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Sydnee Washington
Photograph: Courtesy Jenni Walkowiak

Sydnee Washington revisits her years as a hard-partying bottle girl

In her hilarious new solo show, Stand-up comedian Sydnee Washington looks back on working as a high-earning server

By David Goldberg

Sydnee Washington may be one of NYC’s most in-demand stand-ups, but living the dream isn’t always lucrative. In her one-woman show, Death of a Bottle Girl, the ferociously funny cohost of The Unofficial Expert podcast returns to the wild decade she spent as a high-earning cocktail server. But before the performance, the queer POC comedian shares some advice with her 25-year-old self.

Dear Syd,

Don’t worry: You are going to start making a lot of money soon, serving finance guys who wear Skechers and Soho socialites who drink wine with a straw. You will make more money than most of your friends that actually graduated from college. I know, right? Fools.

I want to remind you that making $800 a night is a lot of money, and you should save more than you spend. The first thing you should not do is go to Olive Garden and spend $300 just because “you gots the money.” Second, open a savings account. Hiding your money in shoeboxes is not the equivalent of a bank. Don’t be a hot mess—okay, at least be a hot mess with a savings account, bitch. Don’t bring your loose cash with you everywhere, you maniac! Someone will steal $2,300 from your Marc by Marc Jacobs purse at an after-hours house party. It’s hilarious to even think someone would do such a horrible thing, but ketamine makes people steal.

I know you might love frozen strawberry margaritas right now because that bartender with the crunchy hair keeps giving them to you, but you don’t. You will sleep with the crunchy hair bartender for several years, but you’re better than that. It doesn’t matter, because you’ll end up being a lesbian anyway. So, go ahead and sleep with those crunchy dudes—you’ll eventually find your way back home.

You are going to meet so many friends from waitressing, and they all are going to be extremely special in your life. Be honest with them, and tell them when you need help. Trust, you will need help.

Again, save your money so that you can hang up that black cocktail dress. Do you really want to serve bottles of vodka for 10 years? That’s how long you’ll do it, if you don’t plan ahead.

Free drugs aren’t your friends. Well, they are at first, but as soon as they become a habit, you’ll be paying for the rest of your life.

Believe that you are talented—you have a skill. You make people laugh, so maybe stand-up is in the cards for you.

Last but not least, you don’t need breast implants. Yeah, they look great in those American Apparel dresses. But until you are truly happy within, they won’t make anything in your life better: You’ll just have $10,000 sitting on your chest while traveling on the J train, and what a waste of $10,000 that would be. You are more than a waitress, so choose your path wisely. You are everything. You got this.


Retired Bottle Girl Syd

See Washington live!

Sydnee Washington
Photograph: Courtesy Jenni Walkowiak

Sydnee Washington: Death of a Bottle Girl


Before she ruled stand-up clubs in her multi-borough kingdom, the bullet-fast Sydnee Washington served cocktails for high-end guests as a "bottle girl." In this dark, hilarious solo show, she looks back on a decade of hard-partying, fussy tables and finding her voice.

Marie Faustin and Sydnee Washington
Photograph: Courtesy Ricardo Nelson

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Photograph: Courtesy David L Byrd

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