Friday, March 31, 2017
To RSC Henry N
CC Tommy D LaShunda W email@example.com
About thirty minutes ago I was forced to take a shower in a restroom wherein the toilet was filled with excrement.
As you probably know there are two operational restrooms on the upper floors of the Las Americas, as the renovation crew has spent well over eight months renovating the other four potentially operational restrooms equipped with showers (there are I believe two other shower rooms on the south side of the building which seem to be permanently out of order). To say they are taking their time renovating would be a gross understatement.
The restroom I used this morning is located on the second floor. I could have used the restroom on the third floor as it’s shower is operational (for some reason management can’t seem to get a door fitted onto this shower, as there has been no shower door in this room for months), and I would have, if the light had been working. It was early morning, and dark outside, and I choose not to shower in the dark as that’s an obvious safety hazard.
And that toilet was filled with crap as well.
You might be wondering why I’m bothering you with this rather than Resident Services, AKA Tommy D.
This is the problem as I see it. SRHT, in it’s infinite wisdom, has taken the step to fill up, to the brim, a hotel that is still under renovation, with new residents who are involved with some secret program that you manage, a hotel that was barely able to fulfill the needs of the 30 or so residents who were already housed there, and have been housed there throughout this renovation nightmare, for over a year (please refer to http://joycestake.blogspot.com/2016/09/renovation.html & http://joycestake.blogspot.com/2017/02/renovation-2_2.html ).
The Las Americas is currently incapable of fulfilling the basic safety and security needs of it’s residents. Adding more residents just adds to that strain, and the difficulties I’ve mentioned above did not appear as frequently as they are now before the hotel was packed (It appears that the toilet problem manifests itself, like clockwork, every Friday afternoon, just as the janitorial staff is going home for the weekend).
Resident Services is understaffed, as Tommy as his assistant now manage two hotels (the Las Americas & the Olympia). RSC staff is understaffed, as yourself and RSC LaShunda W are working two hotels as well. And as far as I know we only have one janitor, Jose, who is working both hotels. To say that he is woefully understaffed and overworked would be another massive understatement.
Their are other difficulties as well.
Having a hotel filled with residents in two different programs presents inherent problems.
I’ve been a resident of the Las Americas for over 13 years now. Many others in the Shelter Plus Care program have been here many years.
Within one week of arriving the people in your program were equipped with new microwave ovens, and I’ve been told kitchenware and televisions, while Shelter Plus Care participants received absolutely nothing.
To state this is a drain on our moral is another understatement.
I know for a fact that many of the people in your program have sold the things your program has provided for them.
I’ve found your people sleeping in the halls, monopolizing the already inadequate kitchen, and as I’ve mentioned, aggravating the overall facilities the Las Americas currently provides.
This is a safety concern. A health concern. A security concern.
I look forward to your response as to how SRHT intends to alleviate all of the difficulties I’ve mentioned. Please feel free to forward this letter to your supervisors.
I need to know how SRHT intends to attend to these issues before I am forced to report this whole matter to the Housing Authority, who I might add, is already extremely concerned about housing it’s clients in a hotel that is under construction.
Thank you for your time.
To Henry N
CC Tommy D LaShunda W firstname.lastname@example.org Feb 20 at 7:08 AM
A little while ago I was down in the kitchen making breakfast and one of the female residents told me she witnessed a family of rats in the building on the first floor, something I've never seen in all of my years here.
February 20th, a Monday, was a national holiday, Presidents Day. Who would come to work today? I didn’t know. Hopefully Jose would show up as the building really needed to be looked after. The toilets of course, but most of the waste cans were filled or overflowing and needed to be emptied.
Even if I wanted to, and I didn’t, I , or any other resident couldn’t empty the cans ourselves as the waste bin we would empty them into was locked up.
Tommy did show up. I saw him as I was going downstairs to warm up some coffee in the microwave oven in the first floor kitchen.
“Hi Tommy,” I said to him.
“People shitting everywhere,” he thoughtfully replied.
“Ah, yeah. I wrote you an E-mail about that.”
Jose had the day off as he didn’t show up. I didn’t hear from Henry or LaShunda, which told me nothing. Even if they got my message I didn’t expect them to respond, at least right away. Maybe never, depending on how seriously they took my E-mail. After all, I’m just a client... a lowly and powerless resident.
The only thing that was done within the building that day was that someone (Tommy?) taped a blue plastic bag over the affected toilets in an attempt to put a halt to the constant and ceaseless defecating.
The next day, Tuesday the 21st, everybody should have been back to work. Jose, a barely 5 foot tall powerhouse Hispanic, who hardly speaks any English, and who’s really one of the best janitors we’ve ever had, cleaned the Las Americas expertly.
No word from the RSCs.
I worked like a little demon all day on a birthday tribute to the lovely and talented actress Jessica Biel, taking a break only to go to the Hippie Kitchen to stock up on salad and black beans.
That night, around 7:30 or so, I went downstairs to make some tacos in the kitchen. As I entered the light came on automatically, and out of the corner of my eye I detected movement, and looking down I just caught the sight of the ass end of a rat disappearing into a sideboard.
So now I’d seen them.
Not that I mind rats though. Rats are my friends.
I adore the movies “Willard” and “Ben.”
As a matter of fact there’s nothing like a good, fat rat every once in a while.
I’m concerned about the other residents though, the older, feeble ones, those who can’t run fast enough to survive a sustained and well provisioned rat attack.
I suppose now that the rats have been independently verified I should float the idea of a “Rat Seminar,” where a rat expert can show us what to do exactly when the little rodent bastards get feisty... plan an emergency exit strategy, how to fight back, how to avoid contracting the Bubonic Plague, etc.
This kind knowledge, along with Rat Drills (practice a rat counter attack), will undoubtedly save lives.
I opened my door and found a notice taped to it.
After the the initial shock wore off I took the notice down, backed up into my room and read it.
To: All Residents at the Olympia and Las Americas
From: Skid Row Southeast 1 Staff
Date: February 24 & February 27, 2017
Re: Unit Inspection - Desks
You are being notified that in-unit work has been scheduled for Friday, February 24 and Monday, February 27, 2017. The contractor will need access to your unit between 8am and 4pm for approximately 15 minutes to inspect your desk. You will not need to vacate your unit, but you will need to allow the contractor access
Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions regarding the work. We appreciate your cooperation.
Sincerely, Skid Row Southeast 1 Staff
“Do not hesitate to contact us...”
What a laugh!
No one really knows who or what Skid Row Southeast 1 staff are or is. Not since Lauren and Alison disappeared. These notices just pop out of the ether every once and a while. Well, actually they are transported to Tommy via electronic wires, wherein he prints and distributes them. Therefore, much like the film “Arrival,” there is a impenetrable wall separating the residents and Skid Row Southeast 1 Staff.
“Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions regarding the work,” yet they provide no contact information. Do you see any contact information in that notice above? An Email address, telephone number, PO Box... anything? I don’t either.
Once at a resident meeting I asked Richard, Tommy’s boss, how are we supposed to contact members of the Skid Row Southeast 1 Staff .
“Just tell your case manager what your situation or question is.”
I did that. I asked Cassandra to pass on a message to the Skid Row Southeast 1 Staff .
She hasn’t been seen or heard from since.
“We appreciate your cooperation.”
Really. How presumptuous!
What happens if I don’t cooperate? Will I go the way of Cassandra, Lauren, and Alison? One minute here, the next I wake up in some gulag in Siberia, if I wake up at all.
What is it exactly that they wish to inspect I wonder? A week or so ago two guys had come around with Tommy to take a look at it.
Remember now, it’s not exactly a desk we’re talking about here. What we’re talking about is a 20 x 35 inch rectangular piece of mahogany looking press board, or particle board, or whatever it’s made of, that is bolted to my wall, 27 1/2 inches from the floor.
So I have this piece of pressboard sticking out from my wall at a right angle with nothing supporting the front.
The board itself, and whatever I place upon it, in my case my DVR, computer monitor, modem, several speakers, alarm clock, and 33 pound granite rock, is only supported by the bolts holding it to the wall.
When I rest my keyboard on the “desk” to type I can feel the “desk” wobble a little. So I believed the whole thing to be inherently unstable.
Whoever it was who made the decision to install these things didn’t really think this through.
It probably looked good on paper, but in practical use, not so much.
My neighbor from across the hall, his “desk’ broke completely off.
Tommy told me this has happened to a few of these “desks.”
That’s why I stacked 31 of my books, of various shapes, sizes, thicknesses, and subjects, right next to my new two drawer night stand which is right underneath my “desk,” from the floor to the underside of the “desk,” supporting the front.
Now the “desk” is like totally stable. I could dance on top of it if I so desired.
I didn’t dance on it though. That would just be silly.
I did increase the poundage of my rock though to 47.
So I was fine with the so-called “desk” now. I was able to type on it and everything.
But Tommy told me he thought that what the so-called inspectors were going to do was to install a support structure to the “desk.”
I thought about this for awhile. I didn’t like it. Then I panicked.
If they put some kind of support structure on the underside of my “desk,” then I might not be able to fit my night stand under it, which itself supported some speakers.
If that were to happen it would just mess everything up.
And beyond that, they may want me to take all my stuff off of the ”desk” to do the work, including the rock. So once again I might have to take apart my freaking computer!
So I panicked some more. I thought about committing seppuku, the Japanese ritual form of suicide by disembowelment, but thought better of it after a while.
We would see.
February 24th came. A Friday. I prepared my desk for whoever was to come and inspect it, or work on it, by removing the 31 books and the night stand from underneath it.
Around 10 o’clock I heard the inspectors come to other nearby rooms, one just a couple of doors down from me. I waited patiently for them to come to my room. I waited and waited.
They never came.
This was a big fake out designed to drive me mad.
I put back the night stand and the books and carried on with my life.
My neighbor Arnold came to my door to let me know about two notices that had been taped to it.
To: Las Americas2nd and 3rd Floor
From: Skid Row Southeast 1 Staff [who ever they are... there is no contact information]
Date: February 27, 2016
Re: Electricity Shut-Off
You are being notified that the electricity will be shut-off on the 2nd and 3rd Floor from 8am to 3pm on Monday, February 27th.
We are sorry for the inconvenience and we thank you for your cooperation.
Skid Row Southeast 1 Staff
The second notice was just like the one above but for the kitchen on Tuesday, the 28th, the electricity would be shut off from 8am to 3pm.
They were specifying a 7 hour shut down, one hour less than required to have an automatic per diem payment set in... $35 for the room, $71 for the kitchen.
And it’s interesting that they assume we will cooperate since they’re thanking us for it ahead of time.
I zipped off an E-mail to Tommy:
Tommy, having read the notice informing us of the electricity shut-off on Monday, February 27, for the 2nd and 3rd floors, and the kitchen on the 28th. I’m a little confused as both notices are dated 2016. Now has this work already been done last year? If that is the case we don’t have to prepare for a shut off, right? Please clarify.
We shall see again.
And interesting conversation in the kitchen just now. Or actually, me and my friend Cliff were the objects of existential venting.
One of the new residents who lives on the first floor, a member of the mysterious 2nd, or new program, and old black lady, I mean old, she must be in her 70s, entered the kitchen to fry some kiełbasa sausage while I was standing in front of the microwave, the one microwave we have that 30 or so people use. I was making some Top Ramen and coffee. Cliff was waiting for me to finish.
And then she started.
“I don’t know why they put us in here. Too many people, and this damn too small kitchen, for so many people. I gotta get out of here. Too many roaches and rats. I’ve got COPD and asthma... I shouldn't be around no roaches and rats. No laundry facility. They don’t care about us. People who don’t live here moving around. They don’t care about no homeless people. I gotta leave. I don’t like it here.” She seemed like she was angry and on the verge of tears at the same time.
“Then why did you move in here,” Cliff asked.
It took awhile for her to answer.
“Oh I had to move out of my house, had to...”
It was unclear why she had to leave her last residence.
I’ve seen her at other times. She’s a bitchy old hag. Still I felt sorry for her.
The next day, Friday February 24th, 2017, Tommy Emailed back to me.
“It’s being revised.”
Later as I was watering the asparagus ferns in the front of the hotel, Tommy snuck up from behind me and said, “I had to contact the staff and have them revise the notice...”
“You did. Just for the date?”
“No. I told them they had to do it over again because they didn’t put anything down about the per diem... and I didn’t even notice the date was wrong until I got your Email...”
“Per diem? I thought that was for eight hours...”
“No six. You’ll get seventy one dollars for the kitchen and thirty five for your rooms.”
“Wait a minute. You’re in contact with the Skid Row Southeast One Staff?”
“Who are they? Are they real people... or machines... do they have mouths...”
“I’m not at liberty to say.”
“Oh come on Tommy...”
“I can’t talk about it anymore.”
“They may be listening.”
Then he ran off before I could question him any further.
I mysteriously received another notice upon my door.
To: Las Americas: All Units
From: Skid Row Southeast 1 Staff
Date: February 24,2017
Re: Electricity Shut-Off
You are being notified that the electricity will be shut-off in the kitchen from 8am to 3pm on Tuesday, February 28th. The water and gas stove will be operational, but the lights, microwave and all other appliances that need electricity will be shut down until 3pm. You will receive $71 per diem.
We are sorry for the inconvenience and we thank you for your cooperation.
Skid Row Southeast 1 Staff
A second notice informed me that our rooms would be done on Wednesday, March 1st, and that we would receive a payment of $35.
Well these second round notices were certainly more to my liking than the first round.
We shall see.
Electricity cut-off for the kitchen day, and $71 per diem day, which was fine with me. They were paying us this money just because the buildings one common microwave would be unavailable for a few hours. Probably not even the whole seven hours that were being called for.
The gas oven and stove would still be operational, so meals could still be prepared.
Just the microwave would be off.
Taking into account that the new people who had microwave ovens already in their rooms were not eligible for the per diem, that would leave about 30 who were.
That means SRHT was shelling out approximately $2,130 for one microwave being out of commission for about five hours.
Now I don’t mind getting this cash, but as an overall policy, this seems a tad wasteful.
Then again... not my problem.
Tuesday came. I Emailed Tommy and asked when the per diems would be handed out. He Emailed me back and told me he didn’t know, but that they always distributed them from his office (which was on the third floor these days, just about twenty steps from my door).
At around 10:30 a young man named John came to my door, had me sign a paper, then gave me an envelope with $71 in it.
After depositing the money in my vault, I walked to the Hippie Kitchen and ate there. The lack of the microwave for a little while did not bother me.
Pretty much the same thing happened the next day. I received $35, turned off my computer, and kicked back and read from James Clavell’s “Shogun,” for a few hours until the power came back on, at which time I turn my computer back on.
And my TV.
One of the many problems our building is currently experiencing has to do with it’s fire alarm. It keeps going off for no particular reason. No one knows why, or how to prevent it.
There is also a constant “beeping.” Beep, then 3 seconds pass, then beep again, 3 seconds, beep. This goes on at all times of the day, and can last for hours. No one knows why or how to stop it. We can turn it off temporarily, but it will come back eventually. Some surmise this is a form of Chinese audio water torture designed to drive all of us who live and work here completely insane.
It’s already worked on Tommy, who can be seen babbling to himself, and drooling incessantly from time to time.
If it happens when he is around (the fire alarm sounding), or his assistant, Kevin, it can be turned off, because they know how to do it. The problem is when they are not around. Tommy doesn’t live in the building any more, so when he leaves at 5, or when Kevin leaves at 7, there is no one here to turn the alarm off if it is triggered.
This is not only annoying for the residents, as little mini-alarms go off in each room when the main alarm sounds, but it also annoys the hell out of the fire department, which is tasked to come investigate why our alarm is sounding for a prolonged period of time.
When the fire department comes out and the building isn’t on fire they get awfully miffed. So much so that they charge SRHT for the visit, I’m not sure how much, but it’s enough for SRHT to hire a security company to have one of their security guys hang out in the building all night specifically to monitor the fire alarm.
Apparently the fire alarm can not be fixed.
There's other sounds that come out of the alarm system. They're hard to describe. I guess the closest I can come is the sound of a demon grumbling deep inside the pits of Hell.
Anyway, I’ll go downstairs at night to heat up some coffee and the security guy will be down there sitting by the front door, usually diddling with their smart phone.
I’ll say “hi” to him. He’ll say “hi” back.
When I pass him on my way back I’ll say “Have a good night.” He’ll say “You too.”
I was once down there when one of the security guards was talking to another resident. The subject of rats came up.
“There are still rats around,” I asked him.
“Oh yeah! Especially in the kitchen. That’s why I stay out here.”
“Oh yeah. Ever since one of our guys disappeared from here, I stay out of there.”
“One of you men disappeared?”
“Yeah. Ralph. He had a wife and two kids. Came to work last Wednesday... was never seen again...”
“He could have just left, and something happened to him. He could be on a bender somewhere, or, well there are any number of reasons of why he might have gone missing.”
“Maybe. But his last log entry read, “Heard something in the basement. Going to check it out.”
I looked at the kitchen doorway, then returned to my room.
I think I’ll get my own microwave.
On March 13th Ben and John came back for another resident meeting. They didn’t have a whole lot to tell us, other than moving the completion date for construction back two months, from May to July.
I get the feeling they don’t know what they’re talking about, or that they really don’t have any control over anything, especially the pace at which work is getting done around here.
Henry told them that there had been no workers here at all last Friday, and today, which was a Monday.
Ben and John just shrugged.
You see the thing is if there are no workers here working then no work is being done... no joules being expended so to speak. And if there’s no work being done it will be decidedly difficult to maintain the work schedule Ben and John had just laid out, finishing up by July.
This was pointed out to Ben and John. They shrugged.
Food was handed out by Henry and LaShunda. Fried chicken and potato salad.
Of course there was one guy who just wanted to bitch about... everything. He complained that he wasn’t given 24 hours notice before the meeting which is supposed to happen (no one was. Henry was supposed to have placed the notices last Friday, but had taken the day off instead. In any case this guy was the only one who mentioned it). He complained that he wasn’t getting paid for, I don’t know, being alive I guess. He mentioned the inconvenience of having to live here during the construction process. He knew full well what we would be paid for, and what we were not going to be paid for, and he had signed documentation to that affect before the renovation began. He complained that he wasn’t given his chicken fast enough, and threatened to leave the meeting.
I wish he had, but he didn’t.
The residents provided a list of items that Ben and John might be able to help with. My neighbor Arnold complained that there were no towel racks in the bathrooms that had just been completed on the north part of the building, on the second and third floors.
I complained that there were no window blinds.
I mean, I have a great body and all. No doubt about that. But I feel no need to show it off in all it’s glory every morning as I shower.
We asked about the microwave ovens that had been promised to us. Specifically when we would be getting them. They didn’t know. They kept talking about the wiring in the building needing to get finished, then inspected by the Dept of Water and Power.
I don’t know what that has to do with microwaves.
They also wanted to know who still had holes in their walls.
About the new finished bathrooms. They’re nice and shiny and all. The only real problem, besides no towel rack or window blinds, is that there are no doors for the showers, just a curtain, a plastic curtain. Which would be fine if there was a bathtub involved, which would catch the runoff shower water. But there is no bathtub, just the floor. This means that every time anybody takes a shower the entire bathroom floor pretty much gets inundated.
This is both annoying and unsafe.
Who the hell came up with and approved these ideas?
I saw Hardy one morning as I came down to make some breakfast. He already had something in the microwave so I had to wait for his stuff to finish cooking. We sat near the front door looking out at the dark that was 6th Street.
For almost a year now the common television had been out of use and resting in Tommy’s office, as the construction people were supposedly working and renovating where the common lounge used to be, where the television used to be.
Hardy, who is 72 years old now, had used that television as his major form of entertainment, watching shows like “In the Heat of the Night,” “Law and Order,” and “Bluebloods.” He also liked to watch the local news programs.
He had been denied this simple pleasure for this last year, and spent most of his free time just sitting out front on the sidewalk watching the traffic pass by on Alameda and 6th.
I feel sorry for him sometimes and have told him he can come up to my room anytime my door is open and watch TV. He rarely comes though.
He could also walk over to the Produce Hotel, about two blocks away, and watch television there, but no one wants to go to the Produce.
Those who have done so in the past have come back subtly changed. They mumble to themselves and vibrate. Sometimes they stare off into space seeing only the entities and landscapes that they could see.
And their hair has turned white.\
Anyway Hardy looked tired and haggard.
“What... what day is it?” he asked me.
“It’s Monday, Hardy.”
On March 16th I noticed that the light at the bottom of the stairs to the first floor was out, which was odd.
I didn’t think anything about it though.
Until it began to get dark.
I had started off to the Drifters Meeting. I saw that the light was still off, no illumination at all on the stairwell.
Tommy had already left for the day, so I went to the manager’s office to find Kevin to tell him of the situation.
Door locked. No one there.
I left and attended the meeting. When I got back, as expected, no light whatsoever in the stairwell. There were no nearby windows, so no ambient light could filter through.
I slowly grabbed onto the railing and made my way upstairs one step at a time.
One of my neighbors was right behind me, the prettiest girl in the building actually, and she said this.
“It’s too damn dark in here!”
“I know,” I wittily replied.
“This is dangerous,” she said.
We somehow made it to the second floor safely, and went our separate ways.
I went to my room and worked feverishly on finding the exact numerical equivalent of Pi, when I decided to go for ice cream at the nearby gas station, which happens to sell ice cream bars and things of that nature.
Then I remembered I’d have to navigate the stairwell again. I didn’t look forward to it as I had already slipped and fell on it twice recently even with the lights on.
I truly believe the stairs are cursed.
I walked up to it, and looked down, not able to see anything. Total darkness, like the inside of a black hole (no one knows what the inside of a black hole looks like, not even Stephen Hawking).
I started down the stairs.
I never made it to the bottom.
Sunday, March 26, 2017
"The amazing courage of American veterans and specifically those who survived Pearl Harbor is in any way diminished by a comedian making a joke about dentures on television. Do we really believe that the people who fought and defended our freedom against Nazis and the Axis powers will find a joke about Spaghetti O's too much to bear? Sorry, I have more respect for Veterans than to think their honor can be impugned by a glamorous, charming comedian in a fur hat."
"It sucks that the only survivors of Pearl Harbor are being mocked by the only food they can still chew." in response to being criticized for a joke she made during NBC's “New Year's Eve with Carson Daly,” on December 31, 2013, which itself was in response to a tweet posted on December 7th, 2013, by the Campbell Soup Company, wherein they posted a picture of a smiling cartoon SpaghettiO holding a United States flag, captioned "Take a moment to remember #PearlHarbor with us." Natasha’s response was this: “It sucks that the only survivors of Pearl Harbor are being mocked by the only food they can still chew."
Lillian Prays for a Divorce
1. Ms Leggero
2. Ginger Lynn Allen
3. Cheap Trick
4. In the supermarket
7. Still cute
8. Natasha and Gigantor
9. Natasha, Rikki, and Kate
10. Starting out in stand up
11. More stand up
12. Appearing in the second season in 2004 as Rita the Drunk on “The Joe Schmo Show”
13. Tasty beverage
14. With Charlie Day on “It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia”
15. Effects of tasty beverage
16. As Bunny Hernandez on “Reno 911“
17. More effects
18. As Dr Leggero on “The Sarah Silverman Show”
19. Still effecting
20. Sarah Silverman “Tubbin’ with Tash”
21. Getting ready
22. In 2009‘s “He's Just Not That Into You”
23. On “Chelsea Lately”
24. Chelsea “Tubbin’ with Tash”
25. On “Are You There, Chelsea?” with Laura Prepon
26. The Flash
27. Callie Maggotbone
29. James Franco roasters
30. Trip to Venice Italy
31. A lot of leg in Italy
32. A little tired
33. Time to come home
34. In “Burning Love”
36. On “Community”
37. In “Dealing with Idiots”
38. On “Midnight with Chris Hardwick”
39. On “The League”
40. On “Comedy Bang! Bang!”
41. “Key and Peele”
42. As Prostitute in “Neighbors”
44. in “Let’s be Cops”
45. More partying with the girls
46. With Julie Bowen on “Modern Family”
47. The Bellacourt sisters of “Another Period”
49. Lillian and Mayor Cutie
50. Beatrice and Lillian
51. Natasha promoting the show on Jimmy Kimmel
52. Natasha & Rikki of “The Daily Show”
53. With Lauren Lapkus
54. With Andrew Rannels and Lauren Flans
55. Lillian trapped with the servants
56. With Bebe Drake
57. Lillian make a sandwich
58. The sisters
59. Chelsea Peretti
60. Hubby Moshe Kasher
61. Moshe with Christina Hendricks on “Another Period”
62. The Honeymoon Tour
63. Rikki and Natasha talk about their trip to Senegal
64. Lady Leggero... and her dog
This morning it is my great pleasure and honor to give a great big Joyce’s Take happy birthday shout out to one of my favorite actresses and comedians, the lovely and talented Natasha Leggero!
Natasha was born at a very early age in Rockford, Illinois (42° 15′ 34″ N, 89° 3′ 52″ W), which of course is the third largest city in the state of Illinois, the 171st most populous city in the United States, the largest city in Illinois outside of the Chicago metropolitan area, and the city of the 148th most populous metropolitan area in the United States!
Isn’t it wonderful!
One of it’s 14 zip codes is 61109.
Another of my favorite actresses, Ginger Lynn Allen, star of “Too Good to Be True,” “Young Guns II,” “New Wave Hookers,” and many other fine films fame, was also born as a small female infant in Rockford.
Ginger is one of the few actresses I’ve ever met! I saw her in a place called Acton, right here in California (34° 28′ 22″ N, 118° 11′ 1″ W).
The famous rock band Cheap Trick is also from Rockford.
Natasha’s paternal grandparents were Peter F. Leggero, Sr. and Rosalie Mae Canezaro (the daughter of Leroy/Leon Canezaro and Josephine Margaret Spirages/Spragio/Spragios).
Leon was born in Louisiana, the son of Italian parents, Benedict Canezaro and Roalie Bondi. Josephine was also born in Louisiana, the daughter of Carlo Spragio/Spragios, who was Italian, and of Josephine “Josie” Alleman, who was also born in Louisiana, to Italian parents.
I know, it’s kind of hard to follow, but by some miracle Natasha’s parents made it to Illinois and she appeared almost out of nowhere.
She’s Italian by the way, yet she has bragged that a DNA test she took revealed 6% Sub-Saharan (everything south of the mighty Sahara Desert) African ancestry.
Both of Natasha's parents were Roman Catholics, and so was Natasha, but eventually her parents, and Natasha, converted from Roman Catholicism to Judaism.
Here she is talking to Conan about that conversion.
Her father’s name is John. No one knows what her mother’s name is, yet she raised Natasha after a divorce.
She attended elementary school in Chicago, which is 89.3 miles east of Rockford via the scenic I-90. She began performing in plays there, starting at 10 years old.
After successfully graduating from elementary school Natasha attended Rockford East High School, which is a comprehensive four year high school.
I attended Monroe and Chatsworth high schools in the famous San Fernando Valley, which has absolutely nothing to do with Rockford East High School.
Natasha worked a paper route to make money, something we have in common. She mowed lawns, and over saw underground cat races. She eventually worked her way up to supermarket cashier, working there for several years.
The NCAA All-American basketball player at the University of Illinois, Bill Erickson, also attended Rockford East High School.
Bill was 6ft 1in’s tall when he was alive (he sadly passed in 1987). Natasha’s future partner in “Another Period,” Rikki Lindhome is 5ft 9in’s tall, two inches shorter than I am. Natasha on the other hand is 4ft. 11in’s tall. Rikki’s singing partner in Garfunkel and Oates, the lovely and talented Kate Micucci, is 3 inches taller than Natasha.
Picture 7 above is of all three of them, displaying their corresponding heights.
Natasha’s a little person, but what she lacks in stature, she makes up for with a fierce, delightful, and inventive personality.
When a picture is taken of Natasha without any frame of reference, like numbers 3 & 5 above, you can hardly tell that she’s height challenged.
Well enough about her teeny tiny lack of tallness.
It has been said that Natasha was an excellent student. She also participated in her high school's drama classes, in which she excelled, which is odd for a short person.
After graduating from high school, Natasha attended Illinois State University, where she studied for two years, spending a semester studying in England.
While at Illinois State, she auditioned for the Stella Adler Conservatory and was accepted into their theater program. She then relocated to New York City to attend the conservatory, spending two entire years studying (she has stated that throughout her training and auditioning times, she waitressed for 10 years).
The Conservatory is very famous, and a lot of our best actors and actresses have studied there. I don’t want to drop any names, but some of them were Warren Beatty, Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Benicio del Toro, Candice Bergen, Peter Bogdanovich, James Coburn, Melanie Griffith,
Harvey Keitel, Jane Levy, Salma Hayek, Martin Sheen, Judd Nelson, Nick Nolte, Sydney Poitier, Sidney Pollock, Anthony Quinn, Mark Ruffalo, Cybill Shepherd, Mario Van Peebles, Alfred E. Neuman, Bianca Lawson, Bugs Bunny, and Lilly Englert.
“It taught me how to be a working actor in the 1700s,” she would say of her experience there.
In 1996, Natasha was talked into moving to Sydney, Australia by her wanker boyfriend, and lived there for a year before returning to New York.
Here she is talking to Colbert about working the phones in an Australian brothel.
After Natasha got back from the brothel, she attended Hunter College in Manhattan, where she graduated in 2000 with a B.A. in Theater criticism. She then moved to Los Angeles shortly after graduation.
In L.A. Natasha began her career doing Stand Up comedy at the Comedy Store on Sunset Blvd, in West Hollywood.
Here she is talking about Hip Hop.
And going through with it.
The IMDB lists an uncredited role as a waitress in Ryan Gosling’s 2001 “The Believer,” as her first acting job.
2004 saw her as Rita the Drunk on 9 episodes of “The Joe Schmo Show.” She was Stripper #1 on the “Charlie Gets Crippled,” episode of “It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” in 2006. In 2008 she played Dr Leggero (not related) on “The Sarah Silverman Show.”
Speaking of Sarah Silverman, here she is appearing on Natasha’s web series “Tubbin’ with Tash,” in 2013.
She played Amber in 2009‘s film “He’s Just Not into You,” along with Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connelly, Bradley Cooper, Ginnifer Goodwin, Scarlett Johansson, Justin Long, Kris Kristofferson, Mary Stuart Masterson, Luis Guzmán, and Busy Philipps.
Here’s her entire soliloquy.
Natasha talked about a day in her life to David Marchese, for Spin on October of 2011.
1. Holy water
Yeah, I got a Bible lying around. It’s actually an illustrated version. I was raised Catholic in Rockford, Illinois. But I’m not a practicing Catholic anymore. Oh God, no.
2. Taking out the trash
In L.A. you tend to see a lot of people do very bizarre things. I love it. I was in New York City for five years before moving here — every two blocks someone’s having the worst day of their life. Everyone’s so mad. L.A. people are more relaxed. Just to be clear, though, I’m much more likely to murder someone emotionally than physically.
In general, comedians are attracted to vice. The problem is that you’re doing your job with an open bar. I was just watching this documentary about Bill Hicks and he was doing psychedelics, then he started playing comedy clubs and got into drinking. It does take you to some new heights onstage. The problem happens when you need it.
4. Cleaning house
That’s my favorite silverware. Duncan [Trussell, Leggero’s boyfriend and Lavender Hour podcast cohost] is from the South, so with his family, guns are always close by. Once I went with them to a hunting camp and watched them kill squirrels. They kind of have a fanny pack they wear that they stuff the corpses in.
5. Dirty laundry
Mayor Cutie is in the laundry basket. She’s a Chihuahua-Jack Russell terrier — we found her in a garbage can in an alley. A lot of little kids started buying all these Chihuahuas when Paris Hilton got one and didn’t want to keep them. I don’t have a baby, you know? My friends have babies. Parents can’t do anything. Having a baby is like a DUI from the universe.
6. Pillow talk
Duncan and I do our podcast here in our house. It’s 100 percent riff, but we’re not afraid to go deep. It’s a salon effect. That’s actually how Duncan and I got together — he got me to go out with him by saying, “Let’s start a salon.” Once a week he’d come over and pick a topic and we’d have this discourse. Then after, like, four of those he tried to kiss me.
7. Food for thought
I have a joke: “I used to think I liked older men but then I realized I was just hungry.” A long time ago, some girl started doing that joke, too. She said this guy gave it to her. Like, “Here’s a good joke for girls.” I had to date a gross man for a year and a half to come up with that joke. I put in all the work! I told her, “You can’t just do the same joke.”
8. Vanity fare
Wearing vintage outfits was probably a reaction to how disgusting some of the places I had to work were. I remember playing a Narcotics Anonymous meeting at the back of a thrift store in Anaheim and being like, “This could be even funnier if I was wearing a dress.”
This is at the Comedy Store. Even when I’m filming [NBC’s Free Agents, I try to get up and perform at least two or three times a week. Doing TV is great, but TV is for starring on, not for watching.
She was a regular panelist on Chelsea Handler’s late night comedy talk show “Chelsea Lately.” Here’s compilation clip.
Speaking of Chelsea Handler, here she is “Tubbin’ with Tash.”
And speaking of Chelsea’s book, “Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea,” Natasha guest starred as Nikki Natoli on 6 episodes of the sitcom based on the book, “Are You There, Chelsea?” starring Laura Prepon. Here’s an excerpt from “The Gynecologist,” episode.
“Take New York City, add every horrifying beast, science-fiction freak, and fantasy faerie, shake thoroughly, and you've got Ugly Americans.”
Natasha was the voice of Callie Maggotbone on 31 episodes of “Ugly Americans,” an animated sitcom. Here’s a short clip. And here she is talking about the show on “Attack of the Show.”
2013 saw Natasha roasting poor innocent James Franco. Here’s an excerpt.
“Burning Love is a scripted comedy series produced by Ben Stiller, which is a spoof of reality dating competition shows like The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Bachelor Pad.”
Natasha appeared on 17 episodes as Haley on “Burning Love.” Here she is in a short piece describing the show.
It is important that “Burning Love,” places Natasha with Ben Stiller for the first time, as he would ultimately produce “Another Period" as well.
In 2013 she appeared on shows like “Community,” “Arrested Development,” the film “Dealin' with Idiots.”
She was on “The League,” and “Comedy Bang! Bang!” Here she is on “Key and Peele.”
In 2014 she was in the Seth Rogen vehicle, “Neighbors,” as Prostitute.
She also played Annie in the comedy feature film, “Let’s be Cops.” Here’s a clip.
I first became aware of Ms Leggero as Vivian, in Rikki and Kate’s too short lived TV show, “Garfunkel and Oates.”
I said to myself at the time, who is that devastatingly beautiful and sexy, short lady?
It was Natasha!
In 2015 she played Dana in the “Fight or Flight,” episode of “Modern Family.”
She has literally been involved or in tons of other fine shows and projects, too numerous for me to care to mention.
On June 23, 2015, a Tuesday, at 10:30pm, the Pilot episode of “Another Period,” premiered on the Comedy Central channel. It was created by Rikki and Natasha, and they wrote 5 of the 10 episodes of the first season, and 5 of the 11 episodes of the second (with the help of Jeremy Konner (who directs the show) on the season’s finale). It was renewed for a third season last May
“Another Period,” stars Lauren Ash, Michael Ian Black, Paget Brewster, Beth Dover, Brett Gelman, Lauren Flans, Christina Hendricks, Alice Hunter, Brian Huskey, Dave Koechner, Natasha, Riki, Jason Ritter, David Wain, and Armen Weitzman.
It is produced by Stuart Cornfeld, Jeremy Konner, Natasha, Debbie Liebling, Riki, Mike Rosenstein, and Ben Stiller.
The show follows the lives of the Bellacourts, the first family of Newport, Rhode Island, at the turn of the 20th century. Lillian (Natasha) and Beatrice (Rikki) are sisters "who care only about how they look, what parties they attend and becoming famous, which is a lot harder in 1902." Natasha and Rikki often describe the show as “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” goes to “Downton Abbey.”
Wikipedia describes Lillian as “the second-eldest Bellacourt daughter, who is often seen wearing a tiara. After Charles Ponzi left [her] at the altar at age 11, ‘the height of a woman's sexual peak,’ she entered into a loveless marriage with Victor, with whom she has produced eight daughters, most of whom are named Susan. Lillian is smart and resourceful, but often falls victim to her own selfishness. She falls into a deep depression when Laverne Fusselforth dies during their wedding ceremony and his grandson marries Hortense. Lillian consistently carries around her vicious chihuahua, Mayor Cutie, before killing the dog in a fit of rage.”
And Beatrice as “ the youngest daughter. She is twin to Frederick, with whom she involved in an incestuous relationship. Beatrice serves as the "ideal woman" of the turn of the century. Tall, rich, and slender, she is a talented singer with no interest in politics and no opinions of her own. She also exhibits exceptional selfishness and sociopathic tendencies, attempting to murder people without empathy. She has several children, including a son whom she calls The Little Asshole. In the second season, Frederick sends Beatrice to a nunnery when their relationship begins to threaten his position as vice president. Beatrice finds God as a result, and she returns to Bellacourt manor with the intention of saving Lillian from damnation.”
Producer Ben Stiller guest starred as Charles Ponzi, inventor of the “Ponzi Scheme,” in the 6th episode of the 1st season.
Rikki and Natasha of course ran the media gauntlet to promote the show. Here is Natasha on Jimmy Kimmel.
And with Rikki at Comic-con.
And some excerpts of episodes:
America's First Worst Family Is Back
The Real Aristocrats of Bellacourt Manor
Trying the Halibut
The Claudette Sisters' Demise
The Hatchet Control Debate
Too Much Cocaine Wine
The Cure for Hysteria
And of course
I'll F**k You in Heaven - Uncensored
In August of 2015 Natasha took part in the following curious interview with her friend Chelsea Peretti about Natasha’s Comedy “Special, Dinner Parties, and Donks.”
It's a big week for Natasha Leggero: Her stand-up special Live at Bimbo's premieres Saturday night at 11 p.m. on Comedy Central, the same network that earlier this week renewed the show she co-stars in and co-created, Another Period, which wraps up its acclaimed first season on Tuesday. To discuss this exciting time, and many other things, Vulture had Leggero's friend Chelsea Peretti of Brooklyn Nine-Nine interview her. They discussed the longest vacation they could imagine taking, dinner-party guests, gloves, and why Leggero doesn't own sweatpants. Enjoy!
Chelsea Peretti: Let it be known that I have not yet made it home from my road trip. I’ve just switched drivers. We have five minutes left, and I’m a huge angel. Ready? First question: Are you pumped for your special?
Natasha Leggero: [Laughs.] I’m actually kind of horrified because now I feel like I can’t do any of those jokes on the road and I have to start all over.
Right. Now, were the people of San Francisco offended by the name of the venue?
Live at Bimbo’s? [Laughs.]
Was there outrage about the word bimbo?
There was a lot of outrage. There was some protesting. One thing, though, I do regret is that I should have had the first few rows dress nice, because it was this really nice supper club, and everyone was in casual clothes, and it just looked bad.
You should have hired a stylist for the first two rows. That would have been a huge investment. That’s what I wanted to do. But I was thinking, what if I would have had extras who were only in tails.
There were a lot of comedy specials where they had hot women standing at bars, like fake cocktail tables onstage. You could have gone that direction.
But, like, only tuxes and evening gowns.
You’re doing like a more high-end version of that, or more of a throwback thing.
Well, there was this guy in the front row — you know guys with those sunglasses on the back of their neck? It was like, "That’s not hot."
No, I'm not familiar that genre of human. Okay now, I have some more questions for you that may not directly relate to the special but will help promote it, okay? Always thinking about your brand, trying to help you grow your brand, just one sister to another, just trying to help you really hit that brand hard.
[Laughs.] By the way, if they don't say in this interview that I'm laughing, you’re gonna sound—
No, they’ll say, "Natasha had stony silence." Okay, so, here’s the first question outside of the others I’ve just asked you. Okay, you and I bond over our love of vacations. What’s the longest vacay you could happily go on?
That's a good question.
You know how comedians are always like, "I hate being offstage. I’m only happy onstage." What’s the longest you could go in vacation mode?
I would definitely like to go on a long vacation where I didn’t perform. Well, I was just in Newport, Rhode Island, doing a house tour for my show, Another Period, and they talk about this rich couple that went on a ten-year honeymoon.
Did it end in divorce? That would be the perfect ending.
No, they came back with four kids, and they had their mansion redecorated for ten years. Ten years is probably too much.
I was very impressed that you went and researched for your show. How long were you in Rhode Island?
Only like two days. But it’s the only way I can get inspired. But to answer your question, I think that I could go for a year.
A year?! That’s like the craziest answer conceivable. I thought you were going to say a couple months.
That’s how long it takes to have a baby. Not that I'm having a baby, but, you know, I’m thinking.
Where did you grow up, again?
Rockford. Because, see, Rockford sounds sophisticated.
It’s not. It’s rated the third-worst city in America to live in.
Well, tell that to the name, because it sounds really highfalutin.
Like, there’s shootings there almost daily.
Really? They need to change the name. But what I was laughing about when I was writing these questions was thinking about how you said you had never heard of Harvard until you moved to L.A., and that the people in Rockford, the students, were groomed to work at grocery stores.
I thought that’s a fascinating piece of intel for your fans, and I'm wondering, is there anything that you miss from your previous life, or was there no looking back?
Well, I did used to work in a grocery store, and, sadly, don’t miss that. I actually remember specifically working at a grocery store and staring at the clock and just thinking, When’s my life going to start?
Did you get any perks, like free bruised peaches or day-old pastries?
I was allowed to get 20 percent off from deli items on my break.
That’s good! Did you go HAM? But there’s nothing from that way of life that you miss, or was it just all garbage?
I do have this memory of long summers with nothing to do. That was nice. You know, biking to your friend’s house and then, like—
Bagging groceries together.
Did you guys all hang out and practice bagging groceries?
[Laughs.] My friend did work there with me. I remember one time at the grocery store, Cheap Trick is from my hometown, and the main guy was in the grocery store, and I wanted him to go through my line. So the woman who I was currently checking out, I let her have almost everything for free.
You were like, "Take it! Go!"
That’s amazing. And did he?
Yeah. We didn’t talk or anything.
Did you look at him really seductively?
I’m not exactly sure. When you’re living in a place like that, you think kind of anything’s your ticket out.
You’re like, "Take me with you!"
It’s like Jim Jones, the Jonestown Massacre guy. Someone passed the journalist a note. Did you write something on a grocery bag? Cheap Trick, I’ll be your opening act. Now, you throw great dinner parties, so I thought it would be an interesting thing to ask you the classic question of who would be your dream dinner-party guests of any historical period?
I remember when I read this book, I think it was about Gertrude Stein. She was hanging out with Picasso and Hemingway in Paris in the '20s, and she bought up all of this modern art before the people were famous. She had Picassos and Modiglianis and Matisses, and she would hang them up in her dinner party and then seat the artists so they could be facing their own artwork. She said that the parties would last ten hours because everyone just wanted to stay and admire their own art. But I think that’s pretty flattering.
I’d like for my special to be playing on your wall on a single monitor next time I come.
Your special’s great. I would do that, Chels.
But who would be your dream guest?
What if it was like, me, you, a couple of our comic friends, like maybe Moshe [Kasher], Brendon [Walsh], and then we could invite, like, Oprah.
You’re not even jumping into history. You’re just being very now-centric. It’s unlike you.
Oh, I see. Like, dead people? I guess I’d want to have, like, Oscar Wilde and Tennessee Williams. But it would be dead people, their cadavers.
[Laughs.] And then alive Oprah, and me, you, Brendan, and Moshe.
[Laughs.] It would give us something to talk about. Oh, here’s a good question. Do you like having a donk?
What’s a donk?
[Laughs.] What, you’ve never heard the term a donk?
Oh, like a butt?
Do I like having a big butt? You have a big butt. I feel like if I didn’t have a big butt, we might not be friends. Do you think that's true?
If you were really slim — no butt — I’d still hang out with you.
I do think it’s good that butts are in, though.
It’s great for girls like us.
Yeah, very good.
But what a travesty for other people. Are you wearing gloves right now?
No, I'm not wearing gloves right now. I have a new look, though, which is tan driving gloves.
Now, who sees that?
It’s just for yourself.
That's the epitome of liberated fashion.
Yeah. Well, maybe you would take them off and hold them in your hand when you go into the shop or put money in the meter. So it’s a very subtle look.
If health and appearance were no issue, what would you be eating all day?
I would probably smoke pot, have a bottle of wine with me, and maybe potato skins.
Mmm, yes, with, like, sour cream, chives, bacon bits, cheddar.
Yeah, I think that would be pretty cool. And then also I like lobster salad.
Yeah, that fits more with your nude-glove thing.
Yeah, a little bit of Rockford. A little bit of Bel-Air.
That’s a good name for your next special: A Little Bit of Rockford, Little Bit of Bel-Air.
That’s a good title.
In October of 2015 Natasha married stand-up comedian, writer and actor, Moshe Kasher, who has appeared on “Another Period (picture 60).”
After their wedding Natasha and Moshe worked together doing stand up on their THE HONEYMOON TOUR.
In September of 2015 Natasha wrote the following for Cosmopolitan Magazine:
Hello, My name is Natasha Leggero. Perhaps you've seen me without pants on various TV shows (Reno 911!, Burning Love) and movies (Neighbors, Let's Be Cops). I was also on the Justin Bieber roast sitting next to Shaq. I'm currently starring in a show that I created, wrote, and produced with my friend Riki Lindhome called Another Period. Believe it or not, it's not about my period. It's a reality show set in 1902 Newport, Rhode Island. Imagine if the Kardashians lived at Downton Abbey. I wasn't always fancy; I grew up in Rockford, Illinois. When I went home last year for the holidays, I saw people biking in the snow along the freeway. In California, if you bike, it's because you care about the environment, but in Rockford, it's because you have a DUI. (Do you get the vibe?) My first stand-up gig was at the Comedy Store in L.A. It's still the best gig I've ever had. (Maybe it was the half a Xanax my hairdresser gave me to calm my nerves?) Here are some other fun facts about me, if you care.
1.The funny one
There's often some sort of darkness that turns people to comedy. Tina Fey got slashed. Sarah Silverman couldn't stop wetting the bed. Chelsea Handler's sibling died. My parents divorced, and my mom was alone. I was the oldest and had this very strong feeling that I had to be the one who dissipated the bad news and made it all happy — the diffuser.
2. Wherefore art thou?
I went to the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, which taught me how to be a working actor … in the 1700s. We had to learn the entire opening speech from Romeo and Juliet. "Two households both alike in dignity, in fair Verona where we lay our scene…" We had to do that whole speech every morning with a cork in our mouths. When I got to L.A., I had this affected accent that made me virtually uncastable. So I started doing stand-up, where I could be myself.
3. Short story
I'm 4-foot-11. An agent once told me I was too short to ever become an actress — that nothing would ever happen for me. It was so horrifying. I remember collapsing on the floor and heaving because I thought he was right! But he was wrong.
4. Newport news.
I've always been fascinated with class. At the turn of the century, something like 90 percent of the wealth in America was in Newport. These eccentric people had these extravagant vacation homes. There was one woman who would actually move mansions farther from the ocean — like two mansions away — because the difference in the humidity helped her hairstyle. These people were living like rappers with no income tax, 30 servants, and platinum walls, while there was complete squalor happening throughout the country. Gilded Age was actually a sarcastic term. Basically, it implied putting gold on shit.
Sadly we’re getting close to the end.
Here is a 2014 acting reel you might like. I know I did.
And here she is describing to Anderson Cooper our current diamond famine.
And here she and Rikki visit Senegal.
Let’s see, what else?
Natasha currently resides in Los Angeles.
Her Elvish name is Ennostiel Berialagoswen
She has a net worth somewhere between $500,000 and $250 million.
Her hobbies include, but are not limited to: aerial barrel rolling & wing walking, extreme poetry, reverse mountaineering, impaired archery, pole tossing & vaulting, speed knitting, smoking pot, tuna wrangling, making fireworks, social lunacy, choir, prolonged Burmese zazen, competitive baby avoidance, hot tub diplomacy, elephantidae husbandry, snake dancing, garden engineering (including advanced Ghost pepper cross breeding), paddle sports, three dimensional checkers, mime mocking, strip billiards, passive functional tattooing, endonasal endoscopy, and planetary terraforming.
Here are two long stand up performances I can leave you with, here, and here.
And lastly, all of us here at Joyce’s Take wish her and Moshe continued good fortune and health, and a very happy birthday!
Please send all of your extra diamonds to natashaleggero.com
And jerk off more old men.