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From Behind the Bar at The UCBT - By: Margot Leitman

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I have worked part-time as a bartender at the UCB Theatre for almost three years now. There have been times when I have desperately needed the money and times when I have not needed it at all. I've kept the job for this long because in this crazy business of entertainment, it's nice to have something stable amidst the uncertainty of auditions, writing submissions, and the general lack of financial security comedy provides.

Here are some great moments in UCB bartending I would like to share.

One time I was working a private party, and this guy from The Strokes (the one with the huge hair) insisted on leaning on the bar exit (the thing I have to flip up to scoot out) all night. albert.jpgFor four hours every time I had to re-stock, throw something out, use the bathroom etc., I had to say "excuse me" to him, to which he would move and then immediately return back to that annoying spot to lean. Everyone knows that's a bad place to stand, at any bar. One month later, I was doing a sketch on Conan O'Brien, and I was changing in the dressing room. As I exited, the door bashed right into that same guy from the Strokes. "Excuse me," I said. He looked at me, recognized me and said "Hey! You again!" That dude is always in my fucking way.

It's crazy how many people try to do a funny bit with me simply because they're buying beer at a comedy venue. I have literally said to people "Take your bit outside!" Usually people laugh at comments like that, because it falls under the "sassy bartender cloud." Just last night, I said to an adorable patron who was upset that we were out of PBR, "I don't have time for your sob story." He laughed and then tipped me generously. It's like a whole other persona I have when I'm working, I would never say something like that to someone in regular conversation. I'm much nicer when I'm not bartending, but people have more fun with sass.

I have gotten in very few fights with people while working. However, one time, this guy gave me such a hard time, he was acting like it was 4AM at a frat bar, was totally belligerent and lecherous. Saying things like, "If this bitch is gonna make me show her my fucking ID... If she's gonna tell me I can't get as many beers as I fucking want..." After he bought a bunch of beer for the first time ever I yelled at a customer and said, "And you're not even going to tip me!" He responded, "I would have tipped you if you weren't such a..." I screamed and got in his face yelling, "Such a what? Say it!" We faced off, then I got the manager and got him kicked out. That was probably the most I've ever lost it on a customer. For the most part, I love the job.

I've made a ton of connections, made friends, gotten dates out of it, made some money, seen a lot of shows and partied all night.

Almost everyone in this business has had to have a survival job at some point. I'm very lucky to have had one so flexible in the environment I want to work in. I've had two successful shows run for a long time at UCB, and although I was not favored for a run because I work there, I definitely think I got a lot of audience members for both shows by being in front of people's faces, serving them beers. I watched a wrap-up show for the Emmys a few years ago, the year when Ray Romano won, as did the lead guy from The Shield, Michael Chiklis. During Romano's interview, Chiklis interrupted to hug Romano, overwhelmed with joy that they had both won the same year. Ray Romano explained to the interviewer that, years ago, Ray would be performing at a comedy club where Michael Chiklis would bartend. They became friends that way, and now, here they are, winning Emmys on the same night. That made me smile.

Margot Leitman is currently working with Sarah Burns on a screenplay adaptation of their hit UCB show, Slow Night. She performs regularly and has appeared on virtually every cable network including ESPN, AMC, VH1, Comedy Central, E!, Style, MTV, in addition to numerous appearances on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien." Margot was recently featured in Glamour and her weekly column about sex, dating and nightlife from a female comedian's point of view can be found on Hello Hilarious.

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Reader Comments (4)

i love this. it should be a regular feature.
November 14, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterkeith h.
November 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMatt S.
What a great idea for an article. I've always been fond of this woman and had no idea how accomplished she was. I agree with keith... door people, bartenders, and other regular faces in the comedy ambiance all over the city should be interviewed at some point. It gets to the point where they're just as valuable as the performers.
November 14, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterklaus_kinski
I heart Margot!
November 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

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