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  1. We'll Take a Cup of Happiness...

    Monday, December 31, 2012

    By Samantha DeRose

    Happy New Year, ya’ll.  I obviously didn’t write a piece on Christmas Eve as I was just beginning to shop and, well, getting gifts for the kids seemed to bump the blog to the back burner.

    New Year’s Eve is a tough time for my family.  We lost my brother 4 years ago on New Year’s, so not an easy day to write.  Since my last blog was memories from awkward holidays gone by, I’ve decided to share some holiday memories of my brother.

    First and foremost, my brother was an amazingly talented and gifted gift unwrapper.  My mother, always prepared, had most of our presents purchased and wrapped long before Thanksgiving.  My brother, without fail, would always find mom’s best hiding spaces.  With scissors and tape in hand, he would lead me to the secret place, carefully unwrap the gifts, exposing the glorious contents of the boxes for us to revel in, and neatly wrap them up again without a leaving one iota of evidence that the gifts had been revealed.  Of course, I’d ruin our secret by saying something to my mom like, “You know what I really want this Christmas?  That new game, Simon,” with a smirk on my face giving away the fact that I had yes, seen the gift, and henceforth, my brother would pummel me for being too obvious and vow never to allow me to accompany him in his excursions again… until he forgot by the following year’s unwrapping adventure.

    Christmas c. 1981…was the Christmas that my brother drove (in the big white car that he had inherited from a deceased neighbor) my friend, Sue, and me Christmas shopping at The Willowbrook Mall.  Sue, always a big saver, had stashed away all of her paper route tips (in singles) and had about $500 to spend at the mall.   As we were riding up the escalator above the fountain, Sue thought it would be the perfect time to count her dough.  As she pulled the wad of 500 singles out of the back pocket of her Sergio Valente Jeans (I in my white capezios and my brother donning his Member’s Only Jacket), the entire wad fell over the side of the escalator and into the bubbling fountain below.

    Thinking very clearly, my brother led us the wrong way down the up escalator (only tripping one or two old ladies) and made a dash for the fountain.  He spotted the wad of cash floating precariously close to the drain as Sue cried at the thought of  a year’s worth of paper route tips being sucked into the Willowbrook fountain for eternity.  My brother, who had experience with fountains as family lore goes (he, at the young age of 4, emerged from the very same fountain with a wet pocket full of change one glorious shopping afternoon with my mom) ran to the drain, stretched halfway across the choppy mall waters, plunged his upper body into the depths of the fountain, retrieving the sopping paper route money.

    That day, we shopped and shopped, Sue paying with her soggy bills at every register.

    Christmas c. 1987.  I had arrived home from college and began shopping, once again, on Christmas Eve.  (Clearly, I am not my mother’s daughter, and clearly, this whole procrastination thing has spilled into other aspects of my life).  Anywho, I arrived at my mother’s house for Christmas Eve dinner rather late.  My brother was sitting at the back table in the kitchen with my cousin, Susan, her friend, Mary, and a guy that Susan had met at her job who had no place to go for Christmas Eve.   At one point, most of the family, with the exception of the aforementioned party, had sauntered off to First Lutheran for the Christmas Eve candlelight service.  Upon arriving back home again, we were greeted with, “Mary, It’s George!  Don'tcha Know me!  Help me, Mary!  I’m George!  Mary!”  In our absence, my brother fed the co-worker countless shots of Sambuca and had the guy reciting lines from It’s a Wonderful Life at the top of his lungs.  To say that my mother was less than pleased would be an understatement.  Though the phrase, “Mary, Don'tcha know me!” survived as a classic Christmas cry betwixt my brother, my cousin, and me for years to come.

    Christmas c. 1985… We were sitting around my mother’s house after the candlelight service at First Lutheran (again) with my parents’ friends, The Englers, our family friend, Uncle Fred, Uncle Fred’s miniscule brother, Henry, my brother, and my best friend, Marygrace.  Somehow, the conversation turned to Al Jolson and Uncle Fred’s tiny brother (seriously, the guy was the tiniest little Korean War vet you'll ever find), Henry, (who never said a word other than, "This Bud's for you, Art!" every time my father gave him a beer), rose from his seat and belted out singing, “Mammy!” at the top of his lungs.  My brother, Marygrace, and I shot each other a wide-eyed look at the same time that I was swallowing a mouthful of (spiked…don’t tell my mom, I was only 17) eggnog.  I’m not sure if one can choke to death on eggnog, but it certainly felt as if that was happening.  As the nog filled my lungs and I was unable to talk, breathe, or communicate, my brother sat laughing to the point that only a whistling noise was coming from his mouth.  At one point, Mr. Engler realized that I was, indeed, in distress as I ran around from person to person noiselessly pointing to my throat. I ran into the kitchen followed by my still whistling-with-laughter brother, Marygrace, and Mr. Engler.   As I stood hunched over the kitchen sink, Mr. Engler punched me in the back and up came the nog into the sink.  My brother, hovering behind me had ceased the whistling and said, “Look.  It’s a whole carrot!  Don’t you chew your food when you eat, you pig?”

    My brother & me dancing at Marygrace's wedding

    Christmas c. 1990 ... How I wish I could find the photo!  My brother thought that it would be a great idea if my sister, he, and I reenacted a nativity photo.  My siblings with towels on their heads playing the part of Mary & Joseph, and I swaddled and stretched across their laps as our dear Lord and Saviour forced my father to snap a nativity scene that had my Lutheran mother crossing herself and saying countless Hail Mary's (even though we're Lutheran and don't cross ourselves or recite Hail Mary's) for several weeks.  I know the photo still exists, but I don't want to go to my mom's house and dig through their stuff or the Hail Mary's will start all over again.  Oh.  I forgot to add... just before the photo was taken, my brother thought that the picture wouldn't be complete without a halo for the Baby Jesus, so he improvised by placing one of my mother's dinner plates behind my head.  That's when the Our Father's started in addition to the Hail Mary's.

    L-R Mary, Joseph, Jesus

    Christmas c. 2003... One of my BFF's was dating a guy that she didn't want her family to know about.  Right before Christmas, the guy gave her a life-sized chocolate Santa.  My panicked friend, not wanting to throw it away yet not wanting to explain to her family where said life-sized chocolate Santa came from, showed up at my door with the life-sized chocolate Santa and said, "Here.  Get rid of it!"  I, not wanting to have a chocolate Santa of that size in a house with 2 little chocoholic young boys, brought it to my mother's house next door.  Upon entering, my mother said, "Now what the Hell am I going to do with that?"  Without batting an eye, my brother said, "I'm on it!  I know just what to do with a life-sized chocolate Goon Goon."  (You see, when my brother was just a boy, the mall Santa gave the little lad a fright and for some reason, my brother called Santa Claus "Goon Goon" thereafter).  We began to consume as much of Jolly Old St. Chocolate Nick as we could, but after getting thought both feet we realized that eating the entire thing in one sitting was an impossible feat. That was when my brother dug out some recipes and made countless batches of homemade chocolate almond butter crunch toffee, chocolate chunk cookies, chocolate covered popcorn, chocolate covered Oreos, you name it.  Soon enough, life-size chocolate Santa was no more.  My brother.  The problem solver.  

    A much smaller Goon Goon

    In addition to renaming St. Nick “Goon Goon,"  I have countless memories of Christmas laughter with my brother that will forever be in my heart and mind. 

    To my family and friends, I am grateful for the love and laughter that you’ve brought to my life. May the happiest memories forever remain in your hearts & minds.

    To my big brother, Chip, the richest man in town, thank you for more smiles and laughter than you’ll ever know that you gave to us… the best presents anyone could ever ask for.  When I became a teacher, you would always say to me, whenever we heard a bell ring, in your best ZuZu voice, "Look, Daddy!  Teacher says 'Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings!"  I know you've got yours, my friend.

    Happy New Year!

  2. 2013 - WE CAN DO THIS!

    Saturday, December 29, 2012

    By Lisa Harmon

    We made it!  Another year in the books!  I can' t wait for 2013!  2013 is going to be my year!  This is the year I will lose weight, get a television credit and, with any luck at all, get to party with Charlie Sheen!  No limits!  2013!  Yeah!

    I tell you what, most likely, none of that will happen.  It hasn't happened before, and I don't want to be the VERY DEFINITION of insanity!  (Doing the same thing and expecting a different result - some brainiac said that).

    So let me tell you what!  I don't even CARE!  That's right, you heard me!  It takes so long to get what you want in this life, by the time you get it, you don't even want it anymore!  For instance, I got a Light Bright last year!  A Light Bright!  That was on my Christmas list in 1977!  OK?  I think I've made my point!

    It is true!  A shit, I give not!  I really don't!  Everything with me is going as good as can possibly be expected!  My Mom is happily situated in Florida (far enough but not too far).  My husband is the best husband humanly possible to get.  I mean what can I say?  He was a happy-go-lucky single guy who for some reason thought that having me and my three rude and insane cats move in with him would make him happier!  Oh well, his temporary insanity is my gain!  No backs, no penny-tax!  Yep, we're in it, till one of us kicks!  No way out!

    I also have great nieces that I love spending time with whenever I can get down to the Sunshine state.  It is incredible what just hanging out with young people can do for my mood.  I love them to death.  Of course this Christmas the seventeen year old said to me "You guys (meaning my husband and me) are so cute!"  Remind me to cut her out of my will...

    And my cats.  Yes I hate them.  Sure I can't stand their stupid faces.  Yes, I've had it with their constant demands and kitty litter that's too heavy and how they keep ordering Ratatouille on the pay-per-view.  But those feline fuckers got my back.  OK?  When the ca-ca hits the fan, and no one wants to be your friend, who's right there, shedding on your last clean pair of jeans?  The cat.  Who's there, when you've cried yourself to sleep and woken up again?  The cat is there, that's who, and she's puking on your expensive new shoes.  Forget your silly problems, you've got puke to clean up!  Chop chop!

    Plus I get to do a lot of fun stuff - like riding a motorcycle and stand-up comedy!  The bike gets all the stress right out of you.  Plus it is exhilarating, especially when a guy in a Lexus does this hilarious thing where they almost hit know, just to test your mettle a little!  

    And stand-up comedy - what could be better than having a stage to vent from and a mic to make sure everybody can hear me?!  Oh my god, my "inner" egomaniac loves that!

    Onward to 2013!  Let's go in with a good attitude and do some hard work and see if we can't at least get one goal accomplished!  I'd personally like to party with Charlie Sheen.  This could be my year!  Come on!  How many young beautiful supermodels can he go with till he wants something real?  Real wrinkled, real old and real fat!  Oh well.  Even if I do get to the party, I probably won't remember any of it!  But I bet it be the best party ever!  It is OK if I don't remember it.  At some point I won't even be able to remember the stuff I used to remember!  Ya know?  So on your mark, set...go!  2013!  

  3. Happy New Year! by Rhonda Hansome

    Thursday, December 27, 2012

    Happy New Year!

    Stockings may be hanging by the chimney, but it’s the day after Christmas and I desperately need a pair of warm black tights that don’t fit like a torture device. So I venture to find tights in a Bullet department store.  I’ll use true brand names as soon as I figure out how to monetize unsolicited corporate mentions in my blog, soon to be vlog, after I organize a committee to prepare a bi-partisan report advising me how to avoid my too many electronic platforms, not enough technical support cliff.  

    Have I digressed already?  Be warned I am amazingly adept at taking flight on tangents. In fact it is my most endearing quality.  Anyway, day after Christmas entering Bullet department store, the return / exchange line, 3 people deep, stretches all the way to the greeting card section; where employees were putting on display, wait for it… Valentine’s Day cards!


    Whoa Nellie!  Can I get through the greetings for this year’s remaining holidays?

    Happy Kwanzaa!


    By the way, I’m still looking for those elusive black textured tights. 

    Maybe I’ll find them by Valentine's Day!

  4. The Circle of Life

    Tuesday, December 25, 2012

    I am happy to be able to say I was in a show on 12/20/12 and did well.  I needed that.  I made conscious improvements, and I just was more comfortable partly because I had been there before.  When I got down from the stage, other comics gave me knuckles (the pound, I believe is what it’s called).  Later, the comics and some audience members complimented me.  Things felt good again in this arena.

    I stayed and watched the whole show.  That is always my preference.  I like to step back and look at the whole canvas.  Some people create a work of art when putting a show together; others may slop it together more but it can still come out well.  Many make room to put comics in who drop by unexpectedly while others have their show planned and that’s that.  I understand both choices. 

    When I had shows, I gave lots of thought to who I booked and the order of the line-up from the viewpoint of the audience.  I charged and wanted people leaving feeling happy with their evening out.  So I didn’t book anyone I’d never heard perform, I made programs, and I wasn’t open to surprise performers and especially if I’d never heard them perform.  Sometimes that led to uncomfortable moments where a comic heard about my show, came, introduced himself to me, but didn’t expect to pay as a guest and would ask to be put on the show.  No to being on the show – it was not an open mic.  (Lisa Harmon’s mom paid, for goodness sake.  And she’d eat and drink and enjoy the show.)  I’d let the comic stay for free, but the place expected everyone to buy something.  Hearing, “I’m a comic” did nothing for the small bar/restaurants trying to keep their place in existence.  These were not comedy clubs but were open to me having shows in their establishments.

    When going over everything in my mind, I come to the same conclusion much of the time.  I like my material.  I need to work on my comfort up there.  Some audiences are easier than others for different types of comedy, but I want to be able to do my best in all kinds of scenarios. 

    When I was up there, I caught myself doing what my friend pointed out at the show where I did not do well.  I stopped and consciously planted myself and didn’t move around without a reason.  That helped me feel centered, and I even felt comfortable enough to address the noisy people in the back who may have been waiting for the music show that would follow.   I didn’t bring notes up there; no writing on my hand either.  I relaxed my brain enough to trust myself to remember.

    Another interesting thing for me to note for myself was that a comic in the show where I didn’t do so well was in both shows, and while he did well in the one I didn’t, he did not as well in the one where I did do well.  It can all change from one show to the next.  He’s funny.  But he had to work harder in the latter.  Seeing that helped me feel normal in terms of the journey.  We each have our night.  Sometimes in that circle, it is my turn.  

    The next day, 12/21, was my birthday which was good in the important ways, and the world did not end.  I’m glad.  I wasn’t afraid, but I would’ve felt further gypped. 

    Twenty-one years ago today, 12/25, I was going home from the hospital with my 2-day-old baby boy. 

     Merry Christmas.  More importantly, be Christmas.
    After writing this, I learned my oldest aunt passed away on my birthday. 
    Selma, may you be in real peace and know the love of my mother and God.  Thank you, in spite of many feelings, for helping to keep me out of the foster care system when I was seven.  It was the right thing to do.

  5. Day Drinking

    Sunday, December 23, 2012

    The flowbee makes my life so much better!
    Today I went to brunch with my sisters.  We had 3 bottles of champagne and time traveled.  Day drinking always seems like a good idea until you are blacked out by 1pm, the hangover begins at 5pm and you have eat an entire Dominos thin crust mushroom pizza to get back to 50%, you then realize that a better idea would have been to invest in Flowbee stocks.

    Now, excuse me while I go throw up.

    Merry Fucking Christmas!!!

  6. Thank You!

    Saturday, December 22, 2012

    2013 is right around the corner!  So I have to take a minute to say thank you to everybody.

    Here in New York we comedians are surrounded by so many talented, funny people.  I feel lucky to be in such great company.   I'm so fortunate to have this bank of talent to draw on.  I can see amazing comedians seven nights a week anywhere I care to look.  And, if I need help, these people are always there for me.  One facebook status, one email, one phone call, and I get what I need.  I love what I do (even though I made more money in JA with our overpriced "art" prints) but what keeps me in this, besides the demented compulsion to be liked by everyone, are the people that I meet and get to know and sometimes even get to work with.

    Thanks to everyone that helped me through this hilarious roller-coaster ride in 2012.  Here's a partial list (I know its incomplete, I'm truly sorry if I missed you) of the people that have offered me stagetime/pay/encouragement/advice/cookies:

    Ed Tyll Bob Bell
    Bill E. Scott Ralph "DaFunnyMan" Gabriel
    Aldo Marachlian Johnny Zito
    Joe Dixon Randy Epley
    Monica Vida Kevin J. Williams
    Esteban "Tino" Romero Maury Fogel
    Melissa Greenberg Nicoletti Lousine Shamamian
    Shelly Colman Sarah Maywalt
    Tim Davis Kevin Janaway
    Lisa Etkin Jackie Cheng
    Jeff Lawrence Kathy Arnold
    Joe Romby, Jr. Amy Carlson
    Pudge Fernandez Mindy Matijasevic
    Joe Conklin Vicky Kuperman
    Samantha DeRose Neil Thornton
    Jessica Collazo Jessica Kirson
    Matt Fiorillo Brian Grossi
    Alex Schmidt Missy Baker
    Steve Leventhal Liliana Velasquez
    Joanne Filan Dan Hirshon
    Liz Days Todd Montesi
    Sam Verello Josh Homer
    Josh Filipowski AMarie Castillo
    Max Cohen Jamarr John Johnson
    Felicia C. Lin Joe Fulton
    Neko White Dorothy Caruso
    Rhonda Hansome Mike Fiorito
    Bill E. Scott

    Thank you all so very much for everything! I hope you all have a great holiday and I'm looking forward to seeing you more in 2013! 

    Your hilarious pal, 

    Lisa Harmon


  7. Hey, we're still alive
    That means I have to buy gifts
    For all the bitches

    Basically, this peom reflects upon the frailty of life and the underlying fear that the planet earth was going to emplode in flames brought on by the devel and Mrs. Christ, you get my drift? Thought 'Jesus' was a dude? Well you're an idiot. And then it takes you on a journey of the realization that, in fact, our bodies are all still in tact and we experience an initial sense of joy that swiftly transforms into rage beacause now we need to buy Aunt Carol that Red Lobster gift card and Uncle Jeff that gay fleece blanket from JC Penney's and I should probably get some shit for my parents new dog or else I'm a horrible person. Great, now I need to travel to dutch country for 7 days and eat potatoe cheese puffs for a year and feel bad about myself. This is basically what I was trying to communicate in the poem I just wrote that you read. You would think I'm on some sort of substanct right now, but nope. Pure brain power. Should have been in the special classes in elementary school, parents missed that boat. Thanks mom and dad.

    Have a great holiday (Christmas) eveeryone (Christians)!!!!

    PS, when you google image search "drunk christmas holocaust" the above image is what you get. Pretty kewl.


  8. 2012 What A Year! By Rhonda Hansome

    Thursday, December 20, 2012

    2012 What a Year! A coast wide surge of killer tornadoes, and the devastating wind and water of Frankenstorm Sandy really shook us up.  Humbled, but not entirely bowed by nature, somehow we began our inevitable trek into the winter holiday season.  Carols and gift giving had hardly begun when Newtown, CT blasted  us to the core with the senseless slaughter of babes.  Gun control and mental health care debates began with traditional fervor as the nation mourns our loss. Stunned and numb, I try to remember what else happened this year...

    The re-election of President Obama  

    In spite of the Romney connection to a voting machine company, in spite of the GOP billion dollar budget for voter suppression and negative attack ads and in spite of Barack sleepwalking the 1st debate, he won.

    The death of Whitney Houston 

    The death of this beautiful songbird was a boon to the heavenly choir.  I imagined Amy Winehouse first at the pearly gates to greet Whitney with a hug and a heartfelt, "Girl what you holding?"

    The excellence of Gabrielle Douglas 

    In the face of bullying by fellow gymnasts and racist remarks about her appearance, Gabby brought home the gold and is in my mind the most admired of the Fabulous Five. Nah, nah, nah!

    Underage sex with Sandusky & Elmo
    Jerry Sandusky admitted to horseplay in the locker room showers of Penn State U, with boys under his charge.  His 30 year prison sentence will give him plenty of time to consider his shower shenanigans. 

    Kevin Clash, the voice and spirit of the lovable Muppet Elmo, had to resign his esteemed position with Sesame Workshop.  After paying an accuser $125K to recant, a string of young men came forward with tales of underage dating site chats, fondling and sex with Clash.  Kevin was certainly in dangerous territory courting boys almost three decades his junior; but why are 15 year old high school boys on a dating chat line?  With his head hung low and his brand tarnished, Elmo knows...

    Military suicides at all time high record

    In the interest of brevity insert your own anti-war, multiple deployment, stigma of psychological counseling  rant here ______.  I am shocked and dismayed at the Pentagon report that during the first 154 days of this year, 154 military service members committed suicide.  That number is higher than the combatant deaths in Afghanistan during the same period!  Instead of dealing with the root cause of this horrifying spike (see your rant above) the military decided to band-aid the problem with, wait for it...anti-depressant nasal spray!

    Which some how brings me back to our culture of killing and denial.  I hope before the end of 2012 that no event rivals the Newton, CT school massacre.  Our calculated murder of our each other is now so routine that if not high profile, very few even mange to attract national notice.

    The killing of 68 year old former marine Kenneth Chamberlain 

    The accidental trigger of his "medical life alert system" lead police to taser torture  Mr.Chamberlain during his attempt to assure them he was alright in his own home. The man begged to be left alone. They snapped the locks off his door.  He proclaimed his US Marine Corps motto "Semper Fi" and begged for his life.  The reply was a racial epithet and bullets through the heart.  This behavior from officers responding to a potential medical crises, makes no sense.

    The killing of 17 year old Trayvon Martin   

    Skittles and Arizona Ice Tea got way too much publicity from the murder of this young man.  The police dispatcher's order to Zimmerman to remain in his car went unheeded.  He willfully disobeyed and left a lifeless boy on the ground.   What a year!

    I know 2012 held so much more. Remind me in the comments section below. 
    Then tune in this Saturday at 2:00 pm EST to Sistah Talk
    Live on Time Warner cable in NYC.  Simultaneously streamed online in real time
    1pm CT, 12pm MT, 11am PT & 7pm in the UK


    Wednesday, December 19, 2012

    By Helene "Big Pussy" Gresser

    I am a jackass. A big ole hypocrite jackass am I.  And I have to just accept this fact, and put on my big girl pants and just be a jackass who kicks and hee-haws her way out of this hypocrisy. Quick, let me light another goddamn cigarette, even though I tried to quit a few weeks ago, and figure this shit out.
    There, that’s better. I took half a Xanax too. I need to calm the fluttering hordes of butterflies in my belly and grow the fuck up. And you can say this is a continuation of my blentry thoughts from last week: Let It Be.
    You see, I am free to date whomever I want, whenever I want. I can accept a date, go to a dinner or have drinks, and fall into bed with some sexy beast when I damn well please. I can have incredible, dirty, kinky sexy-times and feel guilt-free. But I am not doing that presently. I am sitting here on a lovely, cold, clear evening writing about my rumbly tumbly and not making the beast with two backs with some new or familiar hottie in a drunken fervor. I feel satisfied with the dude I’ve been seeing, and have been gaily traipsing along in Pretend Couplesville, adjacent to Togetherland. And for all the adulty talk and honesty and real-lifeness of my present situation, I am still in denial of my fears and all the triggers that flip on when I start to FEEL THINGS.
    Great companionship, no fights, no drama, fantastic bed games, and lots of laughter, and I still find the need for security blankets wrapped around me to shelter me from the sturm and drang of my imagination. My stupid, vivid, dead-on imagination of Someone More Exciting Than Me waltzing around in my guy’s sugar-plum dreams and very real reality.

    The truth is, there will always be Someone More Exciting. That is life. Someone New. Someone Different. Someone Younger. Someone Kinkier. Someone Sexy. And there it is, staring me in the face: this real-life, adult, not-a-romantic-comedy Truth. And I still try as hard as I can, with all my mighty powers, to be free-to-be-you-and-me.
    I am falling. And I used to love that feeling. I loved the whoosh and tickle and gasp. The thrill of never getting enough, and knowing that was reciprocated. But now I am exposed, all soft-underbelly and sweet and open and unprotected. Tough shit. Life is filled with uncertainty and angst and my-god-what-the-hell-is-happening. It’s also filled with terrible disasters and illness and far worse things than oh-poor-thing-you-are-afraid. Fer fucksake lady, get your fucking shit together and get busy living or get busy dying.
    I usually work damn hard, am funny at times, and have a quick brain. But swimming in this tar pit of dinosaur bones and memories of painful love is getting me deeper in muck and it smells like shit. Shit and tar. Fuck shit and tar.

     I want Fun Helene back. Fun Helene is one Cool-Ass Chick To Hang Around. Googly-Eyed Helene is a ridiculous buffoon jester-lady who jangles her sad bells in hopes of entertaining the king, and you know what? I am better than that. I can be strong and funny and confident and stand on my two Viking legs and determine my future with my mighty barbaric YAWP.  

    Oh, but this Achilles Heel of Ideal Romantic Love, how it hobbles me. Why must a leash be attached? Why can’t I share? Why can’t I gloriously wade into the surf and splash until exhausted and joyful, and hope we are all doing the same? Life is short, life is beautiful at times, and aren’t I lucky to occasionally have a hand to hold in mine? What the fuck else is there?

    I am a rock. I am an island. And a rock feels no pain. And an island never cries.
    And yet. And yet. Yet.
    I light another goddamned cigarette.


  10. Reflecting on a Not-So-Great Performance

    Tuesday, December 18, 2012


    I felt so white at a show one night.  I haven’t felt that white in a very long time.

    You know when you get credit from another comic for getting up on the stage with your “pearly white skin,” the comedy performance wasn’t what was good.  But of all the possible adjectives in front of “white” like pasty or chalky or pale or corpse-like, I like pearly.  That connotes something pretty.   I like the phrase so much that I might use it as a nickname or a pen name – Pearly White.                            

    It sucked to be the weak link in a show.  It hadn’t happened to me before.  It happened this time.  There wasn’t booing or anything, and there was some laughter, even a point where I had to stop and let them finish laughing, but in general, it felt difficult and was difficult.  My performance paled compared to the rest of the line-up.  I am glad I hung in there and ended shortly after given the light.  I felt so bad though.  I felt I let down the person who booked me.  Ugh.  That feels shitty.  He was kind to me when I told him that I was sorry that I was the weak link.  He reminded me that he’s heard me be funny and that comedy is a muscle.  So I had to hug him while I pouted.

    I sat at the bar with a friend who came to the show, and we watched the whole thing.  I didn’t feel envious of anyone else’s material.  What was the biggest difference was stage presence, comfortableness.  They had it and I didn’t that night.  My guest was someone who once cast me and directed me in several videos of comedic sketches.  She knew what I did wrong from the start, and it had to do with body language.  I am glad I am able to hear real feedback at this point in my journey because it is very helpful when the person knows what they are talking about. 

    I also had my own critique – I began my set sounding memorized and didn’t really establish a connection with the audience.  Without a good start-off, it was bumpy the whole way through.  My tone of voice was not where I needed it to be. 

    As much as I typically do not enjoy comedy open mic’s, I need to get to them and work it.

    I need to be more out there in a number of ways.                                                           


    Job people tend to think just the opposite.


  11. Memories of Awkward Christmases Past

    Monday, December 17, 2012

    Of course the time is 6pm and my blog isn’t posted.  What did you expect?  And if you think my timeliness with my blog entries is bad, you should see me on Christmas Eve (and day) trying to scratch up last minute gifts.  Yes, I’ve been known to open gifts neatly on Christmas morning and then use the same paper to wrap gifts for others because I’d neglected to buy wrapping paper.

    Since I’m pretty tired, and dinner’s not made yet, I think I’ll let the ghost of awkward Christmas past take over my brain and share some memories.  You do realize, at this stage of the game, that I am anything but graceful, physically or socially.  Never was.

    I was a child of about 12 still donning my Dorothy Hamill haircut whilst my other more socially acceptable friends had grown out their Olympiad skater quaffs.  I was teetering on the edge popular grammar school kid and free falling toward junior high school outcast.  My friends were into fashion and going to USA, United Skates of America, with the hopes of landing in the penalty box with a dreamy fella after a couple’s only skate (probably to You Are My Shining Star or Escape aka Pina Colada).  I, on the other hand, would enjoy the food bonanza that snack bar offered… 4 piping hot rectangles of pizza and as much Coke as I could get my grubby paws on.

    It was winter of my first year in junior high.  My friend, Lisa, was having a pre-Christmas slumber party with some old friends from elementary school and some of her new friends from junior high.  That was the year that Lisa and I had started to drift apart, despite our promises to be the next Laverne and Shirley, and I suspect her mom made her invite me over.  This was my chance regain my cool status after the gym suit / locker room debacle in earlier that September.

    (Flash-Flash Back:  7th grade junior high was the year we started changing for gym.  The style in 1980 was maroon gym shorts and a matching maroon Clifton t-shirt - purchased at Meltzer’s Sporting Goods.  In September, I kept telling my mother that I needed to get a gym uniform.  She told me not to worry - that she had my sister’s gym uniform from when she was in Junior High 8 years before.  Monday morning rolled around and my mother brought out my sister’s old one-piece gym uniform with ruffled, elastic sleeves, a cinched elastic waist, the bottom part that looked like bloomers from the 20s , and “A. DeRose” embroidered on the front pocket.  To say that I was horrified would be a gross understatement. Later that day, whilst changing in the girls’ locker room, some young gals noticed that I did not yet own a bra as I had nothing for which to fill one in.  They, in turn, told the young fellas in my class and thus, my name became No Bra FOR THREE YEARS!).

    Flash forward to Lisa’s slumber party.  We were to have loads of food, fun, and even a holiday grab bag.  My first error of the evening was suggesting that we get a tape-recorder and act out fake news reports, record fart noises during our news stories, and then play it back over and over again just like Lisa and I had done when we were in 3rd grade.  They preferred to call the boys that they liked and hang up on them.  Boooring!

    My penultimate error was my choice in sleepwear.  The girls were all wearing sweats and t-shirts.  I had on the Foxy Lady nightgown that my mother made for me when I was in 4th grade.  My Aunt Linda also made one for my cousin, Amy.   We looked like little twins.  As a matter of fact, I think my mom and aunt made several and sold them at the church holiday bazaar a few years prior.

    At last, the finale.  The grab bag.  As the screamy girls were all unwrapping make-up, brushes, mirrors, The Preppy Handbook, one of the new junior high friends opened my big surprise.  Apparently, my contribution of a whoopee cushion and slime wasn’t as well-received as I thought it would be. MY TURN!  All eyes on me, I gleefully I tore into the neatly wrapped package with gusto and screamed with enthusiasm (trying to match their shrieks of delight), “oooh myYY GOD!  I LOVE BOOGIE!  I JUST LOVE BOOGIE!”  Silence.  And then I heard someone say, “Um, it’s called Boggle.  Glad you like it?”  You know, it was an honest mistake.  Look at the picture.  A fleeting glance at that L on top of the L could kind of make you think it said BOOGIE!

    The girls continued with their prank phone calls to their cute boyfriends while I sat by the side, turning the little sand timer that came with Boogie over and over until it was time to go to sleep.

    The next morning I left and went to my friend Carrie’s house.  Carrie had been a good friend, particularly in September.  She lent me one of her bras after the locker room incident until my mom could get to Caldor to buy me one of my own.  The rest of that weekend, Carrie and I made Christmas cookies, rode our banana seat bikes around the chilly neighborhood looking at the Christmas lights, and watched A Charlie Brown Christmas.

    Not so bad after all.  I think I’ll go play Boogie with the kids.