from a yahoo story about demi moore’s upcoming interview in next month’s harper’s bazaar:
…Moore said; “What scares me is that I’m going to ultimately find out at the end of my life that I’m really not lovable, that I’m not worthy of being loved. That there’s something fundamentally wrong with me…and that I wasn’t wanted here in the first place.”
if demi moore feels this way, then how should i feel?
(a) happy that i’m not alone
(b) sad that anyone should feel this way
(c) skeptical that she’s baring her soul to a magazine (shouldn’t she be saying this to a close friend or a therapist?)
sosure asked: "aaaand just like that, i'm back. oh, comedy." What took you out? What brought you back?
ah, what took me out. well, i wasn’t out completely - i just had a hardcore meltdown on the stage of the star bar in front of about 12-15 people. i have a lot on my brain (health issues with my mom, health issues with my dog, anger, stress, loneliness, depression, PMS, waxing full moon, lack of confidence in my life choices in general & my comedy in particular) and i’ve been stuffing it into a tiny ball somewhere under my diaphragm.
so i was bringing all of that to an extremely unorganized, oddly paced mess where i was asked to be the headliner 5 minutes before the show started. then the host asked the comic just before me to stretch a little; that guy did 35 minutes, leaving me with a 10 minute “headlining” set. i honestly thought i was okay with it until i hit the stage & started talking. i quickly realized that there was no way i could do comedy because everything coming out of my mouth was steeped in blind rage. i yelled at the audience, at the host, at myself. then, as i was looking on my note card for another joke to say, i made an executive decision. i put down the mic, walked off the stage, grabbed my bag, and walked out. i yelled over my shoulder to pay the guy who went before me because he earned it.
it was delightful.
i wasn’t too worried that i wouldn’t do comedy again. i was more concerned that i’d keep doing comedy and have more anger-fueled breakdowns and chalk it up to me entering my “hicks” period, only i wouldn’t notice that nobody was laughing. that would be worse than stopping.
luckily, i had an excellent set (and i hardly ever say that about my performances) at the laughing skull tuesday night, so i’m convinced/relieved that i won’t be entering my “angry” phase anytime soon.
[i should probably do something about the other shit in my life, though.]
i sent submissions to 2 comedy festivals yesterday. i’m pretty sure i won’t get in. and i’m not being all oh-poor-me, i mean i didn’t have the clips i wanted to use and these are the last submission days so who’s actually paying attention at this point, plus i’ve only been at this for 2 years - i don’t think i’m festival-ready yet. but people keep saying i should do it so i did it.
i had to come up with a bio & description of my show for the entry forms. i already have a short (cheesy) bio at the ready, but a description? i dunno…it’s comedy. after overthinking it for an hour, i came up with this:
I’m more interested in stripping away the protective layer of “coolness” and finding the humor in those dark solitary moments, where the light at the end of the tunnel is actually just your laptop screen at the end of your bed. I get personal so you don’t have to.
i have been in a dark place over the past month, but if weeping in bed every weekend leads to another line as poignant as that laptop one, then hand me my crying towel.
there’s been something about my tone lately that has been rough. jagged. raw. i’m harshing everyone’s mellow, man. i want my guarded softness back.
saturday i was feeling bummed out. no particular reason, just an extension of the terrible case of the sads that i caught in january. so i barely ate, stayed in bed all day. not uncommon.
gertie was acting pretty lethargic, too. when i took her for an early evening walk, she wasn’t into it at all. didn’t want to sit outside in the back yard, either. just stayed in her bed, which is at the foot of my bed. she didn’t eat either.
hours later, after i tricked her into a trot during our late night walk, she still didn’t eat. she just stayed close to me. it dawned on me that she does this on those days when i’m bummed & barely able to function. is it possible that she does this because she sees me doing it?
the idea that my dog is THAT in tune with me & my emotions is freaky and weird and the sweetest thing i’ve encountered in years. i just spent 10 minutes holding her in my arms and murmuring, “i love you, gertie. i love you. you’re my girl,” into her ear. when i climbed back into bed, she walked to her bowl & started to eat.
this town ain’t big enough for both of us.
and it ain’t me who’s gonna leave.
the host looked up from his phone. “how long you been doing comedy?” he asked.
“two years,” i replied.
he nodded. “you do uptown?”
“nope. not yet.”
he wrinkled his nose. “where do you perform then?”
“um…i’ve done the laughing skull. it’s in midtown.”
“oh, yeah? is it a mixed club?”
i just had my first “urban” comedy experience tonight and it went as well as i expected. actually, it was better than i expected - nobody shouted at me and nobody tap-danced me off the stage. it was just a room full of blanks stares with two women in the front hiding their laughter.
i’ve been trying to rustle up enough courage to do an “urban” room for a while now. (by this point we all realize that “urban” means black, right? good.) those crowds are tough; they want to hear what they want to hear and they’ll let you know when they’re not feeling you. one of the country’s most notorious black clubs, uptown comedy corner, is smack dab in downtown atlanta. and it’s a doozy. i’ve only been twice - once to watch a show & once to get on the open mic. i wasn’t able to get onstage because the host, shawty shawty what my name is, didn’t feel like taking the chance on a newbie. when i went to watch a show, i spent the whole time trying to figure out what i could say that would grab the crowd & get them on my side. i came up with nothing.
comedy is still remarkably segregated. sure, some comics cross over, but there’s a whole “urban” world out there that even self-proclaimed comedy nerds know nothing about. my comedy, for what it’s worth, probably falls under the alternative label…which just means “white people with buddy holly style glasses.” that’s also what i find funny. but i find kevin hart hilarious. i enjoy sommore, too. and when katt williams was at his prime, he could be a monster.
i fret about making a black audience laugh. i know i’m only two years in and in reality that’s nothing, but i worry about it. i fear it may never happen. once, a white male comic said to me, “you know, you don’t have to do those rooms.”
but i don’t think i have that option.
my set was terrible. after no laughs at anything, i ad-libbed, “guys, guys. keep it down. your laughter is throwing me off.” chuckles after that. they also laughed when the cordless mic kept cutting out or making noise and i looked up and said, “yep, i guess that’s the spaceship coming for me.”
i finished up and left the stage. the host returned and went into the spiel hosts have to do when somebody bombs, “hey now, it’s hard doing comedy, that took a lot of guts. give her a hand.” a smattering of applause. then the host said, “don’t worry, it’ll get better.”
“it better!!” some guy yelled from the middle section. “give me something!!”
“I know, right?” the host laughed. “that was terrible!” he proceeded to talk shit about me, to raucous laughter from the crowd.
i have no idea how i ended up on that show. i mean, i know how - the guy who books it saw me at the laughing skull on an open mic night. i had an okay set and he approached me. i gave him my email; weeks later he invited me to do this caribbean show. i’m glad that he thought i was funny but i still have no idea what he saw in my jokes that made him think i would do well in front of a black audience. black people have a long history of not liking me - at least a good thirty years. through most of elementary & all of high school, i wasn’t the right kind of black. not much i could do about it, so whatever, right? but me doing comedy in front of “urban” crowds? that’s like rounding up everybody who ever gave me crap growing up, sitting them down, and trying to entertain them. who would do that?
a stand up comic, i guess.
the comic after me was a young guy, 22 years old, and he killed. sure, it was all about liking girls with big butts or how white people are different from black people, but the crowd ate it up. he was doing so well that i’m not really sure what triggered him to talk shit about me as well, but he did. “that bitch was throwing me off!” he said. “what the hell was she talking about? she didn’t make no kinds of sense. she kept talking about laughing - ain’t no one laughing! that bitch…” he shook his head. the crowd loved it. i was the go-to joke of the night.
i expected the crowd to not like me. i even expected the host to go in on me. but the 22 year old - that kind of hurt. i mean, obviously he had not encountered a sense of humor different from his before - he’s 22 and from arkansas. but i found it disappointing how quickly the crowd was willing to agree that what i was saying made no sense. i guess i would like to think that black audiences have advanced beyond a 22 year old’s mind state of discovering that we drive like this and they drive like that.
i approached the booker. he pulled money out of his pocket and peeled off a few bills. “this crowd was really rough tonight,” he said.
i waved my hand. “oh, they were fine.”
“well, thank you for doing the show,” he smiled. “this is for you.” he handed me money.
“thank you very much. i really appreciate it. thanks for having me.”
we hugged and agreed to work together again.
i don’t expect to see an email from him for quite some time. but i was just paid a decent amount to have a room full of people not laugh at me.
so, yeah. i’d do it again.
ETA: i certainly don’t want it to seem like i’m blaming the audience for my lousy set. i never blame only the crowd or only myself. they came looking for something and i was offering something else. if they’re not buying what i’m selling, then so be it. but that’s all that i can sell. to try and sell something i don’t believe in would be disingenuous & obvious & would result in me being swept off the stage by a clown doing a soft-shoe - no matter where that stage may be. (09.05.11, 2:53am.)