San Francisco comedian Justin Scales won't be pegged a romantic any time soon. "Love is bullshit," he said when asked to reveal his sentiments on intimacy and relationships. "It's just a way for weak people to cling onto other weak people and just siphon the souls of each other." But still there's hope, he conceded: "Every once in a while, a rose grows in a massive shit pile."
Scales' wariness is understandable when you look at his track record. He says he left home as a teenager because it was hard living with a mom on welfare. Not to mention the fact that he grew up near the University of California at Santa Barbara, which meant ample access to couches and kegs. "I got put in a group home for loving a police officer's face with my fist," he said. From there came a long string of disappointments, many the result of falling in love and getting jilted. "I tell a bunch of jokes about different chicks who pissed me off," Scales said. "Maybe I'll name and number them."
Such resentment made Scales the go-to act for Oakland's annual Fuck Valentine's Day Erotic Psychotic Extravaganza, sponsored by Tourettes Without Regrets. Ironically, many of its producers are happily paired off: Host Jamie DeWolf is dating co-host Natasia Schibinger (aka "Sis"), and Scales has a girlfriend, too. (He admits that she probably wouldn't appreciate some of his material.) Nonetheless, they all adhere to the credo that Valentine's Day sucks and, further, that all the tangible benefits go to Hallmark, Victoria's Secret, and chocolate companies. Last year, the Tourettes cabal expressed its misgivings through a night of sex toy giveaways, prank calls to exes, sex position demos, and interpretive dances based on bad one-night stands. They've beefed it up for the second iteration, adding lurid burlesque dance by Isis Star, a bit of "fierce flogging," and two short films — one about an asshole hotline, the other about a suicidal boyfriend. Naturally, Scales' forty-minute "fuck love" comedy set will be the main attraction.
Whether or not the Fuck Valentine's showcase is a great place to meet someone (as DeWolf theorized), or to bring a first date, remains to be seen. After all, it will surely be replete with masturbation-in-the-closet jokes and guys promising to make couch cushions their Valentines. Sounds appetizing. Then again, roses can grow in the most unlikely of places. Saturday, February 13, at Merchant's Saloon (401 2nd St., Oakland). 8 p.m., $10. TourettesWithoutRegrets.com