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.


















We missed our flight yesterday due to duncery and had to re-book for today, but I will make all of the shows. Worried that I won’t have time to make changes to help translate jokes properly, but I guess that could be the fun part – long, sincere explanations of every unknown reference. Oh boy.

I’ll commit to the blogsquare that I’ll verbally rehearse my set on the flight and let you know how that goes. I listened to the set from Salt Lake City and I’m not sure if it’s an accurate representation of how strong the material is – I feel like I get a lot of slack and laughs which may or may not be earned. And, of course, who cares.


next day: struggling with depression from jet lag. Everything seems pretty dark. Did podcast last night and though everyone was kind, I felt off. Talked with pal Jackie about pre-show irritability (fear, I think). It’s like everything pinches and it’s embarrassing that I’m not more relaxed, cool-casual.

I asked my pal Ivans to listen to me rehearse on the phone and feel hopeful that that will help. She’s an actor and coach and is ultra-positive.

London (England)

We don’t leave til Sunday, but I’ve started to get a little anxsh for the shows. I’ll try to get some guest sets once I get there – to try out stuff and get comfortable. I know they review shows there and so feel a little scared of that, but criticism – so far- has only been helpful in life. And if it’s not- like I got a 1 pint out of 5 pints review at the Edinburgh festival one year and guy said he thought the show was “boring”. That didn’t give me a ton to work with unless I was going to add horses and explosives. but other crit has been more interesting like “not political enough” and then that’s something I can genuinely ask myself “do I want to be more straightforward in my political beliefs, make a clearer stance, call people (and myself) to real action?”

Anyhobnobs, I’ll be checking in to prepare. Did a short set (5 min) last night just telling story of reality show experience on Worst Cooks of America and have recording from Salt Lake City first show to listen to- bummer that I forgot to hit record on second show that went better performance-wise.

Salt Lake City

Hoping that second show will be tighter. I got a little rambly and lost confidence in the very long joke about Competing religiously with my mother. I have it recorded and I hope that will help me edit it. Will check in after second show -the goal being- do all of the new material, but maybe in a different order so that it doesn’t poop out at the end.

Second show did go better!

I rewrote the set list to put the weaker stuff in the beginning so I could feel more confident as the set progressed. And as I do here, I bookended it with my buddy Alex- just to not feel so alone in the process. It is so uncomfortable (for me) – though OF COURSE it’s the reality that I’m just ok at my job most nights. Unlike the hyperbolic descriptions of artistry happening in reviews or horrible slurs posted on YouTube, I’m just in the middle and sometimes ok, sometimes not that great at my job. In my mind- it can seem more admirable to be either the best or the worst rather than just amongst.

Headed to Grand Rapids

I was able to listen and transcribe material into my notebook for an hour with help from my pal, Alex, as a bookending support. I told him I’d just do 20 minutes and then, was able to do 2 more twenties and feel really excited about the material I wrote out and whispered to myself on the LAX to DTW Delta flight row 20 middle seat. So, victory!

Now, the fun part! Researching notes I’ve had about jokes- googling and learning about references I’m wondering about: open book accounting, gentrification, human trafficking – to name a few topics.

I’ll write more tomorrow once in the GR!

Did an hour of rehearsing with Jackie Kashian and opener Hayden Krystal (very funny comic currently in Detroit). That was helpful.

My thoughts at a little speedy as a result of going down on a medication in order to stop gaining weight and that may end up not working. I love words but when they start tangling up into ever-changing “better” versions of the same sentence, I think it may be time to stop writing and just make a face.

Well, two shows were a good but second show was a little scattered and I felt embarrassed. I got a little distracted and my mind went blank at one point. I had to ask the audience where I was in a bit. Agh. There had been a drunk lady yelling out a little bit, but I felt like I could have handled it better. I just used an old heckling line that I’ve used for years, but I did add a new tag. Jackie and Hayden did great. Oh well. Now, sleep and two more shows in Salt Lake City. I was talking to a friend in text about how it’s just hard for my ego that I’m not the worst and I’m not the best (if anyone is) and it’s ok to be just ok at a job- that I just be a part of the world and don’t have to be a genius or superhuman to participate. Participating- at any level of skill- is a victory.

Free days

Shows in Vancouver went ok. Felt jumbled again with new “Beat the Christians” premise and feel like I lost the crowd completely for 10 minutes, but I tried.

Had a lovely talk in the hotel lobby of Vancouver with another comic who happens to be a lady about stage fright getting worse with age. That I now put more pressure on myself because I have some people who have said they liked my stuff and I want to please those same people again. And there is no guarantee that will happen. I can love someone’s paintings of dogs and then, I stop being interested in their new robot series. Anyhoo, it was really nice to hear a younger, hipper comedian than myself talk about the same concerns. I’m sorry about this occasional font bolding- I keep hitting the wrong buttons on my phone. Or, I am experimenting with emphasis.

Today, I made the mistake of running a joke by comic I didn’t know well (the massive, unwieldy “Beat the Christians” chunk. Ugh. They asked me what I did to run new material and I said, “well, I just do it for people. Do you want to hear something I’m working on?” And unfortunately, it did not go over as I’d hoped. The witness seemed completely confused and bored by it and then, had comments. Whoops. It was good to get it out and rehearse it, but if it the rehearsal just brings shame- maybe better to keep to myself. If I may quote my mother quoting the Bible (it’s not all murderous misogyny?), “Listen, kiddo, don’t throw pearls before swine.” That’s a little harsh, but I have to remember some people aren’t prepared for my gorgeous baubles that I’m throwing in their face and it might be best to showcase the oyster rocks in a well-lighted place where they might be better appreciated.


It’s been a few days since my last show on Saturday (8 am cruise shows were very successful- for me anyways- as a way to get myself to rehearse and edit material. I’m not sure how small morning crowd felt, but I was very grateful).

Jackie Kashian and I headed to Vancouver tonight via WestJet and I’m feeling nervous about tomorrow’s set. I’ll have time on the plane and will write more then.

Boat writing

I want to spend some time doing “Joke machine” with my pal Jackie today. There are lots of other creative types on the JoCo cruise and so looking forward to fun conversation followed by naps.

The boat writing has been lovely. I’m doing an 8 am show every day of about 45 minutes of new material and I’m so grateful for the crowds that are extremely supportive and I may have new “chunks” to develop!

WiFi is expensive so I’ll not re-checkin until Sunday but just to say- I didn’t want to do the show today at all and it turned out to be the best so far.

Back from Reality to reality.

As we’ve all heard, reality tv is not real, but it pays well and I learned to make pizza and met LaToya Jackson. I’m pretty sure woody Guthrie would not approve. It was absolutely ridiculous and I got eliminated after 3 rounds. There was blood, goring fish and I went out on a mixed green salad with goat cheese and raspberries.

Now, back to the real real writing real.

I have a show tonight after 2 weeks without performing (or it feels like 2 weeks) and so very nervous. It’s a show in our new neighborhood we’re calling “free cake” because we will be serving free cake. The idea was to have a show in our hood where all comedians had a 15-minute set (which is rare in Los Angeles) and maybe we’d get to meet our neighbors.

I’ll bookend here that I listen to the hour-long set I did 2 weeks ago and try to refresh my memory.

I do not want to listen to it. At all.

Did it! I know I missed a chunk or two, but it was good to hear that it went well in Boston.

Now, need to go through with my face. I’m going to do the Worst Job Possible and then, get back to you.

Did the show at the cafe de Leche Altadena last night and it was a grand success (in my biased opinion). I was able to do almost all of the new material and I forgot to time people and so the show went a little long, but the crowd was very generous and well-lit outside.

I’d like to do some writing today about a visit to the Harvard lampoon society and worst cooks show. Feeling like I should make room for other comics and stop performing- but I need to have a way to earn and maybe I can just talk about that on stage, do some writing about that.

Now, heading off on my first cruise! It’s a comedy and art and games cruise called JoCo after musician, Jonathan Coulton. I asked for an 8 am show every day to rehearse in a small room on the ship they use for magic. That way, I can get the new bitz into muscle memory and work on new stuff- even if it’s for 1 or 2 bleary-eyes early risers. Hubby Scott laughed and laughed when I told him about these bird-worm presentations, but I have a feeling he will attend in his pjs.

Afternoon rehearsal show!

Thanks for all of the kind comments!! There haven’t been trolls and so I’m feeling better about reading them.

Today is a new day- doing hour of material rehearsal At The Clubhouse theatre in Hollywood (in a strip mall between a sprint store and fallas paredes (low prices?) clothing. It’ll be at 5:30 pm and so maybe no audience, but even one person is very helpful.

Now to just get myself to rehearse the bits in a row!

I’m really happy with how the hour is going and I’ll transcribe it here (as soon as I stop throwing up at the idea of doing it) and maybe that can count as rehearsing before the rehearsal. Also, a 20 minute spot at 8:20 so I’ll be checking in throughout the day.

I listened to the new material from show in Boston. Yahooie! The next step is to type it all down. Aghwah. I think I can do it in the Lyft ride to this voiceover job. Will check back in when done.

(Also, here are my current distractions which may or may not being taking up space in my brain: animation project, new hour, reality show, mad magazine project, regular voiceover jobs, and tax bookkeeping for business/personal). I worry that I over commit out of FOMA and financial fear- that I’ve got to have tons of irons in fires- not sure if that’s totally true due to lack of clarity with spending. )

Tried to type in Lyft ride to mixed results but I’ll try to cut and paste as far as I got. I may pay a young comedian to transcribe the hour just because it is so painful that I’m worried I won’t do it.

I did, however, rehearse for an hour while walking from labrea to Vermont on sunset Blvd. and no one notices you are talking to yourself on the street in Hollywood. It’s a really hard scene – 50k people live on the street in Los Angeles, making it illegal to be poor as they keep moving people from tents or taking their shopping carts. It blows.

  • I’ve given money but I haven’t done outreach work with people because of fear of shame and discomfort (on my part, obviously) for being such a privileged unwoke asshole.

Ok- off to do show.

Did it! And I always ask for a lady comic to open 5 minutes from the crowd and another lady to close and they were great. And I remembered to record – so victory! And now going to do 2nd 20 minute set (after dinner with fellow comics at diner- all probably 20 years younger than me).

Did second show last nighT for 20 min at largo and it was a little jumbled, but better for rehearsing for sure. Then, the 45 minute drive back home to Altadena from West Hollywood.

Thank you for accompanying me.