How did I get here? I answered an add in the news paper. That’s truly how I got to the place I am today. I saw a post for comedy school in the daily paper and called the number. I had never done anything so bold prior to that day.
The spring of 2008 was an ambitious one for me. I had lost 75 pounds and my mind clearly to have signed up for comedy school on a whim. What the heck is comedy school anyway? They’re just trying to take your money my mother said. I was working 4 jobs and had just started graduate school at Queens college for my master’s. Not to mention midweek practices for the break dancing crew I was in. Is this a good time for comedy school? The add said it was only $200, well $199 to be exact. How long is this school? 6 weeks the add said. 6 weeks!! I have had colds longer than 6 weeks (its true but later I found out that it was actually an upper respiratory infection I kept catching over and over again). Did I mention that in addition to these 4 jobs I had medicare? I digress.
I had decided I would start juggling, life, responsibilities and now comedy school. I had rent to pay, but not much since there were 4 of us living in a 2 bedroom apartment. For that is the way of the under employed in New York. So the $200 didn’t seem like much, and 6 weeks didn’t seem like a long time, but I should have read the fine print. This class was in lower Manhattan near Comix Comedy Club, off 10th ave. If you’re not familiar with Manhattan or New York just understand we are now talking a 2 fare zone situation for 6 weeks. Six weeks of going from multiple buses and trains from Fresh Meadows to the Meat Packing District a 3 hour round trip commute. I sent in my check, no refunds they said. I checked my bus schedule, no lateness they said. Agh!!! Have you met me? My arch enemy is time and consistency. I was waiting for Ashton Kutcher to jump out and yell “you’ve been punked”. But alas he did not. Why would he? Who was I that he would waste his time punking? No one, yet. That word yet was my motivator. I have never…… had changed to I have not yet.
So on my 3 hour commute I traveled to my first class, only to return home worn out from the journey and from the over whelming feeling that I did not belong. I was with people who had started doing comedy and maybe hit a bump after their 3rd year, or they were writers who wanted to learn how to craft a joke or professionals looking to add a notch on their belt. When they came to me and asked, why are you here? I answered honestly “I’m not sure anymore.” They were gracious, some chuckled thinking I was already into my routine, only to learn I had no idea what I was doing, yet. By the 3rd week I realized I was actually learning something. And that’s when they sprang the final on us. “I’m sorry what?” “The final” the professor of comedy replied (saying that now sounds even dumber than it did at the time). “What is the final on?” I asked. The room erupted in laughter. Had I said something funny? I laughed along with them hoping silently inside that someone who have mercy and answer the question. “ANSWER THE QUESTION PROFESSOR!!!” my eyes screamed as I was close to tears. “Oh you were serious?” the professor seemed to ask in disgust (GOSH, I wish I could remember their name, this comedy professor sounds ridiculous). “Everyone is performing a stand up routine at Comix Comedy Club as stated in the flyer for the school.” they said (I’m not writing comedy professor anymore, not after that comment). “Right!” I finally understood. These people paid money to get to perform at one of the top 6 Comedy Clubs in the country at the time, and here I was not knowing why I came and confused about the whole premise. The novice comics wanted exposure and the club needed cheap talent. A win win for everyone, except those of us who like to to give money to strangers without reading the details of said transaction.
How does this work? What Comedy Club would allow baby comics to sully their good name? Comix had a genius idea by ensuring that if you weren’t ready that you could post pone your debut til a following class went but if you wanted more tutoring you had to pay all over again. So either lose more money or lose your dignity but by the end of the day, something would indeed be lost. But this wan’t the most genius idea they had, oh no, I haven’t even gotten to the good part. In order to “graduate” and perform, you had to sell 10 tickets at $10 a pop. that’s right folks, not only did they get your $200 but they also got $100 from your friends, making each of these school sessions worth $300 a student (Now that I’m remembering this all, please be on the look out for Fun Friday Comedy School, coming to a daily newspaper near you).
Now I hadn’t told people I was in Comedy school after my mother ridiculed me so not only did I have to break the news to family and friends but then collect their money to come to a show I wasn’t exactly thrilled to be in. But I did it!! I told people of my activities and new schooling as well as the need to secure at least $100 worth of tickets. God blessed my faith, I sold $240 dollars of tickets and had provided encouragement to so many people who had also suffered from I have never syndrome. That first show was incredible and terrifying all at the same time. I was convinced I was going to throw up on the front row or be pelted with tomatoes and eggs or something worse. But what actually happened was far more scary than I would like to admit. They liked me, they really liked me!!! I had 7 minutes to dazzle them and boy did I. Not to name drop but we were opening for Jim Gaffigan and after my set, he turned to me and said “Good job kid, your’re funny.” ME!!! Was he really talking to me? All the validation I desired during childhood had come from this stranger in the back of a comedy club in the matter of 5 words.
And that was all I needed to become one of the most recognized and sought after comics in the world. No, that’s nowhere near what happened. Instead, later that year I started dating a guy and caught the love bug. I had continued performing and honing my craft but as the more serious we got, the less time I had for comedy. I was planning a wedding, finishing grad school and looking for a teaching job. Sadly, 2 years after my love affair with comedy began, it all came to a screeching halt in 2010, right back on the same stage it began. But as some of you already know, it’s not the end of the story for me and comedy. Oh no, we have been secretly dating for the last 10 years, hidden in classrooms and department meetings. Rendezvousing in side conversations at parties and conferences. Honestly, comedy and I have always been a couple. My husband knew that, and possibly feared that if I didn’t leave comedy alone, I wouldn’t have room for him. But the truth was, I only started dating comedy because of my husband’s encouragement. He has been to every show, every performance, and every open mic whether in person or in spirit. His words and loving affirmation spur me on and has given rise to the dream that always was. I have never owned an entertainment company. I have never done stand up 6 weeks in a row. I have never performed for 45 minutes straight. I have never hosted a comedy show. I have never built a website. I have never been trending. All of these are no longer a never have I, nor a not yet have I, but are now I did it. This month marks the 10th year anniversary of my comedic retirement. Join me as we resurrect the dead, and pay tribute to the place where it all started, ended and began again. Comix Comedy Club, 2010.