Friday, April 29, 2016

“The Today Show” 86’d a Real Dummy

A brief moment in media censorship history: Last week, Donald J. Tramp, my political puppet partner, and I were kicked out of the plaza at “The Today Show..” Apparently a stuffed fictional candidate is now “a political statement.”
As a long time New Yorker, I don’t normally do “touristy.” However, in the wake of Donald J. Trump’s landslide victory in the New York primary, a friend of mine suggested that Mr. Tramp and I go to “The Today Show” to get our “fifteen minutes of fame.” Since my Donald J. Tramp dummy bears a striking resemblance to the GOP front-runner dummy, I figured why not.
I arrived at Rockefeller Plaza with my Tramp campaign signs and Mr. Tramp wisely concealed in a box. A viciously huge security guard demanded to know what the signs were. Eyeing me suspiciously, he informed me that to gain access to the plaza audience I would have to dismantle my signs.
As I took my place in line, I smiled knowing my secret in the box. But then the secret was spoiled. Another security guard, an even beefier fellow, also eyed my signs suspiciously as I was dismantling them. “Donald Trump? Come on,” he grumbled.
Then he approached me and eyed me like a snake about to envelop a mouse in it’s jaws. “Aren’t you the girl from YouTube with that Donald Trump puppet?”
“Donald J. Tramp, sir,” I corrected him. While I was certainly surprised, I was also quite pleased that he had seen my “Introducing Donald J. Tramp” video (
“We can’t have you here,” he said as he then promptly ordered me to leave.
The two NBC pages working the show, both nice girls who were probably fresh out of college, thought that Mr. Tramp was a creative idea and loved the concept. However, they told us that in light of all the recent political controversies, “The Today Show” had nixed any and all political statements by the audience on the Plaza. “Even puppets?” I asked.
“Even puppets,” one of the pages told me with a half smile.
Yes, even puppets. Puppet free speech was being censored. As an author, comedian and scholar of The First Amendment, I find this not only worrisome, but also a sad commentary on the times. While George Orwell predicted media censorship, did he know it was going to become so severe that it would restrain ventriloquism free speech?
Donald J. Tramp and I left without further incident, but vowed to tell the world our story: A tale of how a girl and her puppet were silenced by the media for attempting to exercise their constitutional rights of humorous and satirical speech.
Now that I’ve uploaded another Donald J. Tramp video ), I’m just hoping that the security guards outside “Fox & Friends” aren’t YouTube fans.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wedding Bell Blues

Skipper's shower has just passed and I am happy she is getting married. However, weddings bring out this odd sort of malaise and feeling and melancholy. What I am trying to say is, weddings have a morbid overtone sometimes. What I mean is, everyone starts to talk about the people who died. Maybe it's an Irish thing. Maybe it's a Catholic thing. Irish Catholic.....obsessed with death.

On the way to the airport Monday we were talking about the Table for the Dead. Yes, how to remember those who couldn't be there because they died. One woman had a table with candles at her daughter's wedding and pictures of the dead people. It's like, hey, look at this morbid shrine feet away from the cookie table and two feet away from the dancing and booze? Why don't we just depress everyone on this big day? It will come after we get the final total of the wedding which is $$$$$.

As if that wasn't enough, this woman wanted my mom to photograph this thing. Why not have the wedding in a cemetery if you like morbid things?! Seriously.

My mom suggested putting my Nunni and Pop Pop's wedding picture on the cookie table. That way they could be remembered in a more happy fashion. My grandparents were fun people. They dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus, and on my public access show in high school offered to steal me the answers to the SAT's for Christmas. My mom had a near heart attack. They made you laugh. In a recording of The Night Before Christmas they lost their place and just kept going trimming out a large part of the story. They were akin to a comedy team, a George and Gracie. No, they would not be going on the Table for the Dead.

As for my dad's mom, her death last summer caused some drama within his family, and it is a family that loves to battle. Some of my aunts and uncles are estranged but we are working on it. Death does that, but weddings bring people together. It's nice that some of my relatives who had strong feelings about my Mema Ralph's care towards the end are making attempts to send Skipper presents and such as well as congratulations for her impending nuptials. Still, it rips everyone's heart out.

Lest we forget the fireworks that always occur around a wedding. My cousin's mother in law, a country club snob, accused her of being pregnant and that was the only reason her son was marrying my cousin.....not true. Another family friend had her maid of honor make her cry the day of the wedding. Then there was the wedding I went to in West Virginia where two girls were literally fighting for the death over the bouquet toss (One did punch the was weird). Weddings do bring out the worst in everyone. Or as my dad says, "They are just looking for an excuse to be crazy."

Still, it's amazing how now that my sister's getting married, everyone is asking me when I will get married. I have no plans nor do I care. But now they are trying to sell marriage to me like it's a used car. Like I am less of a woman for being single let alone not having a husband. The truth is, I could have been married three times. The first man I would have supported his lazy ass and we could have lived in his mama's basement. The second guy would have given me the world, but he was a goof. The third would have stolen me the moon but got apprehended by the police, but granted he was a knight in shining armor in the suit of armor he stole......and we would have been the envy of the whole trailer park in our double wide.

I know it's okay to be by yourself. Being alone is better than being with a bad husband. But around weddings you see people justify their craptacular marriages. The excuses are terrible, worse than their marriages might I add. I just let it go. Whatever keeps you enjoying your beach front property in The Land of Delusion.

Either way, during the planning of this wedding I have yelled and cursed at all my family members. They have been called a myriad of names by yours truly as I have stressed on getting the big day on track. Skipper probably wants to elope. Yet as my mentor says, "As someone who has been married three times, it's like the circus comes to town and there's this build up. Then the day after, the field is empty."

Maybe that's the scary thing, the field being empty. Time passing. Knowing that we all won't be here forever. Knowing that someday we will all take our place at the table of the dead. Knowing weddings and funerals have so much in common. Knowing that this stressful celebration is one where there is heavy drinking because it is a swift reminder that time keeps going regardless of who or what we fathom it to be, and no one lasts forever........


Monday, April 25, 2016

Let's Go Crazy (Prince)

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today, to get through this thing called life…..” I remember those words spoken back in the day listening to Prince on the 80s throwback. It was my sister and I having a makeshift dance party in our family weight room. It was my dad screaming to turn the music down. It was always our escape during forced family time, when my dad controlled what we watched on TV, and the times Skipper and I wanted no part of it.
This weekend Prince died, and Skipper was having her bridal shower. Both are a sign that time passes, and both a funeral and a wedding have odd ways of bringing the crazy out in everyone. Let’s go crazy, eh?
Weddings as I mentioned are stressful, and this event in general was stressful. Weeks before, at the edge of a near breakdown, my Aunt Marie sent me a rambling email about setting up. She advised me to bring a track suit and then change into my clothes there. I replied to her email, but apparently she didn’t get it because she called my mom. Apparently her daughter Kelly didn’t get it because I got another facebook message wanting to know if I would come and set up.
Aunt Marie is my sister’s Godmother. She is well intentioned but sometimes high strung. Then again, of course she would be super high strung. This was a big event, and the opening act to the main event…..the wedding.
Of course I will come and set up. It’s my sister’s wedding. I am The Maid of Honor, aka family member who gets to sit near the bride and act as her indentured servant at all wedding events. Yes, I have only put this wedding on a physical timeline, prodded my parents and sister to complete the guest list, and make people stick to their deadlines. This wedding only haunts me in my sleep. Yeah, I’m there.
The other stress of the weekend was Boomer, my sister’s fiancĂ©, had his parents coming to town to meet my parents. They had to go to some of the wedding appointments with my mom, and make some wedding decisions. However, their flight from Boston was delayed, and my mom was flipping out because they had appointments to go to. It all worked out, but it was one more stressor.
While the parents were doing wedding stuff, I cleaned the kitchen and vacuumed as well as scrubbed and did a load of dishes. I felt like this was going to kill me, and in no way am I ready to be a domestic engineer. My mother was pleasantly surprised, but my father felt it was still too dirty. I freaked out. I had only spent all day cleaning.
Diplomatically my mother informed me that there was always a new level to clean, and the house had to be perfect for the man party. It was in part so my father could show off his newly renovated man cave. So there was MORE cleaning to be done. And kindly she informed me that at a time like this, there was always MORE CLEANING. Nevermind my parents have spent the better part of the year using their weekends for home improvement projects regarding this wedding. And the fact they changed my childhood room around. Yeah, it looks cleaner than when a teen lived there but damn, I have never felt so violated.
Fortunately the Nelson’s turned out to be lovely people. Mr. Nelson is an engineer, and Mrs. Nelson works with people who have diabetes. Gentle spirits, they too were from large families. They too were stressed about this wedding. At least we were all connecting on that level.
The next day was the shower, and to say the lid was about to blow off the stress pot was an understatement. Skipper went to the salon to have her hair done, and I my mom and I decided to have the wedding timeline meeting with her. During the course of the meeting, I found out one of my sister’s bridesmaids, a young woman who is a trauma surgery fellow, cannot get off for the wedding. However, she is coming in days early just to help out and spend time with my sister. As I was planning, my head nearly exploded.
“I need to know about conforming bridesmaids!” I snapped as I began to chart the weekend. My mom snapped back at me. I had other wrinkles to sort out, such as the fact each girl would need 45 minutes on their hair and the hair dressers had to come at 8 AM to get started. Someone who wanted to act rogue was on their own. When I am in a planning phase I am akin to General Patton on the Peninsula. Don’t get in my way, bitches!
Yeah, I know it’s not my wedding but at this point it’s like I am this far in the foxhole, might as well lead the charge.
I got ready to go to the hall, and my cousin Kelly was supposed to retrieve me. Aunt Marie had been planning this event and now we were down to the wire. However, the clock ticked and she was late. My dad and I plotted on what to do, as Skipper was having her final dress fitting. He advised me to stay calm, weddings made everyone crazy.
“Why is that?” I asked.
“It’s because they are looking for an excuse to be crazy and finally have one.” He informed me. Seconds later, Kelly pulled up to rescue me from a possible impromptu cleaning project involving the man cave.
Kelly apologized, she had to pick up a prescription of horse pills because apparently she somehow in her travels contracted shingles. It’s always a question of what isn’t happening when these things go down. When we got to the hall, Aunt Marie was wearing the proverbial captain’s jacket and gave us orders. To say the place looked beautiful was an understatement. She and my Uncle Frank really outdid themselves. I mean really.
They handmade the decorations hanging from the ceiling, and they also handmade the party favor margarita glasses with bath salts and other treats in them that said, “From my shower to yours.” My mouth hung open in pleasant surprise. Perhaps this was going to be a party and not D-Day as initially dreaded.
Guests came in, and Kathi, a fellow bridesmaid and high school bestie of my sister’s, helped me intercept the present as soon as the women entered. That way they could put on their name tags and socialize. While Skipper and I knew some of the people present from growing up, others were relatives coming from afar. This is the blessing and curse of having a huge family because you always have to pose the awkward question of, “How are we related again?”
Everyone was really nice and the event went smoothly. A lot of people came because they had known my grandmothers, and they had come to their children’s weddings. Others to my pleasant surprise actually have been following my exploits on social media. Many spoke about my dad as a little boy.
Of course the second there was an inkling of down time it was back to work aka opening the presents. Yes, WORK. Kathi and Kelly handed the presents and disposed of the wrapping paper and made a bow. Skipper shined like a diamond as she opened them. And I, sitting to her right, painstakingly catalogued everything. The entire time I took copious notes hoping my ipad would not melt down or crash.
Skipper made out like a bandit. She got so much cook ware that with her medical degree I somewhat worried that if she had trouble paying off her student loans she might resort to cooking meth. But then I remembered she was a good kid. However, she got enough liquor decanters to make many an alcoholic in my genetic line jealous.
However, all jokes aside, she lit up the place and was kind and gracious as ever. Sure, there have been times I have wanted to strangle her in the planning of this wedding, as she is not one to make a decision easily. At the same token, she has grown up into a nice young lady and I was so happy for her and proud of her at that very moment. All and all, she’s a good egg.
My gift accidentally had a moment. I got her the cake cutters and matching flutes as per tradition for the Maid of Honor. I also got her a cake topper back in January from the party store down the street. Actually, it turned out to be too big to be a topper, but I had no clue what she still needed let alone who was throwing the shower at that point. My mother and I were worried it was going to be us before Aunt Marie stepped up. Thank God. Either way, I purchased it because it looked like Skipper and Boomer.
In purchasing this, I had no idea that the bag I would put it in would play wedding music. Either way, when I pulled it out, music played. It was a WTF moment. The whole room ooed and awed at my present. Yes, we all agreed it would be used for the cookie table. (the cookie table gets a blog of it’s own).
In any event, the shower was a success. Cleaning up was like climbing the last stretch of Mt. Everest. Skipper, my mom, and I wanted to go. But Aunt Marie and Uncle Frank had really put their blood, sweat, and tears into this event. It would have been wrong for us to bolt. Plus we had mounds of presents to load.
When I got back to the house, I thought I would get to put my pajamas on and crash. No such plan. There were some men folk straggling. I did what I always do when my parent’s have house guests, visit like a civilized human. However, it was also nice to see men. The party was wonderful and everyone was generous, but after a room full of women for several hours you want to see other civilization. It’s similar to when a chick arrives at a sausage fest.
My dad’s friend Dr. Reb was there drinking with Mr. Nelson, and we discussed the election and laughed. Mrs. Nelson told a story about how Boomer had snuck out as a child, and like a gentle soul she read a book on the experience about raising young men. The Nelson’s were different than my parents. We would have been killed dead had we done that. Skipper and Boomer both turned out relatively well, so perhaps everyone’s parents did a good job in their own different ways.
The next day was spent crafting 55 thank you notes. Skipper, being thoughtful but not so practical, wanted to make each one special. I warned her that she would get tired. She did as I dictated each gift from my master list and my mom addressed and then handed it back to me to steal and stamp. Just when we thought we were done, we had failed to account for the gifts that were shipped to the house, aka shadow gifting. And then Skipper had a few envelopes with gift cards she forgot about in her purse.
There was added drama when there was a gift from one woman named Nanette. She had come with a group of my dad’s family members and no one knew who she was. So we had to call my Aunt Marie who was still in her glory over the shindig she threw to find out. It was a daughter in law of one of my dad’s many relations. Sigh…..
Just when I thought my day was over, my dad wanted me to teach him how to use social media. As I gave this sixty something year old a lesson as we sat in his man cave, I wondered which of the fates I had pissed off. Explaining twitter to my dad was interesting to say the least. He needs it for his job, and I wondered why no one else had bothered to explain it, but why ask?
All this was in between Skipper chronically facetiming Boomer as he spearheaded their house hunt, and her making sure he didn’t fall asleep in the car. Face to palm, these people had taken my last kernel of sanity. If I saw the color white, heard wedding music, or even the word wedding I was going to scream……..
Just then my dad proposed we watch Bridge of Spies. As usual, there he was controlling the TV clicker. The radio stations were all playing Prince. My sister and mom were on my last nerve. Maybe I could dance to Prince alone.
However, weddings are like funerals. You begin to realize you won’t have everyone forever. It’s just not the way it goes. Skipper was getting married. While I would be gaining a brother, we would never be able to hang out like this again really and truly. And if anything happened to any one of them, I would be devastated. The good part is, Prince’s music will live on but these moments won’t.
So I watched Bridge of Spies with my family in my dad’s newly fashioned man cave. My mom fell asleep half way through the movie. Skipper hogged the blankets. My dad and I actively talked history. We all agreed it was Tom Hanks at his best.
During the film my mentor texted wanting to talk. I told him he would have to wait a bit. The movie was just getting good and we were all detoxing from a long and stressful weekend. At the end of it all, they are crazy people, but they are my crazy people.

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life.”

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Born in Your Bed

Each Sunday, I talk to my mom and dad. It's weird calling my parents now that I am getting older. There is always a mix of wanting to avoid talking to them, but yet knowing for as crazy as they are, they too are mere mortals. Translated, parents become important in a way they weren't before because you know you aren't going to have them forever.

My mom told me today that they were polishing my bed. This is a mix of spring cleaning and the never ending marathon of dusting etc for my little sister's wedding. Anyway, they told me that my bed was "shiny like a tuba." Yes, my bed frame is old brass. It does rust. It's actually was my parent's bed before it was mine, and my great grandmother's bed, too.

I got it because my sister was an accident, birth control gone wrong. I was privy to this information when I was a teen and my mom was telling us how birth control could mess up. Apparently I was birth control gone wrong too. My mom says she's grateful because if my brother was an only child she would work as a docent at a museum because he shortened her lifespan so much.

When my sister was born, they had to move me out of the nursery to a big girl bed because now the crib was hers. This was an emergency and that meant me sleeping in the heir loom. Thus my sister stayed in the nursery and got a single bed when the time came. Serves her right......lil accident.

So today, as my mom is telling me about this, the conversation took an interesting and disturbing turn:

Mom: I think I might have been born in your bed.

Me: No Mom, you were born in a hospital.

Mom: No, I was born in your bed. People werent born in hospitals then.

Me: Mom, you were born in a hospital. Remember, your mom and the lady across from her swapped names?

Mom: Yeah, that's right.......I was.......then your grandmother was born in your bed.

Me: What?!

Mom: Yeah, geat-grandmother had to use this doctor she didn't like because of the bank. They pulled your grandma out with forceps and broke her nose.

Me: Really?!

Mom: Really.

Me: That's a lot. my bed. Blood, guts......EWWWWW!!!!!!!!! No.....just no!!!!!!!!

Dad: So that's what we have to look forward with you.

Me: I am never having children.

Dad: It's better than someone dying in your bed.

Me: Then I would never sleep there again.

Dad: Well people die in hospital beds all the time and they flip the mattress over.

Me: If anyone died in my bed I would burn the damn mattress.

Later I thought, there had been a birth in my bed. Then my parents had my bed before me. So there had been lots of ucky action there. Dear God.......what a disturbing thought. And I just came from church too. May God cast Satan out of my mind......

Friday, April 15, 2016

Comedy Guide Post: Not Panicking

Lately, in between marathon practice sessions I have been watching the greats for inspiration. During my years as a comedian, I kind of got lazy about watching other comedians that were "greats." Some of it was I became soured by the politics, and also because when you are fighting it out it seems some of the greatest just got that way on their own. They didn't tank and eat it at open mics like you do. No Sir, they were just born amazing.

One bad habit that I have been trying to break is my panic button. It developed during years of doing short sets in New York. If you didnt make the audience laugh right away you were cooked worse than a burnt piece of toast. So when an audience doesn't do what I want them to do right away, I panic.

I freaking panic.

I panic.


I know the panic button is why I talk so fast and why I race to the punchline, and I do mean race sometimes. Now that I am trying to do longer sets and want to be a hell of a headliner, I am trying to break that habit as I have been whining. The thing is, I panic when an audience doesnt do what I want. "They could smell your fear." A club owner/headliner who worked with me said when I ate it hard but somehow showed enough promise for him to agree to help me........or he wanted to up his kharma. Hell if I know.

This club owner suggested just not even acknowledging the silence by saying, "That didnt work" continuously when that happened. Instead just to keep going. Eventually they would give you what you wanted if you just TALKED TO THEM.

Instead I let them see me sweat when they dont give me what I want.

I even did it today with a singing telegram. They didnt give me what I wanted and I started to panic. That panic is terrible. It's not just me but comedians as a whole who feel it. We push. We try harder. We acknowledge it. What the freeeeekkkkkkkkkkkk works?!?!!?!?!?!?!

What sucks is now that I am conscious of the habit it makes me wanna kick myself more. I know it all goes back to talking to my audience, and then that way it doesnt look like I am trying to hard to be liked. One who is amazing at that is Bernie Mac. He just talks to his people. Sometimes he doesnt get the big payoff at the end of a joke, but he keeps going. Because he is persistent and doesn't let the audience see him sweat, when the does get to the end of the bit the payoff is AMAZING!!!!

He knows how to run the marathon. It's not gonna be dead at the end of a long set. He's gonna rock a short set. He doesn't let you see the panic button, because the man probably took his out. Gosh I wanna get to that point.

What sucks so badly is I want to do so well all the time. Now that I am trying to break all these bad habits the short sets have given me, sometimes I feel like retreating to my room never to do comedy again. But I know when I am breaking down I am just breaking through. It's growing pains.

But I am also breaking terrible habits, and some that are actually letting me see what I am capable of as a comedian. I am good on my feet and need to embrace that more. I take risks, sometimes too many but risks are what make us artists. Not to mention that I am uncovering an ability as a storyteller, one that I wasnt embracing as I was just going joke punchline, joke punchline. Maybe this new layer ain't so bad.

Either way......that's my guidepost for this week.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Bad Habits

Lately I have been trying to turn a new leaf in my life. As you all know, I live in a new neighborhood which means a new gym. While I was a loyal gym goer in Hell's Kitchen, I went to kickboxing twice a week and lifted or did something else in between, but would go 4-5 days without going. But I did go. And then I didnt. I had bouts where I went  A LOT.......And then I didn't. And then I did. Now I am going DAILY to my new gym whether I am running on the indoor track, weight training or both.

As for my diet, I am trying to clean that up, too. I am eating fruit instead of cookies and pretzels. And I am also trying to eat more meat. I got into a situation where I was unable to eat where I was because of the stress and chemicals being used in my apartment. So I unintentionally lost a bunch of weight. Then I got sick and got anemia. There is a such thing as "too skinny" as in, when the skinny makes you sick. I haven't gained or lost weight but have maintained which is good. I am also not skipping meals and eating JUNK later. Basically, I am becoming a healthy adult.

I am also trying to break some bad habits with my comedy. One bad habit I have grown into is the fact I talk TOO FAST onstage. It's actually an easy bad habit to pick up in NYC. When you do short set after short set because marathon comedy shows aka 10000000000 comedians and HOURS of show are the norm, you only have so many minutes onstage and the audience is sometimes TIRED when you get up. So you get used to shooting jokes at them like bullets, because you have to. Forget building a relationship with them. It's like a one night stand on steroids.

Now that I am being called upon to headline, or will be in the future, I know this bad habit has become a problem. And it's one that makes longer sets difficult. I didn't even know I was doing it until a few weeks ago when I did a gig and this guy worked with me for the better part of 4 hours on my act. Basically, he changed the way I looked at and did comedy. He says to me, "You are running right to the punchline. Talk to us. Stop running in such a hurry to the punchline!"

My mentor said it best. A short set is like a quickie and a long set like a relationship love making session where you care. You need to build a relationship with them. It's Actor 101......what's your relationship. So much goes out the window when you are FIRING JOKES LIKE BULLETS. It kind of sucks to know I do it, because thats part of breaking a habit. But it sucks damnit!

My thing now is I am trying to SLOW DOWN AND BUILD A RELATIONSHIP with my people instead of GOING FOR THE LAUGH and the few times I have been able to do it my audience reactions have been BETTER.

Another bad habit has been my puppet work. Because I have been into FIRING THE JOKES my puppet work has gotten SLOPPY. So now I am filming my practice sessions and working with a stool. It's the only way I can see my bad habits live and in color and man are they UUUUUGGGGGGLLLLLLLLYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!

I have been getting up  A LOT lately. Another habit I am shaking is thinking open mics are beneath me. As someone who has been on TV they kind of are, but they are also a safe place to perfect new stuff, and I am becoming grateful for them.

First mic I did okay. Second one my new stuff KILLED IT DEAD. Third mic it did okay, one laugh break but when I figured the room was dead and fuck it, I started to move Donald J Tramp's head to okay the laughter and it worked. It was a mini breakthrough, because I am becoming more relaxed.

Last night I was dead last with my new stuff and was feeling under the weather. Almost just was like fuck it, dont wanna go up. But then I went up and got no reaction at first. Being last with a puppet is damn hard sometimes. Finally Donald and I just started to riff and thats when the laughter started. I was relaxed, loose, free, and wasnt doing any of the new stuff.

I cursed myself the entire trip home, but then I realized something. The jokes were there and would always be there. I knew my routine, and the purpose of an open mic was to PLAY and HAVE FUN. I was having fun onstage and I was riffing. But most importantly I was HAVING A CONVERSATION AND RELATIONSHIP WITH MY AUDIENCE. The jokes would always be there. I was fixing a bad habit. This was the difference between a tortured lifetime as an envious middler and a headliner.

I was fixing a bad habit!!!!!!!

Anyway, Donald J. Tramp and I are going to the debates tomorrow with our posse. Stay tuned.


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Kwitting Komedy

Everyone funny person arrives at a crossroads when they have to decide whether they want to continue to sling punchlines behind a mic, or whether they want to retreat anonymously into the throws of civilian life. It’s a place that is painful, because as a comedian, it’s not just a job or even a hobby. Writing jokes take up every fiber of your being. You look at a situation most would think of as sick or twisted, and are looking for the angle to make it a good bit. Even in times of crisis, you are eagerly awaiting the punchline. Most comedians are strange, awkward, sad clowns to begin with. So in the end, it all makes sense.

But how long can you be a strange, awkward, sad clown? Especially when the art form is brutal, the life style is abusive, and the politics are just incomprehensible. Not to mention that sexism is A-Okay. I have seen things at comedy clubs that would get most normal people a sit down at HR in most places. Not to mention I have known women who have slept their way to the middle, lacking the stage presence and talent of more deserving female comedians. And the jealousy…….oh we wont even go there. In an industry where there are so many comedians and so few spots, the scorpion in all of us comes out.

So then the crossroads arrives. It could be after a number of things. It can be after a horrid bomb akin to Nagasaki. It can be after a series of onstage disappointments where you feel your mojo is gone. It could be tiring of the bullshit politics of the club scene. It could be after being denied in favor of someone less talented. It could be after a so called big break falls through and you are just tired of fighting. It could be after seeing everyone else is “making it” and you aren’t. It could be you are passed at a club, but are tired of the same bullshit check spots because you don’t have the TV credits required. It could be that you get those credits, but are bumped in favor of a more senior comedian who has the same credits but hasn’t been on those shows in years. It could be that you are tired of the late nights. It could be that you are tired of the road. It could be that you are tired of the rat race, and tired of being broke. It could be that you are tired of your family pressuring you to have a normal life and just want to give in. It could be a devastating life event leaves you wanting something other than a nonsense, playtime career. It could be that you are just burned the fuck out.

Bob Newhart even explained it in a Reader’s Digest piece. He said he almost quit comedy, because as he was getting older, living in basically a shoe box and doing the road, his friends were getting the house, the car, the wife, the kids…….getting on with it. Sometimes pursuing your dreams, especially alone, gets to be kind of old. You get tired. You want something else.

It’s a scary universe picking yourself outside of show business. Who will you be? What will you do? I have known plenty of talented people who have made the great jump. One young lady won a contest and even had a hot shot manager courting her, something we were all envious of. But she was sick and tired of being funny, broke, and poor. Now she teaches math to disadvantaged students.

Another guy I lost a Laugh Off to was tired of the late nights and politics. Johnny Carson funny, he didn’t have to resort to the edgy, vulgarity many of my peers and I do. Now he is married with two kids, living back home in the Midwest, and is the funny guy at the office.

Then one of my old open mic homies who had the best tags for jokes, genius if you will, dropped out of the game after his son was born. He says he doesn’t miss it and doesn’t know if he will ever be back. Sure he hates his advertising job, but says he uses his creativity in a different way.
Bottom line, they are all happy. Do they wonder what if? Hell if I know.

Whenever someone has that conversation with me, in the midst of a meltdown, I tell them not to make any rash decisions. Sometimes they are upset, fed up. I tell them sleep on it. Give it a week, and if they still feel the same way then take a step back. Sometimes we need a vacation from getting onstage, and if we miss it enough, we often do return. Rodney Dangerfield did………after 20 years. So I always end with saying, “The universe will tell you if this is or isn’t what you are supposed to be doing. And only you will know.”

Yeah, I talk from experience. I was there recently myself

Life events had given me the shaft. Despite some attention and noise I was making, life wasn’t good to me. I was at the mercy of the landlord from hell, and was in and out of court. Because my living situation was not only emotionally unsafe but physically unsafe as well, I lost my hair. I broke up with my boyfriend at the time, and it was bad. The only thing getting me up off the floor was the fact my landlord kept taunting me with eviction papers and dragging me to court.

Ironically, around this time, I had begun working with my mentor. He’s the type where you have to have at least 10 years in for him to even consider looking at you. I had hounded this man from the time I was a kid toting a puppet. Now we were ready to work together. I should have been thrilled, but this was coming at a time when I was considering pulling the plug on my comedy career which made the whole thing more confusing.

At that time, I had a chat with a now ex friend and it was about God and faith. She was a nut, but she was a nice lady, or so I thought. “You want to do this comedy stuff, but God might be telling you no.” Veronica cooed in her nice Southern accident. “Maybe it’s time for you to just get a different job and do something else.”

I did a set at a comedy club that night with my friends words in my mind. There were lots of funny people in my city, and I was by far not even close to being the funniest. Not to mention I had worked long and hard, and still wasn’t where I wanted to be. I had some success, I made some noise on the international dateline. But maybe it was time to say I had my fun and did everything I was supposed to do with it. And maybe I was wasting my time.

I killed it that evening. This was God telling me to do comedy and to ditch my asshole friend.

The next day I got eviction papers again from my landlord. Days later he tried to burn my apartment down, and the police who came to comfort me encouraged me to leave as soon as I humanly could. Thus I moved under duress. While the living situation I entered was better, I was totally burned out. Days later, I got word a yearly test came back abnormal, and the odds of me having cancer were good. I silently hoped I would have cancer so I could just lay down and die because I was so tired of fighting.

Waiting for the test results was the most excruciating experience of my life. Around that time a magazine did a story on me, calling me “Master of All Talent.” It is a well known one, too. At that party, everyone was nice to me. Yet I felt like I was walking in a fog in a life that was once mine but wasn’t. They say you should quit when your spark is gone. My spark was gone.

Christmas came weeks later, and as usual I had certain family members pressuring me to quit and “grow up.” In the past I either let them upset me or tuned them out. Now I figured they might have a point. My aunt knew a woman who apparently made “lots of money” and worked in NYC once a month and was “interested” in hiring me. I met this woman and felt she was an obnoxious, boorish, moron and a phony at that. But she had a job for me, and my parents were urging me to take it. Knowing my options were running out, I gave it thought.

They tried to sell it to me that I could still do my comedy, but probably secretly hoped I would get so involved in this job I would quit. I had no problem with that as I wanted to quit, but didn’t want this woman to be my only option, but that was the way it was looking. Weeks later, it turned out she was a career criminal and the IRS was seizing her house. As for the money she made, looks like she cant buy a cup of coffee. Maybe she saw New York once in a movie before the electric company shut off her power and cable.

I went through a week where I wanted to go to law school, go to get the PhD in history, become a nurse, become a wedding planner, and finally turn my hair strawberry blonde and work in an office. I confided my feelings to a friend who had been through a nasty divorce. She said the following things to me, “April, I went through the same thing after my divorce. You are in no place to make any decisions at all right now, and anything you decide now you will later regret. Give it at least 6 months.”

The next week I went to Vegas and debuted a new routine with my mentor and crushed it at a legendary venue where the likes of Frank Sinatra worked. I told him about my crisis of faith. A man who has worked with the best of them, he told me, “This isn’t the universe telling you to quit, it’s telling you that now you really need to start doing this for real.”

My zeal was back for a minute.

That is until I came across an older former headliner I knew working as a waiter in Times Square. After several personal mishaps and the loss of a booking gig, he was no longer pursuing stand up but now working with a pad in hand. Beaten down and bitter, he told me “no one’s making it.” He confided in the newbie comedy friend who was sick of her office job and myself that he wished he never left his office job, because now he wouldn’t be where he was. To say he had regrets was an understatement.

I tried to put a positive spin on the conversation, but didn’t want to tell him about Vegas or the good things I was doing. Instead I said everyone had their path, and perhaps he would be back one day. But he had pulled me into his abyss. Afterwards, I began to question my decisions. Maybe this was a visitor from my future warning me about what was to come. I was still young. Maybe, just maybe, it was time to get out and be an adult before I ended up where he was.

I did about a month of spots and did okay. Nothing great or monumental. I was not inspired enough to write new jokes because I didn’t have the energy. While I wasn’t eating it, I wasn’t doing what I was capable of. Sure, I was good enough to book but no one was in a real hurry to have me back. I got the job done. Back in the day, I saw people who were greener and could best them because of experience and I knew where they were faltering. Now I was making the same mistakes they were. Bottom line, the passion was gone. I was just going through the uninspired motions onstage.

Then something happened to alter the course of everything. I was walking down the street planning on leaving NYC and marrying some random dude and having kids when my phone rang. It was to replace a guy who was having a bigger breakdown and crisis of faith that clearly topped mine. I said yes, but then kicked myself. It was an extended set on the road. I hadn’t done one in a while. This was going to be a blood bath.

I lamented my plight to my friend who is a 10th generation palm reader. A woman of spirituality, she has an autistic son and her life is one that is difficult, but somehow she has the strength to endure. “The universe is telling me to quit, and this weekend will be so bad it will reaffirm everything I know.”

“No, this is the universe telling you to do comedy. That’s why you got the surprise gig.” She reassured me.

“What if I tank out?” I whined.

“Then it will give you something new to whine about other than your breakup, your eviction, your hair loss and your cancer scare. Just put yourself out there and dust yourself off. Whatever happens, at least you wont regret sitting home and wasting your talent.” She admonished.

The first night was brutal. But I was expecting a car crash where I lost all my limbs and was paralyzed. I lost just both my arms and could still walk, so I was actually happy that it was less of a blood bath than I anticipated. So when the club owner gave me the talk afterward that tomorrow night needed to be different, I was expecting it. I knew full well I had sucked.

Just as I was in the midst of my “I’m not listening, Mr. Club Owner” phase, he said something that piqued my interest. I had seen him go up and he was funny, very funny. And then he mentioned he had just gotten back from headlining in Vegas, something I had always wanted to do but didn’t think I would ever accomplish. There is an old saying to flock to people who have what you want, and he had what I wanted. Then he began to dissect my whole act, and had some super helpful suggestions. To say he knew his shit was an understatement. Oh and he was super passionate about comedy. And to say he was absolutely right about everything is also an understatement as well.

What happened next deserves a blog all it’s own, because it would hardly do this man or his advice justice in one paragraph. But it was the kick in the ass that I needed. Basically the universe wasn’t telling me to throw in the towel. Instead, it was telling me to stick with comedy, but to get my head back in the game because there was still work to be done. And it was a process, a journey, that didn’t happen instantaneously.

The next night I knocked it out of the park. But more than anything, I realized I forgot how much I just plain loved making people laugh, and how much FUN it was to be onstage. It felt like the days before I even knew what having a TV credit was or I even answered a piece of fan mail. It felt like the days before people even remotely knew who I was…….not that they know a whole lot now. Either way, I got a taste of what I used to be able to do, and I suddenly felt like I could do more, and that I needed to do more.

I didn’t just want to do comedy again. I needed to do comedy again. And it wasn’t going to let me quit anytime soon. When I got home I ordered a puppet stand (club owner had me working with one as per his suggestion), and began to tape myself rehearsing (another one of his suggestions) and both have been effective.

I have also been working on a new routine, and it has been a lot of fun breaking it in onstage. Actually, I have been having a blast. I have also been finding a new sense of community, as we are all striving for the perfect punchline, the same killer tag, and strive for that applause. Needless to say, I also have some recommended reading I need to do.

In closing, when you send a script to Development, they always send it back with sticky notes. I wanted to quit comedy, and the execs thought that part on my page 31 was much too depressing, so they did a rewrite. That is why I say when you want to quit comedy, sleep on it. The universe will tell you, and the universe told me no. Looks like comedy and I are going to be spending some more time together. It’s not such a bad plot twist. Actually……….I kind of like it. 


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Deal Breaker

The last guy I dated was nice. Yes, nice. I said it. Nice like the weather. Nice like a day. Nice like a gesture gone wrong that burns down a house.


When we got together, we couldn't have been more different. Actually, we had been friends, but not terribly close, for the better part of a year. To say we had very little in common was an understatement. However, he was hot. And women are like men but don't want to admit it. We will overlook the stupidity of a dude if he is HOTTTTTTTTT.......

To give you an idea of how stupid Sam was, he was from South Jersey which says everything. Like the cast members of the Jersey Shore show, he used more hair products than I did. He also doused his body with all too much Ax Body Spray, which was just a kind way of telling me he was with because I was the first thing he could club over the head on his way back to the proverbial cave. But it was also to gently remind me that once he clubbed something else who would probably blow him on the sidewalk, I was gone.

When we went out, Sam was often late. It was because the majority of his time was spent putting endless amounts of gel in his hair, like a high school girl going on a dance date. The male version of that girl too cute to carry a backpack in high school, Sam believed intuitively to be a big word. As a matter of fact, he bragged about being able to use it in a sentence just to impress me, but then thought Benjamin Franklin was a US President at one point.  Just like a dirty old man has arm candy, Sam was my arm candy. And boy was he tasty, especially when he didn't speak around my friends!

One could say I was the man in this relationship, because Sam often liked to talk about his feelings. He was the first to say he loved me which totally weirded me out, and he got upset that I "shut down" on him and "shut him out." Did I mention he was the one who liked the cuddle? Either way, Sam was always reaffirming his male-ness by trying to be Dudley Do-Right and paying on every date, even when I suggested we take turns.

As a "smart girl" who never got a date in high school, I always have had a chip on my shoulder about that. I wasn't allowed to date as well. Both things have left me somewhat feeble in the dating department. Up to Sam and post-engagement, most of my energy had been spent on my puppets and my career.

Despite the fact his knuckles probably dragged when he walked and were somewhat bloodied at times, Sam as I said was generous. He was always there for his friends, and was always right there when I needed him.

Then again, most dumb people typically are.

Everyone questioned why we were even together, because Sam was obviously not my intellectual equal. Heck, I didn't even know. Sam typically liked his women over made up and stupid, and I was neither. It's actually more apt to say that Sam liked straight up trash from Jersey, ass hanging out over underwear, track marks, and C-Section scar on the beach in the summer.

However, I had a pad down the street where Sam hung out and he needed a place to shower while he made it his main mission to get dick suave with other girls behind my back. Okay, he wasn't that dumb. Or as my father says, "Location, location!"

Yet he couldn't successfully cheat because that involves planning. I always told him he was more than welcome to, because I saw how he oogled over other, sluttier women like pieces of steak he wanted to ravage raw. Whenever I offered to give him $20 to get out of my site and mess with someone else he would get mad. I assured him I was just helping him be an efficient dickhead. So when I say he was stupid I do not lie. Man could not even cheat successfully!

Anyway, there was a party where we were watching the first set of the Republican debates. Many of our mutual friends would be there. For the most part, many of us were just watching this battle of nitwits just to mock it. Most of us had voted for Obama not once if not twice, and some of us even voted socialist. Sam was going just to hang out. Deep opinions really weren't his thing, that would involve thought and Sam didn't do that.

We began watching, and making fun of Ted Cruz who is like the love child of Elmer Fudd. Then there was Scott Walker who was just plain repulsive, especially when he began to talk about reproductive rights. After which Marco Rubio seemed like he was almost smart, until he came out against women and gays. Rand Paul and Ben Carson were mere chorus members. And then there was Donald J. Trump.

Trump began his xenophobic rant about Muslims, terrorists, illegals, and building a wall. At that moment, Sam felt inspired. He screamed at the top of his lungs, excited, "DONALD TRUMP IS OUR NEXT PRESIDENT! HE IS THE MAN WHO CAN MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! WE NEED TO BUILD A WALL TO KEEP THE ILLEGALS OUT AND FROM INVADING AMERICA!!!!!!"

At first we thought he was kidding, only to realize he was dead serious.

The room went silent and many of us bit our lips in horror. I got a few sympathetic glances, mostly from people of my same mind set who wondered why I let my moron talk in public. Ashamed, I looked down, horrified and embarrassed. Sam was not done. He continued, "WE NEED TO MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN AND GET RID THE OF MEXICANS AND TERRORISTS!"

When he got no response, sincere and full of zeal, the socially conscious simpleton I was dating bellowed, "WE NEED TO BUILD A WALL AND DONALD TRUMP IS THE MAN TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN!!!!!"

Damn, he had been so much cuter when he had just hung on my arm, smoked a cigarette like a bad boy, and acted tough without saying a word. Now my brain ached at the thought of another moment with him. Brian, a mutual friend of ours who is a writer, made the mistake of trying to fix stupid. This is how their ill-fated exchange went:

Brian: Sam, Donald Trump wouldn't make a good president. He's not a true politician.

Sam: Yeah, but we have had generations of career politicians and they have run this country into the ground. We need a true, leader, a businessman.

Brian: Sam, he's the host of Celebrity Apprentice.


Brian: No comment.


Brian: It's not that simple, Sam. Some of them have children that live here.


At that moment I lied and said I wasnt feeling well and left. There was no way I would last the whole debate and acknowledge I was there with this imbecile. All night there had been some tartlette parading around in sleazy garb. At one time I would have been jealous but now all I wanted Sam to do was to go home with her and have long hours of sex with someone who would have too failed any high school class. Maybe she would have his baby and they could pollute the gene pool. He was certainly getting sweet over her bad, spray on tan which is all the rage in this cest pool where he is from.

Just then I got a text from my friend Wilson, a pansexual who was often at odds with Sam. It was more because he thought Sam was as dumb as a brick wall, and Wilson was correct. Sam always felt Wilson talked down to him, and Wilson did not because he was mean or nasty, but Sam was that slow to the catch. Mind you, Sam was jealous that Wilson and I spent so much time together, but it wasn't sexual because Wilson was dating a man at the time. Rather, Wilson could use big words other than intuitively, and unlike Sam could have a conversation about something deep.

Wilson said via text, "Don't worry, I still love you. We all do."

That night I prayed to God Sam would cheat on me. I prayed he would find himself in bed with that cave girl. I prayed if not the cave girl this desperate, unsuccessful, needy, aspiring actress named Jenny who thought he was amazing. Maybe this would be the night that she would send him a nude selfie and I could be rescued!!!!! If not Jenny, maybe Julianna, a rich girl who had been to rehab multiple times with her own clothing line. Yes, any one of them. Although broke, I would still pay them. I wanted to be free from the dumb ass clown who was sucking the air that was going to my brain!

Alas, it did not happen. When I got home Sam send me a text wanting to know if he could bring me Advil for my headache. He said the debate wasn't the same without me. I just wanted to scream, "YOU PAGAN WENCHES ARE USELESS! WHY CAN'T ANY OF YOU BE YOUR EASY SELVES AT THE CORRECT TIME!!!!!!?????????!!!!?!?!?!!?!?!?!!?"

Weeks later, we broke up. It didn't end well. How could it? As I mentioned, he was voting for Donald Trump. Although the deal breaker would be he lied, it wasn't about another woman but something else, the end had come weeks before. Sure, he was pretty. Alas, sometimes pretty things are better seen and not heard.


Saturday, April 2, 2016


Just got back from Vegas where I was working with my mentor for a week. The first night in Vegas is always about adjustment. You know you should get sleep but you are kind of wired, because once you see Las Vegas and the lights you just wanna PAAAAAAAARRRRRRTTTTTYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!

Then of course when I got to my mentor's pad his Wheaton Terrier came running towards me and I didn't want to sleep. But I knew I had to because I had to be fresh. Therefore, I took a ZZZZZZZ aid. Yeah, sleep aid. Dunno if that was the best idea, but certainly wasn't the worst. Took one of the non-addictive ones and it helped get me back on track. And then off I was to work with my mentor.

We worked and did a lot. I mean, we accomplished  A LOT. So much so that after each day I was literally SPENT. Whether it was working on our new routine, perfecting our new routine, shooting videos, or doing other things to further my brand it was work, WORK, WERQ.

And then playing with his Wheaton Terrier, going to the casino with his mom who is 101 and gambles like a pro, or watching and memorizing parts of Broadway Danny Rose. However, it was mostly work, WORK, WERQ.

I saw one show though. It was Defending the Caveman with comedian Kevin Burke. The show was amazing and I would highly recommend it. My mentor works with Kevin, and a club owner who so generously helped me with my act several weeks ago recommended it as well.

Either way, shows in Vegas are of a different caliber. In NYC, aside from Broadway, theatre is very trial and error as are comedy shows aside from headliner clubs. In Vegas, it's all top notch, pro level, no mistakes, none of this workshop crap. It's show's how these people make their dough. No time for error.

Flying back to NYC I planned to sleep on the plane because April Fool's is the busiest day in the telegram business. God had other plans. Sat next to the rudest bitch face on the face of the planet. She gets on the plane, is banging things around like she owns the damn aisle. Then she sits next to me and is eating this bag of gummy bears and dropping them on me and the dude next to me. I so wanted to strangle her.

Then she went to sleep.

However, I was chilly and didn't know why. Then all of a sudden I realized this asshole was BLASTING HER AIR!!!!!!!!!  It was like she had no concept she was on this planet with other people.

Finally at the end of the flight after I got NO SLEEP she stands up, literally tries to run over me to get her bag and has the audacity to say, "You're fine." Everyone is looking at me like they wanna kill her too because she's the bitch blasting the air. But rest assured I had bad gas from some of the tacos I ate so guess who farted freely. See, God is almost on my side.......sometimes. (They were some real stinkers, too).

I would have changed my seat but the flight was full. Anyway, I get off the plane and all I wanna do is sleep, but because I was hours behind and have energy I am too wired. Plus my boss has a gig for me in NJ. So on a plane and bus I go. They were nice people in a plastic surgeon's office and tipped well. Rent is getting paid and I got to prank a cute doctor........

In the meantime, I also engaged in a feud with a total ass clown. To give you an idea, someone I was hired to replace on a show had been baiting me online for weeks. He's a washed up idiot who's day has passed, and he takes it out on everyone else. Plus he bad mouths a very successful friend of his, and I have a feeling he might have also lifted one of this dude's bits.

Anyway, the latest, after he said something to the effect of that I had an STD, was that I stole material. Like this asshole should talk. I jumped down his throat, and then after talking with my mom I blocked him. Still, it upset me because I didnt take the gig from him. He didnt want to do what he was hired to do so he was FIRED. The guy I worked for was SUPER FAIR. I thanked him via social media and it was too much for this moron. Sigh......

However, it all caught up with me yesterday when I was so tired coming home I almost blacked out. After forgetting what day it was, I nearly forgot I had to pay rent. Then I gave my landlord TOO MUCH rent money. You know you are tired when you give your landlord too much rent money. Then I had trouble falling asleep but finally did.

Today I went to work first thing in the AM and sang for some dudes at a Legion Hall in Brooklyn. Stripping to my bikini, one old dude with a cane demanded a lap dance. Mind you, this was all after train delay after train delay. They tipped well.

On the ride home, I nearly fell asleep on the train and knew that was a bad sign, and the trains were screwed up in all directions. But yeah, almost fell asleep which isn't good.

So after some dinner I am lamenting that lately I have been working my ass off. I hurt all over. Maybe shower, already had some dinner. Watching Strictly Ballroom. The Coca Cola can is sparkling in the back of the Scott and Fran. It's one of my favorite movies. Always makes me smile, laugh and cry.

I am doing a show for the kiddies Monday in Bridgewater.

But gotta get some good rest and self-care in first.

Sparkling coca-cola can means everything is right with a rom com, good nap, and caffeine.