I Don’t Know What I’m Doing Which May be a Good Place to Begin

As I get older, the carrot of money, prestige and stuff has become less and less of a motivator to create things.  I’m not sure if they ever were at all, but at the age of 47 with an ample income, house paid off and more clogs than I ever could have use for, I need to  trick myself into writing another hour of stand-up comedy.

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, here we are.

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’m asking myself this question, as you  might imagine).  I could do the same act for the next 20 years and make an ok living.  What’s the point of new stuff, existentially-

Especially, when:

-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 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.

I feel so 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.

It feels good to try. And even to fail. And then, try again.

And that’s reason enough I think.

I apologize for all of the terrible grammar and spelling mistakes and poor journalistic structure in advance.  Let your disgust at my half-assedness trampoline you into working on your own stuff!

So, thanks for reading.  This is my first entry to tell you about the writing of a new hour of material.  It may take me 3 to 5 years.  So, buckle up if you want, but we’re going to be in the driveway for a few hours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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!

Philadelphia

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.

Cleveland!

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.

Columbus!

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.

Austin

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.

Tired

On way to Houston and haven’t rehearsed. Had an odd experience with taking action on a joke premise. I thought it’d feel like doing “something” to file a restraining order vs the President. The internet feedback is – and I should have predicted this- half-good, half-bad. And my usual reaction of course is shame- that I shouldn’t have done it. And there is some of the criticism that rings true- it is just for attention, it is narcissistic, it is something that a white lady with plenty of free time can do, it does stuff up an already burdened legal system. All those things are true. So, maybe a mistake, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

There are so many comedic premises I’ve heard over the years that aren’t considered as “real” possibilities. These are relatively inexpensive and legitimate actions of diplomacy or domestic policy- like sending in a high-energy high school marching band into a conflict, giving convicts years off a sentence for certification in Byron Katie’s life coaching program, “the Work”. So I thought I’d follow through on the comedic premise that our President has threatened our safety and the powerlessness I feel as a citizen to do anything about it. I guess the one good thing is trying- even if I was wrong to do it. Maybe someone else will think of something more useful. Ah well. Off to Houston.

A book!

WHY I WANT TO WRITE THIS BOOK

-Because I don’t know how else to make this new hour of material meaningful

-becuase maybe it can help other comedians (or creatives) to go forward even if they think what they have to say is unneccessary or that their point of view is redundant

-because  it would be great to have something to keep me company on the road along with Jackie – something that is just MINE

-because I’d love to create something that isn’t dependent on my skill as a performer

-because it might be a great way to connect with other artists and maybe build my business in  a new way- where I can be of support and connect with others as I get ollder

-because it would be an added form of passive income  where I can live anywhere and I don’t have to travel

-because I LOVE BOOKS

The Older Artist- how to keep going – I’d like to share how to keep going when the money is still needed but the driving force to be “heard” has been more than sated.

How I work with fellow artists and with income decreasing and the embarrassment of making mistakes as a perfomrer and as a business owner

Being married and having a traveling business

Then ambition- honesty with what I am willing to do, what I have time and energy to do- rather than loioking at the prestige, fame or money

Doing something with creepy pressure from others (when something doesn’t seem like it’s yours anymore)

Working with others- i hate effort and compromise- not knowing what is important- what is compromise.

Juggling things daily with voiceover and developing the series and living in a new neighborhood and responsibilities and friendships and family and health

How can I help people- I dont’ know- I guess showing the process of writing material- how slow it is  – having this feeling that I am a “hack” -I am doing very old material, shame. Lack of willingess to do short shows in LA.  

I’d love to share the numbers too-I’d love to put in all of my spending- because that is hilarious to me too. I mean. Why not?   

So I guess filling out the journal.  I no longer have anything more to say about my own experience with mental illness- I’ve been stable for 7 years and it just isn’t something I’m that into anymore as a result of positive brain circumstances.