January first, 12:05 am I was coming down from DMT and found myself looking at a small red light that was from the button of the electronic vape pen I consumed it from. Before I could fully collect myself he hit it two more times and then paused to explain the pen was running out of battery. I said, “I think you’ll be just fine girl, lay down and relax.” He didn’t argue his gender because his whole world was collapsing. I waited for the last geometric shape to disappear before getting up, I had some epiphanies, I had come to terms with aging.
I never feared getting older, I wasn’t one of those people who assumed they would die early, and it doesn’t bother me that I don’t attract the kind of attention I used to when I looked more naive. My problem was with the opportunities I felt slipping away, and how I would’ve had a better chance a few years ago and every day they might be harder to attain. But that night as I watched my life pass before me in a haze that can only be described as interdimensional tripping I realized something. I have to forgive my younger self for anything she did, she had her reasons. Sure, younger me was not extremely productive, but dammit she had the best time. I spent the rest of the night debating universal basic income, and no matter what anyone says, I won.
I drove to Philly the next night for a sleepover with my best friend Shira. I don’t know if it was the DMT or my new year’s revelations but it felt like I was just watching myself sit with my closest friend while she tells me she’s feeling lonely, knowing I was going to leave in less than a day. I tried to tell her all the things I do when I go to a new town, but she had a way of shooting everything down that told me she didn’t want solutions, just comfort, no matter how temporary. There was a moment when I started to look at friendship as a third party, wondering why she spent every day on the phone with my voice talking at her just to see me every few months. But her needing me made me feel less awkward about how much I’ve needed her.
I found myself back in Maryland at Sean Savoy’s house, I was trying to get him to focus to put together a tour to Texas with Phillip Valdez. Between his bong hits and new virtual reality system we got nowhere, but he did text the general manager of the DC Improv, to see if I could come in to perform sometime. He texted back that he knows I put in the work but my online content has not been strong lately. I was dismayed, and it’s not because I thought he was wrong, I just assumed it was understood that we didn’t post our best to keep it on the stage. I posted videos of material I was willing to burn or crowd work I felt was funny. I realized at that moment, as any rational person would, that I needed to kick it up a notch. The manager agreed to let me audition at the open mic, and Sean took the time to lecture me about my comedy career instead of getting anywhere with the tour.
The night before the Improv I went to a dead open mic and started to have serious flashbacks. Sean got me the same opportunity at the Improv in 2020 and the night before he asked me to go to a shit open mic and do the same set I had planned for the club. I bombed with my A-plus material even though I had the perfect set for the open mic written on a napkin. Instead, I lost confidence bombing with my best. But Sean got me the opportunity in 2020 so I did the set he wanted me to do, it haunts me thinking about the people I knew wondering why I was doing my old jokes everyone there already knew.
I have since thought to myself that I just do things differently than Sean. He is a great comic with great advice, but I do things the way I’ve been doing it for six years, present in the venue. I welcome crowd interaction and I adjust my material to the room, Sean does it perfectly the exact same way every time no matter what, excellent stadium comic. But just like in 2020 I did it the way he wanted because he did me a favor, I bombed when I knew I could’ve set the room on fire just by making fun of it. It was an odd scenario for deja vu.
The crappy open mic wasn’t the only thing that brought me back to 2020. Two years ago, almost exactly to the date, I got the same exact same opportunity at the DC Improv because I was around more since I had moved to DC in October 2019 to help my closest friend, Eric Leonard. I was at his place almost every day, talking him off the ledge of ending it all, pulling him out of bed to see the sun, and giving him money to keep afloat while he waited for his world to change. Sean got me the same Improv audition and I did very well, but I was so nervous the days leading up to it that I didn’t go to see Leonard. The morning after my first time stepping on the Improv stage I was outside with the police while they pulled his body out.
I’ve subsequently written some very dark jokes about it, and even though it has ruffled some feathers and got me in some trouble, I know Leonard would have loved it. Also, subjectively, they’re hilarious. So in 2022 even though I was so excited about the Improv, I couldn’t stop thinking about Leonard, and while it snowed outside I had a flashback to when Leonard and I were young teenagers, and it just felt like I was describing it to him.
It’s freezing outside. A snowflake hits my nose and I blow it off with a giggle. I don’t remember whose car I’m in but you were standing outside of it. I gave you the money and asked if you were gonna come back. You swore to me you would but you never did, you f*cking robbed me. I go around town looking for you and find someone that says they owe you money so I take it from them. A few hours later you call me screaming that you needed that money while walking into your mom’s house, but I’m already having dinner with her. You wanted to be mad but you just sat down and smiled in defeat, you couldn’t help but laugh at the audacity. We were such horrible kids, no one ever asks why I left, they just looked stunned every time I show up. I’m sure this isn’t the memory you want to stick out of the snow but I think it shows that even when things were bad they were hilarious. All’s I want to say now is that I am sorry I couldn’t get you to leave with me, I wish you would’ve jumped off that ledge with me instead.
Sometimes when I think about Leonard I get upset with the way the world is distributed, in other words, that we didn’t have any money. I knew that it governed all his decisions so I got him jobs and I lent what little I had to him often. I can’t help but think if I had enough to make him comfortable he would’ve left with me. I never cared what someone told me something was worth, it always felt stupid. The first rule of economics is that worth is determined by what someone is willing to pay, which I find funny because when someone says pay I imagine they are saying it in a sinister payback way.
I know money buys freedom but I was always obsessed with stealing it. What I didn’t realize is I was taking from everyone around me. Yeah, I went around the world and did whatever I wanted; but I didn’t make it home for weddings, funerals, or anything anyone needed me for. I traded all my relationships for freedom and just prayed they understood. Even when my prayers were answered I knew it could have all been different. None of this bothers me until I think of my sweet Leonard, but even then I’ve learned to live with it.
I stand here today still not giving up my stolen freedom and taking whatever hit comes with it. It’s what Leonard would want if he was hyped up from me saying all that to him, not while he was alone with his thoughts wishing I would come back home.
Back to the present day, I am standing outside the Improv watching Broc talk about how thankful he is to be here, it warmed me because you know what? So was I, and I wasn’t going to throw it away with a risky suicide bit, even though it’s hilarious.
I walked into a bunch of awkward hellos, everyone was nervous. My name wasn’t on the list so I picked a high-top table next to the greenroom. It was perfect because I didn’t need to try to cram in there and was still close enough to say “don’t forget I am here” without words. The manager called me over with his finger and pointed me on stage. With no warning, I went up and I felt no nerves, I am supposed to be here. I worked my ass off to be where I am, five f*cking minutes is nothing, and even though I accidentally took seven, it murdered (in a good way). I hung out with Tony Woods to play pool all night. Tony said great set but I made fun of him because I know he says that to literally anyone he thinks is a comic and never actually watches. We laughed, and he showed me a video where he was wearing the T-shirt I gave him in an interview. The snow started to come down heavy but I had light hopes, and it made me warm to think of the memory of Leonard, and how I love seeing him in the snow.
I spent the rest of the week trying to fill the holes in my tour poster. The poster was an old photograph I reused from an old photo from my Nashville days. I worked at this rad bar where we were a family of misfits who got together to drink to fix our troubles, sorry I mean work. I felt so close to them because they took such warm care of me. So naturally, when I asked two of them to pose as trash the entire bar staff decided they were in and we had an entire day of heavy drinking and taking ridiculous pictures to use for a poster. At the time the pictures were for a tour across Eastern Europe called Euro Trish, but I reused the photo for Carolina Trash.
I messaged strangers across the internet, started with comedy Facebook groups in the area, and if no one took a bite I found the biggest fish in the group (whoever posted the most or admin) and ask them for a spot on their show. Sometimes I went on Eventbrite and found some that way. Most of the conversations were normal but everyone I spoke to in Myrtle beach was gross, and not in a fun way. But that’s the weird thing about making posters, it encourages you to fill them. I kept telling myself I wanted to introduce myself to new places to be welcomed back to and needed to put up with shit to grow magic, just like mushrooms.
I left Michael’s house to head south but as you can imagine if you’ve been reading we quickly lit a match that set us on fire, right on time. I decided that this time I wasn’t going to just survive, I was going to thrive, and have the best time. But throughout this like usual we had some harsh fights and I did not succeed in that, I told him I just couldn’t bear to do this anymore. My heart hurt.
I did a set in Wilmington and went out with Sean Mcadams after, he took me to Deadcrows Christmas party. By the time we got there, it was just the bartenders and Steve Mars, who I became quick friends with after we both bombed in a small town when the mic went out and the crowd got too rowdy so we got drunk at a place called the tackle box. The bartenders were wonderful to party with but in case you don’t know that’s the last people you want to drink with, their tolerance is unbeatable and I am a few years away from tending bar in Nashville. Needless to say, I got wasted and I tried to avoid the owner so she wouldn’t be upset I drank all her booze. But I saw Amy, the owner of the comedy club, and she looked like she was holding on to a ledge for dear life so I asked her if she wanted to sit and she looked angry and said “I know what you’re doing.” In my head, I thought she was going to say something about the booze but she just rolled her eyes and walked away. I tried to apologize and she muttered something about me sucking up and I just thought to myself, I wonder if she would say this to a man. I sent her an email later thanking her for the party and apologizing if I made her uncomfortable, I really would hate to think someone threw a party just to not have a good time. I realize it’s not a good move but I don’t give a damn about the right move to suck up, the only person I’ve ever sucked up to is the DMV employee approving my paperwork.
I made the trip to Durham hungover. I had a show every day but Tuesday and Chris, an old friend from home, let me slip into his couch so high that I had to relearn how to breathe. I should’ve been more productive but I hadn’t seen him in a year or three and I thought it would be a fun journey. I am not someone who cares to see the edge of the earth anymore but it’s nice to come down and appreciate breathing without thinking too hard about it.
Every show in Durham was the same, people were too afraid of the snow to come out and I did thirty to forty-five minutes of some pretty intense stuff to try to keep those who came interested. It worked well enough to sell enough T-shirts to make it worth it. One night Chris brought like twenty people and I got to crush a crowded bar. Yeah I know, I’m not working the clubs I am working bar shows, but girl I am crushing these bar shows.
I tried to make it to the coffee shop during the day to work. I had taken on a lot of extra jobs, one client wants a website built, one wants a business plan, and another client that changes his mind on what he wants but already sent me the money and now I’m on the hook for something I don’t even understand anymore. In the coffee shop, only one of my headphones earbuds work but hearing two songs at once has never bothered me. It reminds me of standing in between the stages at a music festival, perfectly concentrated on both live performances going on while listening to people around me complain about what it always sounds like in my head on the regular.
The drive to Charleston was easy but I was dreading the show that night. I thought it would be terrible but it was terrific. I was the opener but sold two hundred dollars worth of T-shirts and laughed all night. I kept the party going near a friend’s place where we met two men, both with thick Carolina accents. One was sad and wanted to go home and one had never left, it made me think about how people who never left are always happier because they aren’t worried about what they miss.
I showed up to my next gig with my giant merch bag in tow. Everyone at the bar looked confused as to why I had such a big bag. I am used to people asking me if there are props for my bag in there, but this was especially strange. The host said she heard about how hard I crushed before and asked if I wanted to headline, I was confused cause I thought I already was. It wasn’t until she announced how the open mic works it dawned on me. I was at Tiny bar in Charleston but I got it confused with Small bar in Charlotte. I guess my strategy of looking at the poster to see where I was going every day failed me. Either way, I had a blast, anywhere I can say the truly dark things I want to say is my favorite time, small or tiny bar.
Small bar in Charlotte turned out to be abysmal, just like the cheap hotel I treated myself to. There always comes a point in constantly entertaining people, especially while consistently having a heart that is hurting, where I decide I need a break. I was supposed to hang out with someone that didn’t answer their phone, which was great because when I’m borrowing time I am my most productive. I know it sounds crazy but every time I am supposed to be doing something and get a chance to do something else I feel like I am on borrowed time and just crush whatever task I take on.
I woke up and headed to Mooresville to surprise everyone with 15 clean minutes of standup and ended up surprising myself with 20. I sold enough T-shirts to celebrate and went to trash bars all night, got lit, and banged out that business plan in my trash hotel room until I felt good enough to sleep. Life is whatever you make it, admittedly only if you have the opportunity, and I have made it weird.
I went from Mooresville to Morehead City, they were not close. But I got there on time and the venue gave me a hotel I don’t remember sleeping in. I saw a man that made me forget about how tired I felt emotionally. I know I entertained it for selfish reasons, but anytime I tried to explain how I felt it was met with simple explanations for my over-thinking. The thought of just going with it made me feel easy but thinking of the harsh reality of the world outside was hard. He told me his thoughts on our hypothetical life together, that his three weeks off a year would be spent where ever I am. I don’t want to be anyone’s vacation girlfriend, it sounds so hollow. I’ve been living a vagabond lifestyle for five years, I don’t take weekend lovers or vacation boyfriends even though they sell them on every corner. I feel like it spreads me out so thin that eventually there’s nothing left. But I held my chest and just thought about how my heart doesn’t hurt.
In Wilmington, I sold out an all-women’s show, and thank god I needed the paycheck. I wrote this lengthy post about building up women but didn’t tag anyone because I didn’t want it to seem like a ploy to get further reach because I meant every word. But now that it’s gotten a lot of views I feel a post about supporting women without tagging any is ironic, but I’ll just overthink that, too.