I left Las Vegas in a hurry to get to Colorado, a mere 12-hour drive that started around midnight. I had plans to fly but after weighing out the price of Ubers to show plus losing the freedom of driving equals me driving 36 hours. I arrived at a friend’s house and slept for another 12 hours. The next day I went to a bar, where a friend was bartending in hopes to get some work done, I pulled my laptop out and in the same room a comedy open mic started, I didn’t even know it was going on. I signed up begrudgingly but did so well that I pulled out the merchandise and sold more than I do at regular gigs, then spent the rest of the night drinking what I would call space water.
The next day we said we would leave early but we laid around all day. Then I drove straight to Kentucky with only half a mental breakdown then made it to Maryland just to drive to North Carolina the next day. I only had half a mental breakdown during the ride so I consider it a success.
I wanted to surprise Eva, my childhood friend, and close companion, for her 30th birthday in Wilmington, North Carolina. The drive was an easy six hours, and it ended with me walking up to her at a bar and her crying, it was magical.
I spent the weekend rushing to shows I booked to help pay for the trip and getting back in time to hang with everyone who came to visit Eva for her birthday. They are the people I have known longest in this world, they don’t judge anything I do because they’re just amazed I made it anywhere. Without getting into the back story of our lives they sometimes look at me with sadness, because they know things most people in my life don’t, and probably never will. They’ve seen me give speeches at funerals, hold sobbing loved ones in times of crisis, and take the pain of the opioid crisis in stride.
The biggest thing I noticed is how much I would dominate conversations or hijack outings into what I wanted to do. I haven’t seen myself in this light for a while because I usually hang out with comics and other people who also talk and act in a dominating way. I tried to consciously pull back or be quieter, not that they would ever ask me to do that, they know who I am. I just didn’t want to be the kind of person who did that but also paying homage to this personality type getting me where I am today. I guess it gives me the ability to sit down and write about myself…
I managed to pick up a show every night, some were great and some were okay. The first show I did was the second night I was there, I had to drive two hours away to get to it. The show went alright, I settled some people talking by making fun of them until they stopped and I yelled over the back so the front could hear me. It was a big place where there was a noise near the bar in the back, I felt like the people in front paid to be there and I didn’t want to spend the whole time listening to me call out women who look like they ride horses but live in apartments and participate in classic gender roles for some asshole. I yelled at the rest of my set and had a great time, I didn’t feel like it was particularly great but I sold a lot of T-shirts.
Then I met Martha, who asked me to call her Marty. Marty was a 70+ year old lady who was dressed to the nines and had her makeup done perfectly. I understood the quorsage when she explained she had just come from her step son’s wedding. She told me that it got too hard for her to be there without her partner (his mother) because she had passed away and it was too painful to stay. So Marty left her friends and family in pain and came to a comedy show by herself, she hugged me and said she doesn’t know what her night would have been like without me. I hugged her back, I couldn’t think of anything meaningful to say, at that point there’s nothing you can say, so I let her sit with me while I tried to sell T-shirts and made fun of everyone that came by to get her to laugh more.
There was a point where I went to the beach to be alone. I sat and ate old leftovers in my bathing suit. There was another moment where I sat in a parking lot and did nothing, I just wanted an hour or two when I didn’t have to speak. I was having a lot of fun but I needed some time to feel myself without explaining it to someone else. There was a man that offered me a place to stay, and I knew it meant more than a couch. It might seem like I am in a position that would enjoy that attention but I never have. When you’re on the road and meeting people, even something as small as a cuddle takes a lot out of you, I have never enjoyed spreading myself thin. I thought of Michael but even without him I couldn’t bear the thought of pretending to love a moment just to watch it pass, no matter who it is.
The next Friday I gave one of my favorite performances. When I got to the show I didn’t really want to be there, I was feeling the burnout from a week of never being alone, always drinking, and rarely sleeping so I could make it to hot yoga in the morning. I was pretty over it, I even looked at hotel prices so I could stare at a wall by myself for a while.
The two comics before me did poorly and I didn’t have high hopes for what was about to happen, I almost gave up the headlining spot because I didn’t have it in me to care. But when I got up I got heckled by a drunk guy and made fun of him in such a way that got everyone on my side. This is rare because it’s not easy to do. It is easy to make fun of someone, it is hard to make fun of someone and not have them hate you. But the guy I made fun of for about thirty minutes on and off throughout my set bought one of everything I was selling after because he loved it so much.
I was feeling on top of the world, I even made it to the actual comedy club to collect a four-minute open mic slot and got invited back. This was a real high point to my trip so it only makes sense that the next night I drove two hours just to bomb and sell one T-shirt. Tym, the guy that books me in NC said I was getting too high and needed a reality slap. I sat with it as I drank heavily at a bar called the tackle box on the shore of Morehead island.
I drove to surf city the next day, I did well but I sold nothing because it was a pretty empty place. I think the only girl that might have gone for it wasn’t a fan of mine because she started talking to her dog during my set and I said “you kiss your dog with that mouth.” I was supposed to drive for six hours to my parent’s house and pay them a visit, but instead, the road caught up to me and I broke down, called Micheal and told him I needed to be held and drove to Maryland instead. A common theme I am seeing.
I got to Micheal’s and laid down to decompress, possibly for too long. When Tuesday came I was nervous for the show I produce once a month at Public Bar Live. I made a costume event and spent way too much money on advertising. I thought the Halloween theme would bring in more people, I was wrong. I would be lucky to break even on the event. I walked around Dupont Circle in DC and handed out flyers in a rainbow onesie with galaxy paint on. I was in a hyped up mood despite the financial despair. I handed out 200 flyers for almost three hours, and good thing, I packed the place out with people I found on the street. It made for a weird crowd, no one showed up in costume except for the comics and I am pretty sure most of the people I got didn’t speak English that well. Despite all the downfalls I told myself I was going to have a great time and I did, it helps that they have the tequila I like.
When Halloween came around I felt pulled and anxious. I had some close friends ask me why they had to find out I was in town from my instagram story, it was hard to hear but they were right. Even my own sister in law told me she would’ve made an effort to come Tuesday (the show I was desperate for attendance) if I had made more of an effort to reach out. I feel too anxious to make plans because if something comes up and I cancel I feel like that is worse than just never saying anything. I know it sounds unlikely I will have to cancel but my entire life is last minute, and I don’t want someone to feel less important than money. Most of the jobs I have right now are someone in a pinch who needs something fast online, or gigs I get when someone else drops out. If I was a better planner this would all be less messy, and I am working on it. But let’s face it, I am always working on it. I had a friend tell me recently that she doesn’t like visiting home because it’s hard to see everyone and she feels too much guilt. She asked me how I manage, I said I constantly disappoint a lot of people.
Halloween night ended up great, Michael and I dressed up as a dead bunny and Lenny from Of Mice and Men. He made a joke that we should’ve dressed as Gabby Petito and Brian, I used it on stage and everyone looked around to see if they were allowed to laugh.