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.