Thursday, April 24, 2014

10 Things Young People Should Know About Love

Poetic Justice is my favorite guilty pleasure as far as films are concerned. Tupac isn't acting by the way. Sure, sometimes the characters set their people back an amendment or two but there is happily ever after. Oh and you are rooting for Justice and Lucky to make it. The scene where they go to the BBQ, and Janet Jackson's friend is there with her boyfriend Chicago. Note, the four are on a mail run and they are going to a family reunion pretending to be related in order to get free food. Then a fist fight breaks out.

Maya Angelou, who's poems John Singleton used in the making of the film, had her guest star as one of the three wise old women under the tree. She begins by saying, "I want to talk about love." And goes on to say young people know nothing about it. And then spots that Janet's friend is fronting and says, "She is no more married than the man on the moon."

Of course Jessie who owns the salon remarks that these girls "Don't know their cooch from a hole in the wall." They're right. Young people think love is this happily ever after thing. Not so. It's painful. It's complicated, and it's damn confusing.

So here are ten things I would tell my young self and tell them:

1. Falling in love is like becoming mentally ill. You don't see the person's faults. So what he's a troll who lives under a bridge? He makes you feel special. And you drop everything to live under the bridge with him. So yeah, love makes you kind of stupid.

2. Everyone has a past. Deal with it. It's who they are now, not who they were then that matters. So what his ex was a Playboy model? He ain't with her now.

3. When you fall in love, you start planning the future with that person. This is kind of dangerous. Get to know them before you purchase matching cemetery plots.

4. Your lover will hurt you and disappoint you. They are human, relax. But they also might amaze you too.

5. Games are not a part of courtship or the chase. They are a sign of an immature individual.

6. No one is worth fighting for. If they are stolen, they were willing to be stolen. If they are spirited away, they were never yours to begin with.

7. You don't need to be in a relationship all the time. Being single is kind of fun. What attracts people is confidence, not a nice outfit or good pickup line.

8. At times, the world will seem brighter and darker depending on your relationship. No one person should be that powerful in your life. They are a part of the whole, not the whole pie in this equation.

9. You cannot change someone, cure them of an addiction, or make them a better person. They are their own individual self.

10. If a relationship has too many rocky ups and downs, walk away. The fight/makeup thing is passionate when you are young, but it ages you very quickly.

Love
April
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
www.aprilbrucker.com

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Hey Jealousy (Gin Blossoms)

Last night I did my show at the Metropolitan Room. It was a success. I had a decent crowd, and everything went well. Yeah, it almost killed me. I felt like Rocky Balboa after a fight. My DVD is going to be good. One of the oldest friends I have in comedy, Eric Alexander, filmed it. Ron Barba opened for me. Matt Bailey did some magic. Choomassi serenaded us. And of course Steve Ryan was Pot Roast, Meatloaf's disinfranchized brother. I did well. There were some spots where looking back I could have done things differently, but I did very well. This has been a dream of mine for ten years. I did it.

However, after the show I was speaking to the sound man at the Metropolitan Room and we had a very insightful conversation. A gentlemen from France, he is a jazz guitarist and married the sister of the famous singer he played for. They now have a thirteen year old daughter. Anyway, the conversation turned to comedians. He said, "Comedians are weird cats. The comedians who come in for the open mic sometimes come with their heads down and are angry. They are negative." He hit the nail on the head, comedians are not positive creatures by habit.

And then he said it best, "They make excuses for why they don't have the career they want."

So many times I have heard comedians crap on someone else who is making it. If it is a woman, she must have slept with a lot of people. I can't tell you how many people it is rumored I slept with. Hell, if I got Kathy Griffin, Chelsea Handler, and Rosie O'Donnell in the same room they probably slept with more nonexistent people than I have. (Rosie's nonexistent people are men too btw). If it is a dude, the other male comedians slam him as a douche bag. Maybe this is true, but he is a hard working douche bag which is more than I can say for your ass. In comedy everyone has a strike or two against them. The only thing you can control is being funny. Why not concentrate on that instead of what everyone else is doing?

One comedian mentioned in a post that when a comedian does well onstage and the next comic afterwards rips on their act, they lose the audience. She pointed out that they do this out of sheer jealousy. She's correct. Instead of being themselves, doing their act, and focusing on themselves, they blame everyone else. I have seen this several times in my comedy career and it is eekworthy to watch. Once May and I did well, and this idiot who was on Letterman once and has been washed up ever since followed. He ripped on us and the audience went silent. He had a hell of a time winning them back. I thought he was going to apologize afterwards, but he didn't. Of course, he only does certain shows and released a comedy album no one cares about. He wanders the scene looking for the meaning of life. I am garnering a following and filmed a DVD people already want to buy. He can rip on me all he wants, I am not only funnier but now I have the better career.

Yeah, it is easy to blame others when you don't get what you want. Maybe you aren't working hard enough. Or maybe you don't have the skills. Melissa Robinette, a wonderful actress and President of Actor's Equity of the East Coast and founder of The Biz of Show is from a circus family. She explained when actors find out they lost the job because they wanted a tap dancing leading lady, they put down the the other actor. Melissa said that circus folks learn how to tap dance so now they have that skill, and they can never lose that opportunity again. Bottom line, losers make excuses. Winners dont.

Also, every opportunity is not for you. A college chum scored a role in a Tyler Perry movie. As a black actress, that was her gig. Another was in Spiderman on Broadway, and she has a voice I could only hope to have in the next life. Same with my other college classmates in Hair, Wicked, etc. At the same time, if a horror movie with the lead being a female ventriloquist is casting, it probably won't be something they are up for. You get the picture. If it is yours, it will be yours. If not, their loss.

Tomorrow I am doing a test run for a sports app. My passions are football, boxing, UFC fighting, and sometimes baseball. Tomorrow will focus on basketball. I follow it,  but not as closely as the other sports. However, I am asking questions and getting informed. No one wants a stupid woman in the chat, right? Also, I referred my sports nut man comic friends. Why? Because they are passionate, funny, and I am everyone deserves a shot.

When I have worked with celebrities, they were positive. When I saw Alicia Keys interview, she was positive. A friend of mine on Broadway saw me on the street, gave me a hug and mentioned she saw me on TV with my puppets and was so proud. The sound man at the Met Room told me that the people he met that were the most successful were the most generous and had the biggest hearts. They also helped their friends out, too. It's because they don't have that insecurity and fear.

Bottom line, these people are positive. The fact they are successful is no accident. They are able to be happy for others because they are not focusing on what others have. Instead, they know what they have and don't have, therefore they can enjoy someone with a different skill or talent. They also have self-worth and that means they can be happy for others. Once you get that, you find there is no reason to be jealous.

If you are experiencing jealousy, why? Not everyone has everything. You don't know what someone has been through. Also, if you are on the receiving end, it sucks. However, know the universe might be teaching you a lesson on how not to act towards others. Yes, some muscle memory the next time you feel jealous because you are only human, right?

And if you want to give a jealous hater some shade, don't fight with them. It will only make you nasty, and that will piss people off that could help you. Instead, do you. Be good at what you do. Concentrate on your own game. That will make you rise above more bullshit than you could ever imagine.

Love
April
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
www.aprilbrucker.com


Monday, April 21, 2014

10 Warning Signs of An Abusive Partner

Once a year, my teacher Jeanene Gannon teaches a seminar on women’s self-defense at the UFC Gym on John’s Street. As someone who is passionate about MMA/kickboxing I take the class. A fiery woman barely standing five feet tall in stocking feet, this Hell’s Kitchen native not only cares about self-defense but women. Last year, Jeanene did the same seminar with guest teacher Razor Rob McCullough, a top dog in the UFC. I can safely say as a martial artist and woman, I found it fun, physically fulfilling, and informative. Not only did my teachers care about women and their safety, but they showed us statistics. Yes, numbers. Rape, stalking, and dating violence are real. To me, the numbers hit me harder in the gut than any jab cross punch ever could, and make my reasoning for studying self-defense came a lot closer to come. 

I was 21 and found myself trapped in a relationship with a partner who was emotionally, verbally, and physically abusive. No, I wasn’t some woman in a Lifetime Movie living in a small town. I was attending NYU and had my whole life ahead of me. Suddenly I was trapped. When I tried to leave my partner threatened to kidnap and kill me. He terrorized me, men I dated after I broke up with him, and my friends. His tactics were not limited to in person but to the internet as well. This was in the days before cyberbullying was a crime mind you. Fearing for my safety, I got a different mailing address. My mother also had his name and contact info on the refrigerator in her home in case I were to vanish. Textbooks give the signs of an abusive partner, and they are not wrong. Rather, when you see those behaviors mentioned in psych class it is much too late. They have already roped you in.


Here are some red flags I experienced early on, and now that my eyes are open I warn other young women.

  He Is A Bully- Bottom line, an abusive partner is not just a jerk to you but to everyone. He belittles other people constantly, and puts others down when he can. This man never has a nice thing to say about anyone ever. Now that you see how he treats them, just imagine how he is going to treat you.

He Does Not Get Along With Other Men- Just as women can smell a female manipulator, men have the same gift. If your male friends say he is a tool, and your father and brother don’t like him, they are not just being harsh judges of character. There is a reason. They see things you don’t. Listen to them, they are on your side.

  He Will Rush You Into a Relationship- Early stage dating is when one should take their time and get to know their partner. However, a man who is quick to say I love you and wants to be your boyfriend right away, this is dangerous. It is even more dangerous if he wants to cohabitate right away. He is not looking for a life partner but rather his next victim.

    He Will Pressure You Into Sex- An abusive partner does not care about other people, only themselves. They will pressure you into physical activity long before you are ready. They will tell you this is what adults do, and they want an adult relationship. No, this is what immature people do. An adult waits until their partner is ready to take that step and has a healthy discussion beforehand.

   He Will Be A Professional Victim- Someone who is an abuser is someone who right away will tell you what a terrible childhood they had. They might even embellish it. As women, they know we are wired as caregivers, and they will use this as ammo every time they mess up so you will forgive them.

    He Will Put Down The Things You Love Doing- Right away, an abusive partner cannot stand to be outdone or overshadowed. This is not just your friends or those you love, but things you love doing. If you like painting he will tell you that you have no talent and painting is a waste of time, etc. None of this is true. It’s because painting takes you away from him, and it’s all about him.

    He Will Be Too Close For Comfort With Certain Exes- An abusive partner does not respect boundaries and is a user. They might be very close with certain ex girlfriends, and tell them much too much about your relationship. Does it make you uncomfortable? It should. He might be sleeping with some still, rolling them for money, or keeping them in the wings as a way to have power over you. We already established he’s an unhealthy dude, don’t be surprised.


  He Will Cry Crocodile Tears- An abusive partner is someone who isn’t afraid to get emotional. This is not just limited to fits of anger and rage as is the stereotype, but also he will cry. Also, don’t be surprised if he half heartedly attempts suicide when you try to leave. For him, being alone and not having a victim is worse than death. Don’t fall for this mind game.


    He Has a History of This Behavior- He tells you about an ex “things got bad with” and how she “overreacted.” He might even shamelessly detail coercive sexual behavior too. Be aware and listen with both ears. This is a pattern, and he may even have a stalking/menacing charge filed by this woman he’s not telling you about. I know mine did.

  He Will Make You Abuse Back- An abusive relationship does not play out like Tori Spelling on 90210. Rather, you will get sucked into the cycle. You might start fights as a way to make him mess up and get power later. Or when he hits you, you might hit back. You suddenly think of yourself as passionate couple and not codependent. This is dangerous.

If you are dating someone like this, get out. It will only get worse. If you are getting out of a relationship of this kind, get out and stay out. Don’t look back and keep going. And if you don’t think you will ever be able to get out and it will never get better, I can tell you it does. Also, get counseling or go to a Twelve Step Group Like Al-Anon. Figure out why you picked Mr. Wrong, because it took two to tango. Figure out how stop these patterns like an invasion of Russia in the winter so history does not repeat itself. I can say doing this helped me.

 It is over eight years later. I work as a comedian and ventriloquist in NYC. My puppet children and I have appeared on national television. I write for the Huffington Post and have published a book. Regularly, I can be seen performing my act at night around NYC as well as in hospitals for children. Tomorrow I film my DVD at The Metropolitan Room. Joan Rivers and Liza Minelli have been known to perform there. If it seems I am bragging I apologize. Rather, I am letting young women know that I got out, kept fighting, and today things are remarkably different in a good way.

I was asked to write this blog by a representative of the Fraternities For Families Campaign http://www.charlesullman.com/our-firm/fraternities4family/ They asked me to collaborate. I felt compelled not only because they were young men taking action, but rather they were aware that domestic violence was everyone’s problem. Defying the typical frat boy stereotype, they showed they care about women and want to stop this problem, too. While I can only speak as a straight woman with an abusive male partner, just as there are bad men there are also bad women. Domestic violence also happens quite a bit in the LGBTQ community and goes unchecked. However, there are also good men too. While it takes two to make a thing go bad, it also takes an adult to walk away. It takes an adult to know the warning signs, set boundaries, and have some self-respect.

I have spoken about my experiences, but every once in a while I get a dissenter. Someone tells me I should “move on” and “get over it.” I have, but I want to educate other young people that this is real. Others claim we are only hearing my side of the story. Yes, this is true, but as I said it takes two to make a thing go bad. Male dissenters inform me I am “bitter.” Translated, I struck a nerve and made them look at their own behavior. As an activist who has chosen to make herself visible, I am not here to make people comfortable. The truth is not always pleasant. I am here to educate. If I helped one person reading, I have done my job.

In the words of GI Joe, “Knowing is half the battle.”

Love
April
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
www.aprilbrucker.com


Come see me April 22nd @ 7pm
Metropolitan Room
34 W. 22nd st.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Flower Girl (The Cowsills)

It is Easter. The thing about Easter is that it is not as commercially big as Christmas. It has the bunny, the eggs and the whole nine yards. The religious aspect either applies to people or it scares the living breathing hell out of them. It's Easter....

Yes, Christ rises from the tomb. This is after being greeted on Palm Sunday, being betrayed on Spy Wednesday, then sentenced to death on Holy Thursday and of course crucified on Good Friday. Saturday he lay in his tomb and today he rises. I know, zombies do the same thing and don't get the street cred cause they don't have the rich dad. Me gets it.

I am not terribly religious, but more or less spiritual. I can appreciate the meaning of holidays of all denominations. One year my birthday fell on Yom Kippur. It is new. New beginnings, new life, new goals. Easter is the same thing kind of. You see, it's spring. It's the first time the birds chirp. When there is an Easter egg hunt, it is an excuse for kids to run around outside. It is an excuse to play outside in general. Across the street from me, there is a basketball game and there are kids in the park. We are shaking off the winter slump. It is time for rebirth.

I am busy shaking off this past winter. January saw disappointing news when it came to my writing but good news with another project. February saw familial drama come to a head, good news with two projects, and leads on other things. March saw bad news on one project, financial ruin, and darkness. This winter was cold, rough, and bleak. Now things are starting to get better. I have a great career lead, actually lots. I also am filming my DVD in two days. Yeah, I am busting my ass but I deserve it.

I worked hard all winter and now it is time to reap my rewards.

At church this morning I rocked my Easter Bonnet. So many little girls sported flowers on theirs, and one woman flat out wore a flower in her hair. On my way back from church I saw colorful tulips of all different colors. For the first time in months I didn't feel the tired dread of possible snow. The worst was over and the best was yet to come.

I went to the pool and saw the flower show by the pool deck. For the first time in weeks I found myself swimming laps. As I went from lap to lap, I saw the flowers. It reminded me the weather was getting warmer, spring was around the corner, and I was going to be okay. After several laps I got out and saw an old comedy friend. We chatted about people we knew and swore to be lap swimming buddies.

I also saw my mother sent me an Easter Basket. In there she included a flower bikini. After eating all this Easter Candy I should swim more laps. I gotta rock this thing out somehow.

Love
April
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
www.aprilbrucker.com


Come see me April 22nd @ 7pm
Metropolitan Room
34 W. 22nd st.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Grandmother's House

It is around Easter again. When I was a kid, it was one of my favorite holidays. Christmas seemed over hyped and drained everyone. Halloween was neat but it was right before Thanksgiving which everyone passe over and then Santa came. Easter was it's own animal, that's why we had the bunny. Maybe it was Jesus's pet rabbit. Either way, Easter for Christians was the Resurrection of Christ. It meant the end of meatless Friday. It meant perhaps the weather would warm up. It also meant a trip to my grandparent's house.

Nunni and Pop Pop more often than not had Easter. We would always go, white or powder pink dresses and Easter bonnets. Sometimes my sister and I would decorate them in front of the television. Being the product of two teachers, television was a no no in our home on school nights. We didn't have cable anyway. So on weekends it was The War Channel, old movies on PBS, In Living Color, and Married... With Children if we were good. Then my sister and I would make our entrance. My grandparents Nunni and Pop Pop would be waiting.

My cousins and I would exchange notes on what the Easter Bunny bought, and we kind of knew it was our parents but we were okay with that. The ham was cooking along with either chicken or turkey, and for the record I smell both as I am talking to you. But what stole the show was the desserts my Aunt Mary made. Our Uncle Kent always had an Easter craft. Sometimes we would dye Easter Eggs or we would make them Russian Orthodox style. The colors on these eggs looked like a mixture of fashion disaster and hippie on acid driving a peace van. We would write our names on them with clear, wax crayon and you could see them when you dipped them into the tray. Yeah, they looked ridiculous but they were our ridiculous eggs.

Our most fun was the Easter Egg Hunt. Our aunts and uncles would hide the eggs in our grandparents backyard and we would have to find them. Sometimes the eggs were completely obvious, and sometimes they weren't. We would dive into the bushes and get grass stains on our dresses. We didn't care. It was Easter. Spring was finally here. School was like a bad movie almost over. Summer and pools were just a nod and a care away.

Of course my grandparents would enter as the ultimate comedy team. Nunni would open with some outlandish remark, and my Pop Pop would either be silent or he would have a retort of his own. Or sometimes my grandfather would tell us a silly story. Sometimes he turned into a gorilla, and one time he swore he met the Easter Bunny. My Nunni's pride and joy were the dolls she collected. She had inherited them from a grumpy old great aunt of mine. These were dolls from all reaches of the globe and they were kept in a glass case. My sister Skipper and I joked they could come to life. However, I think this is where I got the idea to play with dolls.

I have been thinking of my grandparents lately. My grandmother passed around Easter last year. I was lucky to have them as long as I did though. Nunni was 88 when she passed, and Pop Pop 95. In New York the dogwood trees are starting to bloom. They are white and powder pink like the dresses my sister and I used to wear on Easter. And they also remind me that summer is not far off.

Life has been kind of chaotic lately. I have a lot of things on the burner, and everything seems to be crashing off the rails. This next Tuesday, I am doing a headliner set where I film my DVD. It's a long set with four puppets, not just May Wilson. To say I wasn't nervous would be a freaking lie. I am nervous my fans won't show, I will tank, and I will get heckled at my own taping. I am nervous about everything, especially since the middle is not where I want and getting people to come is like pulling teeth. On top of that, I did a video call for a sports broadcasting gig today where my computer's sound kept fritzing out. I was like the Lamar Oden of the call, coming in and out as I pleased. Because my computer sucked I looked like a woman talking about sports. When I was done, the mods said they got a good sense of my voice. What? Opinionated basketcase. If that is the voice you got, you are correct. And then earlier this week something big for another project was lost in the mix and I had to scramble to find it. It would have been the end of the world if I didn't. Have a video call for that one Monday and I hope I have SOUND!!!!! And telegram deliveries were uber-busy. I am not complaining. I needed the money. Still though, I felt like I was accidentally going to run into a wall.

Tonight I went to give my friend postcards for my show. Steve Ryan, who is the Legendary Pot Roast next Tuesday, told me to stay and watch the puppet show he was stage managing. It was magical. It was mystical. The marionettes reminded me of my Nunni's doll collection. As my brain had been melting down all day, I felt a sense of peace. I could hear my grandfather's voice laughing and telling me it was going to be okay. He had been a war veteran and raised six kids. He had a good sense of humor about things.

Then I remembered how proud they were of me when I came to New York. How proud they were when they saw me on television. How proud they were when I wrote my book. I remember the Reader's Digest cut outs of jokes to use in my act. I remember my grandmother's inappropriate letters to me about family members and how she was a good sport about being fodder in my act.

Easter is about Resurrection. My grandparents went to church every first Saturday. It is a German Catholic tradition to ensure a peaceful passing. They lived long lives and were surrounded by those they loved. I also know somewhere, they are having a great time wherever the next stop on the journey is. Perhaps there they will meet my recently deceased friend Otto Petersen. They would get a kick out of him. My mother would be appalled, but my Nunni might make a new friend. Who knows, he is probably having dinner with them right now. Nunni probably saw Otto at McDonalds with George and brought him home. My Pop Pop as usual will just have to deal, especially when George starts talking and my Nunni gets a kick out of him.

My grandparents were wonderful, compassionate, and funny people. I was lucky to have them as long as I did. I know next Tuesday when my self-important self tapes my DVD they will be in my audience. And whatever happens with the next opportunity in my life, they will be there with me too. I can just see them on the other side saying, "That's my granddaughter. She's in New York and she's a big time comedian."

Miss you Nunni and Pop Pop. Happy Easter.

Love
April
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
www.aprilbrucker.com


Come see me April 22nd @ 7pm
Metropolitan Room
34 W. 22nd st.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pieces of April (Three Dog Night)

I remember it was a rainy day when I decided to come to New York. Things in my life weren't looking up. At school I was bullied relentlessly. I was overweight, had cystic acne, braces, and nothing else going on. There were three things I excelled at: Storytelling in Forensics, Story writing that won me local awards, and secretly practicing with my Groucho Marx ventriloquist figure. I was told by teachers I had a gift. When I watched the TV, Mae West hooked me in. Madonna's BioRhythm on MTV enthralled me. And then I saw LA Confidential.

Afterwards, I went on a walk with my mom and poured my heart out. My mother who had gotten me my ventriloquist figure the year before didn't tell me no. She didn't laugh at my pipe dream. Instead she looked at me, all barely five feet of her and declared, "Baby, if you want to do that you have to move to New York."

Yesterday I got some distressing news. Otto Petersen, a ventriloquist I admired, had passed away. He was the human half of Otto and George. Notorious as both a ventriloquist and comedian, Otto could pack them in wherever he played. He offended people at the XXX awards. What I loved about him most was that he was fearless onstage, but offstage he was kind and supportive to young comedians finding their voices. The same went for Otto's friends. Yeah, on the radio, onstage, or TV they ragged on each other. But offstage, they had each other's backs. Comedians are backstabbing pricks. This is rare.

Yesterday I also got some good news with my ventriloquism. An opportunity I had been scouted for months ago finally is moving. This is very exciting, and could be very good for me. It was the bright spot in a day filled with darkness, and filled with the pain of the loss of someone I admired so much. It is just just a pleasure to work alongside a hero. It is an honor, especially when they say, "I like your stuff."

I was excited about this news, and went to a friend's house to watch RuPaul's Drag Race. I got an email from this opportunity, the link I sent them didn't work. AHHHHHH!!!!!! I emailed the woman and searched frantically for the link on my computer. My head was going to explode. One of my spirit animals insisted I go to bed.

In the morning another spirit animal friend helped me find it. He sent me two versions of the link. It was fine. They were happy. Having worked in production, I know in my heart they were as stressed out as I was. Our heads were exploding together. Then there was nearly a mix up in the time I delivered the telegram this morning. Oh and I forgot to email my mother goodnight and it seemed everything was going off the rails before 9 AM. As I ran to the train seeing I missed one and another wouldn't come for an hour I took a breath. I stuffed a chocolate donut in my mouth. I agonized over my DVD taping. Oh, and I added a singer friend to the bill.

I got caught in the rain again on my way to the delivery, I took a wrong turn. However, when I got there they were awesome people. The most extraordinary delivery I have done in a long time. They liked me and my energy. I put on a good show and got a surprise tip. I handed them a post card for my filming.

The guys looked at it and said, "That puppet looks familiar. That puppet has been on TV."

"Yeah, she's been on TLC, Rachael Ray, and The Today Show. Hardest working girl in show biz, May Wilson."

"She has a last name?" The other guy laughed. They got a kick out of it. I explained a well known ventriloquist told me to do it. A well known ventriloquist named Otto Petersen. I tried not to well up at that moment.

As I walked back in the rain I thought of everything in my life coming together. All the hard work looking as if it was finally paying off. I gloated, May Wilson was recognized. I also sent some facebook messages as I battled the rain under an overhang, reminding my friends that my taping was a week away. I feared my venue cancelling my taping. I feared everything crashing down.

And then I remembered Otto. He was fearless. He didn't give a fuck. George would say, "Brush your teeth with my cock." For everyone that hated him, twenty more loved him. I was blessed to have worked and learned from one of the greatest. Maybe someday, when I get over myself, I will be an eighth as cool. Of course, perhaps some of what he had will rub off on me. Perhaps the basketcase will be replaced with the freedom he had.

There were people who wrote me telling me they would have never known about me had it not been for The Pig Roast. So many friends I would have not met if it weren't for the Pig Roast. Some naysayers have said that I am a hack, female version of Otto and George. Not true. Otto was original, funny, and unique. Rip off would have meant that I had some of his charm. Again, I could only be so lucky.

Then I remembered someone had seen May Wilson. Maybe people were going to come see my DVD taping. Maybe my dreams were coming true. And somewhere, maybe just maybe there is a kid who has heard about me, and has been following my career. Much like Otto, there are quite a few ventriloquists who don't like my brand of humor. Otto was better as shutting them out. Yeah, I feed into it from time to time, downside of being a woman. Again, only hoping to be almost as cool.

Maybe that kid's mother will tell them to move to New York. And maybe that kid will seek me out.

That's when I will tell them, "You figure needs to have a last name......"

Love
April
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
www.aprilbrucker.com


Come see me April 22nd @ 7pm
Metropolitan Room
34 W. 22nd st.







Monday, April 14, 2014

My Puppets Have Last Names

Comedy is a lonely business. At the bottom there are bringer and barker folks eager to get stage time by busting their asses. In the middle, there are career bringer producers and barker overseers who make your dream feel obscured. On the next rung are those who have TV credits but can't pay their rent, thus stabbing everyone and anyone in the back to be on the upside of the middle. On top of them are the regulars on the TV shows, and then there are the stars. Somewhere in this mix you have the bookers, the club owners, and everyone else. People give you all sorts of advice and it is tough to know who is friend and who is foe.

In the comedy business, there is also a lot of trash talk from comedians when it comes to our more eccentric peers. When I was nineteen, I was chatting with a bunch of fellow vents. Many of these folks had done Vegas. Some were smaller time, club dates and corporate. Then Otto and George came up. They were this X Rated ventriloquist duo. There were stories about them offending people at the porn awards. These guys kept saying there was no way a prop act could follow a good standup. But somehow Otto could. He broke all the rules and defied all the odds. That's why they were so eager to talk shit.

I met Otto for the first time when I was twenty.  Still green, I was new to comedy. That summer, I had spent a lot of time at Pips. In Sheepshead Bay, it felt like a New York outside of the city. One evening, I was invited to see Otto and told to bring May. It was a wild night. The whole place was trashed. I was coming out of the fog of the first year of comedy. Yes, the fog where I thought I would be on HBO tomorrow. However, then I realized I didn't know what the fuck I was doing.

Otto asked me if May had a last name. I said no, puppets didn't need last names. As I sat getting tanked like everyone in the place, Otto informed me they did. A puppet needed a last name because that gave the character more depth and made them more real. Otto informed me George's last name was Dudley. It was after an uncle of his. For May, I chose Wilson. The reasoning being that as a kid, my family didn't have cable, and Dennis the Menace was one of the few cartoons we watched. Mr. Wilson was my inspiration, and Wilson was easier to say than Brucker. So thus it began, and this was advice that wasn't total bullshit. This man knew what he was talking about. Plus he wanted to help another young comedian.

I met Otto again several years later. Now I had started getting time on national television. While the exposure had been cool, I was also being introduced to a cruel reality of the business, jealousy. I had done open mics with some people back in the day, and then all of a sudden they stopped speaking to me. Or when they did it was one, mean, nasty back handed jab after another. I began to grow a chip on my shoulder than became a cinderblock. Comedy became about fame and ego, not about punchlines.

I was invited to do The Pig Roast by the Wild Cherryz Burlesque. They were the house dance team. Otto and George were doing a late night talk show, and I was flattered I was asked. The experience was awesome, not only to work with someone so amazing but also someone who loved comedy. Everyone there just loved comedy. I also didn't feel so alone, and the cinderblock melted. The Pig Roast introduced me to a new group of comedians who may have teased each other on the air and when the camera was on, but in real time they were supportive as hell of each other.

Otto did my webshow, and called in. I remember him calling me a hack several times. Otto also denied the legendary Apollo incident as well as being the inspiration for the movie Magic. But these are still cool stories nonetheless. He could kill it in the Aristocrats, work his charm on Letterman, and still murder a crowd. At the same time, he remained humble and respected other ventriloquists such as Terry Fator and Jeff Dunham. While he bowed in some ways because he never had their commercial success, he was better in so many ways. Otto never censored his act, he didn't care, and he wasn't afraid to give a young comedian a pointer. He wasn't afraid of you being funny because he shined no matter what.

There is a famous story about Otto. He was street performing in Washington Square, and John Lennon saw him. After he was done, he handed Otto a dollar and fifty cents. He told Otto the dollar was for him, and the fifty cents was for George.

I think right about now Otto is doing a show for all of them.

As my type A personality keeps driving and readies for her DVD taping, I will think of Otto. I will think of chasing the punchline. In my heart and in my mind, no matter how much or how little commercial success I get, I can only dream of being as extraordinary as he was.




Love
April
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
www.aprilbrucker.com


Come see me April 22nd @ 7pm
Metropolitan Room
34 W. 22nd st.