I like Mondays in Las Vegas because it’s the one night of the week where the open mics are spread out enough to hit them all. It’s not that I love performing at open mics, I don’t think anyone does. It’s because Monday is the most ratchet night of the week in comedy and Las Vegas takes the crown. The first mic is at a lesbian bar I used to work at called the Freezone. I worked there because I was 25 and they give you a job on the spot if want to walk around in your underwear and sell shots. I used to wear shorts and my manager would ask me nicely to take my pants off, I would explain I was on my period and then laugh because we both knew I’ve been saying that for two weeks and will continue to do so. I have had jobs in Las Vegas where I wore a bathing suit, but they were by the pool and paid better.
The second mic was at a dive bar called “The Dive.” This is the first place I did comedy so I have tons of jokes about it. Mostly about how it is impossible to get kicked out of. Six years ago I did my first set there and there was a girl named crazy Katie who would get on stage to drunk ramble and then at the end flash her tits to the crowd. One time I was visiting three years ago and she tried to get on stage while someone was on the microphone making fun of her breast. When she took a step on the stage and he shoved her off with his hand to her face, quite honestly it was hilarious. The best part was neither one of them got kicked out so I always joke about what it takes to get kicked out of there. Apparently, she had not been back since this instance, but showed up tonight! She went up and had a pretty good story that was well received by people who did not know there was comedy tonight, I think she’s a regular there and they all knew her. I got on stage and told stories about her back then and said I was so sad I can’t see her post-kid tits (I don’t know if she had a kid). She hopped on stage and took her breast out, everyone screamed, it was wonderful.
The third mic was chaotic, the hosts are good but they were way drunker than usual. There was an old man with a younger-looking girl that interrupted the show to keep ranting about how this man is a musical genius. The guy looked European but never spoke a word. Someone gave him a guitar to play in between sets but randomly he would just start playing. I asked him to play a lullaby-type song while I said the worst things I could think of. It was amazing at first but the background music gave people the green light to talk so I asked the music man to change the tune and I made up a song. It was great, the chorus was “and no one gives a shit” sung lightly and meant to complete whatever lyrics I made up. One was “you can tell dad jokes, or talk about your clit… and no one gives a shit.” Then two guys started fighting in front of me and I called them out and made them kiss. It was next-level trash, I loved it. The man then got up to do comedy, he had a red neck accent that no one saw coming. He did jokes he has heard around and didn’t understand the only rule is to be original, I don’t think anyone bothered to tell him because he bombed anyway. I will say that he didn’t back down or give up, so we can applaud him for that.
Tuesday night I was booked on the Artifice, a retro event space in the arts district. It was a great show but I miss heard the booker. He didn’t hear me when I asked about payment and said the bar was free so I assumed that was payment and started slamming what I thought were seltzer beers but turned out to be vodka soda in a can. I drunkenly took my actual payment and went to a midnight mic at a dive bar near my place. I was pretty drunk working out my suicide bits and I am proud of what I came up with that night, so maybe I am satisfied with the earlier confusion.
Wednesday was the outdoor show at Rick’s Rollin Smoke BBQ, the booker Steve usually only does advance booking but likes my stuff enough to let me on. He told me afterward about the first time we met, a comedy competition five years ago, and asked why I don’t do the bit with my legs in the air anymore. I said, “oh, I do, and it is so much better now.” We laughed and scheduled my next run with the promise of pretending to be at the gynecologist, I love people with a sick sense of humor.
My birthday passed, it was wholesome and nice. I thought I wanted to take a few friends to Joshua Tree but we decided it was too hot. My old college roommate and good friend Kelsey flew in to see me. It was not convenient at all, I think she got off work, took an overpriced flight, and then hung out with me for 36 hours just to go back to work. I got a lot of nice messages but I told Kelsey she really made me feel special and it was more than enough. We had a pretty chill time; had some drinks, barely slept for a challenging hot yoga class, and then visited the clearance goodwill. The clearance Goodwill is a space I try to avoid because I get too much stuff. It is massively fun; you go through buckets when all the buckets have been brought out because I guess there have been incidents… anyway I love standing around with a bunch of people that are trying to get the first look to see if there’s cash in the pockets. I know it sounds like I am joking, but it is one of my life’s greatest pleasures. I don’t know why.
A Thai food lunch and six pounds of clothes later I went to a custom clothing shop and tipsily offered them an unbeatable deal of a cheap website in exchange for custom clothes I could sell at comedy shows. I sold myself short but I needed the clothes to sell instead of cash because the online job I acquired (that I thought would hold me for three months) is now just a daily call I make trying to collect an invoice. I turned 29 and I am once again flat broke, but at least this time I have a car, over a thousand dollars worth of merchandise, and a few gigs lined up. I am fucked y’all, who wants to buy a website? It’s a good time to talk me into cheap shit. I guess if everyone paid their invoices I could take off work for a year, and it’s good to have skills at least, right?
This is a fair example of how I live. I have in some way or another worked online for the last ten years. I was able to do it because I would tell people I could do anything even if I didn’t know how to do it. This motivated me to learn whatever skill I was getting paid for and I have had a plethora of jobs because of this. If I truly couldn’t figure it out in time I subcontracted the work, which has given a community online of people I know I can count on to get things done. This might seem like a good skill to have, it is how I gained the ability to go wherever I want and it is how I got into stand-up comedy, but I would be lying if I said I was never a liar. This mindset has gotten me in some trouble, there was a time when I was convinced I could play golf simply because I played as a kid, and have embarrassed myself on more than one occasion. I am sure there are a few people with a list of things I messed up.
I had a terrible ex that would lose his mind every time I came up with a new idea. “You’re not a photographer Trish,” he would say as I pulled out my camera and kneeled to get my shot, or “you won’t be able to build that site, you spent a whole hour adjusting the font last time,” as I was watching youtube videos trying to figure it out. My least favorite was “you would rather go to this crappy bar to perform five minutes than work on us” he would question as we pulled up to the bar as if it wasn’t hard enough to put myself on this strange platform with no support. Sometimes I would get on stage crying but no one would know but us. His bringing down all the hope I had for myself took a toll, but every time someone buys an expensive e-commerce website or a cheap photo I smirk, and as much as I try to forget about the abuse I took, it still feels good to whisper “f&%# you” to myself.
There was a girl in the news recently, Gabby Petito, who was found dead after living in a van with her boyfriend. Though I playfully want to send my abuser the report and joke that at least I am not dead, I would never do it. What gets me about this story is that I watched the body camera footage of her and her boyfriend fighting in front of a cop. He was calm and laughing about how crazy she was and she was hysterical and trying to defend him. The way he called her new blog a silly website was too familiar. I just sat in that for a while, thinking about how I used to be her, and how many other women have been her. Rest in peace, sorry you never got to get out and bask in the light on the other side, your website would’ve got better and your editing skills would’ve improved. We all start somewhere, but only some of us get to finish, and no one race is fair.
Anyway, back to my birthday, to conclude it we went to an after-midnight open mic, obviously a late one at a dive bar. I joked about how I didn’t spend my birthday doing shitty stand-up there because it is after midnight. I told jokes about my parents, it only felt right.
When it was back to reality something weird happened. I had some gigs in bad bars with worse audiences and others in nice venues with packed seats. The weird part was is I kept crushing the bad gigs, just talking to the audience and doing off-the-cuff laughs. I did my older jokes but sicker and I would make fun of the room, it just kept killing. But when I did the better gigs they didn’t go as well, and I wasn’t used to it so it was hard to take in. I think what happened is that I had it in my head what I was going to say, which I usually never do, I feel the crowd and pick from what I have at that moment; written or not. But in these gigs that actually mattered, I just said what I wrote and didn’t stray, and it didn’t stick.
The night I left Las Vegas I had one of those gigs. I can’t say it went bad but I did split the room with a rape joke. It was a bad idea but I took the risk, and oh man do I love that joke. The ultimate revenge is that one day that dude will hear people laughing at it and he’ll know. I shouldn’t have risked an important set at a prominent venue, but I did. People either loved or hated it, people came up to me saying they loved it and I sold a lot of merch, but others wouldn’t make eye contact. My friend was drunk and he’s seen me a million times so I know it was the worst he’s ever seen me do. He cornered me and said I bombed and needed to know it, when I started to say that’s not what bomb looks like he got in my face and kept saying it. Every interaction we had that night he just smeared it in like he was upset that I didn’t feel as bad as he thought I should. I tried to tell him I could do my own self-loathing but he didn’t let up. Then he sobered up, apologized, and offered me a nice checked bag to stuff all my merch instead of the box I had planned on taking. It helped me more on the trip than any advice anyone could give me.
I went out to my uber in a daze to get to the airport. Despite making a good profit off merch and a few compliments I felt low and got into the airport just to drink heavily with strangers. This one girl was complaining about being kidnapped, obviously drunk, and having a mental lapse. I joked that I was past my kidnapped prime, I wasn’t cute enough to be kidnapped. She lost her mind and I left her to grab some water and find my flight. But I left my phone at the counter and realized it so I dropped my bags and ran back, no one bats an eye. This airport is safe.
I posted this photo of myself with my bags and a fun caption, someone responded “lucky,” so I ranted to myself about how I’m not rich, I’m always scraping by. I’m not brave, I’m just selfish enough to care about nothing; it takes a lot to scare someone with so little to lose. I’m lucky that I have a US passport and parents that pushed for me to be educated. I’ve been watching Great White Underbelly interviews of people on skid row and I keep whispering “thanks mom” to myself. But 99% percent of the time the people who call me lucky had about the same amount of luck. It’s not like I would tell a young girl from Myanmar to reach for the stars, I’m sorry girl, you’re not lucky.
While we’re here I’d like to point out that I’m not anything you think I am. This is either because you think it takes some quality you made up that you’ve projected on to me to be able to live like this or because I’ll choose to be the antithesis out of spite of even having the conversation of what you think about me. I don’t mean to sound harsh but try and understand that if I listened to anyone I’d never do anything.
I’m just a girl who wasn’t happy with the hand she was dealt and decided to stop playing the game.