Saturday 9/26 @ City Streets Cafe E. Windsor, NJ

This was a super fun show to do. Kurt was the host with the most. I had the pleasure of performing with Keith Carnevale for a second time. He performed at the Take 5 show earlier this month. It was great to perform with Scott Friedman and Carlo Bellario. As you can see from the poster, both Carlo and my last names are the bane of every spellcheck’s existence. The show was an absolute blast and it was awesome to hear from honest to goodness working comics that I have good stuff. The cherry on top happened when Kurt handed the mic to an audience member who happened to be a sod farmer with an epic ‘stache. Seriously this dude’s facial hair game was strong. Anyway, his name was JJ and he couldn’t do stand up but he entertained us with some smooth music and proceeded to belt a version of Loving You that would’ve either made Minnie Riperton clap or spin in her grave. The best part is that he made it look like he was singing it to Kurt. It’s stuff like this that makes me stay after the credits for every single Marvel universe movie. So, last night’s takeaway is always stay after the show’s over.

My life: Built by Masonry

Masonry has built my life. When I say Masonry I’m not talking about anything related to bricks or mortar. I’m talking about the Freemasons. I’ll make this abundantly clear: The Freemasons aren’t about hiding some sort of huge amount of treasure, being a part of some kind of global conspiracy, or the sacrificial slaughter of goats. The Freemasons are about being good men but always working to become better. The Freemasons are a charitable organization dedicated to service.

Women and children are not eligible to become Masons themselves, but there are several organizations they can take part in. Two of the most prominent youth organizations are Order of Demolay for boys and the International Order of Rainbow for girls. If you have a child between the ages of 11 and 20 and you’re looking for something to pull them away from social media, look no further. Demolay and Rainbow will give them the opportunity to participate in service projects and meet and interact with other kids in a way that doesn’t involve pointing, clicking, or tapping. It looks a lot better on a college application than wiling away hour upon hour on social media or playing video games.

Two of the largest women’s organizations are Order of the Eastern Star and Order of the Amaranth. Though the youth and women’s organizations are not part of the Fraternity, they are closely related to it and have the same purpose. These organizations have participated in service projects and raised millions for charities like the American Cancer Society and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund.

Chapter Birthday
Me cutting the cake at my Chapter’s birthday night during my year as Worthy Matron

I was proudly raised in a Masonic family. My great-grandmother was a member of Eastern Star. My grandfather was a Mason, a Tall Cedar, an Eastern Star, belonged to the Scottish Rite, and was a Shriner. My grandmother belonged to Eastern Star, Amaranth, and White Shrine. My mother and aunt both belonged to Rainbow and belong to Eastern Star. My mother was a Grand Officer in Rainbow and is a Master of the Grand Cross of Color, the highest honor conferred by the organization for service above and beyond what is required of a Rainbow girl. I’m fourth generation Eastern Star and I’ve had the honor of serving as Worthy Matron of my Chapter and being a Past Grand Officer in the Grand jurisdiction of New Jersey. Freemasonry is in my blood

I can honestly say that joining Eastern Star was one of the best things I’ve ever done. Being a member of Eastern Star has allowed me to give back to my community, has given me experiences that I will never forget, and has made me a better-rounded person. Clone Club is awesome but, to be a part of Eastern Star is to be part of a sisterhood like no other. It even led me into comedy. If I never joined Star, I might never have met my friend and comedy Mr. Miyagi Kurt Zimmerman.

My boyfriend the night I was honored for serving as Grand Representative to Oregon
My boyfriend the night I was honored for serving as Grand Representative to Oregon

I love being a part of an organization that treats me like family. It’s also fun to tell people that my mother and aunt are also my Sisters for the looks on people’s faces. Today’s a big day in my Masonic family. The Rainbow Assembly my Chapter co-sponsors is Installing a brand new Worthy Advisor. These girls are my friends’ children. Fraternally speaking, you could say they’re my nieces so I’m excited for them. I’m a bit thrown for a loop. The incoming Worthy Advisor thinks I’m cool and asked me to be her guest speaker.

You read correctly: Someone actually thinks this Doctor Who loving, Game of Thrones obsessed, polyhedral dice throwing, Harry Potter cosplaying, comic book convention attending geek is cool. I know what you’re thinking: Dear Lord why?! I don’t know! Pursuant to insults hurled my way throughout my school career and snickering and pointing from my colleagues and even managers I’m geek and therefore not cool. Could it be that the people who’ve made fun of me all my life are, I’m really going to enjoy saying this: WRRRRROOOOOOOONNNNGGGGG?!?!?!  Stranger things have happened.

I share a lot of interests with the girls that belong to the Assembly, but I have my suspicions that there’s a deeper reason that I get swarmed by Rainbow girls every time I come out to their events, which to me is every bit as awesome being swarmed by puppies. I don’t think it’s the fact that if I showed up to a meeting in a white dress, there’s a good chance the Mother Advisor would mistake me for one of them since they’re all taller than me. I’ve actually been meaning to try this. It would make an epic prank.

Nevertheless I’ll be the first to admit that the idea of a bunch of girls seeing me as a role model is a wee bit terrifying, but there are worse role models they could be following. There’s Lindsay Lohan, any woman with the last name of Kardashian, the people who made fun of me in high school, and my colleagues and managers who point and snicker at me when they think I can’t see or hear them just to give a few examples. Despite being a comedian, I am a functional member of society. I don’t do drugs, I drink only in moderation, I don’t carry on like a Kardashian, and I sure as heck don’t make fun of people even if they like something odd.

So maybe all of the people who made fun of me are in fact, this is going to be epic, wrong wrongity wrong wrong wrong! I might never have figured this out if I had never had the good sense to take part in my Masonic heritage. I think that’s the best gift that having Freemasonry in my life has ever given me, so big time thanks to them. Despite my lack of height I can still stand tall knowing that I’ve got a solid foundation.

Friday 9/11 @ Take 5 Robbinsville, NJ

Today is a day to remember and I can think of no better way to remember everyone and everything we lost 14 years ago today than to laugh. That’s right, laugh. Laugh because despite everything we’re still here and I don’t think those we lost in the Towers, the Pentagon, and on United flight 93 would want us to be sad. They’d want us to go on living and be happy and yes, they’d want us to laugh.

So in that spirit, I performed tonight at Take 5 Cafe in Robbinsville. I hosted and we had a great line-up. I warmed up the crowd with my stuff, worked them a little bit to get them in the mood, and even greeted a customer as she walked in. Her name was Mary Ann and she was very nice. It was also a lady named Donna’s birthday. I hope she had fun. I know I did.

We had an awesome line-up. Jeff Roser, Cassandra Dee who I was excited about because for once I wasn’t the only female comic, Kurt Zimmerman did a set and debuted his new stuff, Jerry Torres killed, Keith Carnevale made it difficult for me to sip my awesome beverage for fear of nosing it, Foster Nicholson aka The Genius did a spot-on Barack Obama, and our headliner Dennis Ross was a riot. All in all, an epic night.

Take 5 is a family owned business and the owner Umesh and his wife are the sweetest people. Give them a like on Facebook. They also have BYOB paint parties and their food, pastries, candy, and their beverages are amazing. They even have ice cream! What more could you want? I’m definitely looking forward to the next show. Second Friday of every month. Be there or miss out.

My First Heckler: My Mother

This entry is an inside look into a key part of my stand-up act: my mother. Upon reading my recent entry (Why Comedy?), she pointed out that there were no pictures of her featured in it. My mother turns being passive-aggressive into an art form. When I called her on it, she claimed she was joking. She wasn’t joking. I got trolled by my mother. Nevertheless, per her complaint I am going to rectify the lack of pictures of her on my blog as I give you an inside look at one of the biggest characters in my act.

My mother, cosigner of my silliness since 1892
My mother, cosigner of my silliness since 1982

I’ve talked about our family sarcasm or what we call the Barton sarcasm. It was passed on to me from my grandparents through my mother. In a lot of ways, I owe the bit of success I’ve had in stand-up to her and her more interesting personality quirks. We have a bit of a unique relationship. When annoyed, my immediate impulse is to get smart with the person annoying me. As is the case with all children, my mother has annoyed me a lot. She would probably say the same about me and she shares the impulse to use sarcasm. This has made for some very interesting interactions like this one:

Me: Mom, can you pull in your chair? I can’t around the table.

Mom: *trademark sigh* (Grudgingly pulls in her chair) You know maybe if your ass wasn’t so big you’d be able to get around the table without me having to move.

Me: You know what, mom? You can bite my ass.

Mom: Pick a spot. You’re all ass.

-End Scene-

The reason I get away with being smart with my mom is twofold. First, she knows not to take it personally and second, my use of sarcasm is proof that I’m her kid and she feels a bit of pride in passing that on to her progeny. I never mind when my mom gets smart with me because I too know not to take it personally and I know she really can’t help it.

My mom has other quirks besides the genetic sarcasm and her trademark sigh that are just hilarious and absolutely beg to be stand-up material. She has the most epic road rage. I’ve taken to calling it Driver’s Tourette’s and I’ve even done a bit about it (Grammy Road Rage). She also has a stellar reputation among customer service agents far and wide. She should be the final exam for every call center agent. You pass if you successfully get through the call without crying or running screaming from the building. She’s a retired nurse who strikes fear in the hearts of all hospital interns. She makes a horrible hospital patient. I’ve done a bit about that, too. (My mother: Worst Hospital Patient Ever) She also has a hellacious case of OCD that would both disturb and baffle the psychiatric community.

My mom is on the wall at UPenn's School of Nursing. Is your mom on the wall of UPenn's School of Nursing? I think not
My mom is on the wall at UPenn’s School of Nursing. Is your mom on the wall of UPenn’s School of Nursing? I think not

There is a reason for her quirks. She’s impatient. There’s really no nice way to say it. She spent her entire 30+ year nursing career being in a hurry to care for her patients, so it almost puts the Driver’s Tourette’s in perspective…almost. As for her relationship with customer service agents, I’ll say it again: she’s impatient. After spending 30+ years providing the best possible care to her patients, she expects to receive the same level of excellent service wherever she does business. She’s always told us that when you’re in the hospital you can either talk to the doctor who’s treating you or the nurse who knows what’s really going on. I’ll give you one guess as to who my mother would rather hear from. She has a very wide knowledge base when it comes to medicine and it’s pretty much impossible for her to switch that off retired or not, sick or not. After working 30+ years in a hospital cleanliness becomes less a habit and more an obsession, so one could argue that my mom’s OCD was inevitable.

They say every woman eventually becomes her mother and while I’m fully aware that there are much worse things I could become, I still find the fact that I’ve inherited some of the very traits I’ve made jokes about a little disconcerting. I too shout at other drivers as if they can hear me. Having spent time working in quality assurance, I also expect to receive excellent customer service everywhere I do business. Being of small stature and therefore the least threatening woman on the planet, I don’t exactly strike fear into my less experienced coworkers or anyone else for that matter. However, I promise you if you’re coming to me with a question, you better get out a notebook and pen and put an apple on my desk because you will be schooled. I’m really not obsessed with cleanliness, but God help you if you move something and don’t tell me. I also can’t get out of my car until I’ve parked it perfectly and if I’m the passenger there’s a good chance I’ll beg you to let me fix your jacked up park job. I guess it’s true: mental illness really does run in the family.

There’s a great deal that my mother and I have learned from each other. It would take forever to go into detail about what I’ve learned from my mother. After all she taught me how to use a fork. There’s a great deal my mother has learned from me other than how to use her various technological devices. I didn’t inherit her passive-aggressive trait and in so doing, I’ve taught her that not everything can or should be candy-coated and sometimes it’s okay to be as subtle as a brick through a window. I had hoped this post would teach her not to mess with a comedian, but I think that hope is a little too far-flung. By now, she probably understands the reason why lions eat their young.

My mom and the horse she rode in on
My mom and the horse she rode in on