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  1. "...and don't care what anybody thinks!"

    Tuesday, October 2, 2012

    Years ago, as it was getting closer to my comedy debut which was a graduation show at Caroline's, I was almost sorry I had invited all the job people from both of the jobs I held at that time.  Since it was my debut, many were coming as a show of support.  That was wonderful.  However, I knew a good number of them were not the nightlife type.  Many are of a different mindset.  At work, no one ever uttered the word "pussy" and certainly not the phrase "licking pussy."  And at work, there is no reason to use that language.  I would look at supervisory people as the date got closer, and my brain was yelling what did I do??!!!

    "Listen, please keep in mind that the comedy is dirty, and you never heard me use the language I use in my comedy," I said one day in a pleading tone to one of the administrators.

    "We are all adults," I was assured.

    Oh Lord.  My brain screamed, you are not the kind who talk about body piercings, getting fucked, living under someone's foot; you are rarely the kind who laughs at something funny because you look around first to see if it's okay, if others are laughing.  You are too concerned with being "politically correct."  You are not the kind who approves of me, and this isn't going to help.  I don't even know why I invited you.  I must be nuts for doing that.  Most other people I know would keep these worlds very separate.

    There are some individuals who I believed would enjoy it very much. I wanted to invite them. Then I thought it would innocently get out to those not invited and would lead to hurt feelings. Everyone there would believe they could handle whatever took place at a comedy show.  My gut was screaming they have no idea.

    For those readers who do not know me or my comedy, I enjoy the freedom to use the language as effectively as I know how without censorship.  However, please do not confuse that with mean.  I have no desire to further hurt oppressed people.  I do not expect women or gays or people without much money or people of all different nationalities to enjoy being put down for existing.  I don't enjoy that.  If my stuff doesn't make me laugh, it isn't part of my routine.  I do shed light on behaviors of oppressive people.  That might make some uncomfortable, but those are growing pains.  Becoming aware that one acts like an asshole is uncomfortable, but not letting one know s/he is standing on your neck isn't a solution.  What I anticipated would make some of the job people uncomfortable would be the language and the references to body parts.  Those who could hear past “pierced pussy lip” would be able to hear the deeper message in my music. 

    From the back of the room, I saw the job people barely laughing. Worse than that, a couple of them weren't even looking at the comics.  I could not understand that considering they came to the show and it was costing them rip-off prices. But most were looking and just not amused.  The host was good as far as I was concerned.  I watched the earlier show where he received much laughter.  The later show was the one I was in, and he was doing the same material but working harder at it and it wasn't getting nearly as much laughs.  Now I was worried that my set wouldn’t go over well either.  I wondered if my non-laughing job people were setting the tone.  Then the host said that it was good of the audience to come to support their family and friends.  He said something about hoping they (the new performers) get it out of their system.  That was when the job people laughed.  I was sorry to learn that was how they felt, but that would not determine how or if I would proceed with this comedy thing.

    There were also guests of mine from other parts of my life.  My best friend was there, and I loved that.  Our worlds are sometimes merged, and that is fine with us.  We thrive on the closeness and love.  Some were people who also were doing stand-up since years before I began.  Some were friends, some were poetry friends, and there were a few adult students with their spouses.  My miserable husband at the time was there.  Even he couldn't ruin it for me.  Inside myself, I was prepared.  If he acted fucked up, he was much outnumbered.  It would be easy for me to see it was his problem.  It would make the upcoming separation easier on me.  I’d get another look at what I’d be free from soon.  The crazy thing was he paid for the comedy class as a gift.  He would do things like that from time to time because his image of himself was that of a man who was supportive of a free-spirited woman who had a creative life and was not oppressed.  His true self was far from that.  Since we have been apart, whenever he tells me he is losing his mind, I am tempted to tell him to get acquainted with it before losing it.  He was going to hear my take on the human species evolving past marriage.  He wouldn't be able to interrupt me, cut me off, speak over me, belittle me, or any of the other charming husbandly things he was in the habit of doing.  And if all went right, he'd hear people liking my stuff and showing it.

    I was so terribly nervous because it was my debut.  I decided I would not look at the table of job people.  My heart was pounding so hard when I went up that I thought it could be heard over the mic.

    Ignore those non-laughing people.  I don't even understand why they came if they aren't going to even look at the performers trying to do this comedy thing in front of roughly 200 people for the first time. I thought you said we were all adults.  Now try for adults who look at the person on stage.  Of course, it was just two of them acting like that but those two were who were stuck in my head.

    My set went excellently.  It went beyond what I expected or imagined.  There were what I’ve come to learn are called laugh and applause breaks.  It was so deeply thrilling.  Exhilarating.  After talking about how a man would fuck a woman in the ear and brag about having fucked her brains out, the place was roaring. When I did the guy bragging, I grabbed my "dick."  So in response to the laughter, I said, off the cuff, "Yeah, I know how you think."  That sent the one who wouldn't look up into laughter, real laughter that had his back in motion, laughing he didn't get permission to do.  Then I saw his partner give him the look of shock and disapproval.  I guess they were getting to know their spouse in ways that even surprised them.  They both cut out after my set like they couldn't leave fast enough.  I imagine she gave him a hard time and he regretted coming to the show. (As I write this, I am single and oh so fucking glad.)

    The oldest of the job people, a fun woman in her 70s at the time, came over to me right after the show and said, "Don't say I said it but my advice is be as outrageous as you can, and don't care what anybody thinks!"  Coming from a woman in her 70s made it even more potent.  Who better would know that there is no prize for holding back things that need to be voiced?

    A woman came over to me who I didn't know and told me that I had what it takes and she hopes I was going to continue.  A young woman at a table said, "Miss, you were right about the pussy."  I cracked up at such a line being said to me by a stranger and so very sincerely.  Two young pretty women, who I didn't know but were guests of a classmate, each took an arm of mine and told me how they have no piercings "down there."  I was hysterical laughing.  My student, who brought her husband and a friend, loved my set and said, "You didn't just make people laugh.  You really had them thinking.  I saw."

    I stood outside with friends, many classmates, and some of their guests.  People were coming over to me and saying, "You were great." "Excellent." "You killed." "I like your earlobes." "Fantastic."  My then-husband said, "You were okay."  I laughed at the stark contrast.  My friend Judy gasped. Husband looked confused and, with a nose-wrinkling facial expression, asked me what that was about.  I started to explain and said, "People were telling me how great and fantastic I was, and then you said I was okay." "You were okay," he repeated.  I smiled.  Pretty soon, you will be my ex-husband. That's gonna be better than okay.  

    "Okay, I heard you.  I was okay."  He must have felt frustrated.  I made fun of marriage and spoke of pussy and got an amazing response from the audience, and now, possibly the hardest part for him and a huge achievement for me, his shit wasn't making me sad.  It was helping remove mixed feelings and reinforcing my decision.  I was smiling.  I was going out with friends afterwards who were actually excited for me.  It was a glimpse into my next and healthiest chapter of my life so far.

    The one at my job, who assured me that we were all adults, never mentioned the show.  I may have traumatized him.  Yeah, worlds collided, as George Costanza said on Seinfeld.  My worlds’ coming together wasn’t a bad thing really.  I prefer to be myself wherever I am.  I believe, in the end, it was more problematic for those whose wall separating their public and private selves crumbled.  

    Mindy Matijasevic

  2. 6 comments:

    1. She So Funny said...

      Priceless line... Pretty soon you're going to be my ex... GO MINDY!!! -Samantha

    2. RHC said...

      "...image of himself was that of a man who was supportive of a free-spirited woman who had a creative life and was not oppressed." ahey, stop talking about MY ex!!!

    3. thank you, Rhonda, for making me smile. i needed it.

    4. Anonymous said...

      Wow you really captured the event and the nuances - great story for comics and women and everybody.

    5. Thanks, Lisa. I appreciate that you took the time to read it. It wasn't a quickie. Glad it held interest enough to reach the end.

      And Lisa, that last clip I watched of you -- what cracked me up was, "That's when men were men." That is so hysterical after the story you tell. I laugh even in my apartment.

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