Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tell Me A Joke Bitch (Part 3)

I went over to Crazy Bride. When you approach a bride with something unpleasant there’s one rule to follow: talk in low tones. You don’t want to seem panicked. You don’t want to stress them. If you talk in low tones, nothing can upset them. Even if you told them horrible things like, “There’s no more vodka,” or “Aunt Martha binge ate the wedding cake,” or “Uncle Stan just pissed himself.” Low tones is the key to keeping everything cool. So in my lowest of low tone voices I said, “Maybe we should just skip the show. Everyone seems to be having such a good time talking, drinking and laughing.” You would think I had said, “I just fucked the groom,” because her happy face went cold. Quick. And she said in an even lower tone voice, “We are doing this show.” She was determined. She must’ve known about the quiet uprising that had been going on. Nothing got by Crazy Bride.

Her brother and a few other guests who were hoping the show might be canceled, looked over at me to see how it went. But they knew. We all knew. This show was going to happen whether we liked it or not. And like a lamb on her way to slaughter, I walked up to the front of the room, grabbed the mike, ready to start the show. I looked out into the audience and saw Old Bow-Tie guy. He had liked me so much when we were chatting just moments before. After he saw my act, I wasn’t so sure he’d feel the same. I looked out at the 150 plus guests, and thought about how much bombing sucks.

I stood there holding the microphone while someone on staff introduced me. Except for Crazy Bride and Clueless Groom not too many people were paying attention. Not good. I did my usual schtick where I make fun of the audience for sucking at welcoming me, and I teach them how to give a proper welcome. It’s fun to tell people what to do. It got their attention and now with all eyes on me, and my nerves a little shaky, I panned the room and saw my two friends that were getting married. They were so happy. So excited. And I used that energy from them to start the show and talk about what we were doing. I sorta braced the audience for a potential disaster by talking about love, and the spirit of what we were trying to do. When all else fails, guilt the crowd.

And then I did a joke. Not much of a response. So I plowed forward and did another joke. Crickets. Bow-Tie crickets. And as I stood there, all I could hear was this damn harp playing in the background. And I smiled and said,

"This is just like being in a club. Is that a fucking harp?” Laughter finally. Things started rolling. I started to loosen up and have fun. Crazy Bride’s Aunt was up front, and now that I was getting laughs, she wanted to join in. I couldn’t believe there was a heckler at the wedding. I shut her down quickly. It was fun. The crowd was loving it when I shut the Aunt up. Even the pastors were laughing.

Clueless Groom’s friends started coming up to perform. The math professor was up first. I braced myself for the worse, but to my surprise he was talented. All of his friends were talented. There were toasts, original songs, lines from an original play read, monologues, an opera singer, and some good back and forth between me and the performers that was hysterical. I thought it was going to be the gong show, but it turned into a nice variety hour. No Sonny and Cher, but it was good.

The show ended and my friends were thrilled. Hugging them and seeing them happy was incredible. It felt amazing to use my talent as a gift to a friend instead of as a job for strangers. It was actually fun. I walked off stage to get a drink and Old Bow-Tie Guy came towards me. I thought he’d keep walking, and I was dreading him stopping. But he stopped. He looked at me, and said, "Hilarious fucking show." And I was worried about the bow-ties.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tell Me A Joke Bitch (Part 2)

Crazy Bride’s friends and Clueless Groom’s (let’s face it every groom is,) friends were going to be performing. Now Crazy Bride is a writer and a director and has a ton of friends who are performers. Clueless Groom is a lawyer. His friends also have serious jobs. One is a math professor. Another is an actuary. By the way, what the hell do they do? Yeah, I’m sure his friends, the math professor and actuary (and the others like them) would be great performing in a show. Sure.

Crazy Bride was doing a make up dress rehearsal (normal) while directing and doing a run through of the show (not normal). I had somehow missed the show dress rehearsal because it felt like I blinked, and the next thing I knew it was about an hour before the show was happening, and I still didn’t know what to expect. And I was feeling faint.

First off, it was like 1000 degrees in the place. It was an outdoor wedding, in September, in Massachusettes, and you’d of thought it was July. Hot, sticky and gross, it was one of those nights where even if you were naked you would still be uncomfortable. But besides the heat, I was worried about the gig.

My friend’s family is cool. Great senses of humor and totally my kind of people. Half her family is in show biz. I think. I don’t really know what they do in show business, but they do something. They’re really open, and they do things differently than most people. So I knew they’d be okay with this show.

I wasn’t so sure about the groom’s side of the family. They’re old. Really old. And did I

mention 40 of them were pastors? The groom’s dad was a pastor, but then something happened and he stopped believing in God. He was more my type of audience member. I thought he’d probably like my comedy, but what about the other ones? The God Ones. How would they like it?

While drinking cocktails before the big show, I was talking to some old guy in a bow-tie. As a matter of fact, many of the guests were wearing bow-ties, and it's not like they were wearing tuxedos. What was up with all the bow-ties?

How were these old bow-tie wearing people going to react to my humor?

I was sweating this gig. And not just for me. For her as well. This was her wedding. I didn’t want to screw it up. She had been meticulously planning this thing for months. Every time I tried to run my material by her, she wouldn’t let me. She wanted it to be a surprise. What if the surprise was that the cabaret/show/ weird thing to do at a wedding sucked?

And I never stress a gig. There’s no rules. You just go out there and make them laugh. You say whatever you want. And you’ll never see them again. But doing a show at one of your best friend’s weddings and trying to make old people in bow-ties laugh and not offend anyone is different. I’d be seeing these people again. You know, the next night at the actual wedding and also in passing at one of the 62 events planned for the weekend. And the bride and the groom, essentially, I’d be seeing them for the rest of my life. They were the ones I really cared about. There were 3 video cameras capturing everything just in case one missed it or malfunctioned. It was just all too much.

Crazy Bride came over to me and told me we’d be starting soon. I smiled and ran over to her brother. I talked to him hoping there would be a way out of this mess. He’s the opposite of Crazy Bride. I’m sure the day of his wedding he didn’t even know where to go. He suggested I try to talk her out of the show that way we could all just drink and get drunk. Maybe there was a way out of it.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Tell Me A Joke Bitch (Part 1)

When you’re a comedian and you’re around non-comedians they want you to perform all the time. No matter if it’s appropriate or not. Look, I love doing comedy, but it gets a little ridiculous. You’re at a barbecue and people want to hear your “act.” People will say, “Tell your jokes. Like when you’re on stage.” The last thing they want to hear are the jokes that you’d tell in a club. Talk about wrong venue. I’m going to tell a cock joke at a Mother’s Day brunch? Doing your act outside of a club is brutal. It’s sorta like when someone tells you a story and then says, “You should use this in your act.” It just never translates.

One of my best friends had just gotten engaged, and she called me up to share the good news. I was excited for her, but even though it had just happened less than 24 hours earlier she already had half of the wedding planned. I wasn’t surprised. I knew she’d be one of those crazy brides. She’s just crazy in all situations. She’s a planner to the end. No detail too small. Meticulous times a thousand. Over the top and extreme, I knew her wedding would be an event.

But when she asked me to MC her wedding, I wasn’t quite sure what she meant. When someone asks you to do anything for their wedding your first answer has to be yes. But I have to admit I was fearful. I figured she was over planning and thinking of every possibility and that by the time the wedding day came she wouldn’t need an MC. Why would she need an MC for her wedding? It’s like having an MC at a funeral. We all know why we’re here. We all know what to do. It doesn’t make sense.

And then, like when all your friends get engaged, there’s a big party to celebrate the engagement, and then life goes on for you. You know the wedding is coming. There are showers, bachelorette parties, and dress talks, but it always seems so far away. I remember asking Crazy Bride a few times what I’d be doing as the MC, but she told me it’d be a cinch. Not to worry. She was busy planning. And that was that.

I did have wedding material in my act. Most of it was about how weddings suck and ruin your weekend, so I didn’t think she wanted me to use those jokes. I didn’t know if she wanted me to do jokes at all. Maybe I’d just announce the 94 bridesmaids and groomsmen when they came out and then them. I didn’t understand why they’d need that, but whatever. It wasn’t like there was going to be a show at her wedding. But that’s where I was wrong.

Yes, that’s right. Not only was Crazy Bride planning a destination wedding with three different locations within the location that was jam packed with events and something to do every minute while you were there. She was also producing a show. Like I said, she’s nuts. Her rehearsal dinner, which is usually reserved for the wedding party and

close friends, was going to be attended by everyone coming to the wedding. So basically she was having an entire wedding the night before the wedding minus the getting married part. Her plan was to do a full show at the rehearsal dinner. There would be a stage, a microphone, and an audience filled with wedding guests. Did I mention she was calling it a cabaret? WTF?


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Three Weddings, One Silver Dress, & A Brazilian (Part 3)

My friend, a virtual Hair Removal Goddess, had dedicated her life to helping those of us with too much hair. She was doing electrolysis and decided, as a way to make more money, she’d get into laser hair removal as well. She hadn’t done it on any paying clients and was still learning how to use the thing.

She knew that hair removal was a top priority in my life, and asked me if I wanted any part of my body to have less hair. I decided to get a permanent Brazilian for my bikini line. A Brazilian means there’s hardly any hair left on the bikini line when it’s done. Usually just a landing strip and not much else.

So the first session of my free laser permanent Brazilian was the morning of the wedding. I’m really just a series of bad decisions. At my friend’s place, she had ice packs for me to hold on my crotch. Even with my high tolerance for pain, the ice part killed. Maybe the laser would be better? Wrong. It felt like a blow torch was removing my pubic hair.

When she was done, the entire area was almost hairless and in a ton of pain. Think severe sunburn on your crotch times a thousand. It looked like there was a disease of epic proportions down there. My friend told me it was fine.

I limped out of her place only to find out later that she had the laser on the wrong setting, and that’s why it was so painful. Right. Guinea pig = stupid.

In the parking lot, I changed into the silver dress and out of the ice cream cone drip dress. Not only was I wearing the ugliest dress in the world, but my vagina was bubbling.

As I stumbled into the church, Diva Bride was about to walk down the aisle. “I’m so glad you made it,” she said. Translation: “Where the fuck have you been?” I said, “So sorry. Crazy traffic.” Translation: “I spilled ice cream on my cute dress, and all I had left to wear was this ugly dress. And oh yea, my vagina was burnt earlier this morning.”

All the bridesmaids were lined up and so were the groomsman and one looked familiar, but with no time to spare, I sat down and watched Diva Bride get married.

Then I had to go through the whole reception. Because I was so uncomfortable while wearing the silver dress, it was hard to be free. It always made me want to shrink back. Not be myself. Every photo op had me trying to hide my body so there would be no evidence of me wearing that dress. A difficult thing to do since Diva Bride wanted me next to her the entire time, and she was in 500 pictures.

I had to leave that wedding. That was, by far, the worst night in the dress. I was rushing to get my bag to leave when this guy my age comes up to me and starts talking. It was the familiar groomsmen. Small world because it was a guy from college. We’d been friends and had lost touch.

He convinced me to stay, and we started drinking. Just like old times. Next thing I know, I’m wasted, hooking up with him. When I had started hooking up, I had forgotten about my vagina troubles. Alcohol really helps with pain relief and hurts with remembering. But then we started having sex. And I remembered. Big time. That area, at that time, really didn’t want sex. It wanted ice. But since sex was happening, I went with it. I hoped it’d be a quick hook up.

The next morning, upon waking up and hearing the shower, I realized two things. One, I hooked up with a burnt crotch and two, if I waited around for College Guy to get out of the shower, I’d have to wear the silver dress to brunch in the light of day. With the shower still running , I threw on the silver dress, ran out of the room, and never looked back. I was doing the walk of shame from my friends wedding with a guy from college. Don’t most people finish walks of shame in college?

I started to realize this dress was the ultimate walk of shame dress because no matter when I wore it, I was always shameful. Embarrassed to be wearing something I hated. Uncomfortable that it didn’t fit and wasn’t my style. Unforgivable that I was allowing this to happen over and over again. Something had to change.

Back in New York, I went to Bloomingdales that day. I opened a Bloomingdales charge card and bought four cocktail dresses. It made me ready to go at a

moments notice in anything but the silver dress.

I still keep it in my closet. It will always be a reminder that no matter what I put on, nothing could ever look as bad, be as ugly or torment my life as much. I might be broke, but at least I'm not silver anymore.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Three Weddings, One Silver Dress, & A Brazilian (Part 2)

It’s a month later and one of my friends’ brothers was getting married. I had another dress to wear. The night before, I’d be sleeping at home. No church. Plenty of time. What could go wrong? I was going to wear this really gorgeous red dress. I dropped it in the dry cleaners a few days before. My friend had two brothers, and I had hooked up with the one not getting married, but he was going to be there. Hot was the look for this wedding. Not silver.

Out late the night before, I slept most of the day. Being busy with getting up and then more lounging around, I waited until the last possible minute before dragging ass over to the dry cleaners. While approaching the store, it seemed a little dark. Was it possible? It couldn’t be? But it was. The dry cleaners had closed minutes ago, and now I was screwed once again.

While at the Other Brother’s Wedding, I tried to avoid the brother I had hooked up with. When I saw him, we barely talked. I’m sure he was glad that hook up didn’t go anywhere. I just looked horrible.

Nothing was ever fun while I was wearing the silver dress. And my only way to combat wearing it was to drink. Alcohol really can be a cure-all at times. What else can you do when you’re in a silver dress that your grandmother would wear, but actually you’re in your twenties and somehow it keeps getting worn by you? I shouldn’t insult my grandmother. It was doubtful that she would’ve worn that thing.

I danced with one of the bride’s cousins from Scotland. He twirled and swirled me all over the dance floor in the too big silver dress. The entire time I hoped it would stay up. The dance must’ve been some sadistic Scottish dance that’s done to torment drunk people because the twirling was getting to me. You’d think I would’ve puked on the silver dress with my high alcohol consumption and my stomach sickened by my outfit. That would’ve solved all my problems, I guess. But alas, there was no puking. That dress was indestructible. Me and the dress both survived the night. Puke-free.

A few months later, one of my diva friends was getting married, and I was running late as usual. I was wearing this cute black number. I had driven just a few blocks from my apartment when I saw a spot in front of this great ice cream shop. It would only take a minute to stop, and those church wedding always make me hungry. I drove away, licking my cone, when suddenly there’s a big ice cream drip on my dress. Yea, I know. What fat bastard eats ice cream while on their way to a wedding wearing a tight dress?

Now, I’ve been eating ice cream for years, and I’m very adept at licking ice cream cones without dripping. I don’t think I’ve ever dripped ice cream on myself in my entire life. Even as a kid. No dripping. No kidding. But of course on my way to Diva Bride’s Wedding, dripping occurred. Guess what happened next?

Back in my apartment, I wet the dress like crazy and grabbed the silver dress just in case. Back in the car, I drove like a nut trying to get to the wedding on time. Almost there, I inspected the stain. The black dress was unwearable.

And I was in pain that day for two reasons. One was because the silver dress was about to be worn again. The other was because a friend of mine had asked me if I wanted to be a guinea pig for laser hair removal, and I went there earlier that morning. Not the best of moves, trust me.