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  1. Oh, hey Neal Brennan!

    Friday, August 31, 2012

    Like most 90’s kids, I have been influenced by Neal Brennan’s writing since I was seven. If you played any part in making All That happen, I love you forever. My fan girl-ness for the golden years of Nickelodeon might be more overbearing than most, but it played a huge part in my childhood. It also played a huge part in me making an ass of myself when I met Neal.  I saw him live for the first time at Hannibal Buress’s show at The Knitting Factory and he killed it. My friends and I were laughing so hard at his set that when he went to exit the venue, he passed by us and said, “Wow, you guys really enjoyed the show. I kept going on that last bit just for your table.” I was completely thrown off; I didn’t expect him to be so cool! Regrettably, my next words were, “I know every line to All That!!!” To which he replied, “Yeah… I gotta go.”

    I don’t think I could have picked a more retarded thing to say to a man who co-created Chappelle’s Show. Luckily, he was kind enough to join me for a vegetarian Mexican dinner in the East Village and allowed me to pick his brain. As a stand-up comedian in the beginning stages of finding my voice, it was a dream.

    KH: I feel like as someone starting out, I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. I don’t know what is funny, I’m just guessing and hoping it works. How is it like for you to find your voice and get to the point of consistently killing?

    NB: I guess that’s the rub. I’m lucky that I wrote for a long time before I did stand-up. I wrote for fifteen years.

    KH: So you didn’t even attempt stand-up until you had huge writing success?

    NB: I didn’t start really getting into stand-up until five years ago. I was sick of being told that I wasn’t funny by show biz. There are all these impediments and I just love stand-up. I love comedy clubs; I’m like a gym rat. I used to go there when I didn’t do it. I’d go with Dave, with my brother, I’d go with Jay Mohr. I love stand-up and I have the spirit of a comic.

    KH: Did you ever go through that stage of hokey joke telling to find your voice?

    NB: Yeah. I did stand-up a few times in ‘92 and just ate it. In ‘97 I did better, and then in ‘02, ‘03, ’04, I took time off. I would do in in the summer between seasons of Chappelle. I still say shit that’s not funny. It’s not like you’re ever “Oh, I know...” You have a hunch, but you never actually know.

    KH: Did you grow up in hip-hop culture?

    NB: Not especially. I kind of did. I didn’t grow up around black dudes. I didn’t hang around with black dudes until I came to New York. That’s a little bit of a funnier voice in that I had a lot of observations about that shit and not a lot of experience with it that a lot of people don’t have. Before I had a black comedy partner, I moved to New York in 1991 and 1992 was the biggest year in hip-hop. So yeah, then I had a black comedy partner and experienced Def Comedy Jam. I do a joke where a say the N word like nine times, and it’s a fucking great joke. It’s about being called it and it’s got a lot of facets to it and a buddy of mine named Robbie who runs the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival was like, “You should do more shit like that, that’s what is unique about you.”

    KH: I saw a clip of your set on The George Lopez Show that was along those lines. It was a great bit, did you ever get backlash for that?

    NB: I used to do the bit without prefacing that it’s an idea for a sketch. I just thought of the joke and then one time an Asian guy booed me and my friend told me to just say it’s a sketch idea. When I say the N word, it’s usually white people who feel like they need to come to black people’s defense. It’s like, black people can take care of themselves. Although one day a girl did get mad at me. We ended up having an hour long argument.

    KH: On stage?

    NB: No, a little bit on stage and then off stage. And after she walked away, her husband was like, “It’s her man. It’s her fault.”

    KH: Do you think if you weren’t associated with Dave and Chappelle’s Show

    NB: I wouldn’t be able to do it. I mean, it’s possible. Louis does it and its ok.

    KH: Louis comes at it from such a middle-aged white guy’s perspective. The way you come across with it is not that at all.

    NB: Right. I think that people see me as a white guy—Well, I don’t know how people see me but if you’re just going to take a slab of what people are getting from my act, I’m on the right side of the wall so to speak. And then you add the fact that I have a proven acumen for talking about it. But again, people don’t know what that even means. Beyond the thing with Dave. I get more people telling me I’m funny based off my Twitter account than from Chappelle’s Show. I’ve come to accept that you’ll get credit from wherever you can.

    KH: What was the ride like having such a huge role in something that was as culturally significant as Chappelle’s Show?

    NB: It was great. It was the fucking hardest, longest job. It was so consuming. The guy who edited the show, Bijan, said to me that there was a point where I’d work like 60 days in a row for more than 12 hours a day.

    KH: So it must have been hard to go, “Wooo, sweet success bro!”

    NB: Yeah, there were a couple moments like that but more than anything it was just weird. I’d hear people start to say ‘Rick James, bitch’ and my first thought was why did someone say that?

    KH: The one-liners that came out of that show are… very significant.

    NB: But that’s the thing, I never really watched it. I was removed from it.

    KH: You were wearing so many hats with the show, is that why you were so consumed by it?

    NB: If you do a show and you want it to be good, you have to do the work. It just takes fucking forever. No one knew exactly what it needed to be outside of me and Dave.

    KH: When I interned at SNL, I saw that the writers had producers to guide them in addition to having Lorne.

    NB: Those writers have a lot of work to do but most of the writing is early in the week and then by the end of the week it gets easier. On Chappelle’s Show, it was like being a writer and being The Lonely Island with all of the production work involved. We had to do thirteen shows in a row and they were all pre-taped.

    KH: Is it hard to switch hats from writer to actor to director?

    NB: It’s not hard to switch hats. The thing of it is if I came out of nowhere, people would be really impressed with me. People like getting credit for their discovery and I’m not anything to discover at this point. In some ways it works against me. Like, I did Conan and I wasn’t allowed to say that I co-created Chappelle Show in my credits. Which is fucking weird because… I did.

    KH: What was their beef with that?

    NB: I don’t know, the booker said I shouldn’t say it. People think I do well in stand-up because I co-created Chappelle’s Show but they should let the guy who created Two and a Half Men do stand-up and see how that goes, that show is really popular. It’s faulty logic but the idea is, if I could do it, then Matt and Trey would be headliners because that’s how fucking easy stand-up is. That’s where people sort of hold it against me. They think I’m using it but it’s like, I’m using it to get people to come to the show. The only reason I have my one joke about slavery is only because an Asian guy booed it. I was filming a movie called The Goods and at night I’d go to the clubs and do stand-up because you can’t fucking direct at night. Everyone sees the hierarchy as you do stand-up first, then you write for a show, then you do this. A buddy of mine, Bret Ernst, calls me Memento because I’m doing my career backwards.

    KH: It sounds like you hustled a lot.

    NB: Yeah, man. The hustle never stops. I worked the door at a comedy club in 1992 and the way I met Chappelle was he was doing stand-up and I would say to him, “Hey, you may want to try this for that joke” and I was right. I gave him a good idea.

    KH: Is that where your instincts started to develop?

    NB: Yes, I had good instincts. It’s never easy street. How disposed were people to laugh at me based on my intro at Hannibal’s show? Fifteen percent? I used to hang out at the comedy clubs in the 80’s. My brother is a comedian and has been best friends with Attell since high school. I believe in that as an ethos. Comedy club economy is basically fair. There aren’t too many people who have made it in main stream America as a comedian who can’t kill at a comedy club.

    KH: How long did it take you before you killed in rooms?

    NB: Probably about 4 years. It took experience; it took a while to figure it out. The other thing is, I’m very outside-in about it. I’ll read books about performing. No one has read more books about stand up than Dave Chappelle. When we were kids he would always ask if I read this book or that.

    KH: What book would you recommend?

    NB: A book that I read that I liked a lot was recently and it made me 25% better at stand-up. It’s called 10 Minute Toughness. I was noticing I would get in my head, and I couldn’t get out. I would think that I was going to have a bad set and sure enough, I would get sunken in and have a bad set. I was like, I need to come out with some kind of defense against my own fucking mental illness. It’s all about performance psychology and visualizing vividly before you do it.

    Michael Jordan used to do it before every game. You visualize succeeding. It sounds hokey but if it didn’t work, I wouldn’t recommend it.

    KH: So that book guides you to outlining a good outcome? That’s something comics need because I feel like we are all so self-deprecating.

    NB: Yes. A lot of comics I know like the idea of sleeping until the afternoon and hanging out. But the truth is, the hardest working comics I know are the most successful at comedy. Period.

    KH: I’ve noticed that within my circle of comedy friends, some of us are starting to get those beginning career breaks like Fallon and Conan. The one thing that I really love about stand-up is, if you work at it every day and do the hustle, you will get better and you will become successful. It’s undeniable and almost guaranteed.

    NB: The one thing I always tell people is, whoever writes the most jokes wins. Chris Rock, Dave, Attell, Bill Burr, Louis, Carlin, Todd. If you give me a list of guys that writes as much as these guys who aren’t successful... it doesn’t exist. So it’s like, do you want to be a comedian? Do you really want to be a comedian or do you want to be famous?

    KH: The difference in talent between day one and two years later in a comic’s career is so drastic.

    NB: That’s the rub. I would like to be a well-known comedian more than I want to be a movie director. And the truth is, that was probably always true I just couldn’t acknowledge it. I was just like, oh you guys go ahead. I just didn’t want to admit that I needed attention like that. Also, my closest friend is one of the best comics in the world.

    Follow Neal @nealbrennan and check out his website, for upcoming dates!


  2. Adderall Audition

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

    by Rhonda Hansome

    In a previous century or what some in a fit of nostalgia might refer to as “back in the day”, I was a regular at what now in retrospect is an obscene number of comedy clubs.  I want to say well respected comedy clubs but, by and large comedy clubs “don’t get no respect”, to quote the late, great Rodney Dangerfield.  Why do we call the dead late?  Seems to me they were precisely on time for that last appointment.  What if Rodney in life was chronically late?  Would he then be referred to as the late great- never to be late again?  Did I digress?  

    Being a regular at the Improv (NY and LA), Catch A Rising Star, Dangerfield’s, Ice House, Laugh Factory, Caroline’s, New York Comedy Club and Stand-up NY meant I had gone through each individual club’s audition process.  That process might have involved standing on line for hours to get a number that might be pulled that night from a dandruff encrusted hat or cigarette butt infested fish bowl.  If fortunate enough to have my number pulled I’d get the opportunity to perform  five minutes of material at 2:AM, for a humor impaired audience of drunks, non-English speaking  tourist, and a half dozen folks in need to publicly practice their uncanny ability to remain totally expressionless.  A fool-proof, highly scientific procedure!  After passing at a club I was then allowed to give my availability to perform.  And I was thankful for every spot, every night as many times a night as possible.  I had home clubs where like in Cheers, everyone knew my name, my act and when I performed, I got drinks, food and wait for it…paid!  Check out this vintage clip:

    No matter how many years you watch Twilight Zone marathons there’s always one you’ve never seen, like my starring episode, “After a Rip Van Winklesque hiatus, popular 20th century comic Rhonda Hansome has a rude awakening returning to the world of stand-up comedy in the 21st century”,  a simple yet terrifying plot.  Reader, all 3 of you, I can’t describe the chilling, creepy science fiction “what the fuck is going?” on feeling of auditioning in this century.   Most club owners and managers I gave availability to are gone.  Those who remain from the last century don’t return my calls - thank you Al Martin for being the exception!   IF my call is returned, I’m told there’s a freeze on spots, call back every 3 months for several years, or come back after I write an award winning (TV or web) series in which I star and direct.

    Humbled but determined I decided to try to get back on at a club which shall remain nameless*, where in the 1900’s I’d headlined in regular rotation.  NOTHING had changed an iota in the decade plus years I’d been away.  I walked in and every dusty red drape, red velvet rope and red jacket wearing waiter was in place, but now all that familiarity suddenly felt like an ice water douche.   Standing on the stage where I’d watched Red Foxx work his bluest best, the stage where I had opened for Jackie Mason, the stage where for years I’d entertained prom crowds and New Year’s Eve revelers, I did my time.  If that has the ring of punishment, it is what it is.  Three days later when I called the booker to give availability I was told to call back in 6 months to audition again.  Audition again!!??   I dutifully did so and had a great set.  Days later when I called to give availability I was told I’d had a really good set and the owner thought I wasn’t right for the club. 

    Yes, it’s a different century my dear three readers.   My ego has permanently relocated to the heel of my shoe.  At least I didn’t have to pay to perform my only spot this week, ten minutes at Sloan Kettering Hospital, entertaining cancer patients and their weary family members; buy the way – I killed!  I’m great for fashion shows, corporate events, supermarket openings.  You name it – I’ll bring the laughs!**

    Email me if you know any spots for which I don’t have to pay or buy drinks to perform.  I’m really looking for a spot that PAY$ ME and I’m talking more than a drink on the house. That’s right I was offered a spot an hour and a half drive away for a drink on the house!  I am NOT that thirsty…   I’m looking for a spot I don’t have to (shudder at the thought) audition for.  In this comic’s opinion an audition is very much a hyper-subjective non-standardized test.   Believe me if I ever get another audition, being tested for the funny, before I hit the stage I WILL be hitting the Adderall.  

    *What is the problem with you three readers?  I told you that club would remain nameless.  Hell, in a couple of years I might have a chance to audition again!  You got any Adderall?   I don’t care about the side effects of dry mouth, migraines, high blood pressure, mood swings or vomiting, sudden dizziness or spike in heart rate, unexplained fevers, heartburn, chest pains or death by suicide!  I need that laser like Adderall high that magically enables students to ace standardized test without any study.  Hey I don’t need Advanced Placement English but I do need to make a buck.

    ** See vintage clip


    Wednesday, August 29, 2012

     By Helene Gresser

    I recently came across some slides of my mom in the 1950s. (Slides! Remember those?? Sitting around someones living room and looking at vacation slides from a carousel slide projector, projected onto the blank wall, with a couple slides inevitably upside down?) The pictures were mostly of my grandparents' drive-in restaurant. (Again: drive-ins? Remember driving up to a restaurant and flicking on your lights to alert the car-hop, order food, and sit in your car while you ate and listened to your radio, slurping a root-beer float?) It reminded me, these crystal-clear pictures of a simpler (so we thought) time, of how different my grandparents' and parents' adult lives were from my own.

    My grandparents came from the same tiny village in a remote part of Czechoslovakia -- sailing to the United states in their teens with barely any money, not speaking English (at least I think they didn't), and meeting relatives who had paved the way in exotic Racine, Wisconsin. (Why did the Czechs choose, of all places, Racine, Wisconsin?? For some reason, the Czechs gathered there and even started the country's first Czech-language newspaper, had their Catholic churches -like St. John Nepomuk -- and brought more relatives over to experience the freezing-cold, long winters and humid summers by Lake Michigan.) My grandma Helen Kuzela did not meet my grandpa V.J.Konicek until she came to the states -- I think I remember her saying that he was her first kiss. They married and had the requisite four children: George, Mary Jane, Vince, and my mom Rose (Ruze, they called her, pronounced "roo-zshee." My mom is the blonde in the middle of my Aunt Betty and Grandma Konicek:

    My grandmother worked as a household domestic for a time, was humiliated when her dark curly hair and tendency to tan easily elicited teasing that she was really part Gypsy, a slur to the proud, hard-working Czechs who viewed Gypsies as many in the states viewed our African-American brethren as "niggers." My grandfather worked as a butcher, among many other things, and he and my grandma toiled at their many non-glamorous jobs, not having the advantage of any college (and perhaps high school) education, taught themselves to speak English, insisted her children speak only English and assimilate, and saved, saved, saved. (My mother Rose will correct my blurry timeline, I am sure, in her kind way. She does this because she knows I want to get it right, and I love her for it.)

    My grandparents had brothers and sisters and cousins and nieces and nephews surrounding them in Racine, all from this wee Moravian village called Vlcnov  ("verch-noff"), or relatives born here as new American citizens, and they decided to own their own business. There was one other drive-in in town, and my grandparents thought their was room for another, it being the cusp of the 1950s and that car-centric culture. They were very smart to do so. It was a summer-season business, and the entire family pitched in to make it work. My mom and aunt were "car-hops", my uncles manned the grill and soda fountain (the soda-jerk" was the official term for fixing the beverages), and my grandparents made their own ground beef for the burgers, managed, and worked, and cleaned, and saved, saved, saved. Here's my Uncle Vince grinding beef into delicious hamburger:

    They bought several acres and a lovely house, and my grandfather was so proud of the apple orchard he cultivated in the back yard,experimenting with splicing branches and creating new types of apple trees. My grandma nurtured beautiful flower gardens as well as the practical vegetable gardens, and they both landscaped and planted and made a real homestead. They bought a handsome sedan, an extravagant fur coat for my grandma, sent my mom to a fancy private school in Illinois for a time. They embodied the true American Dream: work hard and save, and you will reap rewards and live well - even if you started with nothing, not even speaking the language.

    I am their granddaughter. I was raised by college-educated (though she was interrupted by marriage and never finished) mom and a PhD dad (who also came from hard-working folk who never went to college) and  I was lucky enough to live in a wealthy suburb of Milwaukee - though we were far from wealthy - even after my parents divorced. We went through hard times in the '70s when my mom was struggling as a waitress, and my dad was a low-paid math professor, my mother sometimes bringing home leftovers (only the untouched) and hand-me-downs to feed and clothe my older brother John and me. My dad scrimped and used powdered milk and ate a lot of rice and chicken. He worked very hard and saved and saved. My dad, sleeping at his desk:

    And now  I look at my life, in my 40s, here in 2012. I went to an excellent public school in a privileged suburb. The world was my oyster. I went to a state university in Ohio tuition-free because my dad was a professor at the school, though I worked several jobs to pay for room and board and books. I went to graduate school, paid for mostly by my teaching assistantships, helped by my mother and some plasma donations for beer money. After seven years of higher education, I have an MFA in Acting. Ahhh. There it is. My choice of career.I wanted  - and still want - to perform for a living. Silly girl. Here is a picture with one of my idols, Hal Prince, the multi-Tony-winning Broadway director:

    If my maternal and paternal grandparents were alive today, they would shake their heads in wonder. Here I am, in the 21st century, several months overdue on rent for a 250 square foot apartment in New York City. I owe taxes, supposedly. I owe thousands to friends for personal loans. My grandparents were never in debt. My mother lives in a government-assisted apartment in Seattle, no car, no retirement money left. I have no health insurance and my left knee needs surgery. I have three part-time jobs, and it is still not enough to get by. I take anti-depressants and Adderall and Xanax and see a shrink who does not charge me, out of the kindness of his heart.  I made a choice, based on the comfort and dreams of one who saw that the world was a place big enough for everyone to make their dreams come true. My ancestors did not have that luxury - they did what they had to do, then did what they wanted to do, but it was all hard work and sweat and blood and tears. I sweat and cry and bleed as well, but have little to call my own, no plot of land and trees and money to assure my mother lives out her autumn years in comfort, much less myself.

    Where's the punchline, you ask? This is a blog about funny women, not tragic tales, you moan - that is, if you've even read this far - frustrated at the lack of laughs. But I am laughing, still, at this predicament. I do not fear hard work. I am determined and healthy and have no children (okay, cats, but still) to nurture. I am free to do what I choose, to fail spectacularly, to succeed despite the odds mounting against my career choice. I am standing on the backs of my immigrant grandparents and reaching for the nearly impossible dream. What a luxury that is. What a ridiculous, wonderful, heartbreaking, angst-ridden, insane turn of events. The American Dream. I will either make it come true here in New York City, or pack my bags, move to a safer place, and start over again elsewhere. I will not be deterred. The dream will not be deferred. I am a little work horse, pulling my wagon-load, the weight be damned. Strong little pony. Stubborn as a mule.


  4. My Penis-Free Era

    Tuesday, August 28, 2012

     (Part 3 -- from the divorce until now)

    by Mindy Matijasevic 

    So one might wonder how yet another 2 years and some months have gone by. Well, now it isn't as difficult. I am a once-again virgin. Though at first I thought I’d find someone "good enough," the ones who are "good enough" are not available. They were more than "good enough" for someone to marry them. And now I am not sure that "good enough" is really good enough. My ex use to present his assets as "I'm not a bad guy." Well, I’m not usually turning my head for "not bad." "Not bad" does not mean good, and it is way too far from terrific. (Plus in my experience, men who have to name themselves "not bad" are often awful.) The longer time that goes by, the less likely I feel sex will ever happen. I am sexually attracted to some men, but once we speak, it often goes downhill from there. It is typically disappointing. I have to consciously remember not to take it personally, and that it is who they are.

    The first time I was a virgin, I didn't feel as in control of myself and my life as I do now. So like with many things, I’m sort of getting a second chance at certain parts of life. One of the great things about being a virgin is how tingly a touch can feel. I do enjoy that.

    It used to seem like: these are men; you'll have to be content with one.  I didn't understand back then how often the right choice is: none of the above.

    I have had the experience of spending a couple of years not taking the subway. During that time, I only heard the news reports about happenings on the train, and I didn't have the daily experience to balance that against. The subway seemed scary to me.  That is sort of how penis seems to me now. The risk of disease that doesn't get cured with penicillin is the current reality. That’s not how it was back in the day. But diseases aside, sex can be great or disgusting even as a thought.  I was starting to think how nice it could be to not do it with anyone until the experience has truly been earned. But given my observations, I might be a prune by then. But maybe a male prune is finally at a point in life where he got it right. Somewhere between the wrinkles we could bring joy and fun to each other, and then go the fuck home.

    Some actress -- I believe one of the Hepburns -- said that men and women are not well suited for living together; they should live nearby and visit often. I would have liked to have read that years before I read it.

    Then I had to take notice of the fact that I haven't made my place presentable for company. So I had to finally face that my messy house is, in part, my way of keeping all them dick owners away for now. I’m in process from where I left off a long time ago. Developing a reliable filter. Learning to love myself a lot better. See, when I was a virgin the first time, my whole self-worth was riding on it. I was raised mainly by my grandmother who was fifty when I was born, and, in many ways, old school. I don't think it was her aim to make me feel totally worthless, but she typically said, "You better never do anything wrong. You don't have a family who can set a man up in a business. You don't have a father. Your mother isn't well. If you do anything wrong, your life won't be worth a red nickel. You can just throw yourself down the river."

    Yeah, it took decades to recognize there was love under there somewhere.

    Also when I was a virgin the first time, if I was late from a party or any such thing, I was heavily accused of sexual activity. I was still thinking French-kissing could be rather gross, and they had me fucking. I'm talking about an older sister of my mother's and one of the men who became my uncle by marrying another aunt of mine. They were like the firing squad. No one protected me from them. My grandmother seemed to have orchestrated the event. The venom waiting on their tongues to be shot at me was shocking and emotionally brutal. Though it was all verbal, I felt so terribly violated.  It was never addressed except that much disapproval was shown to me for not asking how they are when they called the house.  Until that day, I actually, to some extent, thought these people loved me. I most certainly had loved them.  I used to save about two and a half months of allowance to buy that aunt a gift for her birthday.  Up until that day, I hadn't thought of my uncle as a person with a penis or as a man who said dirty things to a twelve-year-old niece. These people were my family. They meant too much to me, probably because I didn't have a set of parents of my own taking care of me. My most open hole was my gaping heart. They saw dirt and wouldn't see anything else. They didn't even want to hear where I had been unless it sounded like something they could slam. When the truth sounded too innocent, they accused me of lying.

    Yeah, it took decades to understand that how they felt about my mother's child was pre-set and had little to do with who I really was. As my best friend recently said, "When there's a lot of shit in a family that people refuse to own, it is going to roll onto the least protected, most vulnerable one."

    To this day, I don't think they understand the impact they had on my life. (Maybe the one who passed over understands if it's true that once you do pass, you understand everything.) It was as if I was orphaned a second time.  I lost more family and though I was a virgin, they made me feel so dirty that I could barely maintain relationships with my cousins of those two families anymore.  I thought they would all look at me with disgust I hadn’t earned or if they didn’t know, they wouldn’t believe that about their mother and their uncle; for the others, it would be their father and their aunt.  They hadn’t experienced that side of them and would find it too hard to believe.  I couldn’t bear not being believed.  Like a victim, I kept it all inside.  The dirt they flung most unfortunately seemed to become part of me.  My heart was too open.  At twelve, I was unable to understand that it was their dirt.  Later that year in 8th grade, my homeroom teacher offered me money to have sex with him. Up until that day, my best friend and I thought he was so cool and an adult we could really talk to and ask questions. I felt the blood leave my head.  I knew without a mirror that I went pale.  I came home noticeably down.  My grandmother saw and wanted to know what happened.  She sounded sympathetic, so I told my grandmother what happened.  Instead of getting any kind of recognition for saying "no" each time he asked and raised the price, she blasted, "Why did he ask you! What did he see in you? I bet he didn't ask anyone else. What is it about you!?"

    Yeah, childhood sucked in many ways. It took lots of inner work to think how much worse hers had to have been in order for her to even act that way. Victims of victims.  And it took a lawyer, four decades later, to insist I get treated for depression. When one lives in mourning, it becomes hard to notice depression any more than breathing people notice air.

    So being a once-again virgin is much more fun now than the first time. I don't care about men putting the pressure on because I don't want the ones who do that, so the "pressure" is pathetically amusing and possible future comedy material. I feel so much freer now to be exactly who I am. The best way to get rid of someone I don't want around is to be very honest with them about how I am experiencing them. They typically will run like a vampire seeing the light. I am trying to make up for lost time (bad relationships stunt one’s growth) with my inner development, my creative endeavors, and trying to step up from scraping by financially.

    I'm not saying there won't be a night where I say to myself, "oh he's good enough" and think, "shut up and fuck me." That's the beauty of freedom. I can do that. There will be no aunts and uncles driving to the Bronx to tear into my heart and yank out any self-esteem I might have managed to have from before my mother got sick. There will be no missed menstrual cycles. And I’m not yet a prune.

    In my ex's head, I probably have had orgies. Since I was twelve, I typically have tons of sex in other people's imaginations.



  5. Ah, Reality!

    Monday, August 27, 2012

    by Samantha DeRose

    I Love Lucy. Rhoda. Mary Tyler Moore. Little House on the Prairie. The Love Boat. Mork and Mindy. Happy Days. Good Times. What’s Happenin’. This was the wholesome array of programming that I was raised on as a child. To say that the evolution of television programming has been horrifying would be an understatement.

    I just finished performing in a show and one hilarious comedian, Christine Grillon, made reference to Honey Boo Boo Child. I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with reality TV, but Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is a new series that is a spin off...nay, a spiraling downward off... reality show of Toddlers and Tiaras. Toddlers and Tiaras, my friends, is a reality show that “showcases the competitive world of” the child beauty pageant circuit.

    “On what channel,” you ask? TLC. THE LEARNING CHANNEL. I’m not certain of what it is that we’re actually learning here. Perhaps to stay away from middle America?

    Aside from the show’s bizzaro, creepy ick factor featuring those little plastic creatures that have abnormally large heads with Barbie hair bobbling atop those teensie sequined bodies, lips besmeared with Whatever Happened to Baby Jane lipstick, and dead eyes that look like they’ve been painted on by some twisted doll maker...aside from that, it’s a showcase of child abuse.


    But there’s something about the whole Honey Boo Boo Child entourage that gives me nightmares. Picture Deliverance meets Paula Deen.


     I’m not sure who is more disturbing. Honey Boo Boo Child herself or her mama, self-proclaimed “Coupon Queen.” I s’pose it’s not Honey Boo Boo’s fault that she’s been molded into the tiny freak show that she’s become. A lifetime of feeding on Go-Go juice is enough to make any future pole-dweller a bit diff’rnt.

    When it comes to HBB’s mama, I’m guessing what does it for me is a combination of the good, motherly advice that she gives her children in conjunction with the fact that the extreme couponer serves roadkill to her young’uns for dinner while the pet pig, Glitzy, squeezes a coily on the kitchen table.

    I’m wondering if the inventors of the television, Charles Francis Jenkins and Philo Farnsworth, had ever envisioned that their beloved screen would display the likes of Honey Boo Boo child et al. It’s a far cry from Mary Tyler Moore but then again. It’s material.  Mister GRAANNNT!