My lunch with Second City, part 2
All three have worked in restaurants at one time or another, and all have either had a hand in developing a restaurant sketch or talked about their service experiences in their stand-up routines.
Quercioli talked about her favorite server trick. If she forgot to put in an order, she'd come to the table and say, "the kitchen overcooked your steak. I'm not going to serve it to you." They fell for it every time.
Sniffen tells this story about his first real waiting job, in San Francisco.
He had forgotten, when picking up his appetizers, to tell the kitchen (already very cranky) to start the entrees. He'd have throw himself on the mercy of either the kitchen or his customers.. His solution -- he did nothing. He simply never returned to the table, and he was careful never to make eye contact with them again.
Eventually, the table called over a manager and said, "Yeah, our waiter has stopped speaking to us."
Amazingly, Sniffen wasn't fired.
We talked mostly about crazy customers and nightmare shifts (Quercioli had a memorable one at the Hard Rock Cafe -- "I thought at the time, 'this is the worst day of my life.'")
When the ensemble asks audience members, toward the end of their shows, to suggest specific settings for improvised bits, they very frequently get names of local restaurants throw at them. Just the night before, the setting for such an improv was the City Cafe.
"Wherever you find tension," Sniffen suggested, "comedy is nearby."
Who's got a funny restaurant story?