My memories of the early Café days are more flashes than cohesive memories as I was just a young lad (having been born in 1970). However being Bob’s nephew came with its privileges as I often times got to visit my “cool” uncle in this strange environment called The Other Café and to see live comedy performances on a stage that appeared to me at the time to be HUGE and in front of what felt like THOUSANDS of people.
These late 70’s memories include:
-seeing my comedic Idol Robin Williams get on stage after the headliner finished and doing his “thing”. I understood absolutely nothing he was talking about but found myself laughing uncontrollably with the audience. However I kept waiting to no avail for the patented “NA-NU NA-NU” greeting that made me laugh every Wednesday night on television.
– finding the “fat face” of Michael Pritchard irresistibly funny. (Hey, I was 8 years old!)
– “hanging out” with Bobby Slayton and having him refer to me only as “the little jewish boy”
In the mid 80’s I lived in the east bay and once I got my driver’s license, I was able to come to “the City” more often.
-driving out with my friends to see Denny Johnston at the Other and breaking down on the bay bridge only to get a tow truck driver questioning us 16 year olds, the entire way to the club, on whether we have felt how soft Asian women’s skin is!!! CREEPY. The night was rescued by a night of great comedy.
– working a daytime shift at the Other Café during a high school summer and being “instructed” to add MORE garlic to the guacamole. :wink
– Ushering a New Year’s Eve show at the Palace of Fine Arts and doing a little too much underage drinking at the after party and us taking turns puking out the window of the designated drivers car on the way home.
– Ushering the next year’s New Year’s Eve show with some guy named Rob Schneider who kept telling us that “one day that will be ME up there” YEAH RIGHT DUDE!
– And yet another New Year’s Eve show memory when one of the years after Chip Romer got done addressing the audience he gives the mic to the comedian (who it was escapes me at the moment… maybe Tom Kenny) to which the first comment from the comedian is “Hey Chip, I see you let the forehead grow in”. I am not quite sure why I found that line so funny and why it has stayed with me over all these years but I could hardly breathe for 5 min afterwards. I guess at 17, bald jokes were funny. However, now at age 40, they are not as funny as I am right there with my friend Chip.
And then lastly having the privilege of working various jobs in the early 1990’s at Politics & The Other Café in Emeryville, ranging from comedy room attendant, door staff, bar-back, and then finally bartender. I had the honor to work with some great people there. I will always look fondly of my time there despite the “challenges” that existed with the job. I got to know both Chip and Richard as an adult, rather than knowing them just as a kid and I personally grew up a lot while working there. But perhaps my greatest experience there was getting to know Scotty Gelfand. Amazing individual who provided me perhaps the most singularly defining “geek” moment of my youth with an afterhours screening of Star Trek: The Next Generation “Best of Both Worlds” episode Part 1 and 2 (you know, the one with the Borg!) on the giant 15 or so foot screen and incredible sound system in the Politics dance floor.
The Other Café in all its incarnations has provided me with long lasting memories and the opportunity to meet, socialize and work with some incredible people.
I would be remiss not to give a special thanks to Bob Ayres for sharing this amazing thing you helped create. I will always treasure the memories! I love you “brother”!