I remember when I was about his age it looked like I was going to be on a hit reality show they were casting for in NYC. My dad even talked to the president of CBS Music at the time. However, the contract sucked and there was no way I could afford to go to Hollywood. So I passed up the opportunity. I remember second guessing and my dad told me a story about how he was offered a job with Arthur Anderson and they invited him to move to DC. Something told him not to take it and we all know how that ended. Anyway, the show didn't happen, the production company went bankrupt, and it would have been a waste of my time. But when it all went down I was heartbroken. I remember at the time crossing paths with author Mary Karr who said to me, "You are angry you didn't get what you wanted. Sometimes I look back at what I wanted and I say, 'Thank God I didn't get what I wanted.'"
I have been thinking of Mary's words lately. Shortly after the reality show debacle I did another infamous TV appearance with May Wilson where we met Jerry Springer, we all know how that turned out. Apparently it was a big deal when meanwhile they okayed our jokes.....hmmmm. Anyway, we also filmed another pilot, were on WE, opened for Aretha and I thought I was on my way to becoming the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Well I didn't. Instead the day job I depended on dried up and my phone stopped ringing. It was the worst thing in the world. Where were the lights? Where was the red carpet? Why was everything falling through my finger tips like sand in the hour glass? At the time I felt like I was going to die as those around me seemed to be taking off like birds on flight. Meanwhile I was struggling harder than ever. Looking back at it, I wasn't ready for the spotlight. I was so stupid and so emotional I would have screwed it up. My career would have ended before it even started. Maybe the universe knew what it was doing when it cast that dye.
On the otherhand, I made it my business to become a good comedian. I got up everywhere and worked every odd job imaginable. I also did an indie film which upon release gets me fan mail still. I also started touring every weekend and really got comfy onstage. In addition I began street performing for as many as eight hours a day every day. Sure it was ego reducing, bare bones, but it's what I had to do to keep from slitting my wrists. Sure enough, my hard work helped open doors and people took notice, enough to get me my first hosting job on web tv. The following year I started producing my own videos and interviewing celebs with my puppets. Then I began writing a book. After that I was on a successful reality show with a successful press tour and became a talking head with my puppet children and blah blah blah. The rest is history.
I was angry about being fired from the club I hosted at for a while. Looking back, I am glad they fired me. If I would have been slaving there I would have never embarked on the endeavors that I did. Not to mention published a book. The crazy thing is, they called me begging me to take my old job back. I was like, "Um....no."
There are so many people who sprinted the race and are no longer in it. One young woman I knew back in the day was slated to be a star. Instead she dropped out of the game, got married, and had a kid. There were a few like that. The dream was glamorous but the pursuit was not. Several folks I went to college with, all extremely talented, are now doing other things. The one had the voice of an angel. It's a shame. A guy who was like my older brother that had a very promising career basically drank it away. He came around less and less until he disappeared entirely. Another young woman who was slated to be very big disappeared from view, and the last time I saw her lost her luster. I also found out another woman I shared the stage with many times that had the gift to the point where it was hard not to be a little jealous threw in the towel, got into a relationship, and left the city. She says she is happy. Yes, the lifestyle is exhausting and I am glad she is at peace. But these people were supposed to be big stars. There is not a Where Are They Now? for those that never were. If there was a Where Are They Now? for those that almost were most of the contestants from Last Comic Standing would be making an appearance.
One alum from such a show and I dated for a brief minute. We hit it off at first, but then he took me out and started picking my brain about my career and my finances. Once proud with a bunch of TV credits and now wandering the Lower East Side on a radio show that no one listens to looking for the meaning of life, he was picking my brain. Maybe he had status I did not because he has been around forever, but it has been forever since he had a job. The whole experience was strange, sad, and educational. Sometimes success in show business is not long lasting but short lived. He is probably bent over by the sidelines in this marathon, holding his side because he smokes so damn much expecting a woman to give him a job. What a user. YUCK. My revenge is not to diss him in convo. When his name comes up I act cool. Instead it's to have the better career. At this rate it's not hard to do in comparison to this fallen should have been star.
Then on the flipside, there is another alum who people trashed when she started to get recognition and television time. Because of her age and gender, they bashed her giving her a horrid nickname and rumors spread about how she was getting ahead. I will say this, whether or not the rumors are true, she has been my friend since things have started happening for me. Never once has this young woman not congratulated me. Even before it all started coming together, she never stopped knowing me on the street. Success has not and did not change her. A great many people have stopped speaking to me. A great many so called friends have not congratulated me. She on the otherhand, always supportive. I think she knows what it is like to have people say things that aren't true, and she knows what it is like to run the marathon and sometimes feel like you are dying from your last breath. A surprise friend, I treasure her. And I also know to have her back in return.
There are probably people who didnt think I would last, the folks who had the boring acts who have faded into the fabric of obscurity. They laughed at me, and got spots I didn't because they were boring. They never had to struggle or fight for anything. The second they ran into a road bump they quit. Rejection was too much. Tanking hurt. People ripping into them was just too much to bear. So they hung it up. I don't feel bad though, they deserved it. Welcome to my world people. Stay awhile. Don't worry, it sucks. But so does kharma.
I am back at the same place I was years ago, where things are beginning to happen. Scared to hell is the understatement. The fear they will slip through my fingers is ever present. Things are better than ever as they are coming together. I am back at that spot where everything is hitting. This time my attitude is different. Instead of sprinting and hoping to catch my star at the three mile mark I am more or less on a nice jog. I take each break as it comes and now have a sense of humor about the whole process. I now have fans who are very loyal and that are buying my book. I have a stalker or two and laugh that off. I kill onstage and brag about it still. I am a meglomaniac that way. I bomb onstage and cry wanting to stuff my face. I care. I will be getting up more now that things are coming together with my book, in part to promote but also because it is where my puppet children and I are at home. For as much as I want to walk away, I have to be onstage or else I get into trouble.
An old acting teacher of mine classified me as a have to, as in I have to do this or else I will probably die or kill someone else. Sometimes I wish it were different but as the spirit of the dead rapper Eazy-E once told me in a dream, "Sweetheart, it's not about what you want."
Josh Homer once said it best to me. While Josh slams me for being a meglomaniac who freely brags and self-promotes, on the otherhand he also guides me with words of wisdom and a balanced Libra perspective. (Somehow he got the scales and I didn't). He once said to me, "The important thing is, you enjoy the journey."
With that I'll shut up.
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Person