If I ever climb out of an Uruguayan plane crash in the snowy Andes Mountains of South America, I believe I will be mentally prepared. The survivors turned to feeding on the dead to stay alive. That part doesn’t bother me; I’ve always been intrigued by cannibalism. For example, will eating Mexicans give me gas? When eating Caucasians, which wine makes the best pairing? They are red meat, but they are also white people. So it can be confusing. Where it gets troublesome is when you’ve finished feasting on all of the dead and a rescue party still hasn’t arrived. What then? Do you resort to carving off small portions of your own body, much like meat shaved off the vertical cone of rotating gyros at a Greek restaurant? Just without the attitude?
Last week in Las Vegas, I attended the 12th Anniversary get together for SheckyMagazine.com at the Alexis Park Hotel. Brian McKim and Traci Skene, proprietors of the online mag, threw a little soirée to celebrate the occasion and invited the many comedians and industry types in town for some wings and fun.
Among the many who showed up was comedian Carrot Top, headlining through at least 2015 at the Luxor. Carrot Top is sometimes the focus of derision amongst comedians. Well, amongst the haters, that is. And it baffles me that he would be such a target. There are so many others out there sullying the name of comedy by stealing jokes, and sometimes entire acts, from other comedians. What’s worse, these thieves reap big rewards in show business sometimes.
But that’s not the case with Carrot Top, who has always worked hard to create original comedy in a unique persona. Even 10 years ago, when he starred in that series of insidious, pervasive 1-800-Call-ATT commercials that were unavoidable because Jesus had not yet sent TiVo to Earth, you couldn’t really hate Carrot Top for that. He was getting paid. Unless AT&T was paying him so much that they used up their future budget for making sure every other fucking call on AT&T Wireless doesn’t fail these days. Then, yes, I guess, hate away. I don’t think that’s the case, however.
As a comedian, hearing undue criticism heaped on a guy like Carrot Top gets under my skin. So when he showed up at the Alexis Park Hotel for the SheckyMagazine party all that emotion came charging forth and got channeled through that gap at the bottom of my face where the sound comes out. Except I had so much I wanted to say at once, and my mouth is only so big. The result was like firing a .50 caliber Barrett M107 with the barrel bored for a .22. Not pretty.
Traci, gracious host and completely unaware of the effusive verbal clusterhump that was seconds away, brought Carrot Top over and introduced us. Here’s the exchange:
TRACI: Carrot Top, this is Paul Ogata. He’s headlining at the Four Queens this week.
CARROT TOP: Hey, nice to meet you. [extends hand to shake mine]
ME: Carrot Top! Ohmygod, you are a great comedian and I hope you live forever!
CARROT TOP: Okay… [cautiously pulls hand out of the grip of an obvious psycho, then turns and walks away]
And that was it. I hope you live forever? I am a black-belt dumbass! There’s just a couple of times in my life where I wish I had said something different. This was one of them, and another is the time I met Tom Sizemore and, after what he said to me, I didn’t call him a racist, bloated sack of crap wrapped in human skin. But that’s a story for a later day.
Carrot Top, if you are reading this, I do think you are great and I do wish you live a long a fruitful life. I did not mean for it to come out like a deranged gypsy threat from a Stephen King novel, like I brushed your face with my hand, rasping, “I curse you… Immortal! Hahahahahahah!”
Having had my foot in my mouth and knowing what it tastes like, I am fully prepared to be the sole survivor of the next Andes Mountain plane crash.