Proof that the writer/performer Isaac Oliver is funny: He spoke to us just days after an emergency appendectomy, “loopy on oxy,” and still managed to crack us up. Oliver, 32, is cracking up lots of people these days. His collection of hilarious essays about being a single gay man in NYC, Intimacy Idiot, just came out in paperback, and he’s back for a return engagement of his sold-out Joe’s Pub show, “Isaac Oliver Sits Down,” in August. Loopy or not, he chatted with us about his neighborhood and his dream Pride weekend.
Sorry to hear about your appendectomy! Well, it couldn’t have happened in a better way. I was on an artists’ retreat in Martha’s Vineyard and the ER there is beautiful. And it was pre-season, so there was nobody there! It was just a gorgeous, straight-out-of-a-Nancy Meyers-movie hospital.
Well that’s good to hear! You live in Washington Heights. How did you end up in that neighborhood? When I first moved to New York, I lived in Windsor Terrace in Brooklyn. But then some good friends of mine moved to a huge three-bedroom here in the Heights and I realized I didn’t have to pay what I was paying in Brooklyn to live in New York. So I moved too and have been here for 12 years. I miss some of the nightlife in Brooklyn and the wealth of restaurants. I could go to a movie and a museum there without really leaving my neighborhood. But Washington Heights makes up for it in splendor, I like to say. Fort Tryon Park is so gorgeous. I think I have officially drained the neighborhood in terms of stories at this point, though. I might have to move!
You write a lot about your experiences on the A train. Yes, the A line attracts the most colorful cast of characters just because it’s so long and goes so many places. You get to see the beginning, middle, and end of a lot of stories.
Many of which you share at your show. What else can you tell us about “Isaac Oliver Sits Down”? Now that I’ve had my appendix out, I’m medically required to sit down, so it worked out perfectly. It’s a fun, loose evening. I read stories from the book and share new material, too. I have a friend who is a side hunk and sits next to me with his shirt off and reads all the supporting characters.
Your last show lead right into Pride weekend. What’s your ideal way to celebrate Pride? Very leisurely… maybe sitting on a shaded float. And definitely a fun brunch someplace where the waiters’ arms are out in the open. That’s key for brunch. But really, I like to do a West Village loop. Brunch at Joseph Leonard, buy a book at the gay-owned Three Lives bookstore, then get a Salty Pimp cone at Big Gay Ice Cream. Maybe walk on the High Line and try to see more arms from different vantage points. And then Julius’! Julius’ is my favorite gay bar in the whole wide world, so I’d want to go there and put Dolly Parton on the jukebox. Later, I might take a cab to The Cock and clutch my pearls until three in the morning.