiring actrons -- not for as-yet-to-be-discovered stage managers, directors, script-writers, key grips, or whatever.

Take it outside LA, and consider a different industry: any industry at all. Artisan cheese-making, perhaps. "I really want to be the best I can be at Cornish Yarg, but right now I'm just paying the bills." I guess that would work. Sort of.

Or the equally large IT industry. "I'm just stitching mosquito nets together on a Jacquard Loom for which I've developed a CAD/CAM program. I specialise in heddles and shedding. Also, I wear a tank top and cut-off jeans, which my friends tell me would make me really cute, except I can't seem to get rid of the five o'clock shadow.

"Do you think Bill or Melinda would give me a job, the next time they pass through Des Moines?"

Todd Everett said...

My usual purview used to be pop music. Researching for some projects, I found one woman with a #1 record now (well, then) selling computers at Sears in St. Louis; another with a few big records working at Lane Bryant; and another from a group whose name you would recognize working on a telephone sex line in San Francisco.

A gig's a gig and what you used to be doesn't always pay the rent.

Todd Everett said...

Wendy M. Grossman said...

I recently saw an episode of the 1960s sitcom THAT GIRL, in which Anne Marie (Marlo Thomas) was rushing off from her waitress job to get to an audition. Quoth her boss: "Just once, I'd like to see an actress who wants to be a waitress."


"That Girl" may have my favorite inside joke in sitcom history. We're used to actresses and actors using their first and middle names professionally (Tom Cruise comes to mind), but Ann Marie's father was Lew Marie.

Buttermilk Sky said...

No cab drivers? (I guess it's Uber drivers now.) Used to be said that half of all NYC cabbies were actors or writers waiting for a producer to audition for or pitch a script to. The worse the traffic, the better. Literally a captive audience, before cell phones or those annoying screens blaring commercials.