Honey, I Shrunk the Yid
New York City — 02/12/98
It's truly yippee-good-news time for gastronauts of the Seanosphere: I've gone
back into therapy... for *free*, courtesy of a candy bar!
Rockapella's ongoing Mounds/Almond Joy radio commercials have enabled me to earn
the TV union's health coverage minimum; so -- as long as I can prove my insanity
week after week -- I'm on a free ride to clinical normalcy!
Simply desiring personal growth doesn't merit acceptance into the union's free
shrinkage program; you've got to be a bona-fide loon to get in, and then
demonstrate an ongoing nutsiness to avoid expulsion. I was thus forced to
exaggerate the severity of my anguish in an official phone evaluation, which
ended as soon as I wised up and uttered the following "instant acceptance"
phrase: "Everything is fine in my life; I just can't keep my hands off my
penis." Bingo. Greetings, Doctor Screwball!
I opened the first session by lamenting the failure of the Spec-Pac auction and the callous
way I was hoodwinked by two seemingly upstanding
Then we talked about divorce (a.k.a. the "Altman Family Curse") and the poetic
irony of my having created a tuneful cottage industry from the wreckage of my
Then I submitted to a Rorschach test in which every single ink blotch was a
thinly disguised vagina. Next, we did a word-association game, during which I
continually answered "Scott Leonard." The shrink was way off base when we moved
on to dream analysis; he attributed my recurring nightmare about drowning to
sexual anxiety, while I asserted that it relates directly to my chronic (and
Progress is inevitable, but through the gauze of my myriad neuroses I am haunted
by one oppressive fear: that my forthcoming state of pristine mental health will
render me artistically barren -- a vacantly grinning, creatively void
milquetoast. What the hell good is a chipper self-image and a whoop-dee-
friggin-doo joi-de-vivre ebullience if it leaves me spouting "moon-June"
inanities and melodies that even Raffi thinks suck?
Let's face it, Sherlocks: the shrewd exploitation of my current personal demons
is what keeps the Seanosphere aloft. No sullen malaise, no SeanSongs. No obsessive-compulsive paranoia, no Seanecdotes. No eating disorder, no knee-slapping
ketchup jokes from the
Condiment King. No
impaired self-image, no biceps exploding with battle scenes.
Am I really gonna let some psycho-babbling HMO Ph.D. oaf gut my crazy mad cash
cow, just so I can feel better about my love handles?!?! Hell no! I'd rather be
muzzled and strait-jacketed in a padded room, churning out pop hits between hits
of Prozac. Insanity pays... BIG TIME! Van Gogh didn't need that extra
ear! That's it! I'm outta therapy, freebie or no freebie! And anyway, shrinks
are for pussies.
Oops... gotta go, Seanatics! It's feeding time for several members of the
irrepressible "Seanie Bunch" - multiple personalities 1, 17, 34 and 57. I've
scientifically staggered our meal schedules so that I get to eat every ninety
The Gigman Beckons
New York City — 02/02/98
Happy New Year, Seanatics!
Altmania has achieved near-warp speed and
shows no sign of abating. I've become a seething, writhing, wheezing,
noxious-waste-spewing, high-efficiency gigging machine, capable of
satisfying all your entertainment needs, no matter how sordid. I feel
virtually unstoppable, so long as I stick to my morning regimen of All-
Bran and prunes.
December was truly "the shit" (translation: "very good"). After two months
of meticulous groundwork-laying, I emerged as a ubiquitous holiday
presence on the NYC club scene. Final score: three gigs at the Bottom
Line, two at Hotel Galvez, two at the Fez, and one at the Cornelia Street
Cafe. I think that qualifies as the shit, don't you?
On December 12, my new band made its debut at the Bottom Line, where
we jangled through a guitar-backed performance of "Presto Change-o" in
honor of legendary DJ Vin Scelsa's fiftieth birthday and thirtieth year on
the radio. Sharing the bill and shamelessly leeching off my draw were Lou
Reed, Jimmy Webb, They Might Be Giants, Southside Johnny, Marshall
Crenshaw, Little Steven, Graham Parker, Ronnie Spector and Joey
Ramone, among others. Highlights: the New York Times review
mentioned me, and I had a nice backstage conversation with punk pioneer
Ramone about our fave East Village neighborhood cheese store.
Strangely, the punk legend favors brie (damn' uppity sissy), while I,
the erudite Ivy-League song poet, prefer Cheese Whiz (the people's
December 20 marked the premier of the GrooveBarbers, a fearless
barbershop combo comprised of former Rockapellas Steve Keyes, Charlie
Evett and me, as well as "Joe's Apartment" vocal guru Kevin Weist. I
brazenly hosted the Bottom Line event, which was billed as "Holiday
Harmonies" and featured Five O'Clock Shadow, the Accidentals and
special guests Petula Clark and John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants.
I am proud to have roped in Flansburgh, as he's one of my fave pop stars.
The GrooveBarbers backed him up masterfully on my arrangement of his
jaunty "Careless Santa."
An unannounced guest at the event was my college mate (and fellow Jew),
Rob Tannenbaum, a high-level music journalist who fronts his own obscene
rock combo, White
Courtesy Telephone. Rob and I performed his pungent ditty "(It's Good to Be) A Jew at Christmas," the
lyrics of which earned us a wrist-slap from the ever politically-correct Bottom
Line management. You be the judge. (All right, maybe the line about the goyim
getting drunk at home is a bit unkind, but don't all myths have some basis
All in all, the evening was a glowing success, and I further solidified my
blossoming reputation as the a cappella community's "host with the most
On December 30, I got a head start on 1998 with a special pre-New Year's
Eve full-band gig at the East Village's cozy Hotel Galvez. My multi-ethnic
backup ensemble (Matt Detro, Tony James and Bryant McNeil) has no
official name, although -- when we stand motionless and suck in our cheeks
and guts -- the moniker "Benetton" comes to mind. (For more dirt on this
exquisite appearance, see my gig post-
Several songs from my Rockapella repertoire have explosive new lives in
my new career: "Follow Me to Heaven," "Daisy Simone," "Come My Way"
and "My Home" have all mutated nicely thanks to my new bandmates'
instrumental wizardry. Coming soon: a "Carmen Sandiego" theme song
arrangement that'll whup your kiddie-show butt crimson and have you
howling for the great Seanus' mercy.
Please come to my upcoming gigs, where we'll commune in melodic
melancholia, depraved dittydom, lyrical lethargy and non-caloric,
sophomoric, historic euphoria (translation: my gigs will be the shit).
(It's Good To Be) A Jew At Christmas |
unpublished work (c)1997 Rob Tannenbaum
I've never known the giddy joys
Of other Christmas girls and boys
No, I never sat on Santa's knee
I've never tasted Christmas ham
Or caroled "Winter Wonderland"
I'm just not down with Christianity
It's good to be a Jew at Christmas
I like to be a kike this time of year
It's clear that we're the Chosen Ones
We got eight nights, you got just one
It's good to be a Jew at Christmas
On Christmas Day, we'll eat Chinese
Walk empty streets until we freeze
Once a year the city's ours alone
Anyone you see must be a Jew
Why not say, "Hi! I'm a Jew, too!"
The goyim are all getting drunk at home
(Oh yes) It's good to be a Jew at Christmas
I'm giddy to be a Yid this time of year
We just don't care when Christ was born
Because we're Jews, and we have horns
It's good be a Jew
Don'tcha wanna be one too?
It's good to be a Jew at Christmas!
Last updated: December 14, 1998
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