My stalker has calmed which means one or two things, either he has burned himself out or he is stepping up his game. While I am still watching my back, I am feeling less worried. Everyone that I have spoken to has been great. A friend of mine said, “There is never a dull moment in your life, is there?” Then I asked to borrow one of his and he chuckled.
Last night I decided the best thing to do was to get onstage. I almost elected to stay home and cover my head after the drama with the lifetime open micer the day before. But I told myself that would only be feeding the negativity and I need to starve it at times like this.
I ended up going to Queens to Waltz Astoria. I had never been but I wanted to go somewhere that I could sort of hide out, get more stage time, and not be under the glowering eyes of comedians who hate my guts because they don’t have my drive; nevermind having drive takes work. Instead, it would be strangers I didn’t know. Plus I had to clear my mind from having a stalker.
When I got off the train to go to the Waltz I just told myself to chuck my ego. I wanted to be my twenty year old self again so badly, just wanting to jump onstage because it was the only place where I was even close to being successful. At twenty I was shy as ever when it came to guys. My fashion sense needed an ambulance. Oh and I was as dumb as a box of rocks. But somehow, when I was onstage that all disappeared. Years later I am more smooth. I am no longer shy when it comes to guys, just the opposite. My fashion sense is still bad, but these days it could settle for outpatient treatment. I still do stupid things but I know a thing or too. Plus I have an ego the size of Canada.
I told myself to chuck the ego. The thing about standup, is that it is easy to get an ego but your ego is not your amigo. Sometimes I think it is mine, and when I do it kills my comedy. Yes I have done a lot and blah, blah, blah. But bottom line, you are only as good as your last set. Even if you have a stalker that has seen you on TV.
Walking into the Waltz I talked for a minute to some guitar player, but I didn’t want to talk too long. I was there to work. Plus the stalker has left me on edge so to me anyone and everyone is crazy. Not to mention these days I have gotten too comfortable, resting on the laurels of my almost fame and am goofing off a little too much before shows. My best work is done when I go in, plant my feet, study my notes and talk to no one. I was probably perceived as being unfriendly by a person or two. But I am not there to be their friend. I am there to work. There are so many people who claim I get my TV time because I am weird, because I am pretty, because I am an attention whore and they all say I am not funny. Well the only way to shut those people up is to show them that I do have the goods. And to do that is to write, get stage time that I use wisely, and lastly, to humble myself enough to go back to the drawing board when something doesn’t work.
Show time started and to perform you have to order a few items. I didn’t mind because the food was good. The first few comedians that went up were decent, but the guy who went in front of me was amazing. The insecure part of me, the one that wants to be surrounded by scrubs so that I can shine, wanted him to suck secretly so that it would be easy for me to get good. But then in the immortal words of my old friend Daryl Wright, “I am always getting funnier. The funnier you are, the funnier I have to be.”
With that they called my name and I was up. I got to the stage, riffed a little, and began my routine. I talked about Kindred Spirit and how he assumed that I would speak to him. It needs work but for the most part killed. Then I pulled my new puppet boyfriend out, Don Juan. The transition needs some work, but Don Juan killed it. The people loved him. Some of the stuff I wrote worked, but as usual when I work off the top of my head I do my best stuff. But something also clicked. I remember during his pep talk with me on facebook Eddie Brill told me he had a great set in the Poconos because he had fun. I wasn’t just having fun. I was having a blast! I wasn’t intimidated either, I just kept rolling. I didn’t work too dirty either, which is awesome.
When I got the signal to finish up, I put Don Juan away. The ending needs a lot of work. But the thing is, I am doing the work so it will come. When I got offstage the comedians there, mostly guys I didn’t know, gave me the high five for good job. One whom I had never met starting talking to me and told me he had an idea for a joke/tag line. Just like the old days I had my notebook minus the attitude and was willing to try it. The whole experience wasn’t just awesome. It was beautiful. For the first time in forever, I felt really safe and supported because all those guys liked was comedy. And the love of the thing that kept me going returned to my heart.
I remembered all those times that comedy saved my ass. It saved my ass one rainy night when I was nineteen, alone, and was thinking about leaving the city. The following year it saved my ass when I was heartbroken, insecure, and feeling unpretty. Of course at twenty one when my ex-fiance wanted me dead it not only kept me sane but helped me fight back when I wrote a routine blasting him that always kills. At twenty two, it was right there to let me know everything was okay as I was taking self-destructive dieting, too much drinking, and diet pills out of the regimen and losing my ever blessed mind. Then there was twenty three, where not only did I find I could take risks in a healthy way but even did it on national television. Twenty four, when I paid the price for being myself and had no money, it was the only place I felt worth anything. At twenty five, it helped me make my own videos and write the first draft of a book that is to be published next month. At twenty six it helped me get a few national tv spots, work on my feet on live webcasts, and expand to other things.
Yes, there was the fall out that I mentioned in previous blogs with an old venue.
Bottom line: Standup not only gave me the things that I smile about, it has kept me alive on so many occasions. And at twenty seven, standup is letting me keep my sanity against the jealous people who openly take cheap shots at me and a stalker who may or may not be dangerous. While that is a lot of negativity to deal with, I will be Goddamned if they invade my happy place and even more Goddamned if they think they can stop me from getting ahead. Sure, I have credits and accomplishments, but the goal is always to get better no matter who you are.
I have tried other things. I have worked other jobs. My parents often wish I would pursue a career with things like money and stability. But the truth is, this is the only place I belong, whether I like it or not. I am a have to, that’s what an old acting teacher of mine told me. I have to this because in his words, “There’s a need. You have to be up there. If you aren’t you’ll go crazy.”
Walking home after that set last night, I didn’t feel so crazy. I felt good. I felt like I had gone back to the nuts and bolts, made some progress. While the strain of this week’s drama was taking it’s toll, I felt a certain peace come over me.
I was getting onstage. I was fighting back the only way I know how.