We left our ghetto hotel bright and early and drove six hours to Las Vegas, and made it for the late night open mic at Noreans. I played on the crowd for five minutes and Mike laughed at me for being queen of the open mics while the host booked me as the paid act for the next week.
The next night got wild, even for Vegas standards. Meghan and I headed out with my best friends in Las Vegas, two lighting designers for local nightclubs. Bucky, Aaron, and I used to live together in a Craigslist house six years ago in Las Vegas.
Bucky and Aaron witnessed my early days in comedy, going to the shittiest open mics in Las Vegas; later I discovered those mics were the worst in the world. Though those venues will always have a soft spot with me, most open mics in LV consist of a packed room with people who are either there to perform or didn’t realize this was happening; both don’t care if you’re up. I realize how good of friends they are every time I go back to one, especially Bucky, he never said one word in those miserable bars, just sat and drank miller lites. Although I didn’t see it at the time that is the most supportive thing anyone has ever done for me. It must have been torture, but I was so nervous I couldn’t see it.
We ate a sliver of mind altering concentrate and my friend lost their mind. Something about cleaning up the regurgitated mushrooms you fed your friend hit something in me. It made me realize I picked my friends well, they were unfazed that I had caused such an issue. Just like they were unaffected by watching strangers have a mental breakdown on stage every night just so I could recite my vagina escapades, they helped me with no complaints and nothing owed. I asked Aaron if there was shit on the floor when I entered the bathroom, he said no and then we hysterically laughed about how real that was. I love them.
I woke up at 2pm, pleaded to Mike that my soul has been altered, and told him a story I thought would traumatize him about the night before, without missing a beat he asked if I was coming to our meeting. So I packed the car up to drive to LA and made my meeting and a podcast interview I forgot about. I recorded it in a bedroom I had never been in after a casualty of last night asked me for a ride home and I explained I needed to use his closet as a sound booth. I drove for almost six hours unsure of how I was even holding the wheel in a car that was losing AC capabilities with every mile.
The next few days I spent in Santa Monica. LA is a strange place where every time I told someone I was a comedian they would say, “me too.” I thought they were serious until I told them where my shows were and they just looked puzzled. I like the ocean and the breeze, but for some reason I caught myself having the same thought with everyone I spoke to, “I don’t really want to be here.” Catching up with old friends was nice, and being in such a nice air is really wonderful, but the mundane conversations of where are you from and no one cares about what you’re saying as they look you up and down just seems weird. I find myself wanting to shake people to ask them to wake up. I want to ask them if they understand the nature of their reality, and then tell them they’re wrong.
We did a show at the “Broadway comedy club” which was actually a soft opening at a bar that couldn’t decide on a theme. There was no alcohol and less laughs, but I went up and made fun of the family sitting in the front to get everyone to relax. It felt like I had driven all this way just to do the same bar show I could’ve done anywhere else. I was questioning a lot about what I was really doing but then something flipped me back. We were going out with all the comics from the show to a restaurant nearby, because of the Covid regulations we were told we were only allowed to sit outside at an English bar. The waiter was English and everyone joked about how gorgeous he was and someone asked me what I wanted by name and the waiter said, “Trish? Like Trish Smart? I knew you looked familiar! I saw your show in Koh Phangan!” This was crazy for a few reasons, number one I did shows in Koh Phangan, Thailand when I was in Thailand for a year and a half because of the pandemic. Number two he was also there for the entire pandemic but never left the island, so his world had been so small for so long and right when he leaves it he sees someone from it. Number three it gave me more confidence in what I am doing. You see, as a comic, it is definitely easier to work your way up in a comedy scene if you stay in that scene, I say this because that’s the way everyone has always done it; you work your way up in your town or city then you tour and come back. I have always been on tour.
I drove back to Vegas alone, everyone took their plane rides or went back to their prospective homes. It was hot, my AC was officially out and I hung my jean jacket in the window by rolling the window up with it to block the sun. I sat with my thoughts and braced myself for impact as the next day I was flying home to produce a show and attend my brother’s wedding. I made it back just in time for my feature spot at Noreen’s for Sunday Funday. It was great, even though Mike makes fun of me for being queen of the open mics (and he’s not wrong and it’s sad), it is sometimes great to do a longer set for a room full of comics because you can see how far you can really take it. I did all my darkest stuff, my favorite stuff, and everyone laughed as hard as I did writing it. But then I drank too much and kept bracing for impact before my flight the next day.
I got to Baltimore at 6am. The flight was a post Vegas blur and I explained to everyone I am vaccinated just coughing from partying. I sat outside and listened to the rest of my audiobook. It was Steve Martin talking about stand up, and as my brother pulled up I listened to him say how happy he was to leave it. “Fuck Steve,” I whispered to myself in a giggle. Then I set out on what I think is the first vacation I have had in years. I know my whole life is basically a vacation at this point but usually, when I travel I am trying to find balance. I am trying to find times to work out and how much money I need to get to the next spot and how to balance my personal relationships when I am always fleeting. But this week the only thing I had to do was be present, drink, and spend money to make others happy. I did all of that, and it was an emotional rollercoaster being around my entire family. It was made easier by bringing the man who messed up in Colorado. We made up and he was like a buffer that made it so I didn’t have to be around my family 100% of the time, plus he was likable and sweet. I was happy to have him back.
I produced a comedy show in DC that night, I didn’t plan to attend but came to town early to help my best friend move. I handed out flyers on the hot streets of Baltimore on no sleep and had a great show. That night I made a deal with the general manager to make bigger shows and then celebrated too much.
While helping my best friend, Shira, move to Philly from Maryland she noted that had I not brought a man to help our friendship would’ve ended. We laughed a lot and then, again, celebrated too much.
My brother’s wedding was beautiful and I cried the whole time. I have a sister now and more people that will be upset with me as I leave town on a whim, I am so grateful. No sarcasm, that’s just how I talk.
I drove my rental car back to the airport hungover and nostalgic. It’s a weird feeling moving to a new city, broke and alone. I have friends in Las Vegas and I have definitely done this before, but the feeling takes some time to settle. I believe that emotions are just the body’s reaction to things you can relate to so it can understand how to react. I think if you have feelings while doing something specific, say moving to Las Vegas for the fifth time, your body is in panic, with waves of uncertainty and a dash of isolation. This feeling can be paralyzing at times and the only real way to get through it is to sit with it, process, move on. It’s a cold feeling so I try to be warm to myself to thaw it out.