Monday, November 11, 2013


This past week I have been trying to go up as much as I can to prepare. I have returned to some of the haunts of my youth in the Village, in the days before I knew what it was to have fans let alone be on national television. In the days where my ideas were on loose scraps of paper before I wrote an actual book. While I only have started to make some real progress I am a long way from where I once was. The return has been good and once again they are becoming my old homes. Same with my former home club and other places. However I know the game there. I know the crowd. I know the comics. So I debated journeying out of my comfort zone.

I have long since heard about The Creek and The Cave. There was a part of me that was curious about the place. Certain comedian friends of mine raved about it. Others insisted it was cliquish. I never had been, but already I was judging. I didn't have a weird beard or weird glasses. Although I have a doll, I am hardly alt. I don't strive to be ironic. So basically I wrote the place off. Contempt prior to investigation as they say.

Finally today I told myself I had to go. I just needed to do something different. Because the same places had become my practicing grounds I was getting bored of them, getting bored of my act, and the chip on my shoulder that I have been trying to get rid of was reemerging. After showering and putting on fresh clothes, a spiritual shift in case you have never tried it, I decided to pose the question on facebook. Everyone said shake it up. So on the 7 train I went. I got there early of course and ordered some chili. As I downed my tasty dinner I saw a couple wander in. They were theatre people talking theatre talk and using the SAT words my mother claims I threw out with the bath water as a basement comic. I wasn't sure how I felt. I am not that kind of "smart person." Yes, I write books. But I am not a shit head who corrects people's grammar. I knew this could go either way.

The comedians rolled in and I chatted it up with two newbies. They were new to the game and nervous about the whole standup world. I told them talent doesnt depend on how long someone has been doing it, and that someone could be good or bad at any level. Everyone though seemed really stoked about comedy which was a good thing. I saw some people I hadnt seen in ages which was sweet. Suddenly, as the chili settled in my stomach I had a feeling I made the right decision by venturing out of my comfort zone.

The mic began with the host, a girl named Peggy, doing a few minutes. She was very sweet, warm, and funny. Immediately, she made everyone feel welcome and creative a supportive atmosphere in the room where everyone was safe to be themselves. One by one the comedians took the mic. Each had varying levels of experience, talent, and preparedness of course, but each was passionate about comedy. Each was hunting in their own way for the perfect punchline. Each felt the love and support from their fellow comedians. Making a comedian laugh is like making a mime talk, it's hard work. However, these people did laugh and gave good feedback. I felt a love, comfort, and gentleness here that is a foreign concept in most city rooms. Here I felt a lightness, a passion not only for performing but an art of comedy itself. I felt like I could crash and burn without getting bruised if things didn't go well.

I also garnered a whole new respect for alt comedy. Sure, some of it is hard to take. However, there are also some talented alt people who are good writers and good performers. All comedy does not have to be dick jokes. As I have been crafting this clean set I have gotten a whole new respect for people who are smart and clever. Yes, it might not work in some of the basements but not every show has to be in the basement. When I speak to kids about writing I tell them everyone has their own voice and there is room for everyone's voice. Same goes for comedy. Usually I am guilty of thinking of my own set as well. However, I was busy watching my fellows do their thing which was very exciting. It felt like I was learning and growing in a way I hadn't in some time.

I was amazed by what a family this group was. One of the cohosts had a birthday and the other cohost got her a cupcake and we sang. This cohost also somehow had gotten two ventriloquist figures for her birthday. And when I came up with a real ventriloquist act she thought it was amazing. When my turn came, I did something that has been hard for me for sometime in comedy. I HAD FUN.

 As time goes on, all comedians, myself included, take themselves oh so seriously. We start to see money from comedy and it becomes serious business-ironic when you think of it. And then we develop chips on our shoulders and attitudes about the politics. Soon it becomes more about who we think we are and less about the art. Suddenly, we start writing less and get sick of our acts. We never get sick of hearing ourselves talk about ourselves or others talk about how great we are. We are sick creatures like that.

I had a lot of fun though. The room was also very kind to me. Some of it was that they like comedy. Some of it was that I have been working hard on the set I am preparing. Some of it is that they were supportive. However, a portion was due to the fact I let go and felt comfortable doing so. Afterwards people told me I did well and asked if I would be back. The answer is yes I will. My experience at The Creek and the Cave was a good one. It left me more stoked about performing and more excited about writing than I have been in YEARS. Comedy has a good home and every comedian, old and new, has a safe place to perform, experiment, and grow in whatever way they need to.

This winter I wrote a blog about stepping up my standup and not being sure how I could do that. The answer is to be around people passionate about comedy, writing, and go to out of your comfort zone. And maybe this place has it's little circles but so does every place. Whenever I focus on being funny and don't focus on the politics, I don't feel that sting. I am there to perform, not pass notes. When I do that I get along with every comedian and do decently with every audience, no matter where I am.

So yes, I will be going back to the Creek and the Cave, I will be eating more of that delicious chili. I will be chasing the perfect punchline. I will be wandering out of my comfort zone. Just like the twenty year old kid who dreamed of being on national television and carried her ideas on loose pieces of paper, I won't stop until I get the perfect punchline.

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

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