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  1. Late on Tuesday

    Tuesday, July 28, 2015

    I don’t want to judge myself too harshly by my productivity level today. 

    “Low” seems like a high score. 
                             Even walking felt so difficult. 


    Here’s to lighter brighter bouncier days.

  2. Sisters Day by Rhonda Hansome

    Thursday, July 23, 2015

    You never know what you are going to experience any time of the day in New York.

    I emerged from the sultry heat of the MTA onto 6th Avenue. I met late afternoon humidity and much more activity than expected for this usually hectic commercial strip just north of 16th St. 

    An amplified warning, not to block traffic, fought a wall of chanting voices and trudging feet.

    As I approached Bed Bath & Beyond, the daytime street was ablaze with the flashing lights of NYPD vehicles; the side walk teeming with earnest bodies moving forward.

        It seems the controversial death of  Sandra Bland

    And too many others, had generated more than the hashtag, #IfIDieInPoliceCustody

    I was delighted. 

    I would have joined the throng but I had a quick purchase to make and yet another destination.

    I no longer take umbrage when not recognized at comedy clubs, even those I headlined in a previous life! I took the bouncer's inquiry and instructions in stride as I made my way to Gotham's Vintage Lounge where I've performed many times. Tonight I wasn't performing. 

    I was there to see my my pal Sunda, in from the coast, headlining this hotter than hot show. 

    The jokes were deep, wide and far flung! This show easily put to rest the non-issue, 
    "Why are there no beautiful funny women comics?"
    Each, funnier than the next, provoked raucous laughter from the room.

    Kudos to all, especially the visionary producer Agunda Okeyo

    Sunda knows me from my days as a TV talk show regular, Catskills comedy queen, Vegas lounge act and touring opener for national music acts.
     I've got to admit, it's nice to be around folks who recognize me. 
    It was a great day of support for sisters.

    Rhonda Hansome is a writer, director and actress who does stand up comedy. Sometimes she marches in civil, social and human rights demonstrations.

    To the person who told me that my shows were unprofessional and amateurish, that I talk to you like I write my blog (as if that were a bad thing), that I am high and mighty, that no one will want to work with me, that I hate everyone, that I am rage-filled, that I micro-manage and then I vanish, that I’m no friend of yours, that I’m no partner to you, that I’m not nice to you or to your daughter, that I should wake up because no one cares how I feel and that you sure don’t give a fuck, that you wouldn’t do another show (but wanted to know why I was in charge), that I should simply say everything is fine and “wear a smile,” who has a problem with the people who provide a space for us to have our shows because they don’t take your orders either, and who insisted you wouldn’t read another email, text, or listen to a long message,


    STOP texting and emailing me and trying to get back on my “unprofessional” show.  I have no interest in working with you.  What is not clear?  I - HAVE - NO - INTEREST - IN - WORKING - WITH - YOU. 
    A couple of years before all this, you contacted me and wanted me to get a certain book and work together writing material.  We set a date.  When the day came, I called you several times trying to confirm our plan and find out the location.  You never called me back that day.  You wasted my day.  I didn’t make other plans since I had a commitment with you.  When we finally made contact, you said, “I totally understand why you decided not to make the trip.”  Does that sound like a fucking friend to you?  Do you even know what friends sound like???  That sounds like a narcissist who won’t accept responsibility for their actions.  A FRIEND says things like, “Oh shit, I fucked up. I’m so sorry. I forgot about our plans.  You bought the book?  Let’s reschedule.  I’m so sorry.  I swear I won’t fuck this up.”  But you probably don’t know what friendship – real friendship – sounds like.  You’d have to be one to have some. 
    You admitted I consistently brought in the most audience.  You said that you don’t know how I manage that.  Well, much of what you complain about, others like about me.  Imagine that.  They are glad I don’t “wear smiles” but actually have smiles.  They like talking to someone who isn’t full of shit.  They welcome how refreshing that is in this bullshit society.  I’m actually surprised you don’t have more friends of the bullshiggity kind since they are so plentiful. 
    You tried to get me to cancel a show a day before the show.  I consider THAT unprofessional.  I refused.  It’s MY show and my reputation on the line when comics have scheduled their time and people have bought tickets and planned their night.  The world does not revolve around your fits and tantrums and selfishness.
    You want me to like a comic because she is someone you want to connect with, and if I don’t care for her empty promises and hostile comedy, you decide I am the one who is rage-filled.  I somehow still think the person making fun of portions of society who are already down is the one with the rage problem.  And maybe some other problems too that would even lead someone to kick those who are already down.  Then you get angry with those who don’t like bullying and racism.  Cute.  Says something about you that I didn’t want to believe. Talk about unprofessional – wanting to book people because you want your daughter and their son to hook up.  Fuck the quality of the show.  Not on my watch.  Not on my show.  My goal for a show is to make it one I’d want to attend.  That is why, according to a good comic I credit you for recommending, it is a good show.  I don’t want comics who make people feel bad they spent money for abuse.  I am proud that many of my audience members come back for more of my “unprofessional and amateurish” show. 
    You have complimented my blog over and over.  So was that bullshit like much of what you express or are you jealous and attacking me for being able to write as real as I am?  You ACCUSED me of talking to you like I write my blog.  Maybe you are right and I shouldn’t give you the respect of honesty.  You want fake smiles.  I’m not your gal.  You told me life is short and to “wear a smile.”  Life IS short, so be real.  You might make a friend who is also real.  Right now you can’t appreciate such a relationship nor do you deserve it.  You don’t treasure what that means. 
    You say I’m no friend of yours.  I was more of a friend to you than you are capable of being to anyone because you are a user.  And if people don’t do as you want, you throw a tantrum.  I understand frustration and all kinds of shit, but I want no part of someone who doesn’t own their shit, who can’t say “I am sorry; I was wrong.”  You are right that life is short.  I want none of what remains of mine to be putting up with crap like yours.
    I originally lost a comic because the person wouldn’t work with YOU.  I never told you that.  Then yet another comic had to get me to get you to stop texting her obsessively for something you wanted.  But you claim no one will want to work with me. 
    That hasn’t been my experience in recent years.  The people who don’t want to work with me are people I also don’t care to work with, so it’s not a problem.  Sexists tend to be scared of my feminism.  (You know us feminists – very scary people fighting for equal pay and day care and reproductive freedom and to be safe on the streets.)  And I get disgusted with them dehumanizing the gender largely responsible for teaching them to walk and wipe their own ass.  And racists just aren’t funny, except to other racists.  (Not to be confused with racial.  I think Richard Pryor and Lisa Lampanelli, among others, are very funny.)
    When you asked me if I liked so-and-so, I did not consider our time something to waste with bullshit.  I said NO.  I gave you exact reasons.  It was not based on mood or ulterior motives and hidden agendas.  I said making fun of a group like they are out there all sucking men to pay their rent was NOT funny or okay.  She was using a low stereotype of a group she wasn’t familiar with.  I said there were many highly educated members of that group in the audience who do important work to help others and were guests of mine.  I was sure they didn’t appreciate that.  The comic even complained how “PC” the audience was because perhaps she couldn’t imagine they were just being real and really fucking disgusted with the portrayal.  That’s MY reputation, not yours.  I do not want to be represented by those who need to do that.  I like intelligent comics whose life, the news, and their desire for a better world provide enough material to work with.  I care about those I’m asking to spend their money.  I also care about humanity.  (That’s probably why you called me “high and mighty.”  I’m sorry for all involved if you don’t care about humanity since you work in the helping professions.)  When I produce a show, it is a chance to reach people in a positive way.  I am not going for the kick-the-homeless, Latinas-are-whores, bitches-are-fat-sluts type of shit.  Yes, I have standards and taste.  No, I don’t like everyone’s comedy equally, nor would I expect you to.    
    I’ve had people write me saying how wonderful the shows are as well as telling me what they didn’t like.  I’ve passed along to you the feedback I’d received because I actually thought you’d want to know.  (Silly me.)  I consider it so valuable to hear from the customer.  But if what you want is “It was great” (SMILE), you really shouldn’t ever want to work with me.  My life’s moments are precious to me, and I can’t fill them with bullshit.  I have NEVER appreciated you or anyone telling me I did great when I did NOT.  I grow from truth, not from fake crap.
    You said I am “high and mighty.”  The few people in my life who have called me that are people who’d like me to lower myself so they can feel better about themselves. 

    When I saw your phone number posted in a public place, I wrote you to make sure you knew that it was visible to the world.  It was concern about your safety.  You never even acknowledged that email.  Maybe real concern about others doesn't register with you.  That was clear when after coming home from 2 jobs on a Thursday night, and there was a message from you telling me, not asking me, to come to your house (from the Bronx to Manhattan which would mean getting to you at midnight) to read instructions on how to use an amp, then go back to the Bronx, nap, get up and teach, and be ready for the show that night.  (Thanks for caring about me and my safety.)  When all along, your friend who you want me to like the comedy stylings of was in your borough and could afford a cab.  But you didn’t call her and throw an adolescent tantrum demanding she come rescue you no matter what her reality is.  I am sorry I let that pass.  The next time you threw a tantrum, it was at the people who provide the space for the show.  They no longer cared to deal with you.  I am sorry I let that pass.  You were not made to see how wrong you were.  My mistake.  You continue to blame them rather than look at yourself.
    It escalated. 
    You said horrible things to me, you want to act like you didn’t, you want to blame me for the shit you did, now you want to portray things like I threw you out and took over.  It was mine all along.  You were lucky to get all those opportunities.  If I want an emotionally abusive relationship with a user who is disconnected from others and who refuses to own their own crap, I could’ve stayed married.  At least he paid much of the bills.  You don’t pay any of my bills.  And he didn’t expect me to be phony.  He had that area covered.
    When you went off your rocker telling me how you’d never be in my show again, I was relieved.  I don’t want to work with you.  I am not bound to you.  I am not taking anything that isn’t mine.  I had a feeling in my stomach (because I have experience with narcissists) when you went abusive on the phone that you were disconnected from your own mind and would act the next day like this never happened.  I made sure, upon saying goodbye, to confirm “This will be your last show.”
    I told friends (the real kind) that because this was so extreme and felt somewhat insane, I sense this is not over.  Practically in chorus, they said, “For you it is.”  Yes, for me, it is.  I am not disconnected from reality, and I remember every bit of that phone call.
    Stop texting me since you told me you didn’t want any texts from me, stop emailing me for the same reason (you don’t get to make rules for me and break them the next day, obsessively texting me), and stop trying to rewrite history.  I did much groundwork over a year before the actual shows on my concept.  The concept came to me while in a conversation with another comic.  That woman later guided me into understanding much of what is involved in putting on a good show.  All those details I pay attention to -- oh yeah, that you called “micro-managing” though another comic called it “thorough, and I love thorough.”  You claimed in your outburst that I micro-manage and then I vanish.  From my side of the world, that was doing the tons of things that need to get done and then entering my two-job week and trying to get sleep too.  Not available for your tantrums or sudden desire for a friend.  You want a friend?  Be one.  I’d suggest you start with someone with whom you have no history.  And don’t expect what you don’t give, like sincerity.
    I always felt it was wrong and unfair to judge a person by other people’s opinions.  I now am re-thinking that.
    You did not come up with the name as you try to now claim.  I presented the name I had for it for over a year.  (I even was on a local cable TV show being interviewed about it in 2013, over a year before being in your living room. The interviewer said she loved the name.  The video exists.  Reality.)  You checked on line 16 months later to see if the name was in use.  We added 2 words to the title (one being of) because a support group was using the name.  Thank you for fact-checking.  That does not make you the creator of my show.  You want to now say we were partners.  On the phone you very clearly said I was no partner of yours.  You were stressed out and offended if I spoke to you as a partner.  You only wanted fake niceties.  Truth, to you, was “toxic.”
    As you stated, you wouldn’t do another of my “unprofessional and amateurish” shows, so stop trying to steal my “unprofessional and amateurish” creation.  Stop trying to write on the page that it isn’t mine.  Stop trying to claim something that is, as you expressed, not up to your standards.  You deserve better according to you.  According to your opinion, you could do much better and get lots of venues.  So go do something better!  Don’t take from those you see as beneath you.  What are you saying about yourself?  Book whoever’s ass you are willing to kiss for various reasons that have nothing to do with quality.  Continue to order around and piss off the managers of the places, and throw a fit when they don’t take orders from you.  Bring your laptop with the bandaid on it (a very professional touch).  Don’t acquaint yourself with the bouncers.  Have three people in the audience.  Wear a smile, and say it was great.  Enjoy your life.  You are right that life is short.  Why spend it battling someone who gave you many performing opportunities in front of a real audience?  Create what you consider wonderful, and leave me the fuck alone. 
    You claim you can’t have stress.  When I asked you to click and invite people to a show because ticket sales were dragging, apparently that was stressful.  Your sense of entitlement stresses me out.  When you quit a job in a raging fit (and most of us have done it), don’t expect to go back (that’s the part you don’t seem to get). 



    *I do not endorse the very last lines.  But in general, the clip captures a lot of what happened here attitudinally.    


  4. Bit of Joy, Bit of Calm

    Tuesday, July 14, 2015

    Lots of stuff going on as usual, but I'm just going to share something that makes me smile.  I hope it does the same for you.


    And sometimes we need more, so it may take some inner work to help ourselves feel okay enough to face the day (or night). 

    this really helps...

  5. Ugly Is... by Rhonda Hansome

    Thursday, July 9, 2015

    Sometimes I love being an artist.
     I felt the love watching the extraordinary documentary, of a civil rights activist and musical genius, What Happened Miss Simone? 

    I was transported, enthralled, deeply touched and made grateful for my own moments of creativity and contentment.

    Being an artist is not always fun, but as the film clearly shows, it can be a powerful and often rewarding way to live a life touching others through creative expression.

    This week directing rehearsals of the play Ugly Is A Hard Pill I had a delightful experience. When I complimented some of my actors on progress with their roles, without hesitation, each attributed the breakthrough to my direction. 

               I did my happy director dance

    Directing is a collaboration I do with actors, designers and technical operators; all to the words crafted by the playwright,in this case, Andrea Fulton 

    The result of our collective work is in the 2015 Thespis Theater Festival.

    Catch this hilarious tale of gay, straight, bi and down-low friends seeking sex and love while often hiding from themselves. Only 3 performances!
    Thu. 7/16 @ 9 PM
    Sat.  7/18 @ 1 PM
    Sun  7/19 @ 6 PM

    Rhonda Hansome is a director, writer and stand-up comic. #NotYourGrandmasComic #YourCrazyAuntLovesMe 

  6. Smiles Don't Hang in My Closet

    Tuesday, July 7, 2015

    After someone raged at me verbally on the phone some time ago and told me not to call, email, or text any long messages, she went on to text me obsessively the next day -- long texts. 
    I was noticing that the worse accusations and descriptions someone did of me, the more they regretted it.  I saw the explosion as a big window into how the person really feels.  (Sometimes it is obviously a self-portrait.  Rare to find people who know themselves well enough not to have to do that.)  They make it easier for me to let them go.  It’s usually someone I’d made allowances for in my head in spite of some of their behavior.  Typically I’ve defended them or made excuses for them to people who they turned off.  (I’m still learning and will continue to as long as my brain works.  It’s more of an emotional learning than a reading comprehension thing.  I read very well.  That isn’t the problem.)
    So, being we had to work together again, I remained civil on my end.  I also saw that much of what this person said to me were projections as I’m sure these were things that had been said to her.  Many of the things fit her more than they did me.  I felt like I met the emotionally abusive side of her mother.  I do believe she meant some of what she said.  Much was meant to be hurtful as opposed to helpful.  I was relieved in a way to hear many of my suspicions confirmed.  Phoniness is more disturbing and eerie to me than many things.  It felt better in a way to have heard her rage than her fake niceties.

              “Well, it’s good to know how you really feel.  See you at the show.  It'll be your last show as you stated.  Bye.”  I ended the call but never raised my voice or anything.  I could, in those silent seconds, hear her regret.
    For whatever reasons, she needed to push me away.  Okay.  I accepted that.  I had my own reasons to feel it was a blessing in disguise.
    The next day, her texts came in waves.  Six at a time.  (It’s possible it was less on her end but I get a limited amount of characters in a text, so it continues in another text.)  She shared what her day had been like the day before (which involved being with the family she came from and under stressful conditions – then I felt even more sure I met her mother in a way), but she never said she was sorry, never acknowledged dumping it on me, never owned what she did.  That’s her m.o.  Her texts sounded like a child desperately not wanting the person she dissed to be mad at her.  She kept finding ways to kiss my ass.  She said whatever she thought I’d want to hear.  If she had meant it, it would be a whole different story and I wouldn’t think of it as ass-kissing.  I felt disgusted, and I also felt sorry for her, but I didn’t answer her texts until I thought I should let her know I received them.  I thought maybe then she’d stop.  So I sent a text saying, “Ok.”  It stopped for a few hours.
    Later, another wave of texts came.  She claimed she was praying for me.  Oh Lord.  I was tempted to tell her to keep her prayers to herself.  Based on the things she had said the day before, I was sure she’d be praying for the wrong stuff.  She tried many things I guess in an attempt to make me not angry with her.  But she didn’t try anything like, “I said some awful things to you yesterday, you didn’t deserve  it, and I am so sorry.”  Though I still probably wouldn’t want more to do with her, if it were sincere, she’d still be sorry for how she behaved to me.  It wouldn’t be based on if she got what she wanted or not. 
    At some point, I again needed her texts to stop.  I texted, “I’m not fighting with you.  I heard you clearly yesterday.  We will get through the show.”
    Maybe my calm resolve bothered her.  She texted again.  “Life is short. Wear a smile.”
    Now she was pushing it, really pushing it.  That was the moment it took so much not to tell her, “Fuck you.  I smile when something makes me smile.  Now if you wear a tampon up your ass, that would be funny and make me smile.”
    No, Mindy, don’t.  She’s a victim of herself.  Let it be.  She wears smiles.  It looks mask-like. We all cope in whatever way we can.  Don’t even say a thing. 
    But today when I watched this video someone sent me, I was reminded of that.  I couldn’t help but think that’s who wears smiles – the wife of a serial rapist portraying an unreal image of marital bliss.