Friday came and it had been a long time since I did a guest set like that. In between my book and my other ventures I have been performing less. Plus the falling out with another club. In addition, when my stalker was truly terrorizing me, I stayed closer to home. I had been talking to a friend who's like my mom about whether or not I should even pursue standup anymore. My book is heating up. I am doing more film stuff. Why bother with the politics when I constantly have to prove myself despite how many freaking times I am on national television. My friend told me not to worry, to get onstage, and to shut up because I was annoying her.
When I got to the club last night I saw Joanna Briley, the producer of the show. It was a live band and then the show. It was an MTA talent show, which I knew could be good or bad. While talent is often hidden, sometimes it can be hidden under hidden if you know what I mean. It had been a tough week, and the chip on my shoulder was heavier than ever. Joanna gave me a big hug and we talked a little bit. I was immediately struck by her infectious personality. Taking a deep breath, I had a feeling it was going to be a good night.
Seconds later I was greeted by Estabon Romero aka Tino, perhaps the first friend I made doing comedy. He mentioned he saw me on television and we laughed about the old days. Tino congratulated me and told me how proud he was of me. Out of all my friends from that time in my life, not many have stuck by me. Tino is one of the exceptions. He's a true friend and once I saw him, I knew the spector of an ugly week was flying away.
The guests began to come in, and two men not knowing what I was doing hit on me. It was pretty funny. One told me a joke about someone jumping off a building. Comic gold. Once the band took the stage suddenly this feeling that I wanted to jump up there and destroy the place came into my veins. I wanted to perform. I was right there. I began to rub my hands together. An ease came over me. Maybe these other things were starting to happen, but none of them had been possible without the comedy career.
When Joanna hit the stage she was absolutely awesome. I have always maintained that the producer and host, often one in the same, make the show. Joanna set the tone for a good room where everyone wanted to laugh. While the crowd did want to laugh, I wasnt sure how they would react to a ventriloquist. Sure, they did want to laugh, but for the most part they were an urban crowd. There were some white folks, but it was more urban as I said. In a room that is mostly black sometimes a ventriloquist is a hit and sometimes it is a big old miss. I just remembered the advice Pat O'Donnell,a headliner and one of the funniest men I ever worked with gave me, "Have fun."
I got up and took a deep breath when I was introduced. "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" played and I began to do a little dance. The crowd got into it. The music was then cut and I began to do some jokes on the trains and everyone laughed. I have ridden the trains long enough to know how they run. Then I began my act. I started with the corny jokes before bringing May out. And they at first were like, "What?" Then they got into them. Thats when I brought May out. Game on.
I then brought May out and at first it looked like the ship was going to sink. I took a deep breath and just kept going. Thats when not only did the jokes start to get laughs but then the Britney Spears bit got an applause break. We kept going and suddenly we were killing it! It was awesome. The crowd was laughing. It was great. I hadnt lost my ability to make people laugh. I was doing MCAWESOME!!! They liked me they really did, yipee!!!!!!! Plus I made a joke that hadnt been working for two months suddenly work. It was because I didnt sweat it. I didnt chase after the laugh. I had fun. It was like the good old days before the politics became painful and before TV credits became playing tools. It was before I was shut out in my own backyard for getting ahead, being ambitious. It was before some of my so called friends tuned their back on me. I was twenty years old again, and just loved being onstage because this was the only place I was safe in the world.
In the back of my mind I pictured my stalker terrorizing me and the other booker shutting me out despite my talent and accomplishments. I was fighting back. The people were speaking. There was no way I was being denied.
I sort of ran out of steam towards the end, but overall the set had been good. I have never been able to end a set well, but some of it is a sign that I need to be getting up onstage more. For as much as I claim I dont care these days because other things are happening, I do care and tend to beat myself up quite a bit. Overall the set had been good. I could live with it. There were some things that need work, but it was good. I could live with it. Just like the old days Tino was there to greet me when I stepped off the stage with a big hug, just like the old days.
The rest of the night was a lot of fun. The MTA employees made me laugh. One man was making his comedy debut which was exciting. It's always exciting to watch someone onstage for the first time. Then Captain America made an appearance. Another guy, who had been onstage twice, made an appearance and did quite well. His delivery was perfect. After that was a special appearance from Sammy KO of America's Got Talent. Sammy took the house down and I hope to see more of him. The night then went on with a few more folks hitting the stage and being quite impressive for people who didnt do this on the regular. And then Tino took the stage during the check spot but as usual fought it out and killed it.
After him came a kid named Two Scoops, who I only met that night and was rather green, but impressed me with his ability to take the stage like a soldier. He sort of reminded me of myself when I started the game. I gave him a hug and made him promise me that he would stick with it, because he's got something.
Meanwhile, I made friends with one waiter who made me order my sodas without moving my lips. During "Let's Get It On," a song sung by the last performer, we danced a little bit and he dipped me. Dont worry, he was obviously gay so nothing was going to happen.
Then Joanna goaded me to get onstage and I did. I danced with the last performer and the audience was howling. There is something about Marvin Gaye that makes people go cukoo.
When the night ended I sold two books which was good. One man mentioned he had seen me on TV. But he said, "At first I didnt recognize you, but then when you pulled May out I recognized her. I said, 'I know that damn puppet. That damn puppet has been on TV!!!!!'" I laughed and thanked him. Everyone always recognizes May and not me, hmmmmmm.
Afterwards I ended up going out to Alfies with some of the band members. Turns out my friend Sean is GM of the place. One of the band members says, "Are you aware she's a really funny comedian and has a puppet!" To which my friend Sean replied in his Irish brogue, "Yes, I am quite aware. I have seen her on TV." Yes, it put some Miracle Grow on my ego, lol.
It was an awesome night. Thank you to Joanna and now I have a whole new respect for the MTA. I hope I meet you in your booth one of these days. Until then I will be getting more stage time, I was good. But with more time on stage, no matter how I am getting it, I will be FABULOUS!!!!!
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl