January 31st, 2003

Drinking as Performance

That’s what happened last June when comedian Tom Green got staggeringly — and deliberately — drunk by chugging Jagermeister on the Tonight Show. It was an experiment that spiraled out of control as Green began to mumble incoherently, spilled his drink on actress Rosario Dawson, and later admitted to vomiting in his limo after the show.

In the recent HAPPY TIMES, John Bert decided to drink a six-pack (bottles) on-stage starting around eleven p.m. (fortunately, his other planned piece, urinating into one of the bottles, didn’t come to, er, pass). As part of “James Joyce Phone Home” back in June of 2001, I listened to an audiobook of Ulysses, repeating it back to Mike B over a walkie-talkie, who was drinking a bottle of Whiskey and repeating what he heard. It was an experiment in transmission and noise, but it was over far too soon for the alcohol to have any effect. Later that night, we had the Whiskey out for readers in the Bloomsday marathon; we soon realized that, if you plan on staying awake and reading for 24 hours, getting drunk or even drinking alcohol at all is a bad idea.

And for that matter, I’m sure drinking alcohol in general IS a bad idea. So, I’m not condoning it for performance or anything. Hey, this is off the record, right?

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