Lately I have been feeling like a princess who has been dropped to Earth on her head. A radio appearance that was going to be good for my career was CANCELLED due to studio issues. We were supposed to ink on the dotted line for a project I am part of the pitch for but the contract not only wanted us to alter our work but then on top of that was going to cheat us out of any and all money we would be making. As a bonus the contract let the folks distribute the series how they wanted to overseas and we wouldn’t make a dime. Oh and then something else I did was sold, the original company got a hefty pay day and because of some documentation I signed I don’t even have a bed. The ironic thing is I am on the TV all the time, people tell me that my puppets and I are on the TV all the time, and I don’t even own one myself.
Someone from my past facebooked me and asked for a loan because they assume I make all this money. I told them maybe, but first could they loan me their TV cause I cannot presently afford one. To top it off it seems everyone around me is doing so fucking well. Some of my former classmates as on TV, Broadway, yada, yada, yada. I am happy for them but in a way I am not. As my mother says, “When you laugh the world laughs with you. When you cry, you cry alone. Remember that when you blog April.” More of an excuse to eat badly and cry alone. The terrible thing on my part is several of these people have reached out to be to tell me how proud they are of me and my puppet children from TLC, Bravo, Travel Channel, Otto and George, Koldcast and everything else like my cyberjocking. But right now I don’t feel so proud. I feel like I have failed.
Yesterday I was walking down the street when I saw an old friend. We chatted and he mentioned he had seen me on The Today Show. I said that was last year and he said, “What have you done this year?”
I wanted to reply, “Sucked at life.” Instead I told him about the CBS sports show. He played college ball so he was jiggy. In the end it felt good seeing him because I have always liked this friend, and he likes my puppets. I just tend to hear everything wrong.
As I walked along in the rain it occurred to me I didn’t know what was next for me. I am no longer a cyberjocky with my old network. I am about to publish a book, release date unknown. I am about to drop a single and a video, whenever my editor is finished and I yell at the man enough as it is. I might or might not be going to LA or Europe. So much is up in the air. Suddenly I found myself lost and directionless. That’s when I got an invite from an old friend to go see an evening of monologues.
Usually an evening of monologues can bite with one good performer and the rest sucking. However, this was a pleasant surprise. It was six good performers, all wonderful writers who take the art of solo seriously. I got up without any expectations and told a story. While I went over the two minutes because I am used to going for an eternity as a cyberjocky it felt good to be onstage. And then I remembered that is the only reason I do this. I like entertaining people. It’s not about the contracts, the money, the deals. It’s about making people laugh.
I did another open mic tonight. While I abhor paying for stage time in a club I should be headlining in, I did just to work out my skills. It was fun just getting up and meeting new comics. Many of the folks I met tonight were green to the game. Then I remembered how magical my first year of comedy was. I got onstage as much as I could. I loved the people I was meeting. I loved making people laugh. Of course I wanted the stars, the name in lights, but the truth was I was just as eager to bark. These newer folks brought me there, gently reminding me that it was okay to fail. So I got up, told a story I have been workshopping, and had a little fun.
When I got offstage I saw some more old friends who just happened to be around. The club owner, someone who I didn’t even think knew who I was to see me, said, “You have come a long way with the ventriloquism. I was looking at you and was blown away because those lips didn’t move.” Meanwhile I had hosted for the guy for almost two years and never actually met him. Needless to say it made my night.
While I don’t know where life will lead me next I think I know I have to get back onstage in the clubs again. Standup might not be the destination these days but it is a way to keep myself sharp. Plus since I am not beating myself up several times a night anymore I like it. The irony is, now that I am not pounding at bookers they are after me. I am gladly taking the club dates which is another reason to get back onstage.
Actually being onstage is not only invigorating but humbling. While I am doing open mics which well, are themselves, I know I have done what I have done. At the same time, when I suck I suck. I don’t have to prove myself to any of those fools who are eager to knock me behind the knees on any online forum. I don’t have to earn their respect. I know how I am. I can still hear Betsy Parrish, an acting teacher I had first year of college saying to me after a breakthrough in her class, “You don’t have to announce yourself when you come in here. Just sit down, we know you’re here.” Poor Betsy, she probably still downs her Advil with Scotch when she thinks of me. She shook her head plenty of times.
Either way, after a lot of agonizing, I know what my next move is. That move is to get back to my roots, my art. I am an actress, ventriloquist, singer, and writer. But at my heart I am a comic in a dark dingy basement. Those dark dingy basements and my activities there have made people pay attention. And every once in a while, even when they are damp and depressing, I must got back.