Two years ago I had my last drink.
May 13, 2014.
I was living in Los Angeles. I was unemployed (again). I was 45 lbs heavier. I was living in a house with 9 cats.
I moved to Maryland, picked up my life, got sober, and life magically got better, and now I don’t have any problems!
I wish it worked like that, but it doesn’t. Sobriety from alcohol is hard. Really, really hard. Not drinking anymore hasn’t gotten any easier. If anything, it has gotten harder. That’s not a good sign, by the way, and I acknowledge that. That’s why I write these essays. I want to share how it’s been, the ups, the downs, and what I do. It’s self-indulgent to some, but it’s therapeutic for me, and I genuinely believe someone somewhere is secretly reading this, contemplating trying a life without booze for themselves. Also, this website is literally my name.com, did you really expect anything short of self-indulgence here?
Back to what I was saying…
Not drinking doesn’t get any easier, especially when you live in a city like New York. The second year of abstaining from alcohol has been extremely different from the first, yet eerily similar. The option of “Well, I can just drink” has left my thought process; it now seems to click that I cannot drink, more or less because it’s an allergy than simply the fact that I’m an alcoholic. I would be lying if I said it hasn’t been difficult being alcohol-free in the city. I still envy my friend’s cocktails mixed by Mixologists that wouldn’t dare be called a bartender.
[The featured picture appeared when I googled “Diet Coke”. That is all.]
Almost 2 years ago (!!!!) I quit drinking alcohol cold turkey. Do I recommend doing it the way I did which involved a spiral into a deep depression, an incredibly public breakdown at a Kentucky Derby Party, and moving across the country with a 1 week notice to my friends? Eh, probably not, but that is and always will be how I do things. That’s the addict’s creed: Go Big and Go Home.
That “Oh” was all I needed to know. That, “Oh, right, that’s kind of disgusting and I probably should do something about it.”. Of course, like any addict, I avoided facing that reality for months, but that “Oh.” was in the back of my head. Had I reached a point in my addiction where I forgot that what I was doing was rotting my insides? Is extreme DC intake ubiquitous with other habits like cigarette smoking, or booze? Was my 2 Liter on my nightstand the same as my box of wine cooler I created in my old room in LA?
It was tough to realize that although I’m constantly fighting the battle of sobriety from alcohol, that there were a lot of other wars going on that I wasn’t paying any attention to, that were being equally destructive. Sure, DC will never make me text “u up?” with an eggplant emoji (Kimmy Schmidt reference–have y’all SEEN IT?! Ah. That’s a whole other discussion), but it still racks up a monthly bill that I am too afraid to tally up, and it still added about $4 to my dinner orders, thanks to NYC’s ever-wonderful 500% up charge on everything. All of the money I was saving by not drinking was essentially going right back into another habit. How could I really congratulate myself on abstaining from alcohol when I was sliding into other unhealthy habits that sunk my bank account and affected my mental psyche? If my friend told me she was drinking around 2 Liters of DC a day and didn’t preface it with “please do not tell anyone or I’ll kill myself”, I would shake her..or hold her? Not really sure what I’d do if my friend admitted that, to be honest, but I promise, it would not be met without some eyebrow raising and concern (but never any judgement, I promise).
The price increase of supplementing my addiction during the work day did not seem to phase me. I would get my $1.00 CVS rewards coupons and apply them to my soda, which would require me to ask a Manager to allow me to use this coupon on my $1.88 (bottle deposit and tax included) bottle of soda. I would hold up the self-checkout line to get a dollar off my soda, and ask me if I gave a damn. Answer: I didn’t.
Then one day I took a vitamin with a Diet Coke at work, and I could feel my co-workers looking at me. Never one to care what other people think about my eating and overall quirky demeanor, I didn’t really think about it. Then, my boss mentioned my intake. “So…you like….Diet Coke, huh?” she said, desperately trying not to sound as judgemental as it sounded. “Yeah,” I said, “I know it’s bad for me, but I quit drinking, so I feel like—” queue my little comedy bit about DC blah blah blah. She laughed, I smiled, and I returned to my soda. “I am really bad with my soda intake, too,” my boss admitted, “but if you can quit drinking, you surely can quit Diet Coke, don’t you think?”.
Well…uh…..yeah…but…..but….but….Speechless. I was without speech. I take not having a snarky response to someone’s mild-yet-well-intended criticism of my living habits pretty seriously. I decided to quit, cold turkey, a-la my alcohol, and see what happened.
So far I’ve saved $25 in DC, which is essentially a lunch in the Financial District, and I plan on treating myself on Friday. The entire process, in a word, sucks, but I know it’s for my own good. It’s an addiction that although it didn’t hurt anyone and especially didn’t hurt the local bodega’s sales, it hurt only me. My body deserves nutrients and to intake products that make it feel good, and I’m slowly but surely learning how to take care of myself now so I don’t regret it when I’m older. My Dad had a really bad health scare earlier this year, and almost died. He eats healthier than anyone I know, and yet, the bad choices he made growing up lead him to a whole slew of health issues that he has to pay for. It’s a sobering reality. DC has had countless articles proving it causes cancer, and yet, as much as I hate to admit it, I always felt like, “well, that won’t happen to me!.”
One week later, Craig is finally home from the hospital. Thank you so much for your love and concern. He’s doing better and every nurse in the hospital was sad to see their rockstar patient leave. I walked into the hospital room and saw my Dad in his bed, and he was covered in track marks from the incessant blood testing (think Kurt Cobain after a tour), his Beatles shirt untucked with his belly hanging out, half asleep….and the first thing he said when he saw me was, “hey…WHAT is going on with Kanye?!”
I love my Dad very much, and almost losing him shouldn’t of had to be the reminder I needed to value the time I have with him, but I sure learned my lesson. I’ve been trying to be stone-faced and strong through all this, but I have been a wreck worrying about this guy, and I appreciate everyone checking in on me, even when I insisted I was “fine”. I will be fine, my Dad will be fine, and I’m actually not lying this time.
Craig is now eating white chili and having a glass of red wine (just one, doctor’s orders, dude!), and groaning about having to watch 2 Broke Girls since he missed the ever-horrible Big Bang Theory.
I have never been happier to see Kat Denning’s sharp features on my High Def screen.
Thank you, God. I owe you one.
…but really, WHAT is going on with ‘Ye?
January 1, 2016. 3:15 AM. Village East, New York. It was time to leave the bar.
I said good-bye to my blissfully sequined and merlot-stained lip friends, and wished them a happy new year. Some of them found guys to ring in their new year with, others found a free round of drinks, and I found my way down a strange alley, walking alone and painstakingly sober, in New York City. I hate to admit this, it’s so, dare I say it, “off brand”of me, but it is also “on brand” of me to throw a curveball here and there, so, here it goes….I am a hopeless romantic. There. I said it. I’m secretly Ted Mosby in Barney Stinson clothing. Oh, dear, did I just refer to a show that’s been off the air for 2 years? Am I officially old at 25? God, do I even give a fuck?
What was I saying? Oh, right, I’m a romantic. I admit it. I’m cute like that. I love New Years Eve, and I know I shouldn’t. I love the fashion, the champagne flutes, and Speak Easy accoutrement, and I love the energy of every person wanting to have a good night, and looking forward to what’s ahead.
I also find the midnight kiss incredibly romantic. I’ve never had a romantic midnight kiss. I’ve had broken ankles, fights, or falling tongue-first into someone’s face at midnight — you bet — but a nice, romantic kiss at midnight? Nope. Trust me, I hate myself for wanting such a cliché, meaningless thing, but I want it. Leave it to walking home alone in a smokin’ hot outfit, 4 inch heels, and seeing the New Year’s Eve autopsy of confetti on New York’s lonely streets to make you want a boo ruuuuuul bad.
So, I decided to make more of an “effort” this year, and to let go of my neurotic, over-thinking, anxiety-driven thoughts in the process. I am a dreamer, and I shoot high– I typically fail in some way, and I land where I should be– but I tend to start freaking out right away when my extraordinary expectations aren’t met immediately, and then it just goes up in flames. I have several other ventures I’m working on this year, but this whole “dating thing” will be the most interesting. I have spoken about dating before, and in case you haven’t assumed or heard through the grapevine, I am a doof when it comes to dating. I over-think, freak out, run away at the sign of any problems…you get it. I want to get into casual dating, without so much of the crazy over-thinking. I don’t know if that was possible, but I want to try. It’s what’s “in” right now, anyway, and I have a crumbling brand to uphold.
I’ve heard solid reviews about the dating app Hinge. Nothing great, but nothing bad. It definitely beats the obvious duds like Tinder or Ok Cupid (but OkCupid is hysterical when you get past the horrifying smorgasbord of mental illness du jour). I gave it a go, and I decided to actually message first, since pretty much 98% of the time, nothing amounts from a match anyway. I am not looking for a boyfriend, so why not sift through whatever is out there within a swipe or two? No harm, no foul.
Most of the interactions that come from the man first kept floundering or kept being from people you never wanted to message you in the first place. The whole, “What the hell is wrong with you to make you want to message me, you freak!” thought process plagues me and many of my single friends far and wide. So, I get that my chances would be just as slim when I make my feeble one liner attempt. Once again, I want to go the ever-wonderful “screw it” route. I have nothing to lose, who cares?
I messaged a few people, and a few responded. All of them weird. Oh, well. Then along came a guy with this bio………
If anyone knows anything about me, I have an odd taste in men. I get so bored so fast, that I love being around strange so I can keep on my toes. That being said, Larry David is precisely my type. To the bowling shirt and corduroy, to the argumentative demeanor and general distaste for all things phony/pretentious, Larry David has it all. I know it sounds like I’m being ironic, but I’m kind of not. I’m maybe 85% kidding. Regardless, I love Larry David types, because they challenge me, they challenge everything, they are always interesting, up for a lively discussion about anything, and, most importantly, they make me laugh. Guys, let me make it clear, there is nothing sexier than a guy who can make you laugh on top of a pile of money. Ha. I kid. If you can make me laugh, like, genuinely laugh, I’m sold. It just so happens I find nerds hysterical, and Larry David is the holy grail of funny nerd. Him and Jon Stewart have my heart.
I wish I had a big, romantic story to explain what compelled me to message Luke, but I do not. I will name him Luke for security purposes. And that is where this super original Hinge story begins.
Here are two nerds flirting with each other online. I am sorry. You won’t ever be able to look at me the same way again.
So that’s how it started, and a long-winded hinge chat began. There was nothing notable about the conversation; it was no different than any other conversation you have with a blurb on your phone. Then we started realizing we had a lot in common. You know, what typically happens when you get to know someone when you date them. The similarities ranged from broad “physic-reader” guesses to extremely precise. I won’t bother you with the details. A day passed, and it was time for the phone number exchange, and we set up a date.
Before we made a plan to meet up, we discussed what we were looking for, which was pretty much nothing serious. I was not that worried about this date. I was meeting up with a friend. So I went out to a concert, and met up with him in the middle of a street. We agreed he wouldn’t be getting me dinner, so, naturally, we ended up getting dinner at a hipster pizza spot in BK. Casual enough. The night progressed, the conversation was seamless, there were compliments here and there, a flirty remark, then I would eat bread like a dainty little angel and set women back 50 years, repeat. Then we realized that it was closing time. It was 2 AM.
Before I even grabbed my wallet, Luke offered to pay. I was just that much of a delight, people! I’m telling ya, I’m not only a treat, I’m also a cheap date. So, of course, major points for Luke. Then we were at a loss as to what to do next. I always tell my dates that I don’t drink. It is a bit forward, but after a couple weird interactions, I have now become so up front to avoid wasting my or the other person’s time. Anyway, we discussed prior to our date that I don’t drink, but we clearly still wanted to hang out. We had to go to a bar. It was a sexy, dive lodge bar, with candles lit and chatter down low. It was *the* place to bring someone on a date. Left Hand Path Bar in Bushwick, I am looking at you, bae!
Anyway, he grabbed a beer, I grabbed a club soda, and we found a quiet corner in the bar.
January 10, 2016. 4:10 AM. Bushwick, Brooklyn. It was time to leave the bar.
We had talked for another 2 hours. Another two whole hours. About what? I’m not sure. I know we talked a lot about comedy, our common ground (I know I said I would never date someone in the comedy world but….well….sue me, I like funny nerdy guys), random films, just…stuff. It was fun. Ever since I quit drinking, I haven’t had the energy to stay out past midnight. Now in 2016, I’ve been out until 4 am…TWICE! *clenches pearls*
But, with that being said, I don’t stay out until 4 am with just anyone. We both mentioned that to each other. I knew in that moment we kind of felt something. We weren’t really sure what it was, but it was a connection, for sure. I hadn’t stayed up this late talking to someone in a very, very long time. It was nice. It was different. It was refreshing.
So, we walked out of the bar, and it was raining. The lights reflected off the concrete, and we stood under a balcony. “Oh, come ON”, I thought. My brain kept going “oh, my God. This is so romantic. This is, like, way too romantic. Does he even realize how romantic this is? He probably doesn’t. Oh, shit, my leftovers are ruining the lining of my handbag.”
I tried to tune it out. It was a mere coincidence. It was. Rain isn’t that romantic, and I was wearing leather; I didn’t want to be in the rain. I was tired. It was 4 am! I needed to go. Why wouldn’t we just go? We couldn’t get ourselves to leave. That’s when he offered to pay for an Uber for me to get home, which was incredibly generous (Men, take note, offer a lady you kept out till 4 AM an Uber home), and instead of saying “Wow, thank you!”, like I wanted to say, I said something along the lines of “No, you don’t have to do that. But if you are that concerned, you can come over with me and sleep at my place”.
Wait! No. I meant that in a platonic way. In a totally, not-sexually-charged way! Come on over, in the rain, and sleep in my bed! We have known each other for 48 hours and met via a dating app! We are each other’s types! What could possibly happen when two people attracted to each other are in a bed after a really nice date?
I never said I was smart.
Anyway, Luke looked shocked. According to him, I, and I quote “Was sweet but at no point did it seem like a good idea to kiss you”. I am not surprised. I’m super closed off. I am all new to this, and am proceeding with caution since I am in such a confusing time in my life. I am working on some private ventures, I quit my other job, I kind of have to make money in odd ways to make ends meet, and it’s a bit of a struggle for me to get it all together. I can’t offer a guy a serious relationship right now, but I am human and would enjoy some company.
Luke said very nicely, “no”, to my request to come home, and clearly felt uncomfortable. I couldn’t believe I did that, either. It’s not that I wasn’t attracted to him, I was– I am! I just completely forgot that you kind of don’t do that after a nice first date that wasn’t incredibly sexually-charged. He walked me to the subway, and we hugged good-bye.
The next day we talked again, and my feeble attempt to get Luke to come home with me was mentioned. We both kept apologizing to each other, laughing about how awkward it was, and instead of beating around the bush, we, you know, talked about our feelings? He told me he liked me, but he knew I didn’t really want to hook up with him that night. I told him I liked him, and that he was right. Ok. Uh. So, that happened? And then we just carried on our conversation to the next topic. It was so new to me. You tell someone you like them, and you talk to them after your date, and you don’t hook up right away. Who would’ve thought? Am I in a Steve Harvey film? Although we both can’t promise any serious commitment to each other, there are still rules to dating that some people still follow. It was refreshing. We just kept talking about things that you don’t share for months in a relationship, because why not just let it all out? We said we liked each other, and then we simultaneously decided,”OH, REALLY? YOU LIKE ME? LET ME SCARE YOU AWAY”. Oh, you think my eyes are pretty? Well, here’s THIS bag of trash that happened to me when I was 15. Oh, you think I’m sweet? Well, I used to be a total dog. Oh, you get the point? Well, here’s one more example to complete the rule of threes. We kept trying to scare each other away, but we seemed to just laugh at each other’s misfortunes instead of hiding them in shame.
As we continued talking, we started to click even more. The more flaws and baggage we shared, the more we related to each other. We had a lot in common, even outside of comedy and being weird. We connected through what we thought were huge flaws, that actually, in some cases, anyway, were kind of really cool. Sure, I wasn’t exactly aroused hearing about his ex-girlfriend, but I really appreciated how he was able to talk about it so honestly, without bashing her (men, take note: do not bring up the ex. BUT If you bring her up, you better not bash her). I’m sure he wasn’t stoked to hear about some of the issues I had with drinking, and how I’m pretty much unemployed. I think I am a great catch, don’t get me wrong, but I am aware I have flaws. That sounds like I am saying, “I am so flawless that I am aware I have flaws! How brave of me!”, but it’s not like that. I know I am not everyone’s type, but when I click with someone, it’s so exciting, because it so rarely happens. Luke said the same thing to me about himself. Shocking, two weird comedy nerds don’t connect with people very easily? You don’t say! We have undeniable chemistry, but what that chemistry may be, we aren’t very sure.
Then we started talking on the phone at night. After all, it was day 4 (Note, not Date #4, DAY#4.). It was time to take our “relationship” to the next level. Now, phone calls can make or break a relationship. It’s a real test. I am a talker, and so is Luke. We both have the same mentality of talking to make someone feel comfortable, and it is God damn adorable when we both keep talking about nothing to fill the silence that we so desperately crave, but are, apparently, so scared to experience (I say this with love, Luke x). We then continued to talk until 2 in the morning every night. You know, like any normal, platonic friends do, who aren’t remotely sexually attracted to each other.
Look, I don’t even call my Mom. Stop judging, I am much more articulate via e-mail. So when I’m on the phone for 2 hours every night with someone, I am going to start wondering what is going on here. We both joked about how weird our “whatever this is” is, but we weren’t answering the big question of “um….is there something here?”. So we set up a time to hang out on Friday. He came over, my roommate had people over, and we had to stay in my room. We did not have trouble finding things to do.
The next morning I had to meet up with some friends for brunch. I was beaming. I tried to talk to them about what was going on, but I just sounded insane. It was insane. I knew this guy for a week, and I felt more comfortable around him than anyone, or at least anyone that I’ve met so far in New York. I could talk to him about some of the darkest times in my life, and it felt like I was talking to an old friend. It sounded down right insane. Maybe it was, but it was fun. A lot of fun. We hung out again on Monday. Fun again.
Wait. Isn’t this just dating? Or is this just how lazy millennials date? Is this what it’s like to date an actual Larry David? Maybe the answer to all of these questions are no, but maybe they’re yes. I’m not looking for anything serious right now, but who knows how I’ll feel down the road. I will keep my options open in the process, since we all know when a guy says he can’t date you, you should believe him–you are the rule, not the exception. I know I mean more to Luke than just some girl he’s hooking up with, but I also know that he is most likely not going to wake up 6 months from now and go “woah, NOW I want to be exclusive!”. So, is it even worth it to just continue hanging out, even if there seems to be a dead end? Do all love stories have to be novels? Whatever happened to the short story romances? Those are some of the best, most romantic moments I’ve ever had.
I’ll never forget this whirlwind week with Luke. This weekend left me dizzy with happiness, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He is honest and passionate, goofy but considerate, and makes me laugh so hard, even when I kind of hate him for the joke he’s making. He is a ton of fun, and I am so glad I made a new, albeit weird, connection. I don’t know how I feel about him, but I know I enjoy his company and enjoy talking to him. He makes me feel happy, beautiful, and not so alone. He makes me super corny and nerdy. I feel like myself more than I have felt in a long, long time, and I know this roller coaster fling has something to do with it. It has been 10 days since we met, but I know I won’t forget that time I went on a 6+ hour first date, got rejected, then got not-rejected, then spoke all day everyday, talked on the phone all night, and spent half of a long weekend in bed together, all in 10 days.
I’m on this roller coaster, and whether it fizzles in a week or blossoms to something in the future, I’m kind of excited to see what will happen in other parts of my life in 2016. So far it has been completely different from what it was like in December.
I have one week left in Baltimore. I have signed my lease, and will officially be living in Brooklyn in October. This month has been far from smooth. Actually, it has been the most stressed out, unpleasant, and unsettling month I have had in a while. Being a chronic worrier and over thinker, I was convinced that this was a bad omen. I am really working on not complaining and venting 24/7 because it makes me inadvertently toxic, so I just will tell you that the lease process was a nightmare, I had close friends lose their family members, I had some issues with friends come afoot, each member of my immediate family is having a huge problem that they are projecting their extreme stress onto me, I have had to spend way more money than I anticipated on the move and it seems like the bills just keep pilling up, I’m being kind of a lousy friend, and the worst part, I don’t feel bad about it….and I got sick. What the hell, world!? I am very overwhelmed. The world isn’t going to end, but it’s easy to be overcome by life and its endless bs.
Something was telling me that I should stay home, that I should maybe wait until 2016 to make a move. While yes, I could save some more money and have more of a cushion to fall back on during my move, waiting a few more months won’t do anything for me. I will still be complacent, comfortable, and taking it easy in Maryland. I would have to deal with my parents (whom I love dearly) and the boredom of life in a suburb. I would have to keep waiting tables and working odd jobs, and only taking solace in shopping and over spending, which just off-sets all the work I just did to save money in the first place.
All of these obstacles that have gotten in my way this month actually confirms that I need to move to Brooklyn. It’s time.
I’ve been going to mics more frequently and I have been having a blast. I’m finally connecting with comics (not because they weren’t friendly, but because I was too shy to talk to them) and it has made each open mic something I’m looking forward to instead of freaking out and dreading it. I worry that sometimes I take the mic for granted and I don’t do that well, but I keep getting good feedback from my peers, so I guess I’m doing something right? I’ve been starting to feel like some of my older jokes are getting stale, so luckily this past month has been such a nightmare, it has helped my material be fresh and it has been fun to talk about it on stage. I even got the host to ask the audience to give me another round of applause for my set. That was pretty cool. I know that if I keep the momentum going things will only get better but it just is bittersweet knowing that I’ve connected with these comics and now I’m leaving them to start all over in NYC. Like I said, it’s meant to be, and I have to do it.
I have a show that I’m headlining before I move, October 2. It’s at Zissimos in Hampden, MD, starting at 8 pm. I am incredibly excited but I am still suffering some heartache over leaving. I know I’ll be back soon for the holidays but it just is tough knowing I have to start it all over again in a new city with a ton more expenses.
But if it was easy, everyone would do it. That’s what dreams are all about. I could easily go back to Marketing and get a job that drains me and pays well, have a 401k and be that cookie cutter person that society demands us all to be, but I wouldn’t be happy. Sure, money is incredibly important and I would love a pay increase, but at what cost? I’ll take struggling with money and doing what I love than having money and no joy in what I’m doing. When you don’t love what you’re spending most of your day doing, it affects every aspect of your life. You become toxic and unpleasant. I’ve seen it first hand and have experienced it myself. I used to let my professional friends make me feel bad or insecure about my path, and then I realized that they are just as lost as I feel at times. Ok, they have a job that pays, but all they do is complain about it, they’re single and have no energy to go out and meet people, and they’re lonely. I’ve never felt lonely since I started doing what I love. So if putting my path down makes them feel better about their lives, so be it. I won’t allow them make me feel bad because they’re noticing shortcomings in their lives.
Don’t let society, parents, friends, anyone tell you how to live your life. The reason they are telling you what you should do is to make them feel better about their choices that clearly aren’t making them happy. They aren’t out to get you, but they don’t know what’s best for you. The second I stopped seeking people’s suggestions on what to do, the better I have felt. I have my apprehensions because I’m nervous and scared and it’s a huge financial commitment, but I know that the cost of staying home is far worse than the $$$ that NYC costs. I’ll make it work because I have to make it work. I will work whatever jobs I need to work and hustle because that’s what you’re supposed to do to make your dreams come true.
I can settle for a corporate job any time. Maybe I’ll be there in a few years, maybe I won’t. Right now, all I want is to do what makes me feel alive and happy, and comedy is the most honest relationship I have ever had. I don’t pity my friends who have marriages, kids, or a corporate job–that’s great and I sincerely hope that works for them–but I wouldn’t trade my life for anyone’s, ever. I love being independent and not having to answer to anyone, I love meeting new people everyday, I love being immersed in the comedy scene and hearing jokes, I love scraping up money through interesting ways, I love not having to go to work at 8 am to commute, I love making ends meet (and then some) through my own hard passionate work. I love sleeping when I can. I love knowing I can stay up ’till 3 am and not have to worry about being tired the next day. There are absolutely corporate jobs that are great and make people very happy, and I am sure someday I will have to temp again and work in that environment. For now, I’m going to revel in being a renegade and just relax.
It will be ok, because it has to be ok.
I got this.
August has been one heck of a month. It’s been great, actually, but so much has went on that it’s hard to keep track. The first week of August I wrapped up the biggest sale of the year at my retail job, had my first tinder date, and then performed at the Comedy Extravaganza. I saw friends I haven’t seen in 7 years, and I met a lot of really interesting and supportive people. I got back into a stand-up routine and started making friends with comics. One of my best friends since middle school was in town from LA, and we had a blast like we always did. I lost 6 pounds. I put in the final two weeks at my retail job, and was really saddened to leave such great friends behind. It’s now September. My 25th birthday came and I went to Chicago. It was a great birthday. There were some really unfortunate events that happened that day, my dear friend’s Dad lost his battle to ALS, and a few days later, another dear friend’s sister passed away unexpectedly to a brain aneurysm.
Forgive me for being trite here, but life is so short, and it is so scary.
It should remind us all how fragile life is, and how blessed we are to be where we are right now. I know I can get wrapped up in my own world and problems, but when you see your friends lose their family members, you realize that there’s no point in worrying, because we could be dead tomorrow. There’s just no point in worrying so much. Freaking out over where you are in your career or who you are dating or not dating is so pointless. Live! Go outside. Volunteer. Get your head out of your ass and focus on someone other than yourself. We are all vulnerable and a little a lost, and all fighting a battle.
My heart goes out to my friends and their families, and words can’t express how sorry and sad I am for them. Everyone’s heart is heavy right now. Just know that you are loved, and I am always a text away.
I’m not sure how to segue this into stand-up, but I am just gonna jump right into it. Forgive me for changing gears here.
I’ve gotten back into the open mic swing of things now that I have one less job to juggle, and it has been fantastic. I have been meeting more people, and have been more outgoing. Everyone is cool and really, really funny. They aren’t all out to get me. They want me to be funny, and they laugh when it’s funny, and they smile when they don’t find me funny. That’s kind of wonderful. I’m really glad I’ve started to connect with more comics and building friendships, even if I’m leaving relatively soon. I’m officially moving to New York (GULP) in October, ideally Oct 1, to pursue my writing and comedy, all the while working my butt off at any job any time anywhere so I can continue to live comfortably. I would ideally work in Copywriting or freelance events/production, but I am not closed-minded. I will do anything if it keeps me away from Chevy’s in Times Square (no disrespect to my wonderful employer that I’ve been with for my 1 year anniversary this month!). I am beyond anxious about it, and I know I have a ton of work ahead of me. But if I don’t do it now, when would I do it? I could die tomorrow. That’s a scary fact to face. I want to pursue my dreams, even if I’m not totally ready experience or portfolio wise. I know I have a lot of work to do on my act, and I can always improve my writing. I just love New York, always have, always will, and I need to be there while I’m 25 and will just hustle until something comes about. If it does not work out, don’t you worry, I literally have 4 back-up plans, and they’re all good. One involves moving to Canton, MD…so maybe I will be around again.
For now, I am looking forward to this new chapter, no matter how scary it seems. I will always be a bus ride away, and I will definitely hit open mics in MD when I’m in town. I’m really thankful for the people I’ve met and connected with over the past year and several months. I had no idea I would love people so much, and the thought of leaving really hurts my heart. I’m so bad with goodbyes; I rarely do them. I usually just get up and leave and hope no one notices (they always do). I just want to say bye for now, and thank you for everything. You have made this really difficult time in my life an amazing journey that I will be forever thankful for for years to come.
Oh, right…stand-up…um, at the risk of being vague, last week was good! I was at Wits End again I just did a lot of old jokes just to tweak them a little. Some worked, some need more work. This week was all right, I was in at Venice Tavern in Canton with a comic friend of mine and I tried out some new material that actually worked better than all of the material that usually works at other mics. It was interesting to see how it just kind of flopped when I was always used to jokes landing. It was definitely my delivery that was different, because I was trying to be more ‘chill’, I guess…but I think that came off as apathetic, and people didn’t grasp it. Just trial and error, of course. I recorded this set and it was criiiiiinge-worthy at some parts (I’m my own worst critic, but it just wasn’t all that good), but I could tell I kind of was trying to talk slowly and that messed up my delivery. I’m glad I got up and did it, and I got some “good jobs” after the set. That’s all I can really ask for anyway.
Thanks, Baltimore. You’ve been so good to me.
MET’s ‘Comedy Pigs Comedy Extravaganza’ Set for August
The Comedy Pigs, who have been making audiences laugh for over 22 years, are thrilled to invite some of their friends and bitter rivals from the DMV to Frederick for a weekend of hilarity. Writer, comedian, and personal shopper Suzanne Lassise will stumble into town as she has stumbled through adulthood, one over-priced (but worth it!) shoe at a time. Ladies Night Out explore what it means to be women, in more ways than one. Prettier Than You, a DC-based long-form improv troupe with a focus on character work, thinks that they are, um, prettier than you. Local comic, Isabel Duarte is a member of the Comedy Pigs, a MET company member, and a regular contributor to the weekly comedy show and podcast, “The Last Hurrah.” Tributes is an improv comedy act from Baltimore that specializes in friendship, mind-reading, and a lack of boundaries. While exploring the periphery of relationships, they fulfill wild dreams and realize impossible scenarios right before your eyes! Additional performers will include Topher Bellavia, The Last Hurrah, Porkchop Volcano, Trampus, Send in the Clowns, Tramped, Washington College Improv, Drop Three Improv, Devin Greene, Girlfight, Topher and You, Going to the Movies Alone, and of course, The Comedy Pigs!
In addition to the “Comedy Pigs Comedy Extravaganza” performances, The Comedy Pigs will be hosting improv workshops led by Topher Bellavia. Topher Bellavia is an actor, director, designer, and writer who lives and performs in DC. He has performed with the Washington Improv Theater and has won two 48 Hour Film Project Awards. He was the Managing Director for the Washington Improv Theater for four years and has continued to offer training in Corporate Improv and Creativity. He has worked with The Comedy Pigs over the years and is currently hosting the “Maryland Wednesday Drop-in” in Silver Spring to work with local groups on their improvisation skills. The first workshop will focus on “The Power of Positivity” and the second workshop will work on “Interacting with Locations and Objects.” The workshops will take place on August 8 at 12pm and 3:30pm.
“Comedy Pigs’ Comedy Extravaganza” will run Friday and Saturday, August 7 and 8 at 8 p.m. at Maryland Ensemble Theatre (31 W Patrick St. Frederick) located in the historic FSK Hotel. These shows are intended for mature audiences only and tickets are $17 (all fees included). The Comedy Pigs Improv Workshops will cost $25 and are intended for individuals of all ages who are interested in learning more about improvisation. Reservations for the workshops should be done in advance because there is limited space available for each class. For more information visit marylandensemble.org or call (301) 694-4744.
A week has passed since I last performed. After getting back on the saddle with stand up, at first, I felt a little disheartened. Not that I expected to kill, but I was just kind of jarred by how hard it is, how delusional I must be to think I can actually *do* comedy, and what my life will entail doing open mics more and more frequently. It was scary, and I didn’t feel ready.
Then as I got more support and wrote about it more, I felt more at ease about the situation. It’s miraculous how a week of just preparing and getting kind of excited will do to you. I wanted to do some more open mics but my work schedule just won’t budge right now. Tuesdays are typically good for me, so I do open mics then. I was back at Wits End Saloon and saw some familiar faces when I came in promptly for sign up. I was the first to sign up, Suzanne Lacease. I sat alone with my moleskine and waited. and waited. and waited.
The MC told me I was up first, and I was actually kind of relieved. I just wanted to get it over with, because my jitters were kicking in and I was starting to get nervous. He called me up, and it was like I was a completely different person than from what I was last week. I just sat on the stool, remembered my moleskine this time, and just chatted with the audience.
Now, there were maybe 8 people in the audience, but I got constant laughter and participation from the audience. It felt great. I was just talking to them like they were my friends, and we all felt much more comfortable. I wasn’t trying to hard to be witty or funny, I just said what was on my mind and it worked so much better. I forgot some one liners I wanted to say, which I’m still kicking myself about, but I am overall really pleased by how it turned out! I also ended too early and was at a complete loss as to what to say when I was done with my two bits. I wanted to tune them up for my big show so I forgot to make it long enough to fit into a set. I talked about dating again with this set, and have come to terms with the fact that I am just gonna do dating jokes as I start out because they are easy for me and it’s something I know, at least. I don’t know relationships, but I definitely know dating. I just got to suck it up and realize I’m not Chappelle or Carlin…yet.
I got up, did my thing, got some laughs, and PROMPTLY got out the door. I just did not want to hear dick jokes or any jokes, really. I just was not in the mood and I have an early morning tomorrow. I was home in bed by 10:40 PM. Now that is a great open mic to me.
My big show released its flyer today and I can’t be more excited. With this solid open mic under my belt and more to come, I am feeling more and more confident that I will put on a good show. I’m trying my best to not beat myself up or be hard on myself because I’m just doing it for once and not getting in my own way. It’s nice to look out on the horizon and not see me standing there blocking myself from my dreams.
I am tucking myself into bed and getting some sleep. Until next time!
Come join me and Maryland’s best comedy acts for the show that keeps on giving! I am so excited and nervous to do this big show and I would love for you to come see it! The show is at the Maryland Ensemble Theater in Frederick, Maryland. Tickets are available here!