Friday night I hosted at Leatherhead Pub and it was as always a great show. The crowd was lively, the comics were funny, my friends came out, and it was awesome. I even discovered a new beer. People, if you have the opportunity to come out to one of these shows, do it!
So not too long ago I lost (hopefully temporarily) my room and comedy home, Take 5 Gourmet in Robbinsville, NJ. Not long after that, I found out that I got rejected from a comedy festival I registered for. I was pissed because it was something I really wanted. I was bummed out, but I did what I always do when I experience adversity: I made a joke out of it. And yes, I will be debuting it and posting the video shortly and yes, dammit it’s funny.
Now I say all that to say this: Yes, I absolutely thought about quitting comedy and just accepting my life as a desk pilot in Corporate America…for exactly three seconds until I remembered that I am my father’s child and a stubborn, obstinate bitch and I swear I heard his voice calling to me from the Ether and telling me that if I give up he’s going to jam his foot up my ass. And yes, anyone who knew my father would tell you that is absolutely something he would say.
I remembered that a dear comedy friend had contacted me about doing a show in South Jersey the weekend the festival was supposed to be and I let him know that I couldn’t commit to it. I messaged him and let him know that if he still needed someone I’d be glad to come out. It was a shot in the dark but I took it anyway because you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. I needed to prove to myself that I could stand back up after getting knocked on my ass. I was fortunate enough to hear back from him and that he had a spot for me.
So my comedy life handed me a couple comedy lemons and I turned them into comedy lemonade. Now all I need is to find some comedy vodka.
I got some sad news the other day. The place where I fell in love with comedy is closed for the time being. I’m not sure if this is forever, but I am sure that I’m pretty bummed out. The owners are the nicest people and they gave us a home. I met a lot of my comedy friends there and they have been absolutely amazing. I posted about it in Facebook and their support has been overwhelming and I am truly humbled. I may not have a platform, but what I do have is an amazing family of choice. My actual family has also been supportive. I’m not sure what the future holds, but I can honestly say that I’ve chosen my tribe wisely and I’m thankful to all of you. Rest assured, you haven’t heard the last from this sarcastic little ray of sunshine. To all my haters, stay tuned. There’s more to come. Lumos!
I sometimes joke that every time I go home to South Jersey I’m reminded of why I left in the first place usually when I’m stuck in traffic in or around Cherry Hill. Traffic makes me punchy and sarcastic because I’m my mother’s child. Anyway, it’s all in good road rage-induced fun and I have nothing against where I came from. After all, if I didn’t come from South Jersey, I wouldn’t have this outrageous accent, so when my friend asked me to come do some comedy at a fundraiser for the Atlantic City Arts Foundation of course I said yes. Besides, the opportunity to see her was reason enough to hop on the Expressway and venture down.
The event was at Little Water Distillery. Yes, there’s a distillery in Atlantic City. They make vodka, rum, and whiskey. The drinks were good, but the company was better. It was an open mic contest. I’d met two of the other comics and I know the headliner, LaTice Klapa who is awesome. I did some catching up with people I went to school with; two of whom are opening a coffee house called Hayday and I suggest you check them out. I expected to have fun. I did not expect to WIN THE CONTEST!!!! That’s right, kids I won my first comedy contest and it was the cherry on top of an awesome evening.
During my recent performance, I did a joke about creeps. I asked the ladies in the audience how many of them have had an experience with a creepy guy, you know the kind of guy that doesn’t know when to leave a woman alone. Nearly every woman in the audience clapped or raised her hand. If you’re looking for a percentage I would conservatively estimate 98% of the female audience members had an experience with a creeper. That’s just sad.
If you read the news today, it looks like practically every man in the media and the entertainment industry has been accused of sexual harassment. Now as comedians, we have a certain responsibility to make timely jokes about what’s in the news. However we also still have a responsibility to our audience, that being to make them laugh. So, fellow comics while I get that you may feel compelled to make jokes about how so many men are being accused of sexual harassment, let’s not forget that sexual harassment is not funny to people who have experienced it.
Think about my audience from a few weeks back. Nearly every one of the women in that audience experienced unwanted attention from a creepy guy. That’s pretty much the definition of sexual harassment. Now think about all of the #MeToo stories you’re reading in your social media news feeds from the female members of your social media circle. I have multiple #MeToo stories of my own. So, be mindful that there’s a pretty good chance that most of your female audience members aren’t going to think your timely joke about sexual harassment is funny. You’re also perpetuating the problem by making victims feel uncomfortable and, yes guys that’s why we don’t come forward right away if we ever come forward at all.
Women will continue to come forward. We all decided during one our super-secret underground meetings that we have all had enough. The women who came out against Harvey Weinstein, Lou C.K., Matt Lauer, and others have emboldened the rest of us to stop being nice about it when we’re harassed; you know much like a known sexual predator being elected president has emboldened all of you to openly harass women. If you’re feeling defensive, I’m probably talking to you. Continuing this behavior may result in direct harm to your testicles. You’ve been warned.
You meet some incredible people doing stand-up. For better or worse, when you do stand-up you become part of a community. Like any good community, we all come together to help each other. I met my comedy mentor when I joined Eastern Star (if you want to know more about Eastern Star and Masonic organizations, read My Life: Built by Masonry here.). Through him, I met my comedy cohorts and the family that runs hamiltonradio.net. I’ve met published authors, talented musicians, and a lot of damn nice people.
As much as I enjoy meeting other comics, I enjoy connecting with the crowd. We have a group of regulars that come to the shows at Take 5 and I always enjoy talking to them before, during, and after the show. When I meet people who tell me they’ve been thinking of trying stand-up for ages, I always tell them the same thing: do it! I say that not just because of the experiences I’ve had or the places I’ve been on this stand-up journey. My biggest reason for telling people who want to try comedy to do it, is the people I’ve been fortunate enough to meet and the community I’m blessed to be a part of.
Friday night I returned to the English Barn at the Farmstead Arts Center to host the graduation show of my comedy Mr. Miyagi Kurt Zimmerman’s stand up comedy class. I affectionately refer to it as the barn my mother raised me in and the birthplace of the horse I rode in on.
I learned my lesson from last year and came prepared with a crapton of water and my cooling towel. Thankfully, it wasn’t on the hottest freakin’ day of the year like it was last year. I got up and did 10 minutes of my best material to warm up the crowd then before I got the show really started, I told the graduates how I got my start.
Kurt invited me to a comedy show at Take 5 Gourmet in Robbinsville, NJ. I thought I was going to be watching the show, but he offered me time, handed me the mic, and said have at it. I got laughs and applause, fell in love with it and never looked back.
I watched three brand new comics get their feet wet for the first time and had a blast doing it. When you think graduation, you think pomp and circumstance, but this was not that kind of party. Everyone did a phenomenal job and the crowd was very supportive and into it. It was a great show and I can’t wait to watch the video.
There seems to be a lot of controversy around transgender people and their use of public bathrooms. There are some (read: bigots) who seem to think that if transgender people are allowed to use the bathroom assigned to the gender they feel comfortable in rather than the one they were assigned at birth, perverts the world over will get the idea that if they throw on a wig and some make up, they’ll be free to hang out in ladies rooms and molest women of all ages. This logic makes no sense to me because the very same people who think this way put a pervert who wears a wig and make up and openly brags about sexually assaulting women in the White House.
Let me go ahead and break this down for you piece by piece and using small words so that your tiny pea-sized brains will understand: TRANSGENDER PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE TOO! That means like all people they go potty. It also means that they should have the same basic rights you and I do.
But what about our daughters? Don’t they have the right to potty in relative safety? What if some pervert pretends to be transgender and tries to molest them?
Fact: More Republican lawmakers have been arrested for sexual misconduct in public restrooms than transgender people. It’s true. Google it. I’ll wait. But more importantly, if you’re so concerned for your daughters’ safety why exactly are you not escorting them into the public restroom?
She’s a teenager. What if she’s out with her friends?
Seriously? Have you ever seen a teenage girl out with her friends go into a bathroom alone? That’s what I thought.
But what if she’s on a date with her boyfriend?
Then the boyfriend is the one you should be worried about because I promise you he’s the one who’s trying the hardest to get at your daughter’s bits below the belt. But if you’re really that concerned about her using a public restroom by herself, teach her how to defend herself. Hint: the answer is almost always kick the groin.
Well I still think there ought to be a law requiring people to use the bathroom assigned to the gender they were born with.
Of course you do, but let me ask you this: How exactly would we go about enforcing such a law? I don’t know about you, but if someone walked up to me in a public restroom and asked me to show my genitals, I’d punch that person in the throat. You complain about how high taxes are now. Imagine how high they’ll be when we have to allocate public funds to enforce a ridiculous law on who uses which bathroom.
Why don’t we talk about the real issue here, that being your obvious transphobia, hmm? I get it. People fear that which they do not understand. You’ve always felt comfortable in your gender and don’t understand how anyone possibly couldn’t feel the same way. Okay think about why people dye their hair. Let’s say you were born with blonde hair, but as you age, you start to feel like your hair color just doesn’t fit you. You try everything. You try styling it differently, different cuts, etc and you still just don’t feel comfortable in your own skin as a blonde and you think you’d rather have brown hair, so you dye it. No big deal right? Sure some people may hate on you, but you’re happy and that’s what matters. At its very core, this gender issue is basically the same. Admittedly comparing changing gender to dying one’s hair is perhaps oversimplifying it and doesn’t entirely do it justice. After all, it’s not very likely that your parents will disown you for dying your hair. However for the purposes of explaining something big and complicated to people whose minds are small and closed, oversimplification can be a useful tool.
But what if my kid turns out to be one of those freaks?
Come on. Really? Transgender people are people just like you and me. They’re not freaks. We talked about this. A chance meeting with a transgender person in a public restroom is not going to turn your non-trans child trans. It doesn’t work that way. Frankly the fact that you think it does makes you a very special kind of stupid. If your child is going to be trans, it’s going to happen and there’s nothing you can do about it at this point because you see, your child has already been born and oh my God I can’t believe I have to say this in 2017.
When you were expecting your child before you knew what his/her gender was going to be, you didn’t care right? When people asked you said you just wanted a healthy, happy baby. So um…what exactly has changed? Why would you feel any differently now? Do you not love your child? Seriously what the hell is wrong with you? If you disown your transgender child, there’s a very special place in hell for you. I’m also going to need you to take that Jesus fish off the back of your car because anyone with your lack of compassion and tolerance has no right to call themselves a Christian.
Fine but they should have to use a separate bathroom from the rest of us.
Oh sure and while we’re at it, maybe we should make them use separate water fountains, make them sit in the back of city busses, and go to “separate but equal” schools. See, that’s how legal precedent works. First it’s a separate bathroom and then down the slippery slope we go until we bring back segregation. But here’s another fun fact about legal precedent: When the Supreme Court rules something unconstitutional, it’s pretty much game over for that law. Newsflash! In case you missed it, Brown v. Board of Education ruled state-sponsored segregation illegal in 1954.
I have a novel idea for you! JUST PEE OR POO AND MIND YOUR OWN DAMN BUSINESS! If the person in the restroom looks like a female from the waist up, assume she’s female. If the person looks like a male from the waist up, assume he’s a male. What goes on in the stall is between you and your deity of choice, so why should it be any different for them? What’s below your waist is none of their business so why is what’s below their waists any of yours? Seriously how old are we? Grow up! Just do your business and mind your own.
*Blogger puts down soap box and steps up on it*
Here it comes another one of my classic rants, folks! Consider yourselves warned!
I can’t believe I have to say this to grown men in 2017, but here it goes: There’s a right way and a wrong way to talk to women. It’s true! You really can speak to women in a way that doesn’t frustrate, annoy, offend, or otherwise aggravate them.
The first step is understanding that YOU ARE THE PROBLEM! We’re not over-sensitive. We’re not triggered snowflakes. You’re just an asshole. Don’t feed me a load of crap about how women are by nature irrational and prone to emotional reactions. That simply isn’t true and for God’s sake it’s 2017. Don’t bother bringing up our menstrual cycles either. We have years of experience dealing with our own hormones or as I call it riding the dragon. Call me Khaleesi. We’re not frail, emotional, reactionary creatures. Political correctness isn’t out of control. Stop making excuses.
Now that we have that out of the way, the next step is very simple. It’s called SHOWING WOMEN SOME FREAKIN’ RESPECT! That means not taking a condescending tone, not interrupting us, and not mansplaining when we ask you a question. Mansplaining is defined by the fine folks at Merriam-Webster as “when a man talks condescendingly to someone (especially a woman) about something he has incomplete knowledge of with the mistaken assumption that he knows more about it than the person he’s talking to does.” You don’t need to patronize us or translate your college level words into Trump speak for women to understand you.
Speak to us the same way that you would speak to someone you respect and admire. If you wouldn’t call someone you respect and admire honey, sweetie, puddin’, etc., then don’t do that to women. The only time it’s acceptable to use a term of endearment when speaking to a woman is if she is your significant other, child, or younger female relative (e.g. your niece). If she’s none of the above, don’t do it. It’s not nice or cute. It’s annoying and it makes you sound like a condescending jackass.
Now let’s talk about joking with women. Some men seem to think one of two things: Either women can’t take a joke because we’re “too sensitive” or “too easily offended,” or they think that their jokes are funny when in reality they’re just offensive as all fuck.
When making a joke, you have to think carefully about your topic. A joke about your girlfriend’s flatulence could be funny. A joke about gang-raping the only female comic at a comedy show? Not funny. Got it? Good. Violence against women is not funny. Violence against anyone who is not an obviously fictional cartoon character is not funny.
Now let’s talk about content. If the joke about your girlfriend’s flatulence ends with you recording an album of songs made from the various sounds her flatulence makes and releasing it next month, that’s funny. After all, who doesn’t like a good fart joke? The only way a joke about violence against women could ever be funny is if it ends with us getting to watch you get your ass beat by the woman you tried to assault or if it ends with you getting arrested, going to prison, and getting the same treatment from your cell mate and his buddies that you tried to give to that female comic earlier. That’s called poetic justice and sometimes it’s funny as hell.
Now let’s talk about a little thing I like to call discernment. As an adult, you should already understand the importance of thinking before you speak and having a filter. However if you don’t that’s okay. I’ll break it down for you.
The Child Filter:
If you’re about to say something to a woman, stop and imagine how you would feel if another man said the same thing to your daughter. If you’d knock him out, don’t say it. If you’re about to say something to a woman, stop and imagine what you would do if your son said the same thing to a girl. If you’d punish him, don’t say it.
Think of the example you’re setting for your children and act like they’re watching because trust me, they are.
The Husband Filter:
If you’re about to say something to a woman, stop and imagine how you would feel if another man said the same thing to your wife. If you’d knock him out, don’t say it. If you’re about to say something to a woman, stop and ask yourself, “Would my wife cuss me out and make me sleep on the couch if I said this to her?” If she’d cuss you out, don’t say it.
You want your wife to brag about you to her friends, right? Good! Act like it.
The Boyfriend Filter:
If you’re about to say something to a woman, stop and imagine how you would feel if another man said the same thing to your girlfriend. If you’d knock him out, don’t say it. If you’re about to say something to a woman, stop and ask yourself, “Would my girlfriend be pissed if I said this to her?” If she’d be pissed, don’t say it.
If you want your girlfriend to stick around, show her that you respect her and all women. Respect for women is hot.
If all else fails, think of any woman in your life that you love, respect, and admire and if you wouldn’t want another man to speak to them the way you’re thinking of speaking to the woman in front of you, change your damn tune! Treat others the way you want to be treated. You want to be treated with respect don’t you? Yes? Good! SO DO WOMEN!!! I’m so glad we had this talk.
*Blogger hops down off of soapbox*
I’m going to post this entry now before the current fascist dictatorship…I mean Presidential administration in the US repeals the First Amendment. From the moment Lord Commander Marmalade entered the presidential race I have wholeheartedly opposed him. Every single thing about him offends me from his racism, xenophobia, bigotry, ableism, and misogyny right down to his God-awful comb-over, orange skin, and tiny hands. I am absolutely baffled at how such a disrespectful, sorry excuse for a human being even made it to the Republican National Convention, let alone got elected to the highest office in the United States. On November 9th I woke up and asked, “How the f*ck could we let this happen?” Then I remembered the sheeple who supported him. Well I hope you’re pleased with yourselves because you got what you wanted. An orange reality TV star is the president and you have a Repugnant…I mean Republican majority in Congress.
Oh and by the way, for all of you moderate Republicans who are watching your party get hijacked by the Tea Party and alt-right, I don’t feel the least bit sorry for you. This is your circus and they are your monkeys. You could’ve stopped them and taken your party back. You could’ve said to hell with the legal quagmire that would result and run a contested convention. You had a chance to stand up, but you chose to go along with the insanity and now you have a misogynist in the White House. Your wives, daughters, sisters, mothers, aunts, and grandmothers must be so proud.
You can say “sour grapes” all you want. You can call me a snowflake and tell me to stop whining and just accept the fact that Hillary lost and he’s our president now and I should respect that and respect him. That’s fine. Freedom of speech is great! However I’m going to respectfully disagree. Sour grapes, my ass.
This isn’t about who won or lost. It’s about standing up for what we believe is right and that is as American as apple pie and baseball. Say what you want about the women who marched on January 21st. No matter what Il Douché tells you, more people mobilized in support of the Women’s March than the Inauguration. Criticize the airport protests all you want, but the public outcry got the attention of a Federal judge. Gosh! I gotta tell you I feel so safe now that those terrifying five year olds are being put in cuffs and dealt with! I can now walk the streets at night safely knowing that I won’t be attacked by a crayon-wielding terrorist! Oh wait, I should explain that last statement in case anyone from Cheeto face’s base is reading assuming that any of them are even literate. That statement about a crayon-wielding terrorist is what’s called sarcasm. I don’t feel any safer and I damn sure don’t walk the streets at night because I’m a woman and we can’t do that. (see previous entry)
We’re resisting because we refuse to normalize hate. We’re resisting because we see what’s really happening and refuse to have the wool pulled over our eyes and surprise! It’s working. The phone lines of Republican Senators have been blowing up with untold thousands of calls. The repeal of the ACA has caused Republican Representatives to have to duck out of back doors to avoid their angry constituents who want to know why they’re trying to take away their health insurance.
Even scientists are standing against the “alternative facts” and the gag order that was placed on them. Organizations like the National Park Service and NASA now have alternate Twitter accounts where they can speak freely. Even the Pope is resisting. Pope Francis is departing from the traditional Papal role of silent observer of all things political and openly criticizing the administration’s treatment of immigrants, refugees, and Muslims and calling for all Catholics to do the same.
We’ve seen this before and we don’t want to see it again. This administration is taking pages right out of Hitler’s playbook, but Hitler was much more dangerous because unlike this dream team of geniuses (<=sarcasm) he was smart. Hitler promised a better world, a German world. Trump promised to Make America Great Again. Hitler rose to power by criticizing the government. Trump criticized the government and promised to “drain the swamp.” Hitler reached out to frustrated Germans. Trump reached out to frustrated Americans. Hitler criticized the press and told people where to get their news. Trump won’t even entertain questions from CNN reporters and has told people to get their news from Fox or Breitbart since other outlets report “fake news.” Hitler maligned Jews in Germany and used them as scapegoats. Replace Jews with Muslims or immigrants or women or LGBTQ or any other group he’s attacked and you have Trump.
Those of us who learned history don’t wish to be doomed to repeat it. In 1939 we turned away Jewish refugees at our shore. Over 250 of them were then murdered in concentration camps. The Diary of Anne Frank is a popular reading choice in American schools. The strict immigration laws leading up to World War II caused us to deny entry to her family. Anne Frank could be an 88 year old woman living in Boston. Instead we allowed her to be murdered in Bergen Belsen concentration camp in 1945 at the age of 16. Still think this is about an election?
We’re not fighting over politics. We’re fighting for our rights. We’re fighting for our friends, coworkers, neighbors, and families. We’re fighting for the future, ours and yours. I will not shut up. I will not be complicit. I will not obey. I will resist because I love my country and it’s the right thing to do.