Hammers and Other Tools

I don’t have any stand up stage time scheduled this summer, but I’m still keeping the right side of my brain engaged.

This month I finally put pen to paper (or more accurately, fingers to keyboard) to complete a short play which I am submitting to a San Diego playwright festival.  It’s about a comedian in the hardest room – a night when everyone is focused on a tragedy. While it’s a solo show, it’s not the kind of thing that one can do during a standup gig (and I don’t really expect to perform it).  The idea has been in the back of my head since a friend told me about a night he had to do something like that, but I finally took the time to outline and write it.

In a totally different vein, I finished the costume for a drag character I will be doing at an event connected with the gay square dance convention. I am not a drag performer, but a few years ago, I wrote a comedic backstory for the character and have been joking that I should actually perform it someday. “Someday” will be this weekend.

I think it’s good to allow my creative endeavors to venture off the stand-up stage.  Last year, I wrote a parody that I knew was just too long to include fully in a stand-up routine, so I contacted a friend and created a video. When my husband and I took a long trip, I wrote a book. And now that we are renovating a condo (again!), I’m doing a web series.

These excursions are good for my stand-up too. I often do a few lines from that parody on stage. The book came out of a trip that inspires a stand-up bit and the web series is based on another bit.

It is said that if all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. The stand-up stage is just one hammer in my toolkit; I may not know how to use all the tools equally well, but I’ll never get better unless I exercise them all.

Unexpected… I Should Expect It

In this crazy world called comedy you need to be prepared for the unexpected. Sometimes with just a few minutes’ notice you have to stretch or shrink your set. Or it’s a last minute change to the order of the line up. Or suddenly your set needs to be “G-rated”. Or you get to the venue and it’s been dismantled (like this).

Or, like this week, the show gets canceled. There is a monthly ‘gay-ish’ show in Santa Ana that I was scheduled to do. Great venue and good people, but I’ll have to wait to do it another time. This seems to be a recurring theme since moving up here – I was booked on a show in Belmont Shore that got canceled the week before I was supposed to appear and I’ve shown up for a few open mics only to be told that they aren’t doing them there anymore.

Still, it is important to get stage time, so I went to an open mic in my neighborhood in Long Beach. I tried a few variations on some material. Most of the audience was other comedians, so it’s really hard to gauge how well the changes worked.

The rest of the summer is truly unexpected – for the first time in years, I don’t have a booked show on my calendar.