Drop The Mic
Beyoncé said be fearless not flawless.
As if I had the option.
I’m fearless because I can’t be flawless -
It’s called blind faith.
People say that you have to be brave to do stand up.
But I’ve never been brave --
I hate scary movies, spicy food and extreme sports.
People have always described me as quiet, shy and naive. (Perhaps I’m not quite the average comedian.) And yet - I’ve always had a lot to say but struggled to find the worlds to adequately express myself. Words, after all, were never my favorite thing: growing up with dyslexia I struggled with reading, spelling and pronunciation. I was afraid the English language would betray me; it seemed safer not to talk than to risk embarrassing myself.
I developed a reputation for being quiet, and when I would speak, it seemed my voice fell on deaf ears. I developed an inferiority complex, figuring that friends and family didn’t listen to me simply because they felt my contributions were unimportant. It was years before I realized they simply weren’t used to me contributing to the conversation.
Stepping into other characters shows while performing in college plays, I found my voice. This served me when, soon after graduation, I found an agent and booked a movie called Christmas Eve staring opposite Patrick Stewart and Jon Heder. I thought that movie was going to be my big break. But I was very wrong. For years, I didn’t book a single job - I internalized the constant rejection and came to feel that there must be something wrong with me.
My love life apparently took after my professional life: I was dating a comedian and went to see him perform at the Hollywood Improv. Maria Bamford was the headliner. My date was terrible but Bamford was amazing. I remember thinking: “this lady is just like me ... soft-spoken, insecure and socially awkward.” But, unlike me, she embraced her imperfections and found power in her self-deprecating jokes.
Fast forward a few months: while on my way to a New Year’s Eve party, I was in a car crash on the corner of Hollywood and Highland. A drunk driver had plowed into me. But let me set the scene for you -- I was wearing an uncomfortable crop top, the drunk driver was throwing up, religious zealots yelling at me for my inappropriate attire, and looky-loos dressed up as Super Heroes being anything but heroic. Luckily, my car was ok to drive and I went straight home to my cats and made a vision board.
This board, fashioned of combination of posterboard, inspirational quotes and pictures of Beyoncé, included three resolutions: try kickboxing, stop eating sugar and do Stand Up. I only accomplished one out-of-the-three.
That Spring I did my first open mic at Flappers in Burbank. I quickly learned that the more honest I was on stage, the funnier I became. People were forced to listen to me because I was the one in the room holding a microphone. While I still have a long way to go in my comedy career, and it’s as yet unclear whether I’ll one day have a Netflix special or will be performing at local bars in the valley, I suspect I’ll be doing stand up for years to come. It gives me the confidence to be 100% me… and it’s much better than getting punched in the face at a kickboxing gym.