Latest Entries »

Why Do Comics Quit Doing Comedy?

There’s an 85% chance I’m too old to still be chasing my dreams. I’m 35, I’m still a server, and my pay in comedy varies from $500 to a drink ticket. It’s cool to be a loser in your 20’s, but in your 30’s? I’m not so sure…

In the grand scheme of things, being a bartender has proven to be far more lucrative than anything creative. But how can you express the wonders of a vibrator to a man reading the paper, trying to enjoy his Kilkenny and a French Onion Soup?

You just can’t.

I’ve recently started wondering why some people quit comedy. I’m sure we’ve all had our moments. There’s no occupation immune from the idea of an employee saying, “Fuck it. I’m out.” Not even your dream job. I feel like doing comedy is like going to the gym. Sometimes you dread going, but after you go, you feel sooooooooooooo good.

So why do people quit comedy? Some do, you know. The highs of being a comedian are incredible. Amazing. But the lows of being a comedian can be painfully tragic. I’m sure you’ve figured that out by now.

I started doing comedy a week before my 19th birthday. I was young, optimistic, and fearless. Pretty much the opposite of what I am now. I went on stage in heels, (well, they were platforms-it was the late 90’s) and wore see-through shirts. (But those shirts were only see through from the ribs down, cuz again, it was the late 90’s.) I had three minutes of solid comedy. (I thought I had five, but really, I had three.)

Back then, I honestly believe my comedy had everything to do with writing. I had no concept of all the other variables. I had stage presence, probably from acing so many oral book reports as a kid. But I never took into account other things. Like how long the nachos take… Is the server nice? Who do I have to follow? Why is the last Wednesday of every month smoke-free? (K, now you know I’m old.) In fact, back then, when I was a comedy virgin, I always thought it was the best to follow someone who killed. After all, didn’t he/she just warm up the crowd for you? Now for whatever reason, some comedians prefer to follow a stinker. Revive the crowd. (Hopefully.)

Back then, I admired so many comedians. Comics who don’t do comedy anymore. That’s crazy to me. I have heros who sort of gave up. Obviously my blog last week was emotional. Why am I in a business full of people I can’t trust? I know it’s not the money. And it’s not the fame, cuz I still work at Fionn MacCools. But young or old, I still have this fantasy of being a modern day Lucille Ball- Cute… imperfect… but it just works.

So I started creeping my retired comedian friends. A “Where Are They Now” show, but the Canadian Comedy Edition. The first person who came to mind, was the first comic I ever dated. (Ya, I’ve dated comics. They tell you not to, but you just can’t help it.)

His name is Marcus Rummery. He was hilarious. When I first met him, I didn’t even know he was a comedian. There were ZERO open mics in Ottawa back then, so every amateur comic got two Wednesdays a month at the comedy club. He was always hanging out at the comedy club, even when he wasn’t on the show, so I just thought he was a groupy. Then one Wednesday, we were BOTH on the show. I discovered he was hilarious. I will still quote his jokes today, cuz they’re just that good. (The foreigners not grasping the enormity of Canada bit still kills. I’m laughing right now, and I’m typing at a Firkin by myself. They probably think I’m crazy.)

So I wrote him. What’s going on these days?!! And guess what? He teaches YOGA now. (Yeah, way to get flexible AFTER we break up.) I can definitely understand how yoga would be the most therapeutic comedy after life. I asked him why he doesn’t do comedy anymore. He said,

“I still do one show a year…”

Haha. That’s a show I’d go to.

Then I wrote one of my other fave comics from my first years doing comedy. Rob Cowley. Ya know him? Doubt it. We grew up in a pre-YouTube world. But I remember my mentality when I first did comedy. When I called the comedy club, I was advised to come watch a show, before I tried it. So I went down on a Wednesday. I made an agreement with myself that I didn’t expect to be funnier than everyone on the show. But if I thought I could be funnier than one person on the show, I’d try stand-up comedy.

Rob Cowley was not that person. He was my favourite. He had a joke about the giant check even my friends today still talk about. And now… he doesn’t do comedy. Why? He was great! So I found him on Facebook, as we do these days. I asked him why he doesn’t do comedy anymore. His response:

“I stopped mainly because of the community. I moved to Toronto early on. I really loved the Ottawa scene (where we started.) I was one of the first of our community to move to Toronto, and it was pretty lonely and soul destroying. I did the amateur nights at Yuks and did Spirits a few times (which was fun. I enjoyed it) But I just stopped… enjoying it. I also felt like the level of ego that came with the lower density of actual talent (compared to Ottawa) was hard to handle and just tiring.”

I get it. Often one’s confidence, trumps his material. I remember the first time I waited in line at the Laugh Factory in LA to do my first ever open mic there. I spent hours sitting against the wall, getting an intense sunburn, and listening to a dozen comics be “on” all day. They all seemed way funnier than me. But then we got on stage… yikes.

Rob went on to fret that he might not make sense, and feel free to use all of it, or none of it, which just verifies that he’s still a true comedian. Another interesting thing he said:

“I probably would have stayed in it longer, had I come later, when more of us were in Toronto…”

It’s a great point. You need friends in comedy. You need them on the outside, and you definitely need them on the inside. Nobody quite understands a comedian like another comedian. Rob moved before any of us had the balls to. I know other comics who moved to Toronto from Ottawa, and felt desolate while here too. All proof, that Toronto is Canadian New York! (With a slightly better bed bud record.)

I was at a show last night, trying out new material. I asked some other comics if they cared to sound off on the idea of quitting comedy. Kristeen Von Hagen said,

“I can suggest a few people who I’d like to quit comedy.”

Jeff Elliot said,

“Well, I see a lot of people quit writing comedy. But they keep doing it…

Yikes. That’s a good one. Some nights, I fear that’s me. Nothing embarrasses me more than going up in front of a room full of comics and doing old jokes. You have classics, that the crowd will for sure love, but the comics in the back of the room won’t respect you unless you take some chances. My peers are probably my biggest motivators.

Which brings me to Mark Forward. He’s a friend of mine, and he publicly quit comedy a few years ago. (Don’t worry. He’s back.) In an article the Toronto Star published he said,

“Lately for whatever reason- global warming, North Korea, or maybe it’s Justin Bieber- I have lost the love of performing. People don’t seem to show up to comedy clubs just “wanting to laugh. They show up with a “make me laugh” attitude. Cellphones are left on. Texting is rampant in the front row, and done with an arrogance suggesting it is their right.”

Mark later goes on to say that he finds it hard to continue his routine with belching drunken men in the crowd, but I fear one of those belches might have been mine.

I think about quitting comedy all the time. It’s quite terrifying. If I didn’t start it so young, there’s no way I would take it up today. I’m too tender. I barely got my act together for an Aeroplan card. And as much as my boss at my restaurant job probably looks at my availability and thinks,

“Jesus Christ! Just QUIT already.”

I can’t. I’m too scared. It’s my crutch. I’d love to take the “Leap of Faith,” but I’m terrified. What if I fail? What if I have no money? Plus, I’m actually a great server. A lot of people curse the day job. I go there thinking,

“This is so much easier than comedy…”

(Except for the lady at table 22 who keeps complaining her steak isn’t well done enough. Who likes a well-done steak? And why do you constantly threaten to NEVER come back, but then ALWAYS come back?)

Plus, I really like everyone I work with. As much as they steal my pens, I do consider them family. (To be fair, I stay in a lot of hotels. I get more free pens than them.)

So while I always consider quitting comedy, I just can’t. I love it, even though it scares the shit out of me. Jen Grant always makes fun of me when I freak out before a TV taping. This is my dream. I should be enjoying the successes. Not fearing them. I guess if I wanted to have babies that would be an easy reason to quit, but I don’t want to have facking babies! Comedy is my baby. (It cries a lot.)

K, I could babble on about comedy all day, so lemme wrap this up. (It’s garbage day, and you know how excited I get for garbage day.)

My boss at the pub told me this when I turned 30:

“In your 20’s you’re trying to figure out what you want to do in life.

By 30, you know.

By 40, you’re doing it.”

Guys. I still have time.

I think the key to this business might just be,

Keep going…

Walkinsauce

P.S. Do I need a bibliography for quoting Mark in the Star? Cuz I actually did go to university, and I facking hated bibliographies.

Share

Growing Some Balls

I recently discovered my “other” message box on Facebook. Did you know you have an “other” box? I always assumed I only had one box. I was wrong. And what I found in there is now consuming me.

As some of you remember, a year ago I got fired from Casino Niagara, after some very sexual heckling. After enduring a night of men chanting,

“Show Us Your Tits!”

and

“Show Us Your Bush!”

I complained to the manager, asking why she didn’t do anything. (We get memos from Casino Niagara telling us NOT to speak back to the crowd, among a dozen other memos.) The audience is mostly people who have been comped free tickets after losing mass amounts of money, then allowed to heavily drink, so that more gambling will occur after the show. As a girl with her Smart Serve, I’m well aware of what over served patrons look like. When I complained, the female employee said,

“Sorry. I thought you liked it.”

Obviously I didn’t like it. Who would? I’m terrible at standing up for myself, but I managed to choke up something, which inevitably got me banned from the club. (The original blog about this is on this site too.) The blog ended up going viral. It was a huge lesson in how the Internet works. It was actually kind of scary. Usually I get excited to see that little @Connect button light up on Twitter. But after my xojane.com article posted, I was overwhelmed. It was terrifying how many eyes were on me- and for such a negative experience. I turned off my phone and went to sleep at 1:00pm. I never expected my big break to be a scandal.

I never mentioned it publically before, but I have emails saved from the night after that show. (Well, I use the word “saved” loosely. I’m the kind of girl that leaves thousands of emails in my inbox. I’m super disorganized like that. Also, deleting emails seems easier on your phone than on your computer, eh?) The manager was taken aback about my concerns. Apparently I didn’t seem “rattled” enough while I was on stage. But she also admitted that she’s still trying to figure out “what comedians like, and don’t like.” Well, comedians aren’t big fans of hecklers in general, but we can deal with them if you let us. One of my favourite thoughts on the subject was what Dean Blundell said when I did his show.

“Christina, that was NOT heckling. Heckling is “You suck!” or “Get off the stage!” What you endured was sexual harassment.”

He’s right. And that’s a fight I should have fought harder for.

Through that whole episode, I was never completely honest. I always said that Yuk Yuk’s was not to blame in all this. I was scared to lose my gigs in their clubs. Nothing means more to comics than stage time. And even though I only make somewhere between $250- $600 a month via the company, I still need that money. (I blame my expensive taste in cheese.) But now that I’ve stumbled upon all these old messages, and discover how many people actually cared about me, and tried to reached me through my own agency, I’m upset again. I protected the company so that I would still have a job. But now I discover they blocked me from all this support. I’m a real life idiot, you guys. The truth is…

They were never on my side.

Before I ever blogged about the incident, I made it a Facebook status update. It got 100’s of comments. I had never had anything that serious on my wall before. Usually my statuses pertain to seeing how long I can go without a shower, or asking if any tall people wanna come over and change my lightbulbs. When my boss at Yuk Yuk’s caught wind of my update, I got a phone call from him. I was scared. I knew I was in trouble.

“I’m going to incorporate a new clause in my contracts where comics aren’t allowed to post about the company on their social media.”

For those of you who don’t know, we all have to sign exclusivity contracts when we join the company. This sites that we’re not allowed to take any work outside the company. They can’t possibly give us all enough work to live, but we all sign it, because we want the stage time. And then we all keep second jobs, or live below the poverty line. (If I was smarter, I’d know if this is actually legal.)

When my blog hit the interweb, the response was powerful. It’s weird when you think the way you’re treated is normal, post about it publicly, then learn it’s NOT! People were mad. It wasn’t long til I got a call from my boss. He was furious. Not at the casino, but at me, for speaking out. He yelled at me. The casino had been getting phone calls about my blog, and was now mad at Yuk Yuk’s. I get it. Everyone in Casino Niagara commercials are having the BEST TIME! In reality, most people leave wondering if they saved enough money for parking. (Also in my “other” box: TONS of messages from ex-employees of the casino, confirming they were treated as shitty as me.) Well, I guess Yuk Yuk’s and Casinos have something in common: Profit trumps human rights.

My boss is raging. He yells into the phone:

“I can’t afford to lose that club! They pay their bills on time! I’m not on your side! I’m on the casino’s side! I don’t care about comics! I care about money!”

I was so scared. I burst out crying. I never meant to “bite the hand that feeds you” or whatever that cliche is. He went on to tell me a story I know many comics have heard over the years.

“Lemme tell you a story. Once upon a time, back in the 80’s a comic asked me for a raise. He said, “But they’re all coming to see ME!” So I taught him a lesson. I went to a graveyard, and found a dead guy’s name. I took it, put it on the marquee that night, and the club was STILL packed. People don’t come to see a specific comedian. People come for the Yuk Yuk’s brand.”

At the time I couldn’t disagree. Who am I? Nobody. Nobody really knew who I was. In fact, one of the saddest facts of being a comedian is that a lot of people leave the comedy club, having loved the show, but never remember your name.

Then he put his 3-year old son on the phone for me to talk to. When my conversation with the toddler was over, he reminded me that he has to make money to put food on the table for his family.

“You better hope this doesn’t go to the press.”

My heart was pounding in fear.

I. WAS. BALL-LESS.

It did hit the press. Obvi. I tiptoed through the local radio and TV stations that managed to reach me. (NOBODY reached me through my agents. Nice to pay people commission to be hidden from the world, eh?) I praised Yuk Yuk’s for not being the bad guy in this. Were they ever by my side in any of these interviews? Never. They didn’t want to ruin their relations with the casino. But I never wanted to say anything bad about them, because I didn’t want to lose my gigs in Mississauga next month. (The manager there, Dom is awesome. He actually cares about comedy.)

I did everything I could to appease my boss. We both prayed the attention over this issue would go away. I have this weak habit in life of not fixing problems. I just learn how to use broken things.

I finally left Yuk Yuk’s a year later. I sent an amicable letter quitting. I wasn’t mean. I am greatful for all the growing I did on their stages. But a year after my “Show Us Your Tits, Show Us Your Bush” night, with no support from the man’s name above that logo, I felt gross. I couldn’t tell jokes under that brand for one more minute. I’m actually embarrassed I stayed that long. I had been selling my soul, for the bargain price of $125 a show.

I actually can’t believe I’m writing this. I’ve been called out for having a “fear of being hated.” It’s true. I get along with everybody, possibly even people I shouldn’t. I never read the comments on anything I do. Everything on my YouTube page was posted by others. (I’m terrified of YouTube, cuz in my opinion, that’s where Internet hate goes to soar.) I ditched this wordpress site after the incident. I was too scared to see what people were saying, so I started a new blog on Tumblr, where people can only hit little heart buttons. (Phew!) And because so many of my friends still work for Yuk Yuk’s, I feel bad speaking out against them. I know these comics really want work. Stage time to a comic is a drug. I get it. Plus, some clubs are actually ran well. Howard Wagman in Ottawa has brewed some of the best comics in the biz- Jon Dore, Jeremy Hotz, Harland Williams- (Is this a tacky time to mention this was MY first comedy club ever? How can I NOT be nostalgic of moments I had on that stage? One of my friends recently said, “I wish I could quit Yuk Yuk’s, but NOT Ottawa.”) The only reason I’m speaking out now is because I found multiple messages in my “other” box, asking me to be on Joy Behar’s show. Joy Behar!! She’s my facking hero! I love her. When I finally wrote the dude back, he wrote,

“We tried sooo hard to get you.”

Due to the exclusivity contract I had with Yuk Yuk’s, everyone should contact them to connect with me. It’s the way business is done as an entertainer. In fact, I would get in trouble if I booked a gig without going through them. But they didn’t want the press. And I never knew Joy Behar cared until now. (Though in my heart, I knew she cared! I willed her to find my story, and I apparently she did.) These days the most attention I get from a celebrity is when Patti Stanger responds to my tweets. There’s something I learned about myself this week. You can underpay me, you can send me shitty places, you can even control me… but if I find out you blocked me from meeting Joy Behar? Well…

Now I’m pissed.

When I find myself having regrets in life, I like to picture myself as Gwyneth Paltrow in Sliding Doors. Sure, maybe if I had been less of a coward last year, I’d be cooler right now… Maybe more successful… Maybe not still the owner of a three-legged couch. (I didn’t even get compensated for the $500 I lost that weekend.) But I have to convince myself that making any other moves back then would have lead me to being short haired Gwyneth. (And you DON’T want to end up short-haired Gwyneth. Trust me. I won’t mention any spoiler alert thingys, but come on people. The movie’s from 1998. You should have seen it by now.)

I often think back to that evening on the phone with my boss.

“I need to put food on the table to feed my family!”

I may be single, no kids, no fancy house… but guess what?

I have a table too.

Good riddance, Yuk Yuk’s,

Christina Walkinshaw

christinawalkinshaw.com

(I know it’s 2014, but I just got a website. I love comedy. I suck as a businesswoman. But at least now, there’s no confusion how to reach me.)

Share

I checked my email on the elliptical trainer yesterday. I know I shouldn’t. My gym has “Cell Free Zone” signs everywhere. But the “important” people at my gym take actual phone calls. All I do is check in on Foursquare or whatever, so I feel like my rule breaking is more forgivable. Had my heart rate not been so high, I probably would have just shrugged this day off.

I got an email from my agent. She informed me I’ve been pulled from my upcoming shows in Niagara Falls. They don’t want me to perform there, due to an “incident” that happened last time I was there. Being the chronically “Look on the bright side” kind of person I am, I immediately thought of the positive notes of this information. “It’s an hour an a half drive and there’s always so much construction on the QEW during the summer, plus cottage traffic… no hotel… maybe it would be more peaceful to forgo the $500 I would make that weekend, and just relax.” Because tragically, I can be that lazy.

But then the raised endorphins of my cardio infused morning started fueling my brain with another train of thought. “Christina. That “incident” wasn’t your fault. Not even close. Why aren’t you standing up for yourself?” So now I have to tell you what happened. (Sorry I took three paragraphs to get to the point. Vocalness makes me nervous.)

I middled the Yuk Yuk’s in Casino Niagara back in September. In case you’re not familiar with comedy lingo, “middling” is going right before the headliner. It’s pretty much the sweet spot. The host warms the crowd up, sometimes there’s a guest spot, then the middle, then the headliner. I love middling. It’s usually pretty stress free. The headliner is the one who has to deal with people paying their checks, and drunk people getting rowdy. But I guess everybody started drinking early on this particular Thursday. (And managed to get let into a casino.)

There was a group of 8-10 guys at a table to my immediate left. As a full-time bartender(re: last blog), I have my Smart Serve, and can definitely verify they were drunk. About five minutes into my act, they started to chant:

“Show us your tits! Show us your tits! Show us your tits!”  Under normal circumstances, I would shoot them a sassy line, and tell them to shut up. But this club sends us all memos, telling us NOT to talk to the crowd, or engage the staff in our acts. So basically, I have two choices. Keep going, or show them my tits. I decide to just keep going.  A few minutes later, they started chanting again:

“Show us your bush! Show us your bush! Show us your bush!”

It’s an especially frightening request if you’ve already endured my material on abandonment of showers and waxing, which they had. All I could do was sigh…stare out into the blinding lights… and keep going… I actually did my full time, believe it or not.

When I got off stage, the headliner, Darren Frost, was enraged. He had been running around the club during my set, trying to get the staff to quiet down the rowdy table, if not kick them out. They wouldn’t. It would be a little different if I was playing a bar gig. In a bar, that paying customer is probably in the same room as the owner. He doesn’t want to watch his money walk out the door. But surely a casino is making money somewhere under that roof…

At the end of the night, the woman running the show came back into the green room. I’m absolutely the worst person when it comes to confrontation. I knew I had to say something to her, but I didn’t know how. I got a little choked up. I finally managed this:

“Hey, next time some audience members shout “Show us your tits! Show us your bush!” You might want to tell them to be quiet.”

Then I burst out crying. Oh for fucks. I can’t believe I’m confessing to crying on the internet. I never cry. At least I didn’t cry on stage, right? I’m professional enough. My tears seemed to shock her.

“Oh! Sorry! We thought you liked it.”

Do I need to tell you guys I didn’t like it? Probably not. I endured it, but I didn’t like it. Still, I like to keep my relations with comedy clubs drama free. I accepted her apology, then the second she left the green room, I put as many of those little chubby bottles of water the casino gives out in my purse. It was a small revenge, and most certainly passive aggressive, but it felt good. Free bottled water for all disgruntled employees of Casino Niagara! (Oh, and they do make ALL comics sign in, pass over our Driver’s Licenses in exchange for a little badge that tells everyone in the casino we work there. We can probably ride special elevators with that badge too. I’ve never really used it to it’s full potential.)

I went back on Friday and Saturday. I thought about cancelling, but I needed the money. I know I was treated poorly, but at the end of the day, a comic needs money. So what if I got sexually harassed? It’s not as embarrassing as not having rent, right? When I got a gig sheet to return back to the club, I was relieved. I knew that weekend was awkward, but I wasn’t going to make a big deal about it, so I’m glad they didn’t. Or so I thought…

CUT TO: BEGINNING OF THIS BLOG

(Don’t worry. I didn’t actually write this in Final Draft. But I really like that “Cut To” function of the writing program.)

I’m working out, at a low impact cardio level, and receive the news I’ve been banned from the club. I was already feeling a little heated from Hot Topics on “The View,” and now I suddenly feel like I’ve become one. Gross. I hate being the centre of attention. Correction: I hate being the centre of negative attention, like this. I’m fine if you want to come up to me and say, “Hey… Nice earrings,” or “Cool purse.” (I’ve got a pretty dope purse right now.) I DON’T, however, feel comfortable being in the middle of a SERIOUS issue, so forgive me if I seem unprofessional. I debated saying anything publicly. I emailed back my agents and just said,

“Oh well. I guess that’s what I get for standing up for myself…” (Then moved on to that hip abductor machine that makes you feel like you’re at the gynocologist’s office.) I contemplated not saying anything about this event. I know you can’t tell by my writing, but I’m pretty good at keeping my mouth shut. But then I messaged the other comic who was on the show, trying to figure out if this is the first time in my life I should finally stand up for myself, and he said, “YES!”

Many awesome comics have been banned from this club. When I posted about this on my FB wall, I made sure this wasn’t about Yuk Yuk’s(it was the Casino staff, NOT my agents that offended me. Love you, Jess!) The last sentence I wrote was, “Thanks Casino Niagara, for punishing people who don’t enjoy being degraded.” I purposely wrote people because as much as this may seem like a feminist blog, I want to stand up for all comics. Several guy comics, whom I totally respect, have been banned from this club. I’m only the second girl. (The first is one is my hero, Heidi Foss. She’s seriously so facking funny. I’ve always looked up to her. She’s also one of the most harmless people I’ve ever met.)

I called in sick at my bar job last night,, which I’ve never done in the five years I’ve worked there. It’s not easy to call in sick with “Facebook Drama,” but I did it. (Most people at my work call in sick after a night out drinking, so I didn’t feel too bad.) Everybody’s been so kind, standing up for me, and I appreciate that. Even Jeff Silverman, my boss at Yuk Yuk’s said, “They’re going to have to go through me if they want to cancel your bookings.” While I’m flattered by his actions, I don’t want to go back there now anyway. The fact is, they want to treat a comedian like an “employee” of their casino, but they won’t protect us like one. I’d be willing to bet all $500 I’m losing by not playing their club, that if a bunch of guys chanted “Show us your bush! Show us your bush!” to a Blackjack dealer, they’d be kicked out. I bet you couldn’t even say that to the lady who sells muffins at the front door. (Her cafe is right before security.)

I’m not a perfect comic. I don’t know if I dealt with the situation in the right way when it happened, and I don’t know if I’m dealing with it right now. I’m just a girl, working two jobs to try to enjoy a life of making people laugh. I don’t want anybody to blame Yuk Yuk’s. They’ve been good to me. They get me a ton of work. I’m a terrible self promoter. If it was up to me to book my own shows, I’d be lucky to get a spot at the Garden Centre across the street. The worst part of speaking out, is I’m scared people are going to look me up on You Tube.  I haven’t updated my page in two years. But the fact is, I’m hurt. I lost work as a comedian because I can’t handle an audience chanting “Show us your tits!” Sorry. I’ll try to grow thicker skin.

At the end of the day, we’ll all know this was a big waste of energy… I’m an A cup.

Share

My Social Sabbatical

“You’re 34???!!” My friend Laura shrieks at The Keg last night. Yes. I’m 34. You met me when I was 27. You attended my last seven birthday parties. You traveled out of the country with me. (Though when you checked out my passport, you were probably fixated on how hideous the picture was, not the birth date. There’s a reason the guy who takes passport pics doesn’t have much of a career in photography.) How did one of my closest friends, and co-workers not know how old I am? I know I definitely don’t act my age.  I don’t even think I look my age. (I have the same birthday as Dick Clark.  We seem to age well.)  But is it something more? Perhaps, is the real reason people don’t believe I’m in my mid 30′s, is because I’m not where I should be in life yet?

Nothing about me screams “Maturity.”  Most girls- err, I mean, women- my age, are well into their career jobs, or in full blown mom mode.  The more my friends and family members pop out babies, the more I fear the second coming of my babysitting career.  I, on the other hand, wake up every morning, put on a kilt, and wait tables among students ten years younger than me.  I don’t actually feel older than my co-workers, but I most certainly am. (You can tell by my perfect execution of the “Steps of Service.”) I am aware of the age gap, even if they aren’t. Sure, not everyone at my work is a student. Some are in industries like mine, that don’t quite pay the bills. Like me, they have another job they’re passionate about. (Writers, dancers, actors…even a guy who works for the city. I blame Rob Ford for his lack of a proper wage.) Some are confused twenty-somethings, that don’t know what they want to do in life yet. And some are raging alcoholics, looking for the next hundred bucks, to fuel another night out drinking. (A category I’m not ruling myself out of.) But when does it stop? When does the vicious cycle of the immediate gratification of cash, finally get conquered by what you really want to do in life?

I’m terrible at saying “No.” As a well trained customer service buff, I’m kind of trained not to use that word. If someone asks, “Do you have Coors Light on tap?” I have to skip that word, “No,” and cut straight to, “Actually, we have Bud Light on tap.” Only then, can I complete serving a guest with terrible taste in beer. This word “No” has almost been blocked from my life completely. I have troubles saying “No.” I feel bad saying it to my friends… to my boss… to those chicken wings and cheese, even though I long to be a Vegan.  (Don’t worry.  I’m not going to turn this into a rape joke.  I tried a rape joke once, and it bombed terribly.  I’m just trying to exemplify that “No” isn’t the most comfortable word in my vocabulary, even though it’s only one syllable.)  When you say “Yes,” you make everybody happy.  I love being easy going, and accommodating.  It comes natural.   But I’m starting to see my goals on the back burner.  Call it a quarter life crisis, or call it an epiphany, but I know I have to start pumping the brakes. (Quarter-life crisis only works if you believe I’m going to live to be 136.)

On nights when I intend to go home after work, and write, I often go out and close down bars.  God Dammit, that’s fun to do, isn’t it?  The problem with having a day job AND a dream, is that the day job usually exhausts you from ever getting around to the dream. When I go to work, I have the full intention of getting off work, going home and working on my book.  (Oh, I’m writing a book. I haven’t told a lot of people, because I’m terrified I’m never going to finish it.)   But inevitably, the same thing happens after every shift. Work was hard. Work was annoying. Work was physically exhausting. How can I do anything after working that shift?

Here’s why: I own a three legged couch.  (I prop up the fourth corner with unused Yellow Pages, and just Google phone numbers, like the rest of the modern world.)  My toilet doesn’t flush every time. I still consider my parents a back up plan. I consider a slice of pizza dinner. I pay my Rogers bill when I see (416) 645-2105 pop up on my call display.  My dream of writing for The Young and the Restless has not yet come to fruition.  I work in a fucking kilt. (Though I am Scottish, so this can be considered an ode to my heritage.) The embarrassment of being a waitress is killing me, and possibly blocking me from remembering that glass of water you ordered. (Hot water with lemon is the worst. Please don’t order that. It’s all the work of a tea, without the $2.99 sale, which I was never excited about in the first place.) And as I write this, all I can do is sigh.  I can’t be one of those comedians who complains about not booking enough festivals, or not being handed so many opportunities others have been given, because I honestly know I haven’t really tried that hard. (I apologize for that last sentence. My English teachers always criticized me for using too much passive voice.) So here’s what I’m going to do…

I’m going on a Social Sabbatical. I know. Me?!  The social butterfly. The girl who always makes you try a new place, even though you want to go to the same old, same old. But you guys, I have to. If I don’t, I will become the loser you don’t want to be associated with. Who wants to hang out with a 40 year old waitress? (Please don’t raise your hand, Dave Martin.) I feel like writing a book is something I can do, but for some reason, I haven’t done. Get it? I’m sure everyone wants to do something in life, and just never does it. I don’t want to be one of those people. My friend Claire helped inspire this sabbatical. She went on a “Manbbatical” a few years ago. She knew exactly what she needed to cut back on in life, and so do I. No offense to my friends. I LOVE you. But if a girl can ditch her friends for a boyfriend, why can’t I ditch my friends for a dream? I’ll be back. (And so will those other girls. At least I’ll be back with more money for nights at The Keg.) I just feel like I’ve hit my thirty-something wall for wasting time. I waste a LOT of time, just like Janet Jackson did, when she wrote all those slow songs.  It’s not your fault. It’s my fault. I lack discapline. I don’t even know how to spell the word. I can see spell check has underlined the word, and I’m purposely not fixing it, to make a point. I clearly need some real disclipline in my life. (Still spelling it wrong, apparently.)   So I’m going on a Social Sabbatical.  That’s right.  SABBATICAL. I’m officially grounding all my flights as a social butterfly.  Here are the rules:

I’m allowed to do the following:

  1. Work. I have to pay rent. But no more than four days a week, even if I start to feel antsy about making more cash.

  2. Gigs/Open Mics.  Believe it or not, I’m a comedian that actually makes money with my jokes from time to time.  And I had better start going to more open mics, cuz I’m facking sick of my act.  I need to try some new material, mostly for my own sanity.
  3. Exercise. Obviously. I can’t sit on my ass all day. If I do, my “About the Author” picture will need some serious air brushing.
  4. Concerts. I’m already locked in for Taylor Swift, Maroon 5, Ke$ha and Bruno Mars this summer. When I’m rich, I’ll be able to afford better seats.
  5. Writing dates. (Not real dates. I never go on those. What happened to romance?) Maybe you’re slacking on something creative, and need me as your disciplinary. I’d be shocked if you do, but I’m into it. Call me.
  6. New York in July. It’s my sorority’s centennial. Already booked my ticket. (Yes, I was in a sorority. Back in the days when I showered regularly.)
  7. Birthdays. I’m worried about this one. It’s ALWAYS somebody’s facking birthday…
  8. No socializing shall occur until I’ve written 3000 words in that day.  That’s right.  NO work, NO play.  I know I’m capable of writing 3000 words in one sitting.  (Hitting the “Word Count” function is my favourite part of writing.)  Now I just have to commit to it.

That’s it. Other than that, I’m out of your life for a while. I’m grounding myself. (Take that, Mom and Dad.) I’ll be back when I’m done writing my book. I’ve been working on it since November, and by “working,” I mean, “thinking about it.” Look on the bright side. You’ll be pretty excited when you see me. I won’t be over exposed, like Beyonce. I’m not trying to be rude. I’m just trying to do something with my life. It’s not easy…

Signing off from my new home, Christina Land,

Christina Walkinshaw, aka Walkinsauce

P.S.  Sorry about what I said about Janet Jackson.  I guess the song “Again” is good, but other than that, I honestly just like her fast songs.

Share

A Few Drinks In with Kristeen and Christina

A Few Drinks In with Kristeen and Christina.

Me and Kristeen Von Hagen’s new podcast!  No reading required!

Share

Career Update:

Look, I’m blogging again.  I try not to do it too often, because I know how easy it is to waste time on the internet.  I appreciate your interest in me, so I won’t keep you long.

After my last blog, re: bad review, I really started to get my life in order.  I let motivation and discipline take the wheel.  See ya later, “Scattered and Focused.”  There’s a new Walkinsauce in town.  For starters, I deleted 15 episodes of American Idol from my PVR.  (Oh, without watching them, that is.  That was the point.)  At least half of those were 2 hour episodes.  Can you imagine if I actually watched them all?  What a waste of time that would have been!  Let’s do the math:

Eight 2 hour episodes.  8 x 2 = 16

Seven 1 hour episodes. 7 x 1 = 7

16 + 7 = 23. (I’ve always been great at math.  Too many years serving, I suppose.)

That’s 23 hours of time suckage I just ousted from my life!  (Well, maybe only 20 after fast forwarding the commercials.)  (Also, I couldn’t find the multiply button on my keyboard, so I just used the letter “x.”  I hope that looks okay.)  The point is, I’m totally getting my shit together.  Even my apartment is starting to come together.  I installed my air conditioner all by myself, and made a bobby pin holder out of an old dollar store candle.  I’m clearly in the middle of an inventive phase of my life.

I also started writing a book!  That’s exciting, right?  At the rate of my procrastination, it should be done mid-way through my fifties. Of course, I’ll still use a headshot from this year for my “About the Author.” Even Mr. Sumi himself asked me to write about my favourite patio in Toronto for NOW magazine, which lets be honest, is right up my alley.  I’m surprised Zagat hasn’t recruited me, especially if they’re thinking about adding a chapter on Taco Salads.  And lastly on the writing front, I’m finally getting better at closing my brackets.  (That’s always been a weakness of mine.

The last few months, I’ve also been #FF’d by some great people on Twitter.  That’s obviously important stuff.  AND I updated my Foursquare app, which quite frankly, I’m not too impressed with.  Don’t do that.  And you can tell by how few and far between my Get Glue check-in’s are, that I’m barely watching any TV.  I’m so focused now.

Anyways, that’s some pretty groundbreaking writing for today.  Glenn Sumi and I will meet face to face again, tomorrow night, as I perform at Bitch Salad, for Pride.  (Buddies and Bad Times Theatre, 8pm.  Friday, June 29th.)  I’m pretty sure it’s redemption time, for this gal.

Anyways, gotta bolt.  It’s happy hour.

Toodles,

Walkinsauce

P.S. I have two comps for tomorrow’s show.  Tweet me if you want them.

P.S.S. Who won American Idol?

Share

How I Dealt With a Bad Review

Wow.  This is weird.  I haven’t blogged since September.  This can only mean one of two things: Either I haven’t done anything exciting in the past five months, so I chose not to bother you with another blog, when there are so many other blogs out there- OR: I’ve done so many juicy things, I’m holding out for a book deal.  Ya, that’s it…

Last month I got a short blurb written about me in NOW magazine.  It hurt my guts.  It really did.  I’m not proud to say it, but I may have cried, and/or polished off a bottle of wine to myself.  Here’s what Glenn Sumi wrote:

“The gritty-voiced Christina Walkinshaw was the next to strike out.  Her act was scattered and unfocused, touching on unwanted pregnancies, US healthcare and being voluptous in all the wrong parts of her body.”

That’s me.  “Scattered and unfocused.”  The whole article wasn’t about me, of course, but I still got tagged on Twitter in the review.  Ugh.  I realize it’s not the worse thing in the world that could be said of me, but I was upset.  My friends came to the rescue, and reassured me I’m not quite the disaster I felt like at the time.  Some even called him a “douchebag,” but I know they were just trying to make me feel better.  So here’s the crazy part.  Looking back on that day, and the effort I put into that set, I now realize that he was right.

My focus may have gone to a few different locations that day.  First, I had to hit McDonalds for a coffee, cuz I was out of Tassimo inserts.  How do I let myself get down to zero?  I should see 2 or 3 left in the package, and immediately buy more.  I would never let myself run out of toilet paper like that.  Anyways, I’m really digging McDonalds coffee right now, no big deal.  I can buy more Tassimo coffee later.

Then it was off to my day job.  Like most of my shifts(I’m a waitress,) I begin by trying on my pantyhose a few different ways, to make sure all the runs are on my back side.  People keep telling me to put clear nail polish on the little runs, before they expand into big ones, but I keep forgetting.

After work, I got an exciting phone call, pertaining to a writing job.  I was so excited I was jumping up and down, which did not fare well for the runs in my hoisery.   I calm down, and immediately decide I will go by new boots to celebrate.  Cuz that’s how women do it, right?  We spend the money way before we actually get the cheque.  Also, I know it may sound hacky to be a woman who loves shoes, but I just specialize in boots.  The other shoes I don’t really care about.  I hit The Bay.  The Bay always a good selection, and great sales(though they could use some more full length mirrors.)  I decide on a pair of Sorels, since they’re practical and will keep my feet warm for the winter.  I’m so smart, right? 

My next stop is Flirty Girl Fitness.  Why not keep this good adrenaline up with a quality work out?  I decide to take the “Babes With Balls” class, because my favourite instructor Karey is teaching.  The class is at 5:30 and is an hour long.  I’ll be done by 6:30, hop on the streetcar, and get home to shower(or something like it) and be at Yuk Yuk’s for my show by 7:45pm.  No problemo. 

Now, during the course of my day, I obviously checked Twitter at least 20 times.  I don’t know exactly what my average for Twitter visits per day is, but I bet it’s in the 20′s.  (At least.)  I did see that Glenn Sumi was going to be at the show to review the headliner, but I didn’t worry about it.  I was thinking there was no way he was going to review me, or even pay attention to my set.  Whoops.  Wrong.

Also, I’m extremely sick of my act right now.  I had one new joke that night, which fit no where in my act, but I figured it’s Thursday night, I have 6 minutes, I’m not getting paid, and my peers are on the show, and they’re probably bored of my act too, so I better try something new.  Sometimes I even do my jokes in a different order, cuz I think that will make them seem fresh again.  Even with 15 minutes left to showtime, I was still unsure of what jokes to do, but I didn’t exactly use my time today very wisely, did I?

I open with my edgiest joke.  I never do that outside of Toronto, but since I was downtown, I can get away with it.  Of course, tonight the whole crowd’s from out of town.  Oops.  It’s a combination of laughs and offended moans, but more of the latter.  Oh well.  I get through my set, get some laughs.  Not the worse set, but definitely not the best.  I’m happy when it’s done, cuz then I can concentrate on having drinks with my girl comic friends, which is what I was really pumped for on this particular evening.

Two days later, I was driving back from a gig(well, I wasn’t driving, the other comic was-this detail probably not neccessary, but I don’t want you to envision me driving down the 400 staring at my iphone.)  I do one of my many Twitter checks of the day, and I see the tweet with my name in it, steering people towards the review of Thursday nights show.  FACK!  He did review me.  I knew even before I opened it what it was going to say.  Yikes.  What is that trite expression again?  You can fool some of the people all of the time…

Glenn Sumi can not be fooled.  For all I know, I left the price tag on the Sorels and he spotted it. (Though I don’t recall buying the floor model, so I doubt that was the case.  The price tag would have just been on the box.)

“Scattered and unfocused?”  Me??????????!!!!!!  I was stunned.  Hurt.  Upset.  I held in my tears all the way home from Huntsville, and if you have a cottage, you know how far that is to hold in tears for.  When I walked in my apartment, I immediately started balling.  (Not balling like showing off money.  Balling like everybody in the movie theatre at the end of “Big Fish.”)  My friend Amanda came over, breaking her two week streak of not drinking(sorry ABP,) and we vented about comedy and the idea of critiquing comedy for hours.  By the end of the day, and the bottle, I was starting to forget about it. 

That was over a month ago.  The good news is, I haven’t forgotten about it.  Instead, I’m choosing to learn something from it.  I really don’t work as hard as I could.  The fact that this blog hasn’t been updated in five months is proof of that.  I waste soooooo much time, and as fun as that is, I’m 33 and still waiting tables.  I could change that with a respectable amount of effort.  Had I sat down for an hour that day, and worked on my set for that night, I might have impressed Glenn Sumi too.  The fact is, I didn’t do that.  I was busy debating whether I should go to The Bay or Town Shoes.

Bad reviews always suck in the moment, but looking back on them can actually make you laugh.  In 2002, I was in Star Magazine, doing my robot dance for Simon Cowell.  It’s not exactly my claim to fame, but the article and pictures they printed were cute, and mentioned I’m a stand up comic.  But I guess when I signed off on those pictures, they sold them to other publications.  My friend from England called me, laughing hysterically.  He saw the same pictures of me in News of the World, but the headline read “DREADFULL WANNABE!”  I was mortified.  I went to the newstand to see if I could find it in my city and I did.  Yikes!  I put it back on the shelf.  I was definitely NOT buying that.   Nobody on this continent reads that magazine anyways.  But looking back, I wish I had bought it.  It’s hilarious!  Why was I so embarrassed?  It’s just one paper’s opinion.  And to be fair, my robot dance has come a long way since then. 

So I think I learned something from this experience(the review of my comedy, not my robot dance.)  You have to work at something if you really want to be great at it.  Even if means sacraficing and afternoon of watching Slice, or a trip to that pub with 25 flavours of wings(That’s right! 25 FLAVOURS!!!  Impressive.)  I hope my defense for that review stands stronger than my arguement that Maroon 5 is a great band, or why Ke$ha is good in concert.  These are verbal fights I lose daily, and thoughts that may further my reputation for being “scattered and unfocused.”  But what can I say?  A month later, I’m kind of embracing it.

P.S. I still haven’t bought Tassimo inserts.

Share

The Leap of Faith

Last Monday afternoon, I was sitting in my apartment, drinking tea(you thought I was going to say beer, didn’t you?) wishing I didn’t have to go to work.  I picked up my diary, and this is what I wrote:

Monday, September Something, 2011

“Everyone is moving away.  Leaving Toronto.  I’m going nowhere, of course.  Even though I fantasize about having a career better than the one I have now, I certainly do nothing to excelerate it’s possibility.  I’m sitting in my blue, lazy boy recliner, drinking tea, trying to ween myself away from my social media addiction.  I’d love to finish the blog I started writing four months ago.  I will finish it tomorrow, of course.   (Hahaha.  Right.)   Why am I so naturally happy?  Is this what causes my laziness?  Would I be working my ass off right now, trying to “make it happen” if I was  a miserable person?   This morning I actually felt slightly down.  Not depressed or anything, I’m just sick of the routine.  A non-stop juggle between bartending to pay the bills, and doing stand up, to keep my dreams alive.  I keep thinking about the Leap of Faith.  It’s pure craziness.  Just quit the job and see if that makes me hungry enough to write more.  Apply/submit for writing jobs.  Hunt down gigs.  These are things I should actively be doing and I’m not.  I could bust out that blog right now.  But instead, I’ll probably just throw a pizza in the oven, and paint my nails.”

And that’s exactly what I did, of course.  I also wrote a little bit about a crush, but that’s not the point of this blog.  Neither is the fact that I never know the date when I write in my diary.  The point is, I was doing my usual afternoon ritual of playing with my side bangs and day dreaming about change.

That night, I was at work and something weird happened.  Some sort of response to my diary entry.  I’m a bartender.  Around 9:30pm, the restaurant starts to die down.   I retreat behind the bar and grab my iphone, which is hidden underneath the Irish Whiskeys(I’m guessing no service industry employees are supposed to have their phones on them, but as previously mentioned, I have a serious social media addiction.  Follow me on Twitter @walkinsauce)  I decide to check my email, as it will give me notifications from both Twitter and Facebook in one spot.  That’s when I see the email.  An email from the booker of the San Francisco Comedy Competition.  I open it immediately, and there it is.  An offer to be in the competition.  The only problem is, I need to be in San Francisco by Wednesday.  “That’s impossible,” I think to myself.  “I have a lot of shifts this week.  I think there’s a big party on Wednesday night that the bar needs me for.”  I put my phone back under the Bushmills, and head back to the main part of the bar, where my co-worker Grant is enjoying a post-shift pint.  I tell him about my last minute offer for the comedy competition, and how I wish I could go, but I can’t.

“Fuck that! Go!” He says.  What?  I can’t fly across the continent with such short notice.  I have responsibilities.  My boss probably already hates me for the time I take off for paying gigs, let alone the ones that just offer a possibility of money.  I tell Grant I can’t.  Then Jordie, my other co-worker, who’s a super talented actress/singer doing the “living the dream” thing too, pipes in.

“Christina.  Go!”  What?  What’s with all this crazy advice?  What about my shifts?  What about my about my Kitchener gig next week?  I can’t do this.  I just can’t.  That’s when Grant grabs the schedule, and a piece of paper and basically gives away all my shifts for me.  In less than a pint, he pretty much frees up my whole week.

“See.  You can go!  Go!!!”  I finally realize he’s right.  They’re both right.  I’ve just spent the whole day wishing I could just runaway and be a writer/comedian for a while, without the stress of a day job.  Now, an opportunity comes my way to do exactly that, and I want to turn it down because I think I need to be in Toronto to pour Shamrocks on top of Guinness pints all week.(I don’t wanna brag, but I do it well.)

Twenty four hours later, I’m on a plane to the west coast.   I can’t believe I did it.  I’m not even sure I’ll have a job when I get home, and I feel slightly crazy for coming here, but I’m glad I did.  As I get older, I notice I’m losing some of my spontaneity.  I’m also the same girl who moved to Huntington Beach when she was 23, for a guy who she met in a bar in Vegas, who convinced her she was his “soulmate.”  Sometimes, I forget I can still be that girl.

Salutations from San Francisco,

Comedian Girl.

(But seriously, you can follow me on Twitter @walkinsauce)

Share

Montreal

There’s only two things you need to know about my behaviour when I go to Montreal: 1. I eat like a carny.  2. I drink like a Lohan.  Hopefully this behaviour starts after I get off stage.

I’m working with one of my favourite headliners, Ian Sirota.  He’s originally from Montreal, so he’s pretty excited to return to Homeville(not Farmville, you weird facebook game players.)  He hasn’t been back in five years, so he has many places he wants to re-visit.  The five hour drive there is not very scenic, so I do my usual routine of counting Fifth Wheel truck stops, and pretending I know the classic rock hits  on the radio.

As we edge on downtown Montreal, Ian says we’re going to stop for the best steame in town.  He already sent me the link for their website, so I too, am excited about this steame.  In case you don’t know what a “steame” is, it’s a hot dog that’s so small, you can have four per sitting.  Or at least that’s what I tell myself.  On most trips to Montreal, I will have more steames than showers.

We pull up to Decarie Hot Dog.  I’m excited.  I didn’t even order anything when we stopped at A&W in Brockville, because I was saving my appetite for steamies.  (And you know I love A&W.)  The sign above this hole in the wall eatery is more faded than my traveller cut Chip n’ Pepper jeans.  We walk in.  There’s a counter, seven stools, two middle aged men working, and the sweet, sweet smell of grease.  I’m not even going to let the condition of the bathroom jade me from this wonderful, four dollar dinner. 

I decide fries are important too.  I’m not going to get a full blown poutine, cuz I want to save some excitement for a later day on the trip.  When the fries appear in front of me, there’s a creepy, little toothpick resting on top of them.  I throw it aside, and enjoy the hand-cut frites.*

When we’re fully satisfied from our fries and “beef,” we hit the road. 

“Have you ever had an Orange Julep?” Ian asks.

“You mean like Orange Julius?” I respond.

“No!  Orange Julep!  It’s way better than Orange Julius.  Do you want to stop for one?”

“Ummm… we don’t have to… I’m pretty stuffed from the steamies.”  And by that I really mean, I’m scared I’m going to have a major buttasstrophe(a word I learned from my American comedian friend, Christina Pazsitzky, that is derived from the word “Catastrophe,” specific to disasters from the butt.)

“Okay,” he says.  But as we cruise at the speed of Montreal traffic, the Giant Orange appears on the right and Ian guns it for the exit lane.

“I have to!”  He says.  Fair enough.  He hasn’t been to Montreal in five years.  If a grown man needs an Orange Julep, he needs an Orange Julep.  And I’ve never had one, so I should probably get excited too.

We walk into the giant Orange.  He orders a large, I order a small.

“You only want a small?”  Yes, I just want a small.  I’m not sure if these things are made with heavy cream or raw egg, but I’m pretty sure I should not taunt my stomach any more than I already have.  We get back in the car, and head for the condo we will be sharing all weekend.  I start sipping on the beverage.  Fack!  It’s delicious!  I’m sucking it back faster than that beer a bartender tries to take from you because the bar is closing.   Ian pipes up.

“See!  I told you you should have got a large!”  See.  Not all Jewish men are cheap.  Take back that stereotype, please.

Then it happens.  CRASH!  Not the car.  Not even someone else’s car.  It’s the steamies, fries and Orange Julep.  They’ve created a three-food pile up in my lower intestine.  I immediately start squeezing my butt cheeks together the same way Karey instructs me to in my Flirty Girl Fitness class.  I officially need a bathroom more than I need oxygen.  I’m sure I’m not the only one whose ever been stuck in traffic without, at the very least, a pack of Tums.

Twenty minutes later, we are inside the condo.   Now, since this is the first time ever sharing quarters with this comedian, I decide to push my bowel strength to it’s limit, and try to act like I don’t really need to use the bathroom.  Immediately he enters the bathroom.  Guys always do this- they just get up, and go, without so much as a word.  Girls, on the other hand, usually announce their trips to the bathroom, with something like, “I’ll be right back-I’m going pee.”

As he’s in there, I have to wonder if he’s going through the same pain as me?  He did mention something about acid reflux in the car.  He exits the bathroom, non-chalantly, telling me he has the power to digest a whole Wendy’s Value menu and then get in a hot air balloon ride.  I fuckin’ wish I had that strength.  Now it’s my turn in the bathroom.

“Be right back.  I gotta pee.”  See how I cover that up?  I walk in the bathroom, turn on the light, and much to my pleasure, there’s a loud fan that turns on too.  Who doesn’t love a bathroom with a loud fan?  That at least masks some of the sounds.  And so, I have my moment of zen.  Relief.  Relaxation.  That is, I’m relaxed until I flush the toilet and realize not everything’s getting on this train, if you know what I mean.  If I’m cursed in any way in life, it’s with bad plumbing- my apartments, my boyfriends’ apartments- I am in a constant battle with toilets that don’t flush.  I’d like to know what American Standard’s standards are.

What do I do now?  I’ve been co-habitating with this guy for less than 10 minutes and I’ve already violated the bathroom.  So I do what any insecure, embarrassed girl would do.  I hop in the shower.  Yes, I will just pretend that was my plan all along.  I was in the bathroom to shower.  Even though I left all my shower materials in my suitcase, which is still in the entrance way, and I will have to use the hand towel to dry off with, because all the towels are in the closet in the hall, I would just shower.   There’s some Mandarin Orange shower gel in there, which should take care of some of the smell, plus to be fair, I’m pretty sure I needed a shower anyway.  By the time I get out of the shower, the toilet will replenish itself enough for it’s second flush, which he will believe(hopefully) is just me disgarding a Q-Tip or some dental floss.  By the time he has to use the bathroom again, he will think the worst thing I did in here was stick a random string of my long, blonde hair to one of the tiles(sorry, I do that.  There’s always one that gets stuck to my finger, and I need to get it off.)

It was a lot of work for a bunch of hot dogs, an Orange Julep and my reputation, but I pulled it off.  Well, not really.  Ten minutes later I will just confess everything.  I suppose you’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned the show?  The Habs are in the playoffs.  There didn’t end up being a show.   It ended up being a night out with the comics, full of drinks, and a 3:00am Shawarma… 

I told you I eat like a carny here.

lol,

comedian girl

* Do you know they purposely put a toothpick in with your fries in Montreal?  It’s supposed to be your untensil, I guess.

Share

Brantford

Ever been to Brantford before?  If you have, you know these people like to drink(my soulmates, perchance.)  If you haven’t been, imagine a city full of the offspring of Lindsay Lohan and Scott Sidick*, with a legal drinking age that has been changed to “whatever.”  There you have it.  Brantford.  Also, they have one of the few A&W’s in Ontario that doesn’t require Rolaids. 

I leave my house around 4:00pm.  I’m supposed to meet my driver at Finch Station(John Mayer guy again-he’s in my Rodney post.)  I plan to meet a friend for a snack around Yonge & Eglinton first.  As I walk along Dupont, it starts to lightly snow.  I barely even notice it.

When I exit at Eglinton Station, the snow is coming down heavier.  Again, it doesn’t faze me.  As I sit in Cam’s Place, and chat with a fellow writer over pulled pork nachos(awesome,) I get a call from my driver.  (Do you like the way I refer to comedians with cars like they’re my servants?  Who’s the princess now, Kate Middleton?)  He’s now going to pick me up right where I am.  Even more awesome than the nachos.  Bless.

At 7:00pm I walk outside.  Ack!  Blizzard!  Where did this come from?  Haven’t my Uggs been through enough this year?  The road’s not even plowed yet.  All the cars coming up Yonge St. are going so slow, it’s as though they are all being driven by seniors and/or my mom.  I wait twenty minutes in the freezing cold.  Finally he pulls up.  Inside the car, JMG(John Mayer Guy) makes a comment.

“Bradford on a Saturday night… Oh the life of a Canadian Stand Up Comic…”

Did he just say “Bradford?”  I think so, but I’m sure he meant “Brantford.”  I know they sound the same, but they’re two different cities, in two different directions.

Further up Yonge St, it’s clear that the roads and weather are not going to co-operate.  I check Twitter(I’m addicted-don’t judge me) and other comics on the road are getting blasted by the snow too.  Yielding on to the 401, which is a complete snow field, unplowed, my heart starts to pound faster.  I hate being late for gigs.  I consider NOT being 30 minutes early, being late.

“Well, Bradford better love us for driving in this mess for them,” JMG says.

There it is again!  “Bradford.”  This time I have to say something.

“Hey, you know we’re going to Brantford, right?

“Bradford.  Right.”

“No……BraNTFORD.”

“And that’s just off the 400, right?”

“No, that’s past Hamilton off the 403!”

“Are you sure?”  Yes, I’m sure.  This is the same comic who had to make 5 U-Turns on our last road gig together.  I bring up the gig sheet on my phone to prove myself right.

“See, Brantford… Oh, Fuck!  The gig’s at 8!”

“I thought it was at 9?”  Ya, you also thought is was in Bradford. 

“Me too!”   Most of these one-nighters start at nine-I swear, but when he said to meet him at 7:00pm(which turned into 7:20pm) I just assumed he was giving us the right amount of time to get to Brantford.   But he gave us the right amount of time to get to Bradford.  And driving on the 401 is resembling a cross country skiing event.

I call the organizer ASAP to let her know we’re going to be late.  I get her voicemail, and leave a message that goes on so long, I see she’s calling me back before I’m even done babbling. 

“So, where are you guys?”  She asks.  You know how to play this game, right?  When you’re running late, and someone calls to see how close you are, you always lie and say you’re a little closer than you really are.”

“Um…. we’re on the 401.”  Not lying… yet.

“You mean like Burlington?”  Burlington?  Ha!  We’re not even at Pearson!

“Almost.  More like Oakville.”  I ask if the headliner’s there yet, and she says no.  Fewf.  Maybe we’ll all be late.  Ten minutes later, she calls me back.

“Mark just got here.  He says it took him an hour and a half to get here from Oakville.” 

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKK!  We are fucked!  My anxiety is on the way up the CN Tower.  I need to calm myself down.  I ask myself, “What would I do if I was at a show that started over an hour late?”  (Thanks to the Spice Girls’ last tour, I know how that feels.)  The answer… Drink.  Obviously.  And I know Brantford will agree with me.  Yes.  As long as the venue doesn’t run out of beer, we should still be loved.  For the rest of the car ride, my phone rings every 15 minutes for an update on where we are.  We pass at least a dozen cars in ditches(possibly over exagerrating in case my agents read this,) and my last call from her is while we were pulling off the 403.  (Well, almost pulling off the 403.  You know the rules.)

“You’re so close!”  She cheers.  I’m pretty sure she’s way more understanding than a Torontonian would be in the same circumstance.  But late, or not late, I’m still running to the facilities to pee before I show face. 

As I walk in the room, I know I have that “only new person to walk in the room in 2 hours” look, that tells everyone I must be one of the tardy comedians. 

“You better be funny!”  Says a random dude, on his way to get his 16th bottle of Bud Lite.  I’m so happy small towns over stock the lite beers for comedy shows.  That 1% cut back on alcohol from a regular beer may, in my opinion, delay the intoxication level it takes to create a heckler.

“Oh I will be!”  I snap back.  Where the hell that cockiness came from, I don’t know.  But I immediately wonder if I have “cut in line for beer” in my rider.

JMG takes the stage, as our host for the night.  It’s a big crowd- you couldn’t possibly fit another person in here.  The streets of Wayne Gretzky Parkway must be empty.  JMG, like most hosts, asks if anyone’s from out of town.  One lady shouts, “Texas!”  And that leads us to our first heckler.  Only minutes into the show.

“And she managed to make it on time!”  Damn!  He killed it!  I’m no heckler enthusiast, but that was a good one.  The crowd went nuts too.  Plus, we did kind of deserve that jab.

Yikes.  My turn.  By being late, we have given this crowd an extra hour and twenty minutes to drink, of which, probably won’t help me.  And I’m sober!  I’m not even on their level!  Ahhhhhhhhhh!  I hit the stage.  I honestly have no idea how this is going to turn out.  I’m still full of the anxiety I had in the car over the pipe dream of being punctual.  For some reason, sometimes that edgy energy just works.  I’m not going to lie.  I’m kind of killing.  I hate saying that.  It sounds too cocky.  I should just say, “I did my job, and I did it well.”  But in the Stand Up Comic world, we refer to that as “killing.”

Since the weather is so nasty, the headliner agrees to close the show.  By “close the show,” I mean, the host(JMG) doesn’t have to go back on at the end, just to say “Goodnight” and give announcements.  In a comedy club, the host always has to make announcements post-headliner, like “Come back next week when we have Bing Bang Boo here,” or “You can hire Yuk Yuk’s for your cooperate events.  Check out our website for details.”  Here in this Brantford banquet hall, the only announcements we could possibly make would be, “I hope you can walk straight when you stand up,” or “Have fun at Jackhammers.”

The 401 is now plowed.  The snow has actually stopped.  JMG puts his XM radio on this favourite channel, which consists of all acoustic versions of songs.  I relax for the first time in hours.  When I arrive home, I get a text from the gig organizer, who I now feel quite bonded with.  She writes,

“Hope you guys made it home safe!  Thanks again!  You missed me kick a drunk ass out that told Mark(headliner) to suck his cock.  How do you guys do it?”

I hope she was asking about stand up comedy, and not actual Felatio.  Either way, I’m not sure.

lol,

comedian girl.

*If you got the Scott Disick reference, I know you watch reality shows involving the Kardashians.  And now you know, I do as well.

Share
Powered by WordPress | Theme: Motion by 85ideas.