Friday, August 9, 2013

Big Head Sydrome

In comedy, sometimes success can go to a person's head a little. Actually that is in show business in general. You work your ass off and presto, it happens. And then suddenly you are on top of the world. People write you fan letters and voila! That is when you are on the list at places and you get fans. Oh and people write on your facebook wall, "Saw you on TV!"

I remember when it started happening to me it was cool. However there were a lot of other things happening. One was getting fired as the open mic host of a club I put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into. Oh and this was right after I got this club some meaty national television time. After that is was the painful lesson of learning some people are only your friends when you are down, and those people will shit talk you the second you find success because you left them in their loser dust. I remember being treated like dog shit in my own community because of my "fame seeking." On top of that it was years of male club owners speaking to me how ever they wanted to, usually putting me down for being a woman. Then there were the male comedians who were higher on the food chain either trying to seduce me or outright groping me. After them came the male producers who would hide me because I eclipsed the talent of their male headliner friend, and didn't want to upset him. Or the male producers who wanted to fuck with me just because I was more talented than them and they knew I was destined to pass them up. The women were no help. Hell, they were even worse. Whenever they could they trashed me and put me down. Suddenly, it was on a larger scale than I ever imagined.

To cope with it, I developed sort of a fuck all attitude. It kept the fact that there was so much jealousy around me seemingly hurt less. Granted, it ate me up inside but I had to keep going. What was I supposed to do? Suddenly become allergic to achievement because those around me where? I started dressing crazy, acting crazy, and regularly declared myself the greatest ever. Not to mention I was finally able to tell the majority of the men and women who fucked with me that they could get fucked.

The big head felt good. I told one booker who was being snarky with me to get fucked. I told another who wanted to give me the run around it was obvious that he didnt own a television. And then there was the idiot working the door giving me a hard time so I asked him, "Excuse me, do you know who I am?" Needless to say, the attitude turned heads. In some instances cracking the whip with people got me what I wanted. And in others, not so much...

Other doors opened and my ego did grow. My song "Stay" was number one on internet radio. I published my book. It made it into an Ivy League Collection and NYU. Mensa said good things. Britney gave it a plug. I was on TV some more. But the truth was, I felt lonely as hell. My big head had grown to the point where I felt that facebook was my personal soapbox. I fought with friends and fans and was alienating followers and anyone else who help me. So really it was the Tarot Chariot in reverse, my arrogance was setting me back.

Around this time, I remember being at an open mic just to work stuff out. My book had just been published. I detested having to pay for stage time. A female comedian asked where she could follow me and I explained my personal page was maxed out and told her to join my fan page. Then someone snapped, "The more friends you have on facebook the less you have in real life." I remember walking home angered. What the fuck was I supposed to do? It was a lose/lose situation. Granted, I felt I was slumming it at mics but I needed the time. So rather than just find where I was welcome I went on a facebook rant. Of course I reminded people who got in my way for the next several weeks who I (thought) I was.

A week later I ended up doing time in Queens. It was at a coffee house where no one knew me. I slinked in and told myself I wasn't talking to anyone. I remember going up and doing well with a new puppet. When I got offstage I remember this dude I never met came up to me. He told me he liked my stuff and had a different ending for a joke I wrote. I remember being humbled at that moment. That joke hadn't worked. Then it hit me. This is why I got into comedy in the first place. Yes, it was to be on TV and to get famous. But also just to make people laugh. I remembered how much fun it had been to chill in the diner after sets and exchange punchlines with people. How exciting it had been to get onstage. How my goal was just to be a good comedian and how I stood in awe of people with television credits. How I remembered who was nice and who was an asshole. How I was suddenly turning into that demanding asshole. How I didn't want to be that person either.

Not to mention my former friends were wrong for being jealous and treating me like trash. However, that was about them. It had nothing to do with me. My role was letting their jealousy and envy make me a paranoid, self-centered, asshole that no one wanted to be around. When I realized that, I was able to feel less bitter about the loss of their friendship and made friends who were proud of me, on my level, but would also be honest with me.

While it took a while for the cinderblock to go, it was slowly being chipped away. These days whenever I do a spot while I might have been seen on television, I am still another performer on the show. Sure, I might be on the shelf next to a woman who got a movie deal in NYU's Bookstore and a MacArthur Fellow at Brown, but it is an honor to share shelf space with them. Instead of cursing them in my head for wrongs they never did, I tell myself these are things I could do.

These days I look at my career as a job more or less, that is all it is. Outside of the Superfoxxx Persona and puppet mother I am a friend, daughter, sister, cousin, granddaughter, etc. After a shoot at my new hosting gig I am still home. I still have bills. I still have to make my damn bed. Bottom line, they call it show business because it is all a show. When you get swept into that world too deep, nothing and no one is real. And one day you are on top and next it is someone else. Not to mention no matter how famous you are, there is someone in Branson, Missouri who could give a rats ass about ya.

Nowadays the big head comes out when I am tired. That is when I turn into overworked woman against the world. Yesterday I had a meeting for a pilot and was giving my co-host/co-producer orders. Apparently, I was wagging my finger. He looked at me and said, "Don't wag your finger at me. I am not submissive here." I proceeded to bark orders at him again and he responded, "I don't even think you know you do it." Translated, I was being rightfully bitch smacked. It was a kind reminder that no matter how tired I get or important I think I am, I have to remember I can't talk to people however I want to, especially when they are in my corner.

Today I woke up and my body hurt. Of course I snapped at my mother which rarely happens. Translated, I need a night in.

These days I write for the Huffington Post, am about to (finally) drop my audiobook, have a cool on camera gig, and things are only getting better. Not to mention I have some other stuff going on. I am losing my mind, but it is job related stress. Everyone feels it, from the street sweeper on up. I am by no means terminally unique. I am getting success because I am working for it and earned it, but what is given can be taken. So I must always walk humbly. Cause we all know a big head cannot fit through any door without being popped.

I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl

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