Those of you who haven't seen "Big Fan" yet should buy it immediately: here or here. in real life, "Big Fan" co-star, Serafina Fiore, happens to manage HeadQuarters gentleman's club. She's got some stories.
Serafina plays Gina Aufiero, Paul's sister-in-law, in "Big Fan". Robert Siegel was a former editor at The Onion, wrote "The Wrestler" and directed "Big Fan":
Sarah Schorno interviewed Siegel and Patton Oswalt for us way back in August. He returns the favor by interviewing Serafina about some of the more memorable run-ins she's had with professional athletes at Headquarters. Here's a surprise: Plaxico Burress was not well-behaved when he popped by HQ just a few hours before he blasted himself in the leg.
RS: Sport-wise, who are your favorite customers?
SF: Hockey players are fun. Hockey players like to drink like nobody's business—and they're wild. They're very polite, but they're crazy. I mean, you see what they do for a living, with the ice and getting beat up and punching and all that. They take their teeth out when they drink.
They take their teeth out?
There was this Russian guy—I forget his name, he played for the Rangers—when he'd do a tequila shot he'd hold his teeth in his hands. They're crazy, the hockey guys. They drink like it's going out of style.
What about other sports?
NBA guys are pretty cool. They like their champagne, they like to drink champagne in the VIP area, make it rain with the dancers, y'know, they like the whole show.
Who do you get the most?
Really, we get everybody. Hockey, football, basketball... golfers... Besides bowling, we pretty much get 'em all.
How about baseball?
I've dealt with a few. I mean, it's not like it's secret that A-Rod does the strip-club scene, Jason Giambi used to do the strip-club scene with his wife. Jason is very cool. I've got nothing bad to say about him. A-Rod, he's okay. I guess any time you're at the top of you're game and you're like a total genius at your sport, you have your little quirks.
Are there certain things athletes usually expect when they come in?
A lot of attention. A lot. They've all got attention deficit.
Do athletes generally expect to get comped?
Not all of them, but some of them do. Like Jeremy Shockey, when he was on the Giants. I've known Jeremy a long time. Back when I was at another club, he used to come in with Tony Siragusa, who I love to death. Tony was one of my go-to guys in the NFL. I had a few of them. After he retired, he'd always bring in a lot of athletes. And every time he'd come in with Jeremy, Jeremy would be like, "Okay, I want VIP in the champagne area, I want this, I want that." I would tell him the prices, and I would ask for his credit card, and he'd say, "I don't pay. I'll go somewhere else, they won't charge me." Which I know is a joke, because if he goes to another club, they're gonna charge him. All clubs charge.
So if at the end of the night, a player gets handed a bill...
They'll pay. Somebody ends up paying. I mean, we have to pay our rent. They understand that. We'll do what we can to make them comfortable and have a great time, we'll buy them dinner, something like that. But the only one who would ever be up in my face, like, "I'll go to another club, they won't charge me" and start throwing names around was Shockey.
When a big name comes into the club, are you torn between protecting their privacy and—
Calling Page Six?
I don't have to. If a really big name comes in, the odds of somebody calling it in to the papers anyway... it's gonna happen.
Who's doing the calling?
Just somebody in the club. Like a customer saying, "Omigod, you know who I just saw..." Next thing you know, it's in the newspaper, nothing to do with us. Even the Plaxico thing. We had nothing to do with that.
He was at your club that night, right?
The night with the shooting, it didn't happen at our club, but he was at our club right before that. I have to be honest with you, he was a little bit of a jerkoff. He was standing on the bar, he was standing on the tables, just like bouncing off the walls. It was Thanksgiving weekend, and we had a Thanksgiving buffet. Some of the guys from the club made a Thanksgiving dinner for our employees... turkey, stuffing, this nice buffet for everybody who came to work. So Plaxico, like, crashes the buffet. We were like, "Who is this? He doesn't work for the club!" He was, like, reaching in and grabbing pieces of turkey while our guy was still carving it. So low class. Very low class.
Did you know it was Plaxico?
Yeah. He had his sweats on. I mean, who runs around with a gun in their sweatpants? Not a smart guy.
Do you worry about guns in the club?
I mean, yeah, we have security that definitely watches for that. But we don't have metal detectors like they have in the outer boroughs. I don't think we need to go that route.
What about Tiger? Has he ever been in?
I have not ever dealt with Tiger Woods at HeadQuarters. But I did meet him when he won his first... some big tournament, like ten years ago. I was working at another club, and he came in with Ken Griffey Jr. and a Nike rep. And he had just gotten that jacket, I guess the Masters or whatever. I'm not really big on the golf world, but all the guys who worked there were going crazy, 'cause they're all golfers. Tiger was very, very well-behaved. He had a Nike rep with him.
Do you get a lot of that? Athletes accompanied by reps?
All the time. Nike, Gatorade... they know they gotta watch these guys. They don't want, like, some scandal happening and their stock going down. They gotta watch their investment.
Do you know it's a rep when they come in?
Oh, yeah. They'll tell you. They'll be like, "I'm so-and-so from Nike." And they'll pick up the bill.
Who are some of your favorite customers?
Most of them, for the most part, are gentlemen. My favorite ones are the humble ones, who come from humble beginnings. The Southerners are the best. They have the best manners. They call you ma'am and sir. Jamal Lewis is my favorite. He's such a gentlemen. I love him.
Are you a sports fan yourself?
I'm a football nut. I could watch football all day, all night. Baseball, I'll be honest with you, is a little boring to me.
Are you a Giants fan?
If I was to go for a New York team, I'd go for the Jets. I grew up in Brooklyn. My dad was a Raiders fan, because Al Davis was from Brooklyn. So we were raised on the Raiders as kids. 'Cause they were, like, a really dirty team, they broke a lot of rules.
What's your Super Bowl prediction?
Saints. I always go for the underdog.
And if they win?
Free drinks for the whole team.