Thursday, March 29, 2012

Clockin' 10,000 Hours, 5 Minutes at a Time (A WOMANifesto?)

I've done four mics in the last three days, which might be laughable to Louis CK, but has me really proud of myself. Even though I love sleep like a fat kid loves not being made fun of, I know that I won't get off the plantation if I don't start squirreling away food and necessities to prepare for my escape--metaphorically speaking.

But man, open mics and networking sucks. At the end of a boring day writing about pictures of fruit in bowls, the last thing I want to do is to spend up to 2 hours in a lame bar surrounded by poorly dressed, mildly autistic, self-loathing men who are all friends with each other just so I can spend 5 minutes holding a microphone in front of the aforementioned boys club. They're not exactly my target audience.

Any comic who's made it--and developed a sustainable career--has put in the time and continues to do so. But I find it so hard to "replenish the creative well," so to speak, when I'm just running from one thing to the next, grocery bags under the eyes like I'm shoppin' at Whole Foods, and not really engaging in the world. I'm half tempted to start drinking and hooking up with randos just for the material!

I jest. I think.

Gladwell says it's all about clockin' the hours. But if I've gotta wait to hit 10,000 one set at a time, I may not be an outlier until I'm 84 years old. And by then, we'll all be hairless pod people providing the life force for Apple's cyborgs, so no one will really care. (Do you think they'll have comedy clubs in the dystopian future? I feel like they'd all be 20-person bringers with a 12-drink minimum.)

I'm finding myself most fueled by collaboration with strong black women of every color. I'm not above open mics and all, but nowadays I think of my best stuff when sitting and talking one-on-one with a quick-witted gal pal. Since that's the opposite of soul-crushing, I think I'll continue to go that route and not judge myself if I don't hit an open mic.

Why am I discussing this? Well, I just got a link to an article from--you guessed it!--a Caucasian strong black woman that really reinforced some of these thoughts. In it, the author cites Molly Lambert's article "Can't Be Tamed: A Manifesto," where she says:

“Befriend The Other Woman… She is not the enemy. She is never your enemy. The enemy is always any guys who are creating situations that limit the number of females allowed. Get them in the crosshairs and take them down.”

I did a show at 11pm last night because the woman hosting it had a last-minute cancellation and thought of me. She thought of me because, despite my insecurity, when she sent an email blast saying she was running this show, I told her to keep me in mind for future slots that might open up (it's booked really far in advance).

And she did. And so, even though I wanted to go home and write, I showed up because I don't believe in turning down a gig. And I know that none of this is owed to me. And this gal who I'm convinced thinks I'm pathetic will never get a chance to prove me wrong if I don't let it go. She is not my enemy. Most of the time, I'm my own damn enemy and I've decided I'm done hatin' on me!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Hunger Pains Over The Hunger Games

Guys, it’s begun. Midnight last night, The Hunger Games premiered and my world was officially made whole. I am soooooo psyched, I don’t even know where to begin. I haven’t been this excited for a movie since Harry Potter IV! Jennifer Lawrence was the right choice for the lead. I mean, after Winter’s Bone— which was basically The Hunger Games set in meth country—we know that she can traverse a treacherous landscape for the good of her family.

And I only just found out that Stanley Tucci is in it!!!! Have I never mentioned my mild obsession with him? The man is perfect wherever he appears. I am so drawn to the Tucci, I want to touch his tushy!
Yes, I'm so excited that all these puns are swirling in my head:

Katniss is my catnip!

Shot through the heart / And you're to blame / You messed with Katniss / during The Hunger Games!!!!

This might be Lenny Kravitz' best move since making daughter Zoe.

My only hope is that the movie is 10 hours long and re-creates every single page of the book.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Chosen People Have Chosen Me!!!

So, I don’t know how many of you received my March newsletter (email madblacktress[at] if you wanna opt in!), but I mentioned a gig that was unlike any I’ve ever had. Of course, being nervous and stressed about it, I was trying to block it out and not speak of it—you know, like how I handle sweating in public. Saturday, March 17, I was scheduled to perform at a Jewish Community Center in York, Pennsylvania, just an hour away from where Jewboo’s parents live!

One of these things is not like the other.....

Clearly, someone had dropped out at the last minute—but I’m not quite sure why I was the natural sub. Never one to turn down a gig, I said yes and figured I’d work it out later. It was kinda exciting—although I was getting paid to do “20 minutes, clean material, but can be edgy,” and my lover’s parents would be in attendance!!! As you can imagine, I was freaking out. I mean, what does ‘edgy’ even mean? Can I just get a list of forbidden words? You know, like:

  • F word
  • S word
  • C word
  • Vagina / Vajay-jay
  • P in V without a C
  • “I can’t passover those matzohballs.”
  • Niggerbollen
  • Honky Lumps

  • The other C word (cancer)
  • The other C word (Caucasia)
  • "Save the drama for Obama"
  • Bitch, when used as a pronoun
  • Wintercourse, when used as a biological term
I was equally stressed out being in a JCC. We all know that I’m down with the chosen but I’m learning that non-New York Jews are a different crowd. And, like the New Hampshire country club I attempted to entertain back in October, these folks were going to be out of my target demographic in terms of age and lifestyle choices. Would they know what Roots or a Tyler Perry production was? Would they be offended by the use of the term ‘Jewboo? I just wasn’t sure how I’d play it.

After consulting some of the top comedic Jewish minds I know, I reached the Zen place of not actually dealing with it. As Jewboo and I headed to PA, I started to get stressed. This was quickly eclipsed by a near-death experience.

So, turns out that I have allergy-induced asthma...which I discovered on Saturday, the morning before my JCC debut. #fml

Remember the magical impression I made on my first visit to Jewboo's family/a suburban PA emergency room?
Well, turns out it wasn't the lady meds--it's cat dander plus wall-to-wall carpeting.

After a night spent wheezing, we finally decided to suck it up and go to the urgent care center. Of course, being Pennsylvania and not NYC, I was in and out in just over an hour, complete with prescriptions to pick up!
Of course, fear of death trumps fear of death by stage, but once I passed that hurdle, I was back to freaking out, and waiting around the venue for over 90 minutes didn't help--until I went to the bathroom, that is.
After closing the stall door, my own face looked back at me!!!

Seeing one's own face in the most unexpected places (i.e. not a mirror) was mind-blowing!
I felt like Rihanna.

Clearly, they were ready for me, as they'd had to see my face numerous times over the last two weeks. I went up second, which gave me time to read the temperature of the room. They were quite fun, actually, and opener Gilad Foss killed them with his Israeli sense of Jewmor. I followed, and just sorta went in with my same old stuff. And turns out, they liked me--they really, really liked me!

After my set, everyone wanted to meet Jewboo (who had to repeatedly say his real name in an attempt to assert his identity), and the head of the JCC even cornered me in a wine-induced stupor and asked if I planned to convert to Judaism.
"Um, let's go over to the cake," I replied.
BYOB at a JCC = TMI!

The night was fun and it felt good to share that side of myself with the boo's parents. I was, however, wrecked from the previous night and ready to get to bed when we got home at 2am. (Keeping the parents out til all hours!) Unfortunately, steroids and the inhaler kept me hyped up like Jessie Spano before the big dance contest. I spent much of Sunday lying on the couch and returned to NYC with a mountain of laundry and much to do--you know, like prepare for an audition for 30 Rock on Monday.

Yep, that happened! I got an email Friday afternoon while en route to the PA JCC (perhaps I was already creating Chosen People karma before the gig began???). After the insanity of "Schmobbie Jones" (remember her?) I had to do a bunch of sleuthing to make sure I wasn't being lured into a dark alley. After all, how did they even know me? Where'd they get my contact info? How did they know I'd be right for the part?

Well, turns out those casting folks are good! Based on a set they saw me do at a club back in September, they called me in for a strong black woman whose one line is, "I handle conflict appropriately and I'm up-to-date on my mortgage payments!" YES!!! THAT IS SO ME!!!!

I was pretty psyched and was totally hepped up Sunday night--and still trying to get that whole "breathing" thing under control. A trip to the bathroom at 3:30am turned nearly deadly as I walked directly into the doorframe, clocking myself in the head. Any attempt at sleeping was abandoned, as I worked to ensure that I wouldn't end up with a giant lump on my head for 30 Rock.

I went into the audition in my Banana Republic dress and was about 10 years younger than the other women, which was a bit awk. I felt like I'd walked into a scene from Waiting to Exhale, especially because they all seemed to know each other. For reals, they were showing pictures of their babies, talking about their New Jersey homes that were minutes from one another, and generally being BFF. Clearly, there's an elite group of upwardly mobile blacktresses that function similarly to the Freemasons that I need to be a part of.

I must find my way in.

How are you?

Monday, March 12, 2012

We've Come a Long Way, Baby!

Hi Friends,

How are things going? I actually have energy today, which is surprising because I headlined a show at 11pm last night, got to work an hour late, and am about to get my period! TMI? Since when has that stopped me.

I headlined at Therapy, a gay bar that's served as a port in a storm for a blacktress for many months. I actually have fans who know when I'm gonna be there and show up to see me. And you have no idea how gratifying it is to be called "a funny bitch. I fuckin' love you." over and over. It never gets old.

Speaking of fuckin' loving people: Yesterday marked two years since Jewboo and I first made out and a love was born. Can you believe it, guys?

You've been there from the beginning, readers, and I had to mark this milestone with you. Honestly, you know more than my mother. It was to you that I first broke the news of my love affair 3 weeks in, coining the term 'Jewboo' in an attempt to protect his anonymity. It was you who found out about the first cry, 6 weeks into the relationship, and shared my elation when love was declared. And here we are, preparing to move in together, just two interracial lovers and two mildly obese cats. Who woulda thunk?

I'm going to keep this post brief, since I'm also trying this new thing where I actually focus on work between the hours of 9am and 5pm. Wish me luck!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Guys, I just got the following casting notice and I have to share:

For the Tupac Shakur musical:
An American Musical Inspired by and featuring the music of Tupac Amaru Shakur

*Actors must be available for workshop dates: 4/23 - 5/11

SEEKING: African American Male and Female rappers ages 18 – 35. Additionally seeking one Caucasian actor ages 20 – 25 with a strong facility for rap and terrific guitar skills. Strong legit singing voices a plus for all, but not required.

WHAT TO PREPARE: A rap of choice under 2 minutes. We will supply a boom box if needed. Singers should prepare 16 - 32 bars of an uptempo song to sing accapella. You may bring your own accompaniment if you want.

My dear readers, please feel free to forward to all of your actor-friends who have a dream of being AMAZING.

If there's one way for a thug to be immortal, it's to be the basis of a musical.

Monday, March 5, 2012

If the children are our future, we should really try to make sure they don't grow up racist.

Someone on the Disney product-design team is a real dummy, if not a racist mastermind. Check out this new candy:

These new "Dig N Dips" are both portable and hateful! With the black princess endorsing the watermelon flavor and the white princess endorsing vanilla, your tiny tot can rot their teeth and their brain at the same time! You know, cause white people are vanilla colored and one of the oldest racial stereotypes in history states that black people love watermelon.

You already know I take issue with Disney's first black princess being turned into a frog about 5 minutes into her movie. The fact that they would do Tiana dirty like this is just beyond me. I have no idea how this kind of ridiculousness still happens. Do you know how many people have to sign off on a product and its packaging before it actually gets made? Seeing as I need to go through 4 people just to get a cover line on one of my magazines, I would imagine Disney is even more strict. So, let's just say that at least 4 people had to have looked at this package mock-up and said, "Yup, that's good! Aurora, Vanilla; Tiana, Watermelon. Put it in major grocery and candy stores across the country. [release to Manila and Taiwan in 6 months.]"