Monday, December 31, 2012

Lessons I Learned in 2012

1. I had a TV show that was being pitched that didn't go forward. This has happened to me for the mteenth time. Truth of the matter is, for as upset as I was, I learned a lot from the experience. I learned that while it almost happened but didn't, I am almost there and that's what happened.

2. I left a post at a company I was at because things were starting to be unfair. While it was tempting to bad mouth my former bosses, I didnt. They taught me a lot, gave me a platform to be myself, and proved I could produce a weekly webshow on the regular. No experience is wasted if you use it wisely, bottom line.

3. While being an activist and standing up for what you believe in is wonderful, sometimes you need to keep your POV off of facebook. After five hours of fighting online you are "winning" like Charlie Sheen aka looking like an assweed.

4. Be where your feet are. Sometimes it is not so pleasant, but when you are there you can see that life is beautiful beyond your imagination.

5. Be happy for other people even when your life isn't going smoothly. When they get that job, that house, or that guy/girl maybe this is something they hoped and dreamed for their entire lives, and also, that accomplishment may be it for them.

6. Not everyone will be happy you succeed, and some of your so-called friends may tell you that you developed an ego when you have what is called confidence. Those so-called friends are not your friends. Don't feel any guilt in letting them go.

7. Everyone has different talents and gifts, no one has everything. So if someone drops the ball sometimes, it is not a reflection on you or them, it is life.

8. I published a book. Sometimes I still don't know how I pulled that one off. But what I do know is that I worked really hard, made the project the center of my world, and put one foot in front of the other and did the next right thing. Bottom line, it was a ton of work and nearly killed me. It was worth doing though and I am proud of myself.

9. Treat your body kindly, you only get one. Dental health especially is no joke. Don't ignore pain and hope it will go away. If it persists see a doctor. Also, thank your doctor. They work hard, study hard, and they probably won't earn a ton of money unless their loans are paid off. Most of the time they do want to help you.

10. Physical exercise is better than therapy.

11. While sleeping late is great dont make a habit of it. The world will pass you by and you'll miss out on a lot of great adventures.

12. You don't know as much as you think you do. Ask for help.

13. Don't be witty or funny at the expense of someone else. It's not humorous, it's cruel. At times you think they might think it's funny make sure you know the person well first, otherwise you might lose a good friend.

14. Respect law enforcement. This past year I had a fan stalk me. The expererience was scary, left me uneasy, and made me cry on the phone to my mother. I was so stressed I was unable to eat. Reporting the incident to the useless woman at the desk made me want to take up arms. However, when my detective called me was concerned and nothing short of lovely. He knew I was scared and did everything he could to help me. Detectives are legitimately concerned for their victims, and our men and women in uniform do their best to protect the people.

15. Know where you are going. Sometimes you cannot see the forest for the trees but it does get easier. Sometimes you just need a machete.

16. Talented and successful people are not afraid of other talented and successful people. While every organization has the so called cool kids, this isn't high school. You can be a cool kid by being yourself and doing the best job possible. I went to a friend's show at Caroline's and felt an anxious apartness because I was not "cool." Needless to say, the cool kids were not only kind to thank me for coming out and supporting, but also wanted to know more about my book and how I was publishing. Bottom line: the cool kids are people too.

17. Work hard and keep working hard. No one will make your dreams come true but you.

18. Check your ego at the door. Life is not fair. Sometimes no matter what you accomplished, there are rules you still must follow. Some people do not know who you think you are.

19. Keep setting goals and ask for feedback. Any feedback is good. Some is idiot, but there might be gold in there.

20. Entertainment is a marathon, not a sprint. And it is a marathon where the race ends in different places. Some people become standups and that's who they are. Others become actors. There are those who become writers. And then there are the folks who become agents, managers, club owners and behind the scenes folks. Of course, there is the population who uses their talents as motivational speakers etc. My point is, everyone is going in different directions. Keep your eyes on your goals. It evens out in the end, and most of the time everyone who finishes the race ends up working together.

21. My life and career are different than I thought they would be. This past year I have been on the OWN Network, have been on TV overseas, have been on TV overseas again, had a hit song on the internet, had a web show that almost got picked up, and wrote and published a book. It is not the destination but the journey that counts.

22. My friend Joe Cannava may have pushed me to write my book, but years before him my mom had asked me to do it and came up with the title. My dad is pushing me to write the musical and has scoped out my spot for my pic on the wall of Sardi's. Bottom line, parents have good ideas sometimes.

23. Technique is your friend. As a young artist I hated the idea of technique and breathing. Voice and speech were my worst classes. But now I see they are my most important. When all else fails and nerves take over or you have to sing on a special occasion, technique is all you have. And if you lose your voice you are dead. Thank you Erick Buckley, Scott Flaherty, and Jan Douglas for not choking the ever blessed life out of me. Years later I get you.

24. Do the best you can on every job. Even if it doesnt go the way you want, your hard work will open more doors.

25. Take a risk. I went into the corporate office of Barnes and Noble and gave them my book proposal. They informed me this was not usually done, but as a small press company I am now available on the website and will ultimately be in the store.

26. Treat everyone with compassion. You dont know what is going on with them.

27. No matter how much hell a former employer causes you, dont bad mouth them. It only makes you look bitter. Plus it may destroy your love for something that drives you. For a long time I was angry at the comedy club that dropped me after I put them on national television several times. As a result, it destroyed my love of comedy. I gave them too much power. Shame on me.

28. From bad comes something good. In 2009, my pilot didnt get picked up and a TV appearance fell flat. Doors slammed in my face. As a result I became a very good comedian and put away some good sets. I also became a supurb ventriloquist because I started performing on the street. In 2010, I was fired from a club I did a lot of work for and put on national televison several times. I was sort of blackballed in my own community for my "fame seeking." No matter, I made a movie, got a job as a talking head on the internet where I got PAID, got to perform for royalty and other high profile people, kept getting on TV, got my music on the radio and had an internet hit, and I wrote and published a book. None of that would have happened had I become a superstar at that dump.

29. If you want to diss someone, don't tell them off. Just pretend you don't know them. It's less drama and it hits them where it hurts. It's a trick my friend Chacho taught me. Maybe he didn't know how to stay off drugs or to stop breaking the law, but he knew that.

30. While it is nice to help the downtrotten, when someone is continully unlucky there is a reason for it. AVOID THEM!!!!

31. Always think and dream big. Never settle.

32. Always be careful what you say. My late friend Joe Cannava once told me that when I spoke people listened to me. People listen to all of us. What kind of impression do you want to leave.

33. Fresh socks and fresh underwear are your friends.

34. What a difference a shower and a good night sleep make.

35. When you fall on your ass get back up.

36. If reputation and character were to meet they would be strangers.

37. Never engage in gossip. It is character assasination and bullying. None of it is ever true. I was the subject of some terrible gossip, and someone who I had bad mouthed in the past stepped up to defend me. I am thankful they did but feel terrible. So terrible I make it my business not to trash talk.

38. A natural disaster like Sandy leaves you agitated that you are housebound. But so is everyone else, and some folks dont have power. Make the best of it. Because as always there are people who have it worse.

39. The only way around feelings is to talk through them.

40. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

41. Sometimes part of being an adult is doing adult things, like Jury Duty. Don't try to get out of it. If anything, it gives you more respect for the judicial system and the lawyers who work there. Also, it is like a bad open call and there is always drama. FREE SHOW!

42. Vote, vote, and vote again. Your voice counts, and you have no right to complain unless you cast a ballot.

43. Politics-unless the person is named Adolf Hitler or David Duke-do not define them. It takes many ideas-not just yours-to make the world go around.

44. Life is too short to hold a grudge. Anger causes cancer and is time consuming.

45. Once someone shows you their ass write them off.

46. Dont be afraid to make friends who are different than you. They have perspective and knowledge that you dont.

47. Hate only releases more hate, so when hate speech starts leave the room. It will only put you in  a bad mood.

48. When someone's life is continually chaotic, it means they are addicted to it and don't desire change. Run before they consume you.

49. If you meet someone once and don't like them, you might mee them years later and like them. People do change, and some of it might be you.

50. Being a part of an awards show is a privlege, not a right. You are enjoying what a person worked their whole life for. It is not just about a chance to party.

51. Family may drive you crazy, but in the end they will be the first ones there when things are bad and when things are good. Put them first.

52. Treat others like you want to be treated. Not only is it a golden rule, but it helps you win in the end in a deal.

53. Life is short and it is funny how the tables turn. In the past year I have seen many people who were mean to be, whether they are former classmates, other comedians, or former boyfriends, try to reach out and pretend that we are friends. The temptation to be cruel exists, but rather you should feel sorry for them. The days that they made you miserable were the greatest days of their lives and they are over, and your life just keeps getting better. Being cruel would be sinking to their level. Why would you want to give them the satisfaction that they even matter that much?

54. While it is wonderful to have an honest self examination, don't beat yourself up. We are all human and make mistakes and it keeps you from learning.

55. The only way to accomplish a goal is to do it.

56. Men who call a woman a man hater because she speaks out for other women are not only showing you that they think lowly of women, but are also modelling their lack of intelligence. Real men are not threatened by a smart woman who is able to stand up for others, that is why they consider Wonder Woman dead sexy.

57. When it comes to sports every man has a PhD. It is always an ice breaker with them.

58. No matter how nutty someone's religious belief is, the first amendment protects us all. There are people who follow their faith and try to be good people as well as all the bad people that follow as well. Every church, mosque, synagouge has their hipocrites but it also has people who truly want to do the right thing.

59. While there are some people who change, others never do. An ex of mine who was abusive wants to "apologize" when things are good in my life. He has shown me he is mentally unstable to the point I had to get a different mailing address. The key with people like that is to wish them well from a distance but to have no contact. It's not just for sanity but for your safety.

60. When life gets bigger, so does the stress. But it goes with career, personal, and spiritual growth. In the words of Spiderman, "With great power comes great responsibility."

61. Make a fool out of yourself once a day. Doing a strange, terrible version of Gangnam Style in Times Square got me on Korean TV.

I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
Paperback and ebook available on Amazon
Portion of proceeds go to Sandy Hook