Buckle up, but we may be in the driveway for a few hours

This may take 3 to 5 years.

As I get older, the carrot of money, prestige and stuff has become less orange and sweet. That’s not true- maybe it’s truer to so that I’m lazier to grab at it with my teeth.  but at the age of 47 with an ample income, 59k left on the mortgage and more clogs than I ever could have use for, I need to  trick myself into writing another hour of stand-up comedy to earn.

Therefore, in an effort to get myself to write (my last special OLD BABY came out on Netflix the beginning of 2017), I’m starting a blog. I love an audience and so, welcome to the quiet, terrible show.

I’m not the best comedian, I’m certainly not the smartest or hardest working, but I thought maybe it’d be helpful to share how I wrote a new hour- and if in sharing, I actually ended up writing and polishing a new hour? All the better! And if that means out of it comes a lot of writing that could be a self-published book on Amazon that could be passive income as I age?   Well, don’t mind if I do!

And really, why write a new hour of stand-up comedy? I ask myself desperately?  Besides for the moneY?  I could do the same act for the next 20 years and make an ok living. (I’m not sure if that actually- that may be a rumor from the age of Vaudeville) . What’s the point of new stuff, existentially-


-I’m a relatively unknown (my name will not be remembered in the next century or most likely even in the next 10 years)

-I’m a white middle aged lady whose pov is the equivalent of Priv Lit. It’s time for me to step aside and hand the mic to any number of extremely talented artists whose voices aren’t being heard. I’d be more useful being volunteering as a secretary at a non-profit.

-I’m  dumping onto a hoarders’ mountain of content

-I’m distracting people (including myself) from the horrifying social inequalities, the degradation of our planet and the general Room for Improvement in Everything.

So, here’s the only reason I can come up with:

It (sort of) makes me feel good. Maybe even happy.  And I’ve only got one life- so, even if no one else cares, I do. And that’s probably the one person who should. And it might pay some bills.

And- sometimes not always- but enough times- I feel  pleasantly “used up” after doing stand up (especially when they are new rrrrrich bits and the audience’s laughter has sculpted the rich bit itself!), that it makes it worth all of the painful procrastination, self-loathing and stage fright.  And it covers a 2 week vacation to Norway.

And It feels good to try. And even to fail. (If there other comics around to commiserate a play by play of what went wrong in the 2nd half). And then, try again. And it means I can put those electric yellow patent leather clogs in the shopping cart and log into PayPal with confidence, all the better.

And that’s reason enough I guess. Why am I trying to prove it to you? This is a blog, not a grant.

I apologize for all of the terrible grammar and spelling mistakes and poor journalistic structure in advance.  I apologize if I say anything totally off or unhelpful. Let your disgust at my half-assedness trampoline you into working on your own  one-person donkey-driven Cavalia.

So, thanks for reading.  This is my first entry to tell you about the writing of a new hour of material.

Well, I haven’t started yet so you’ll just have to sit with me here.  Be patient. I’ll think or something. Or not. I guess that’s sort of the “process”.


















Listening to last hour

Painful to hear my squeaky umms and ahs, but have a few more ideas.

Need a different word for impersonations, axe body spray flavors, what minimum wage is and rent in my hometown.

Will look up.


Voodoo and dark temptation


$795 for one br in Duluth

Working 40 hours a week, that’s 1300 a month, gross. 60 hours a week 1953, gross. 1562 at 20% tax rate.

That’s so I have better numbers in the social justice fantasies bit.

The next show I have is a few weeks from now and I’d rather be practicing every day a little bit instead of freaking out the day before. So, I may ask some friends if they’ll listen to my new hour this weekend- if it seems appropriate and they are down.

Hearing about suicides of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade has been depressing. There’s no way to talk about someone else’s death without sounding like a jackass. There are all these messages after their obits to call the suicide hotline if you’re thinking of killing yourself and that seems so condescending, weird. As if they didn’t know about those resources or that someone might be stopped by seeing a phone number- like a zap of chemotherapy treatment for cancer. It just seems ridiculous and disrespectful to their experience. Not that people can’t survive suicide attempts or that some deaths by suicide are prevented, but I don’t know- after it happens- why make it this “lesson” that we apparently have to be reminded of or an if only they had a phone number. Obviously, they had a jillion phone numbers and if there’s an inappropriate time to judge someone for their actions as to “WHY?”, right after their death would seem to be the grossest.

It reminds me of when a family friend told me (and a bunch of other people) that the reason I was in the psych ward was because of a spiritual malady that could only be cured by a certain type of new age healing (and not meds). How dare anyone take one persons individual experience – that they didn’t have much curiosity about except to interpret it to their own beliefs – and use it as a symbol of a cautionary tale? Anyways, I’m not reposting suicide hotlines. Yeah- they can help but, to say they’re first line of prevention for any one person- just seems disrespectful of what just happened. Like putting an “eat organic” ad after someone dies of pesticide poisoning. They just died. Stop the promotion of the cure already.


Getting ready for a festival. I’m not sure what kind of venue it’s in and if it’s outside it may be sort of like “doing the time” even if there isn’t a ton of audience response because it’s outdoors and people are distracted.

Was listening to NPR Terri gross interview about Rodgers and Hammerstein- that when they got successful, the quality of their work went down due to being overstretched with new money making opportunities and I definitely worry about that for myself.

Scott and I are trying to downsize – adding 1 roommate and then maybe a 2nd and 3rd- so there isn’t as much of a burden on earning instead of focusing to do a good job on one thing. I’m grateful to have a bunch of streams of income with voiceover and some tv acting, but I wonder if the quality of stand-up (and personal life) goes down with having a bunch of stuff going on or so much that you can’t really enjoy one thing at a time.

Need to rehearse, but have a script to memorize and bookkeeping to handle and an animation script to punch up and so- not giving full attention to the type of work that I enjoy the most anyways.

Going to have friend Joanna Cruz over to help me out with rehearsal (committing to new hour) and script memorizing (Stan vs evil on ifc- crazy nurse) and down sizing (putting all tax records in basement to clear a space for another human beast). I’m paying her $50 an hour for the creative help and $25 an hour for the office work. I don’t know if I’m over or under paying, but I do know that I own a home and none of my friends do (except for Jackie) and so it seems at least not taking advantage of her time.

I used to work for people organizing and cleaning homes and it really bothered me that I got minimum wage. Not to be ungrateful, but to just question your hourly rate when there’s a separate bedroom and closet (lots of outfits) for the dog.

We do have two dresses for The dogs that we purchased on Etsy from polka dog designs and I hope that lady seamstress is paying herself well. But that’s it for clothes. Sometimes we put one of them in the laundry room (jackie) because she’s bitten her sister (Betty), but it’s not “their” room.

Sent shorter 7 min new set to my manager Bruce for him to hear for a short appearance at jfl. He was worried the opener wasn’t strong enough, but I think he’s wrong. I almost don’t know why I sent it because I feel fairly stubborn about it. I guess I want to appear open and flexible while maintaining an inner rigidity and defensiveness. Good thing one can ever sense that.

Went through hour with Joanne. At least I practiced the words if not the meaning of them. Some (if not all) of my material feels so useless. Like it doesn’t have any great epiphanies or non-stop laughs. Went to a show last night and saw Zack galifinakis and his work is just so joyful and seamless and (seemingly) effortless and it was laugh a second. It is embarrassing to follow and just do what I have, but that’s the whole thing (for me, anyway) to continue on showing up despite little sign of genius or profundity. That it’s ok to keep making stuff even if it’s not the greatest. I may be a dandelion in the sidewalk but hey, a pretty nice dandelion in the sidewalk. (Substitute any commonplace flora/fauna at your discretion)

  • Whoops. Clusterfest is a little stressful because I get nervous for shows and so I feel scared if there’s any rejection at the out front and part of showbiz is trying to get in the door even when you are on the bill. It’s just that security professionals are doing their job and I have the shame that I probably don’t belong. Those combined bring out a weird combo of embarrassed confusion begging to get into the venue I’m performing in.

Woof! Rough show. Oyuoyoyoy. I headlined a show following the electrifying crowd work of Michael Che and boy was I a letdown. Agh! I did 30 minute and basically just filled the time, bailing into old material about 15 minutes in. Very humbling. It’s been a while since I’ve done a large show with non-super fans in the crowd. Well, it’s over now. (Jackie kashian on stage below!)

Detroit and Cincinnati

  • In Lyft to airport! Practiced yesterday for an hour but feeling pretty gross as I didn’t exercise this morning before the 8 hour nonviolent sit-in that is traveling.

Will bookend here that i rehearse the hour on the plane. I’ll let you know how that goes.

  • Also, in an effort to get myself to do night shows in LA (short, unpaid sets that now involve a minimum 45-hour long ride into the city), I’ve asked the latest person to ask if I was free for a show- if I could have a 20 minute set AND a 10 min set for a pal. That way, I’ll have a friend to hang with- this making it meaningful and fun. My pal Steve says he’s avails. I’ve always wanted to have a van that picked up comedians all over the city so that you wouldn’t have to drive such long distances alone. I guess that’s called Lyft line. The daytime shows are helpful, but night time crowds and shorter sets help edit the material and I definitely have gotten “soft” as a performer in terms of getting used to unilateral acceptance by the audience.

Backstage at royal oak, mi theatre. Rehearsed a little, listened to last set in philly that went great. I feel a little worried I didn’t go through everything today. I will attempt to just do new material the whole hour- even if it’s not a success. Agh.

Did it! Did full hour of new material! Yahoo wahoo. It was a little messy with the new stories at the end, but I’ll bookend practicing here today.

Went through beginning and 2 end stories (worst cooks, Harvard lampoon). There’s a food festival outside with a pretty loud band and you can hear it inside the theatre so I’m worried I may not make it through with all new material just because it’s harder to focus.

It’s so great because Jackie is here and she’s trying out new chunks on feminism, building a new hour too- and that helps keep me inspired.

Listening back

So I listened to the best show from Philly and it’s confusing because the audience laughs at everything and I think it’s a skewed reality.

Now- to get the courage to hear the quieter show and see what happened there. I just had another quiet 1 pm show at the Clubhouse in Hollywood. I’m going to videotape the show on Wednesday at 1 pm and see what I’m doing physically. I’ve become less conscious of my movement on stage with the years and it might help to choreograph when to stand still and where moving is actually helping the performance instead of just pacing nervously.

I have a ton of “uuuuhs” and “umm” in the recordings and I’d like to edit those from my comedy. It’d better to have no sound at all, I think. Or heavy mouth breathing.

Ok- went over the first, quieter show. It was all right- more laughs than I remember and so that’s nice.

About the uuhs- I just got a fan (?) letter begging me to stop stuttering, umming and using “like”. It was from England. I can try. It’s a hard one for me.

Now going to Cincinnati and Michigan tomorrow and rehearsing with comic Carmen morales!


Have done 2 shows and now doing a 3rd practice show at the Good Good Comedy Theatre. They let me have 3 one pm shows at the last minute and I told them to keep the door ($5 a head for 50 people isn’t a ton) because they have such a wonderful space (black box theatre) and I’m very grateful for their availability and I’m also getting paid to do 2 shows at Helium on Sunday. And – just like LA- it’s nice to feel like they are “practice” shows.

We’re here for our nephew Collins graduation from college – a BFA- and another painter in the family. It’s was really inspiring to hear the commencement speech from a famous artist – he said the things (or at least I made it in my head that he said these things) I need to hear – like the work itself is the everything and connection with community. I haven’t always had a big connection with community so that is something I’d like to improve at- being someone trustworthy – who will show up to help. I don’t always trust myself to show up for people and causes.

So, now doing the full hour with no old material and so that’s just great. Even if the last few bits are pretty uneven stories- the only way they’ll get any better is by doing them.

Wonderful to see all of the art created by graduates of PAFA in their open studio day. So inspiring and exciting to see their skill and passion and hand-knit bowties.

Now, pre-show at Helium! Michell Biloon is opening and doing beautifully. I have a plan to do all new material. We’ll see how it goes.

First show down. Got stumbly despite rehearsing for 3 shows this week. Agh.

Second show was beyond superbo. Audience laughed at set-ups and flubs and punchlines and I am done and psyched to listen to both sets- the quiet show and the exuberant- to see if I did anything differently. I shouldn’t say excited. How about slightly curious, but tired.


Driving in budget rental car to Hilarities. More to come!

Was able to do almost whole set with only 2 old ones and so that’s a victory. Will try to listen to sets on plane home.

Tomorrow- meeting with friends Doug and Marie to look at what I can afford with having an opener and other issues in the beeswax.


On delta to Columbus via Houston and need to listen to set. Great to see jackie! As I said before, I’ve made a decision to go from profit sharing on shows to paying her a flat fee because the business income is down from last year. I feel really awful about it as Jackie is part of the reason I can even do the road and she makes the shows just great and a ton more fun. The business expenses are higher than they used to be – due to having more “staff”- accountant on call for quarterly payments and bookkeeper and travel agent and publicist and then earning enough to pay myself on the payroll – including all of the taxes. I’m going to meet with my debtors anonymous sponsors (not that I am in that program :)- haha. I’ve gone for 24 years and it’s a free resource I’ve gratefully utilized for support and community despite being an atheist. I figure prayer is just a creative cognitive behavioral excercise to help the mind stop ruminating. I pray to science and the human spirit. And that’s one of the rules of 12 step- is that everyone gets to go. Even if you’re on meth and you eat all of the donuts, you are welcome to be at a meeting. Any money, I’m going to ask 2 people to look at my numbers and see if I’m just making a decision out of fear or if I really can’t afford to bring an opener. I hope I’m wrong.

Listened to set from echo park late show and boy did that bum me out. I didn’t get a ton of laughs except for one loud laugher who may have been a comedian. Agh. It’s like I’ll think I have it smooth and finished and then it’s just completely crumpled again.

Listened to Addison, Texas hour (where everyone laughed at everything) and that made me feel better (even if it’s just a lucky unrealistically supportive audience).

Then, grateful (again) to me Jackie Kashian who taught me how to get in the delta sky club (you’ve got to choose your benefits!) and did hole machine- and found new life in a few bits she’s heard a billion times before (ok maybe 50) and I listened to her new chunklets.

There is nothing better than the feeling of having prepared and rehearsed for a show. It’s a solid glow in the sternum.

Right before show in green room with Jackie Kashian. She’s got merch. I have a real fear of selling merch. Which is dumb. Will talk it over with my debtors anonymous crew.

Going to try to do only new material (nothing from my prior special). I hope I can do it. I don’t want the audience to have a bad time, but I also need to try it.

I couldn’t do it. I did 3 things from the last spesh. Oof. Ah well. I have ego about a strong finish and I didn’t want to work stuff out for such a nice group. And I was afraid.

Fresno prep

Doing a show tonight at 9 pm in east Hollywood. Feel a little rusty.

That’s an issue I have is not rehearsing a little every day so I don’t feel so scared when it’s show day. I worked a little on the tiny trump chunk and worst cooks celebrity story. Maybe that’s enough.

I’m going to my pals house. My friend is a therapist and so they’re going to practice doing EMDR on me. I’ve done it before so I hope it will be ok before a show. It’s supposed to be for trauma and the only trauma I experienced really was depression as a kid and adult- so I don’t think I’m the ideal patient, but maybe the ideal guinea pig!

Well, did the show at the Mexican restaurant on sunset. I certainly wasn’t as polished as the young man who emceed and I overheard some people leaving the show after my set saying, “that was weird” and I’m not sure if that’s the gift of paranoia working for me, but it was 20 minutes of life and trying the worst cooks story and so, at least, done and that’s always a relief.

It is always humbling in Los Angeles with the amount of chutzpah and gifted artistry on offer and I tried to be a part of it and the valet was only 10 bucks and so, not a bad deal to participate in a good show.

Now, to rehearsing again. I never want to. It’s never appealing, but neither is taking a shower or making plans with people I love a week in advance.

Just listened to set from Austin- which went slightly better than I thought and I have some tags. Feel embarrassed at how slow my delivery and mind is. Driving in the 2008 Prius with 114k miles and bird poop frosting and dear hubster, Scott.

Now listened to Addison Texas set again and seem to really be unwilling to rehearse. I’m going to ask a friend to FaceTime rehearse over the phone today. Feel so mad at myself and therefore, irritable.

Scott driving to breakfast and I was able to eek out rehearsal of 2 bits. The 3 rounds at who’s the better person with my mom, sharing and caring. Oh and I also did U of mn. That helped enormously and I was able to enjoy Forestiere Underground Gardens. A quote from Baldessarre Forestiere, Italian immigrant, “to make something with a lot of money, that is easy. But to make something out of nothing- that now is really something”. And I type that out on my $700 iphone into an app I also paid for.

Got my friend Steve to listen to 45 minutes and then did a few with Jackie Kashian. Backstage listening to jackie and she’s doing great, half-full crowd. The guy backstage said that was pretty good for Fresno. 2 is amazing for la.


Here for the moontower comedy festival. So lovely to connect with other comics and hoping to have dinner again with OphirA Eisenberg and Jackie Kashian.

Will bookend working on set- listen while walking the river trail downtown and writing for 20 minutes on book.

Set went ok last night but I hadn’t rehearsed and I jumbled words during an 8 minute performance and that felt dumb.

I am just having my publicist (a short story writer herself) Jess “like” and “mute” all the more horrendous tweets. I’m all for free speech but there’s only so many times I need to read “you’re an idiot c–t”. (Though subjectively true- I am a woman who had a c average from a state school).

Will check in later that I have done my tasks!

Did the listening to Addison set! Feel very chuffed how it went- the crowd was just lovely.

now to prepare for Saturday long set- I do not want to, but I know I’ll feel so much better after I have gone through the words. Maybe I can convince myself to do it with the promise of a treat. A $5 cold brew from the royal blue grocery, perhaps. I will bookend it with you, blogoterias.

I listened and rehearsed for about an hour. Worried I get used to such nice crowds that I’ve gotten “soft”. I’m not sure what I would be “hard”, but I think I might speak faster or more succinctly. It would also involve living in New York City for at least a month.