About Me

Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

Buy A Christmas Caroline for $10! "for those who prefer their sentimentality seasoned with a dash of cynical wit. A quick, enjoyable read...straight out of Devil Wears Prada"--The Wall Street Journal

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    By the Way….

    By Kyle | March 5, 2013

    If anyone in New York City wants to say they agree with my waiter rant, let me know how to reach you. You can use my kyle.smith@nypost email if you want. We may want to quote you in the Post next week. (We already have plenty of volunteers to quote from the anti- side, thanks.)

    Topics: New York City | 54 Comments »

    54 Responses to “By the Way….”

    1. kishke Says:
      March 5th, 2013 at 9:56 pm

      The incredibly defensive, pissed-off, humorless response from so many waiters kind of validates Kyle’s view, no?

    2. Me Says:
      March 5th, 2013 at 10:34 pm

      Agree? I thought you said you were joking.

    3. "Jason" Says:
      March 5th, 2013 at 10:36 pm

      No comments yet? Huh. I guess other people want to be able to eat in New York City restaurants at some point in the future.

    4. Steven Poopy Says:
      March 5th, 2013 at 11:20 pm

      This guy agrees with you!

    5. Shane Says:
      March 5th, 2013 at 11:36 pm

      You’re a horrible writer.

    6. Marla Says:
      March 5th, 2013 at 11:55 pm

      Whether you think it’s fair or not, whether you think it is an outrage, crazy, wild, or unheard of, the truth is that if you tip less than twenty percent, restaurant staff will think you are kind of cheap and pathetic. If you are trying to send a message, it won’t be received. Servers will just pass the credit card receipt around, shake their heads, and watch you leave, feeling as sad for you as they are for themselves. Just saying.

    7. Leigh Says:
      March 6th, 2013 at 12:29 am

      Ha. Sad. Sad, sad little man.

    8. not in france Says:
      March 6th, 2013 at 3:20 am

      Kyle first of all servers I France get paid more by the hour thus no tips necessary. Servers in America often times are told what to say its called sequence of service. The servers do not hire the bussers or food runners not there choice. They also tip the bussers and the food runners. Anyhow I think maybe I’m wasting time with a loser. You might think different but maybe you need to because i hope you get right or else at the end you will lose.

    9. no even a server Says:
      March 6th, 2013 at 9:09 am

      The only thing anyone is going to agree with is that you are ugly…. inside and out.

    10. kishke Says:
      March 6th, 2013 at 10:52 am

      Agree? I thought you said you were joking.

      The joke was highlighting somethng real. Or maybe it wasn’t. That’s where the question of whether you agree comes in. Are you really this dense?

    11. Kyle Says:
      March 6th, 2013 at 10:58 am

      I can’t believe I have to coach people in basic comedy, but….
      When Louis C.K. says, “I hate my kids because they’re little f-ing monsters,” would you say that he’s exaggerating his frustrations a little to get a laugh?

    12. Sparky Says:
      March 6th, 2013 at 11:24 am

      The difference is that everyone knows Louis C.K. isn’t being serious, and he’s actually funny. There is nothing in the tone or the verbiage of your article that indicates you were joking, either because comic writing isn’t your forte or because you were serious and are only playing it off as comedy afterwards to deflect the huge wave of criticism you’re taking. Having gone back and read some of your movie reviews (why is a film critic posting “comic” rants about servers??), I’m inclined to believe it’s more a case of the former…Kyle, you’re just not that funny dude.

    13. Kristen Says:
      March 6th, 2013 at 12:28 pm

      And it’s not funny because we are actually treated this way far more often than you probably know. The reason this is rubbing so many people the wrong way is because your “comic rant” seems to be trying to validate the behavior of those who make our jobs the hardest. How do you think it feels to have to serve people who have the “lick my boots” attitudes such as that you displayed in your writing? It f*cking sucks. But we do it because it is our job and every now and then there are people who do treat us with dignity, respect and kindness– the same treatment we try to offer you. I’m sorry Kyle, but the only way this article would be funny is if it were satire…and I’m not sure you’d be capable of pulling that off, even if you tried.

    14. Bob Says:
      March 6th, 2013 at 12:29 pm

      You are a f—ing dousche bag

    15. Caitlan Says:
      March 6th, 2013 at 2:48 pm

      you know jack nicholson in as good as it gets? that is you but you are not a good writer, helen hunt would hate you and you have no redeeming qualities at all.

    16. Caitlan Says:
      March 6th, 2013 at 2:49 pm

      melvin udall=kyle smith

    17. Salmo Says:
      March 6th, 2013 at 3:13 pm

      Do you know the reason you have so many opposing comments and have to seek out support? Because you are wrong.

    18. Rob G. Says:
      March 6th, 2013 at 3:56 pm

      My response to your op-ed. You’re really not that good of a writer.

    19. kishke Says:
      March 6th, 2013 at 4:27 pm

      You are a f—ing dousche bag

      And you are a very poor schpeller.

    20. Kyle Says:
      March 6th, 2013 at 4:41 pm

      Salmo: 13,000 Facebook likes. I assume not all of them hit the button accidentally. Look up phrase “silent majority.”

    21. kishke Says:
      March 6th, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      Rob G., who links above to his response to Kyle’s column, is a waiter. Judging by the waiters writing in here, that’s probably why he comes across as violent lunatic. Here’s a line from his piece:

      It was one of those pieces that, with each sentence that I read, I’d grow increasingly enraged, to the point where if he were standing right here, I’d probably assault him.

      What is it with these angry waiters?

    22. Big E Says:
      March 6th, 2013 at 5:17 pm

      Pictures of cats with melon hats get tens of millions of likes. Your douchebaggery is only increasing at an exponential rate.

    23. Tommy Says:
      March 6th, 2013 at 7:19 pm

      Hey Kyle, I’m a waiter in Connecticut and I thought the article was actually kind of funny. What you go through is actually what I WISH I could do, namely stand there, serve the food and have minimal talking. But it’s our damn culture! We have an American Showmanship Guarantee apparently and have to act as entertainer/servant in order to get an already taxed tip (don’t get me started on that BS).
      It is true that the balance can be tricky dependant on the personality a server is dealing with. Some people love extra attention while others loathe it. If you can’t strike the balance then you shouldn’t be in the field, at least not in this country.
      The server is one of the itinerant life style. Usually you’re looking at kids in thier late teens/early twenties going through college or looking for a “legitimate” career. The ones who linger around create their own bubble of importance that can be sometimes frighteningly misguided. At the end of the day it really is a job where we hand out food for tips. The job should ultimately be a starter, not an end game.

    24. Lauren Says:
      March 6th, 2013 at 9:35 pm

      The huge negative reaction you have gotten stems from the fact that servers are never allowed to voice their true feelings to their customers. A server can deal with someone insulting them straight to their face, and they just have to smile back at them. There are people in this world who actually try to get servers fired just for fun. Your article was not funny. NO ONE likes being called a servant. I’m betting that includes you as well. Would you be happy if your boss called you his servant?

    25. Kyle Says:
      March 6th, 2013 at 10:04 pm

      I serve the glorious public.

    26. kishke Says:
      March 6th, 2013 at 11:34 pm

      NO ONE likes being called a servant.

      Have you never heard the phrase “public servant?” Politicians love to be called that.

    27. Karl Says:
      March 7th, 2013 at 12:14 am

      Kyle serves no one but himself.

    28. Sam Says:
      March 7th, 2013 at 2:50 am

      Kristen wrote something true and poignant, and you seem to have brushed past it: we’re actually treated like this. By people like you. And it doesn’t feel good. But you haven’t acknowledged that.

      I’d like to think that I understand the basics of comedy. And I would argue that the main objective of comedy is to make people laugh. It would not appear that you’ve altogether succeeded in that goal. Another major objective of comedy is to bring something real to light, as your ever-faithful kishke suggests. In the case of people like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert (who I’m sure the Post just loves), comedy is used to expose people in power for their corruption and/or stupidity. People like Mel Brooks use comedy to fight bigotry and Anti-Semitism. What you’ve done is written a self-proclaimed “comic rant” that insults–and therefore takes power away from–a group of people that already has little to no power. You’ve written a piece of blackface-esque, anti-servant prose that refers to an entire group of hard-working people in an incredibly negative light. And what’s insulting is that it seems to serve no purpose other than to stroke your already inflated ego.

      You say you “serve the glorious public”…but we ARE the public. We’re the guys riding on the subway next to you, going to work so that we can make rent this month, and hopefully have enough left over to grab a few drinks on our night off. We’re the women who endure hours of subtle sexual harassment to earn a decent living, or pay for the college that our parents can’t afford to send us to without taking out another mortgage. We’re the people in a job with little to no security who survive by doing what we’re told by people who don’t respect us. You don’t serve us. We serve you. And we get spit on for it.

      That’s why your article got the response that it did. It might have been funny to people who’ve never been in our non-slip shoes, but the people who have applauded you are the people who applaud the sound of breaking dishes. You’re just another bitter, mean person who wears his schadenfreude on his sleeve and hides behind a facade that he calls comedy. But trust me, you’re no Mel Brooks.

    29. Kink Says:
      March 7th, 2013 at 3:38 am

      The funniest thing is that you have responded to people saying your article is a joke, yet you back it in your comments. Your a hack and know nothing of the service industry. Oh and your ugly so I’m sure your eating alone.

    30. Jason Kennedy Says:
      March 7th, 2013 at 4:19 am

      Kudos to catalyzing this fascinating sociological perspective and bifurcating the public on a topic most (not within the industry) are ignorant of. Your arrogance is baffling given your poor reputation, pulpy novels and an antiquated degree, but this isn’t a battle of the bulge. I am a waiter, I am also going for my doctorate. I make 70k a year part time, have waited on celebrities, foreign dignitaries, NY times food critics and everyday people; I challenge you to present me with a job prospect that offers half that. Yes, there is a deep stigma of the food industry that you so grossly described but there is also a deep reality you seem terribly ignorant of, gladly all you have to do is scroll your hate mail to get an adequate 101 ed on the topic. We live in a society of the spectacle and dining out in ny holds true to that. It’s an experience, if it was solely for the goal of sustaining oneself, there would not be the rich meta-phenomenological tapestry of experiential illusion woven for public interest. People dine out as a luxury, they pay for service and to have a flawless flow of comforts and affordances not available in real life – this is why we tip and this is why, as a showing of reciprocity, we as servers make sure your investment is insured. Your article revealed that perhaps you naivete and discomfort with the gregarious nature of the biz might make you a perfect candidate for a cafeteria. It’s okay, dining out is not for everyone. On a final note, as others have pointed out, to draw a juxtaposition to europe as a standard further perpetuates your lack of cultural acuity. Just as Nietzsche reaffirmed when you renounced God’s existence, you as well sir, have only affirmed absolutely that which you oppose through your feverish display of cowardice and indolence.

    31. Kyle Says:
      March 7th, 2013 at 10:07 am

      The thesaurus should be used only with adult supervision.

    32. Jason Kennedy Says:
      March 7th, 2013 at 10:35 am

      Sorry, Kyle, I forgot my audience – I see those years at Yale have shaken off in favor of your ignoble pursuits… Allow me to sum in the realm of your rhetoric: the irony of your critique of the industry is that it affirms the antithesis (opposite) of that critique as strongly as these responses strengthen your claims. Things like the service industry are immutable (unchanging), despite the guise they assume, you on the other hand are contingent (I’m sorry, “only possible”) given the condition we exist. Hype-writers like you are just groundless parasites seeking some fanatical trend to live off until it expires lease. Thank you, once again, for showing how important the industry really is. Gladly, we live in a technologically robust age that permits you (and everyone else) the ability to recklessly write whatever you want, also it grants you the website “seamless” and the ability to assume a pseudonym; Hopefully the next trend you’ll need to latch onto for livelihood won’t exorcise you from an industry easily avoided

    33. Kyle Says:
      March 7th, 2013 at 10:39 am

      what is your first language, by the way? Latin? Klingon?

    34. Jason Kennedy Says:
      March 7th, 2013 at 10:45 am

      german, you? sophism? or just belligerent? I hear it is spreading in the vernacular

    35. Brian Moore Says:
      March 7th, 2013 at 10:48 am

      You can’t read comment 33 and say Kyle Smith isn’t funny.

    36. Kyle Says:
      March 7th, 2013 at 10:49 am

      Well, don’t let’s be beastly to the Germans, I guess.

    37. kishke Says:
      March 7th, 2013 at 11:15 am

      Who makes it his business in a blog comment about grumpy waiters to tell us he is pursuing a doctorate, and then provides us with samples of his painfully boring thesis?

      Jason Kennedy, that’s who.

    38. Kyle Says:
      March 7th, 2013 at 12:00 pm

      Probably reads better in German.

    39. kishke Says:
      March 7th, 2013 at 12:03 pm

      “Google translate” evidently needs work.

    40. Zach Says:
      March 7th, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      Kyle, kishke, do not obstinately besiege through verbal avenues the dauntlessness of Jason Kennedy’s irradiating prose on the metaphysical folly of Kyle’s bovine and vacuous editorial on his perceived lack of obligatory felicitations from the masses toward the eatery business.

    41. Kyle Says:
      March 7th, 2013 at 1:26 pm

      Now THAT’S comedy.

    42. kishke Says:
      March 7th, 2013 at 1:42 pm

      Good try, but way too focused and clear.

    43. Zach Says:
      March 7th, 2013 at 1:54 pm

      Let’s be fair to Doctor Kennedy, he’s given food to celebrities and gets 70,000 a year for it.

    44. Amanda Says:
      March 7th, 2013 at 2:25 pm

      Mr.Smith- I’m sure you are an overly nice kiss ass to the people paying you too. The service industry allows me to be a stay at home mother and make decent money part time while not having to take work home or worry about day cares raising my children. Ive made the selfless decision to spend my evenings fake smiling at people like you so I can spend my days raising well rounded members of our society. I’m sorry that your mother did not also take that precious time to work on manners with you. It’s a shame your time can’t be spent writing about more important things in our world than this.

    45. Jason Kennedy Says:
      March 7th, 2013 at 2:38 pm

      it’s officially a cerebral circle jerk, job well done! Just be sure to clean up after yourself boys, wouldn’t want to offend the help

    46. jason kennedy Says:
      March 7th, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      guilty as charged, just don’t expect me to tip more than 11 percent on that charge though…I think my two cents ought to suffice

    47. jason kennedy Says:
      March 7th, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    48. Bruce Says:
      March 8th, 2013 at 7:13 pm

      Kyle Smith is a great novelist. Read his work, especially his 2nd novel.

    49. Union Jack Says:
      March 8th, 2013 at 7:21 pm

      mr smith censors now

      he wont allow a comment that says what all the servants now know:

      his face is now in every kitchen in gotham

      this is a fact

      wonder how the censorers food will be handled

      maybe order out from now on smith

    50. JimmyC Says:
      March 8th, 2013 at 7:47 pm

      I’ve never been to NY in my life, but I’m not a fan of waiters/servers who are over-the-top loud and cheerful, either. I find them a bit irritating. Now, that doesn’t mean they need to go to the other extreme and be sullen or ignore me, mind you. Just a basic level of politeness, efficiency and attentiveness is all I need.

      That said, it doesn’t affect my tip level- as long as the service is decent, I tip generously, regardless of the waiter’s attitude. But on the whole, Kyle is right- being loud and aggressive is just not necessary to make most customers happy.

    51. Patrick Says:
      March 9th, 2013 at 2:28 am

      You are just a sad middle aged man working for a joke of a newspaper. No one actually reads The Post for intellectual gain and if The Post disappeared then no one would actually miss it except the people that work for the paper. We all sell out to some extreme. Waiters however should garner more respect than any man or women working for a second rate paper. I assume you didn’t intend to work for The Post when set out in journalism but you need to pay the bills. Most waiters don’t intend to be waiters either. So you can think of yourself as having a better job than a waiter but really you are just a servant to an insignificant paper writing articles about things that don’t really matter. If you never wrote a critique of a film again, I promise you no one would miss it. You are of the poor souls that don’t matter parading around as someone that does matter… That is more pathetic than any waiter out there.

    52. Amanda Says:
      March 9th, 2013 at 5:13 am

      Sam— You are amazing! Very well said.

      Amanda— We are in the same boat. I’ve earned my degree, but decided to stay in the industry until my daughter goes to school. This is too precious of a time to miss.

      To all other servers reading this, we are one of many. Lets not forget that we have a mind that works in a way that Kyles (nor his Internet lover, Kishke’s) does. We can deal with the ugly, and appreciate the good. By the end of the night our bad moods are cleared with either a drink with a friend, and/or a quick social network status… Not some over exaggerated “article.” We know how to be happy. Also, as much as Kyle likes to believe we’re the lowest of our industry, look at the crap he’s writing! Just like he thinks of us, I surely can’t believe that someone is going to pay him for this crap!

    53. kishke Says:
      March 9th, 2013 at 7:30 pm

      his Internet lover, Kishke

      Well, I quite enjoy Kyle’s writing, but “lover” is a bit much, internet or otherwise.

    54. FGFM Says:
      March 16th, 2013 at 11:47 pm

      “13,000 Facebook likes.”