Time Off!

Vacation from work starts now!

Last night’s show is the last one of the year and I was a bit disappointed with my performance- flubbed several words and had some odd timing due to lack of practice.  But, some new chunks are going well and getting tighter and so that is a hashtag blessing.

I’ll be off grid til January 8th!

The Boss is very generous with holiday pay and lets me eat peanut brittle at my desk.

Show day!

Big show (for me) in San Francisco with my pal Jackie Kashian opening. I need to listen to my set from Wednesday again and write a set list. If there’s time, I’ll rehearse over the phone with my friend Steve (I pay him to listen to me rehearse. It’s valuable service I pay fellow comics for because they’ll laugh, make suggestions after and not during and are patient with hearing the same thing over and over again)

So, I’ll listen to my set on the way to the airport in a Lyft. Oaaagh.

Did it! Listened to 52 minutes and took notes. Ahhs and umms are far to frequent and there’s a stuttering in my delivery that I’ve watched (in video topic.com series)- maybe due to age or meds and that is humbling. I could take beta blockers to remove my tremor, but they make me feel sick to my tum tum. Oh well. Scott said the Lyft driver was listening to Christian country music and so an unforeseen reward for working in the new material.

Now, on the flight- I’ll write a set list of all material from last special and rehearse 3 jokes to myself. And I’ll check in with you fellows and friends that I’ve done that. Thank you for your support, sincerely.

Set list written! And now, rehearse 3 older bittelooos.

Done! And later, I’ll probably meet with my pal Jackie Kashian to do “Joke Machine” (which is just us going back and forth telling each other new jokes we are working on, want to do for the show tonight). I need to look up the definition for “machine” and see if Joke Machine qualifies.

Dread Saturday!

It’s been 3 days since I’ve performed and I already feel rusty and a little afraid. That’s how it always is even 25 years later. I’m sure there is a cognitive behavioral shift in perspective I could have about my perceived “readiness” to do a show, but I either haven’t had the willingness to craft the new thought for affirmation (something like, “I am always ready and qualified to perform!”) or, well, there’s no either.

I’ll again “bookend” with you, unknown reader and fellow artiste, that I will listen to my set from Wednesday today. I DO NOT WANT TO DO IT.

The thoughts in my head right now before listening to the hour recorded in my phone voice memos:

It’s going to be so uncomfortable to hear my own voice.

It’s hopeless anyways- there’s no need for more entertainment.

Just wait til tomorrow. I’ll do it tomorrow.

I did it! Listened to a 50 minute set of new material. Had some new ideas- need to research the book of Esther and the parable of the talents- I’ll do that right now.

Wow. The details on those stories are much more terrifying than the placid children’s books suggest. Holy cow. The idea developing is that I want to best the Christians at their own standards. Haha!

Refusal

To rehearse. Blergh. I have another show at 4 pm and I know I can listen to yesterday’s set on the way down, but I could have done more at this point in the day.

What do I do instead of rehearse? Check emails, train my old chihuahua, nap, walk to a coffee shop, chit chat with people in said shop, pay bills, take a swim in unheated swimming pool (bracing!) and then, get to 2:30 pm and start to panic.

Oh! I did get a show in our neighborhood started once a month, 3rd Friday, back of coffee house outside (will be cold but perfect for comedy!) with free cheap beer and boxed wine. I’ll book it with people I know from the neighborhood- 4 comics a show so everyone (including me) gets long sets and it will be from 7-9:30. Making my dream of a show —within walking distance from our home, that’s fun for comics (long sets) and that can also help me meet our neighbors –come true. Set your sights on a block away and it is usually attainable.

Just did the 4 pm show! Amazing! A small joyful crowd brought the material to a higher level! I am so grateful for this crew of strangers! They made a bunch of jokes better!

I’ll try to listen to the set later. I listened to yesterday’s set for only 30 minutes and it did really help.

Now, after dinner with pal, off to booked show at a bar in South Pasadena!

Tuesday Grump

This is the low part of the cycle- when I need to rehearse and look at the material before the show (at 4 pm) and I’m angry with procrastination. I am mad until I begin doing the work in it and it is ridiculously predictable.

I’ll bookend here that I’ll listen to two sets and make notes.

Aaagh.

Well! I rehearsed one bit for my helpful hubby and immediately felt relief and then was able to listen to 30 minutes of old sets. So, feeling slightly better before 4 pm show.

Show over. 45 minutes recorded. I did a few older bits because I felt like I was trying the audience’s patience with the more ponderous stories that are lacking punchlines. Will listen to now on way to open mic at Meeas hotdogs.

Did a set and listened to 20 minutes of set and it was hard to hear it (emotionally).

Canceled a later show out of being too tired- it’s at 8:30 pm and I’m wiped.

Monday check-in!

I reserved 2 hours this week -two 4 pm shows at the Clubhouse on Vermont. As long as I get people (usually at least 10), it’s been free space. The act of reserving space will hopefully encourage me to listen and rehearse the material. After speaking with a comic in her first few years of work who goes up 5 to 10 times a week, I know I don’t go up as much as I did even 5 years ago, but oh well. Just keep going.

I’ll “bookend” with you, bloggees, to commit to calling 2 spaces in my new neighborhood of Altadena and inquiring about rentals- one is a coffee shop, the other is a dance studio. I’ll let you know how that goes!

Also, by the end of today, I’d like to have transcribed this joke (into this blogaloo) I’m having a hard time with about Biblical Parables.

And again, I’m not anyone’s comments to the blog- so just know that you are loved and I appreciate your witnessing this lightly arduous and embarrassing process. If I thought anyone was actually reading it, I wouldn’t be able to continue.

Ok! See you later today with the results!

– called theatre and there was no answer

-emailed a coffee shop I go to about using their space for a weekly show

-looked up local dance studio and got on their mailing list. It may be too far to walk to which defeats the purpose of having a show that takes the least amount of energy to put up. I’ll try to walk past and see what’s going on.

Here’s the biblical parable idea so far:

What I say I believe has no bearing on what I’ll actually do. And with all the horrible things happening in the world, i wanted to see how I’m doing.

I have no religion, but I’m not above stealing some religious standards that seem pretty good.

When I was a kid- we were given these primary-colored glossy books about possibly fictional happenings in a Middle East populated with white people. So, I’m taking 3 of these stories and seeing how my behavior matches up. And I’m totally going by the memory of a 7 year old here- so there’s a little paraphrasing.

First story- the Good Samaritan. Jewish guy is beaten, robbed, left for dead in the road. First guy, a priest sees the dying man and says, “oh shit- I’d stop, but I’ve really managed my time poorly and I’ve got this really important pope meeting in town”. 2nd guy- is Jewish himself, but he says “oh shit- I’d stop, but it looks like you’re going to croak anyways and it’d be like throwing good time and money after bad- look, I’ll pray for you!” Then, 3rd guy (always rule of 3 in the Bible-jus like in comedy) is the sworn enemy of the Jewish people I guess- a Samaritan- I guess the equivalent of a white supremacist stopping for a black trans man- the Samaritan totally stops and cleans him up, puts him on his burro and wiped him down with cologne (lots of Axe body spray in the desert) and takes him to like a hospital Hampton Inn and pays cash up front for the Jewish guy to be cared for for the next 3 months.

So, how am I doing?

Well, living in Los Angeles and come to think of it- many cities in the US now- is like walking into a human rights violation, every few feet you have the opportunity to connect with someone left for dead on the side of the road.

Right outside Target, there was man over 6 feet in a state of catatonia- no shoes and open sores on his feet, with a secondary face of snot upon his own face.

Now, according to the example above- what I should have done is- call an ambulance, go with the ambulance and make sure the man is cared for, put down my debit card, follow up and visit him until he is stabilized, pay for his housing (with Hilton Honors points! Hamp it up!) and food and befriend this man (if once he was conscious he was on board with friendship) for life.

This is what i did.

After trying to talk with him a few minutes, I went into Target and DID THE SHOPPING I’D WANTED TO DO (cal king sheets) and then, went to the bathroom, wet a bunch of paper towels, and set them at this man’s feet while whispering, “I’m so sorry”.

And I felt weirdly proud of myself for doing that.

Wow.

That’s super shit.

I’m an atheist, but I’m nothing if not ethically competitive.

I have two other parables I’m working on (where I fail miserably) and it’s not really funny at all yet, but there’s “something there” for me.

So, that’s it for today.

And the coffee shop just said yes to a weekly show!

May you enjoy a spurt of creative energy today – feel free to “bookend” in comments if you’d like- I won’t read them but the “Universe” will? Together, we will get tiny steps done!

Pre and post show

Tonight I have a show at 9 pm at a coffee house in Pasadena. I think I get 10 minutes.

Here is the set list I’m going to work on:

Seducing my husband

Sharing and caring

Social justice fantasies

I’ll “bookend” it with you to say how it went. I’m walking 20 min to and 20 min back from my favorite kind of 12 step group (to remain anonymous) and I’ll listen to an old 40 min set I just did in Bloomington, IN.

I’ll check in in a few hours to say how it went (and that I did it).

Ok did the 30 minute walk listening to old sets. I still don’t understand why it’s so painful to listen to shows – especially since it helps so much. I get reminded of phrases I’ve forgotten and get new ideas when I’m walking and it feels good afterwards, but I will procrastinate for hours to do it.

Set list ( redone during meeting)

Ok! I did the set, but didn’t do the written list at all. All I did was social justice fantasies bit. I felt afraid of doing the newer stuff for a Christmas family crowd, but I did:

Trampoline

Cannot kill

Why so great?

Social justice fantasies

U of MN

Iowasca

I listened to my set on the way there in a Lyft. Again, it went well, but that may be because we are in a coffee shop (Jones), during the holiday season, it’s 5 bucks and it’s east Los Angeles south Pasadena.

now, taking the rest of the weekend off without a phone! Yay, team!

Number 1 Joke

Or “Trampoline”! It’s already started to get tedious when numbers are getting used. Oof. Well, anyhoogz, joke numero one-o.This one is the new opener caveat. It makes me feel more comfortable if I apologize for letting people down up top. I know how painful it can be to find yourself in the wrong audience. Most recently, I attended an improvised theatre piece that for subjective reasons only known to me, my feet began stomping involuntarily and I had to leave before the lights came up. I get it. “Entertainment” in any of its stages can be uncomfortable. So, this is what I’ve written- so far- and it “works” in performance. And when I say it works, I mean it works in front of an audience that has specifically come to see a 47 year old high voiced woman at a black box theatre at 4 pm in East Los Angeles. I am infinitely grateful for context.With all that ado, here is the small, small bit:”I know we are probably artists in the audience today, feel free sketch and journal. But if at any time during the program, you feel angry and disgusted. This isn’t clearly hasn’t been rehearsed or isn’t nearly as well-written as I’d hoped, please, let that rage…TRAMPOLINE you into working on your own stuff. “There’s some movement involved- I like to move around more than I did in my 1st 10 years of stand-up. Which could be interpreted as clownish laziness (the writing isn’t strong enough so I have to run around), but who cares. So that’s how I’m starting out.

I Lied

I started writing this new hour 6 months ago. That said, I am at the point where I have lost confidence in the approximately 40 minutes written so far.

I write to perform. I will not write anything unless I know I have an audience to hear it. so my initial step was to announce on twitter that I would be doing an hour at 4 pm at the Clubhouse (a self-funded community theatre where over a hundred shows go up a month and there is no screening process to get booked). In Los Angeles, there is a surprising daytime draw for shows because everyone is working weird hours and even if one interested person shows up to listen, that can be more valuable than a 5 minute set in a bar at 10 pm. Also, if I haven’t made it clear throughout my career, I’m a bit sleepy and prefer to go to bed if I’m not being paid.

After setting the weekday afternoon shows at the Clubhouse (again- sometimes for only one or two people), I write down a bunch of new premises in my notebook – just an idea or a paragraph- enough stuff to fill an hour. Even if it’s crap. And it may be crap for a while. One thing that helps me let whatever I put there be garbage for a long time (and some would argue even after recorded for television purposes), is the idea that, at the very least, my shitty effort might inspire a voice more important than mine- someone who says to themselves, “she’s terrible, I might as well try!”

Here is the list of premii that I came up with 6 months ago. Some of it has shrunk from the initial vision, but here are the one word summaries I use to remember them.

Trampoline

Cannot kill him

Why so good?

Seducing my husband

Social justice fantasies

Regrettable incident

U of MN commencement

Yelping religions

Beating the Christians

Selfish Suicide

Wordy shirts

Sharing and caring

There are a few more that are a lot weaker and haven’t made the cut of a set list:

Cold Brew high

Is there anything else I can do for you?

That’s it for today. Just a list of ideas and I guess the next few days I’ll write out for you the what exactly I want to say with them (or am already saying).

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-

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 (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”.