Inpired by a book that’s out about celebrities getting canned from jobs, I’ve decided to share my most humiliating month with you. When I was at the tender young age of 28, I still waited tables for a living because stand-up comedy wasn’t paying the bills and I’m a horrible actress. At the time, I didn’t even know I could be a writer or anything else, knew I need to do anything else, but didn’t know how to quit being a waitress. God or Buddah or Satan knew I needed help and intervened in a most creative way. I got fired from three different jobs in a matter of weeks – basically burning every bridge in the restaurant biz and became forced into a plan B. Of course, at the time of the last firing, it seemed my life could not be more tragic.
The first restaurant to 86 me was one where I’d been working for over a year. Due to my opinionated nature and the South American owner’s dislike of women with opinions I’d been skating on thin ice for almost as long as I’d been employed. I’d often come out with crazy things like “It’s almost closing time. Do you think we still need all six of us waitresses on with only two tables?” Or doozies like “since we’re out of halibut should we erase it from the ‘specials board’?” You can see where they wouldn’t like having me around much. One day, a regular customer who was seated at the bar was served an extra half glass of wine by me and not charged for it. A) he was very cute and B) it was a fucking half glass of wine to a regular. But my manager who had all the charm of a diaper rash told me that he saw me pour the extra wine and I had to pay for it. I refused. How ridiculous. And he told me to go home. The next day when I called in as requested I was told my services would no longer be required.
Okay, truth be told I’d been fired before and I do know that I had a shitty attitude about being talked down to in the service industry but anyone could see that was a misdemeanor not a felony. Whatever. I knew I had to get another job and quick.
Just down the street was a bar infamous for changing owners every five minutes. But I took my chances, walked into it’s current incarnation as an All American Sports Bar and asked the owner for a job. The owner was approximately my age with a major frat boy demeanor which at the time should have been a red flag but my rent was due, so when a cocktail waitress position was offered with the condition I had to wear a short skirt my response was “how short do you want it?” I started the next night.
“Steve” the owner, as expected turned out to be quite the douche bag. Have you ever met a frat boy who wasn’t? Right. But this guy’s sadistic streak went way beyond a little innocent frat house date rape. Within my first week there, he fired a woman who worked behind the bar who had stage four ovarian cancer and no health insurance. I thought that was horrifying but wasn’t in a place to storm out in protest. Next I found out that he’d spanked the previous bartender so hard two of her fillings got knocked out. Yes, you read that right. He turned her over his knee after hours and spanked her. She quit and promptly sued for sexual harrassment. I never found out if she won. But that didn’t scare me off the job either. Within two weeks, Steve was calling me drunk at 3 a.m. to make sure I got home safely and ask if he could come over. After a few calls like this, I politely asked him to please not call me after hours anymore and was promptly fired for “not having a friendly attitude.” Which was, again, true but not the real reason I was fired.
I was starting to get nervous. I couldn’t sue Steve for sexual harrassment because I’d only worked at the bar for two weeks. I needed yet another job. The very next day, I made my way farther up the same street. A few blocks north was an Irish bar I’d actually frequented a few times so I gave it a shot. I was looking sort of Irish that day anyway with my hair in braids and a Greek fisherman’s cap. Okay, I’m not sure what’s Irish about that but the owner who I swear to god was drunk at two in the afternoon when I went in, hired me on the spot. I was to come back that very same night for training with a more experienced waitress. When I returned, it seemed that the woman I was supposed to train with wasn’t showing up. I bravely offered to just jump into it with limited instruction and they had no choice but to take me up on it. By 10 p.m. the bar was in full manic drunken swing with old gross men ogling everything that walked by and let me tell you, Irish accents aren’t so cute when the guy is drunk and slobbering. I’m sure it would be sexy on Colin Farrel but not on these boozers.
One party in particular stood out to me. The fat women in Spandex pants was the worst of the lot. It seemed to be some sort of celebration and she seemed to have put herself in charge. There was a lot of finger snapping going on which I didn’t appreciate. Spandex kept the commands for more drinks coming and I was busy, new at this place and losing patience with her attitude. Finally, I come over to find her yelling at the busboy who’d tried to bus a table of empty pint glasses. She was screaming at him that “there’s some still left in there” and then went on to call him a “stupid Mexican.” I’d had about all I could take from this cow. I went over and pulled her away from him and told her she was cut off and that I’d be getting her thrown out. She, naturally, was friends with the owner and at the end of the night I was taken into the kitchen and told in an accent much like Mr. Farrell, “Sorry, sweetie, it didn’t work out. You can’t be causin’ any trouble especially on your first night.” I actually cried in humiliation at this one.
That was it. I’d had it. Later that week a few friends took me out to try to cheer me up with alcohol. I stayed away from Bailey’s, Killion’s and any scotch at all just to be on the safe side, and drank margaritas all night. Suddenly, a woman approached me and asked if I wanted to be a contestant on a dating show she was producing. I had nothing to lose. Nothing at all so I said, “I don’t want to be on it but I’d love to write on it.” She told me to send my resume which I promptly went home and doctored up. I made up a few credits and beefed up my stand-up quite a bit. I ended up getting that job and many jobs after. Out of maybe thirty jobs in television I managed to only get fired once. And that was from a remake of the Three Stooges. Who could put up with that anyway?