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  1. I Came In Second Place By Rhonda Hansome

    Thursday, October 3, 2013

    Last week a reality personality was pontificating on the importance of being number 1, to the youngsters in her charge. As the first and last authority in her dance studio for children she cautioned them that 2nd place might as well be last. Feeding that philosophy to the young struck me as odd.

    Then again, frequently barked inanities is an eminently telegenic quality.  That's probably why she has her own show and I'm writing a blog using words like pontificating and eminently.

    Several months ago on short notice, Alyse Kenny a preternaturally likable actress / comedian  
     asked me to fill in on her monthly StoryTalk show at Gotham Comedy Club in NYC.  

    The show was only hours away... Checking my schedule,

     I swatted the moth that flew out of my calendar and thought, 
    "What the heck!  If I can do stand-up, I must have a good 'story' in me somewhere."   

    Had I known it was a competition, I'd have typically demurred.  Hours later in Gotham's packed Vintage Room, I was a very surprised winner, with my true story about mom killing and cooking her husband!  

    Easy Dear Readers*, THAT macabre tale which thrust me into the Fall Party StoryTalking Semi-finals will grace this page some other week.  This blog is about coming in 2nd place in the semi-finals and loving it.

    In a panic I pondered my options for semi-final material.  Do I repeat my previously told story or do I come up with something new AND amazing in thirty minutes?  On my way to the door I trip on a pile, I mean file of papers, yeah gang remember PAPER files?  At my feet is a piece I'd written about my youth more than a decade ago, when I erroneously thought "performance art" might be my big break.  Since an audience had never heard it, one of the seven voices in my head said, "No time like the present!" and so it made it's debut with a few on-the-fly edits.
                    For your entertainment, I present my 2nd place 'Fall Party' theme StoryTalk entry:                                                
    What a beautiful fall day today!  
    I love the fall as it ushers in the holiday season.  By the way, a belated l'shanah tova!
    The fall fetches the familiar aromas and faces of big family dinners where you sit side by side with people you've spent your entire life, trying to avoid.  Grandma takes up her station at the kitchen sink, "Just gonna wash these few things for you.  Never know when you'll need these paper plates again."  

    It's a typical family gathering of gamblers, drunks and philanderers.... and that's just the women. There's food, dancing and Aunt Joyce is handling the betting pool.  "Alright, $200 dollars goes to the winner in ALL THREE categories, which are: 
    1) most likely to violate an order of protection 
    2) parole violation, and 
    3) multiple stab wounds - give OR receive."

    My family has a quaint holiday ritual, Domestic Violence.  One minute everyone's laughing having a good time.  Then the words that stop you in your tracks: "Mother-fucker, let's take it outside!"  As if on cue little Chantell utters her first words spoken in her tender 6 years, "Uh oh, a fight.  Dessert's gonna be late!"

    A frozen moment holds all in thrall, then Grandma breaks the spell.  She's eighty years old, but gingerly slides three pies into the oven, then glances at the gold watch retrieved from her treasure chest bosom.  "At least twenty minutes before Sgt. Delvecchio shows up, Chantell.  You know he likes his peach pie hot."

    Siblings, cousins, young and old jockey for position at the windows and doors for a good view of the fight.  Cousin Evelyn, with arms akimbo, whispers through a Johnny Walker haze; "Call 911."  And the mid-dinner entertainment has begun!

    Glass bounces to the pavement as Uncle Joe snaps his Guiness Stout bottle against the trash can lid that Tommy, my half-Korean cousin, uses to shield his slightly slanted eyes. Uncle Bobo flings open the bathroom door, his ebony face almost visible through the steam of his 3 hour shower. "What's all the noise?  Am I too late to place a bet?

    Aunt Joyce palms Bobo's damp ten dollar bill and explains the excitement.  "It's all over who does a better rendition of White Christmas, Miles Davis 

    or Kenny G."

    As somebody starts the wave, Grandma opens the window and yells, "Joe ever since you come back from Viet Nam you ain't been right by Tommy.  Now if you both don't stop actin' the fool, I'm gonna toss some hot lye on you.  Tommy you know good and well Kenny G ain't worth a trip to the 'mergency room tonight!"

    In an instant the entire throng concedes the point to Grandma's obvious advantage - hot lye from a second story window.  Joe and Tommy suddenly high-five sealing their decision to compromise on... 
                                                                                                                                  Johnny Mathis.

    When the dishes and patrol cars are all away, we patiently wait for the call from a loved one 
    who couldn't be with us this year.  
    The phone rings and I hear that familiar refrain, 
    "This is a collect call from a correctional facility.  
    Will you accept the charges?"  
    My sister is calling from a jail in Georgia, and I win 50 bucks! What a party! 

    I had a great time telling my story at Gotham.  The room was alive with laughter and appreciation.  I left the stage high on my preferred drug of choice, a hail of applause.  As the night wore on and the votes were tallied two TV writing giants tied and claimed top place.

     Five time Emmy winning writer, producer / director Bill Persky 
                                                                     From Seinfeld, Cheers and Will & Grace, Tom Leopold
    They were not my competition, they were an inspiration. 

                                     I came in second place and loved it!

    Oct. 10th at NY Times Headquarters Rhonda Hansome is the entertainment at the Impact Leadership 21 Summit & Awards. View & support her Drama Mamas The Film trailer here. Next time come out & vote for her!

  2. 9 comments:

    1. Unknown said...

      Love it! Outlandish, yet believable. Reminds me of Eddie Murphy's 'The Cookout'. Keep em coming!!

    2. Glad good things are happening amongst all other happenings life gives us. This is some great stuff. The TV writers heard your story! And congrats on the wonderful experience and winning 2nd place!!! The story was so funny, and I could see it all happening. Congratulations!

    3. loislane911 said...

      And you lived to tell about it! And tell about it so WELL. I'd say that's winning big time. Great & Funny Story!

    4. Outstanding! 2nd place is never an embarrassing position! Kudos on your success! Continued blessings!

    5. Hey Passion, with my summer such as it was I had to go back to August and catch up on your posts. Very funny story to read; I can just imagine how much funnier the live version must have been. I hope my comment, which makes 5 for this week, means you'll keep posting.

    6. RHC said...

      Thank you so much. I appreciate the comments. All of them, even the ones that didn't get put on here cause of whatever.

    7. Unknown said...

      Ah honey, holidays with the fam...can I relate? You KNOW I can!!

    8. Congratulations you second place winner you! Second place yesterday, First place today. Knock em' dead tonight.

      Read up on my efforts in the news and share it with friends.:

    9. Unknown said...

      It makes thankful to have grown up an orphan.

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