On a Saturday night a few weeks ago, I went to a Saturday Night Live theme party at the Tivoli Bar in the East Village. I went as one of the gold-chain-and-polyester-wearing Czech brothers played by Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd.
My girlfriend decided to go the easy route, and we picked up a Chicago Bears T-shirt, Cubs hat, big sunglasses, and a fake mustache. She was a character from the “da Bears” skits. She borrowed a Chicago-themed beer stein from my stepdad, which completed the outfit.
We grabbed a few cigars in the Gaslamp and headed to the bar.
Fred Saxon, the former KUSI anchor, was interviewing people on a red carpet as they walked in. My girlfriend whispered, “I don’t have the accent down, and all I know that they said was ‘da Bears!’” I laughed and said, “Just keep repeating that. Keep the cigar in your mouth to help with the accent.”
Saxon was interviewing a woman dressed as some unrecognizable character. She was being a bit risqué, and when she stretched out and kicked at the air, I came up behind her and said in my best Czech accent, “Are you one of those American foxes that I can take home and have wild sex with?”
She immediately started gyrating against my leg as Saxon tried asking us questions. At one point I heard a cameraman say something to my girlfriend, who held up her stein and said, “Da Bears!”
When we walked in, I was immediately impressed and disappointed at the same moment: impressed that 100 percent of the attendees were in costume but disappointed I lost a bet. My girlfriend said someone would be dressed as Dieter, the German TV host. I said nobody would be, but there were two guys with the round glasses and tight black leotards. Neither had a monkey, though.
She was gloating about being right, and I pointed out that nobody else came as a Bears fan; she was worried others would because it’s an easy outfit to put together.
I saw a black guy in a suit and couldn’t figure out what character he was playing. He told us he was Arsenio Hall. As we talked, I kept looking at his hands to see if he had long fingers.
Laura, who put this party on, was Ed Grimley, with the spiked-up hair. She did a great job of making the face with the squinty eyes, and she carried around a framed photo of Pat Sajak. Because she had rented out the bar and paid for all the food, I asked how much it cost her. She didn’t want to get into that, but I’m guessing she dropped a few grand.
There were about five items you could order off the menu. I ordered street tacos, and the guy at the register yelled it back to the cook. He turned around and said, “Cheeseburger?” I laughed and said, “That’s awesome!” My girlfriend was confused, and I said, “That cook is doing the Belushi bit where no matter what you order, he’s going to say, ‘Cheeseburger, cheeseburger!’” She said, “Uh, I think you misinterpreted that. I don’t think he understood you.”
We got a few drinks, and the debate continued. I went and asked the cashier. He said, “Oh, no. We got confused about what you said. He thought you ordered a cheeseburger.” When I explained what I thought had happened, they were even more confused.
There were a number of heavy white guys in suits and wearing fake glasses. I assumed they were all the same Chris Farley character. One rattled off the line about living in a van down by the river, but others seemed to be playing different characters that I wasn’t familiar with.
The music got louder when the cowbell guy occasionally played along. None of the various Wayne and Garth characters pulled out their drumsticks, though.
A few women got mad if you didn’t know their costumes. The few cheerleaders were easy to figure out, but I got into a weird “who’s on first?” conversation with a woman who had a huge behind. I asked about her character, and she said it was a woman who had a pregnant butt. When she started to enter the bathroom, I said, “Is that going to be possible with that outfit?” She said, “Oh, it’s going to be hard. There’s going to be cotton everywhere.”
As I headed into the bathroom, I saw the woman I met on the red carpet. She was in character, joking around again. She explained, “It’s Sally O’Malley. She’s always stretching and kicking and always had a camel toe.”
When I got to the urinals, I noticed the other Czech brother next to me. He started talking in character about how many foxy women he’d met. His outfit blew mine away...although I wasn’t checking it out as we stood next to each other.
The walls were decorated with photos of SNL cast members and various “Deep Thoughts” quotes by Jack Handey. There were also books and DVDs that would be given out later in a costume contest.
A number of characters were half naked, one of them being Goat Boy, who would occasionally jump into Unfrozen Caveman’s arms.
I saw Hans and Franz on the patio, smoking. Theirs was probably the only costume easier to make than my girlfriend’s — gray sweatsuits stuffed with fake muscles.
As I smoked a cigar and talked to them, I saw a guy with a beard approach. He said something to my girlfriend, and she responded with “Da Bears.” He said, in a slightly Scottish accent, “No, that’s the incorrect answer. It’s ’moo’...the sound your mother made last night.” It was Sean Connery from the Jeopardy! sketch.
Someone dressed up as Pat. I didn’t get a close enough look to see if it was a male or female.
As Laura walked by, I told her it was such a great idea for a party. She said, “I had this planned a year and a half ago, but one friend couldn’t make it, and I kept pushing it back. We finally set a date and didn’t worry about who could make it.”
As we were leaving, I said, “That might’ve been the best party I’ve been to in a long time. People were mingling, using their catchphrases. Some people put so much time into their costumes.”
Someone was walking in with a box. I asked what was in it. He opened it to show me a rubber penis. I was confused until the bouncer told me Justin Timberlake did a skit with one.
A woman waiting to cross the street said, “Doesn’t security have a rule about bringing weapons into a bar?”