These guys aren’t Jewish, are they?”
“Penn and Teller.”
“I don’t think so.”
“See, they say putz but they’re not Jewish. I don’t like that.”
Before the first act the two men had been quiet. Now that it was intermission and the alcohol had had time to stew, their voices reverberated throughout the balcony of the Shubert Theatre. They looked a little like Celozzi and Ettleson. One was a heavyset guy with a chain around his neck, the other a slim white-haired man with a thick New York accent.
“Next time you want to see Penn and Teller, count me out,” said the slim one.
“You don’t like them?”
The slim man shot him a dirty look.
“They’re supposed to be hip.”
Yma Sumac’s background music swelled with a chorus of i-yi-yis.
“They got Jewish music,” the heavy man offered.
“What’re you givin’ me with the Jewish music?”
“It sounds Jewish. They’re sayin’, ‘I-yi-yi.'”
“You wanna see hip? Next time you’re in town I’ll take you to see this one comedian. She’s a female comedian.”
“A female comedian?”
“Her name’s Pudgy.”
The slim man said something in Yiddish. They laughed.
“We went to see her at a gay bar,” said the heavy man.
The slim man raised his eyebrows.
“We didn’t know it was a gay bar–till we walked in there. Sadie and Myrtle were the only women wearing dresses. There were lots of men wearing dresses, but Sadie and Myrtle, they were the only women wearing dresses. Oh, she was funny.”
“Pudgy. She’s kind of like Don Rickles, but she’s nicer than Don Rickles. I mean, she played with Sadie a lot–because we were in the front row. They put us in the front row because we stuck out like sore thumbs. Sadie said some stuff to her. She didn’t mean it to be funny, but it came out funny.”
“Did she insult the gay people?”
“Aw sure, but in a way that they wouldn’t be insulted.”
“What’s she doing now?”
“Last I heard, she was running a liquor store.”
“With all that education, a liquor store?”
“More money in it. She’s got these black workers at her store.”
“She hired black workers?”
“Oh yeah. And they are loyal. Never seen anyone that loyal. They’d kill for Sadie–’cause she treats them just like anyone else.”
The lights flicked on and off in the lobby, signifying the end of the intermission.
“Everyone’s coming back,” said the heavy man. “They must like it.”
“They paid 25 bucks. They’d better like it.”
The heavy man shrugged.
“Next time, when you come to New York,” said the slim man, “I’ll take you to see a real magic show. There’s this one guy, been playing the same club for 40 years. A real magician. That’s what he is.”
“Yeah, not this mishigoss.”