Duncing changes….

I hit my one year comedy anniversary earlier this month. This anniversary has meant more to me than any other anniversary in my life. It marks more than just a year in comedy. It marks the one year anniversary of finding myself, the beginning of the most important and challenging journey I have ever embarked on. Comedy lit a fire in my soul, and burst my heart wide open!

I have changed so much as a comedian in the course of a year. I stopped being afraid to cross lines and have since made it a point to cross all of the lines! I talk about all of the ups and downs of being a human being. The truth is, there is pain, happiness, confusion and desperation at the root of all of my jokes. If I look back on all my jokes, I know exactly where I was emotionally at the time I wrote it.

This year has seen so many things in my personal life. Divorce, career changes, new friendships, people leaving my life, touring, falling in love with bombing occasionally, and very recently unexpected magnificence. All of these things add up to an amazing catalog of jokes that are raw with pain and happiness.

Once I stopped being afraid of change, something fucking amazing happened. I am more open to letting people in, and letting my art out. My life has turned upside down, and I love it! Go out there, be a dunce, let people in, love your life no matter what.

 

Duncing with the devil…

With female comedians gaining more attention than ever now, it seems unbelievable that women in comedy are still treated as if we are just women,who aren’t funny, aren’t smart enough to make jokes with real premises, tags, callbacks and side splitting punchlines. But we are funny and smart, and we kick ass at comedy, despite having to fight off advances, shitty jokes and humiliating offers.

A few months ago a comedian in our community shared a link to a poll asking female comedians to share their experiences in a Google form titled “Gross things that happened to me as a woman in comedy”. Of course it piqued my interest! I clicked the link, and immediately thought “I hope they post these stories for these babydicks to read” and guess what? They now have, and it is indeed more terrifying and disgusting than I could have ever imagined.

Here are just a few:

“#211:Finished sets where I killed, with material I worked hard on. Spent countless hours polishing jokes, etc. I was always prepared and things went well. Almost without fail, I’d be followed by male comedians who would completely underscore my performance by following my set with their very loosely written sets containing plenty of wildly graphic “jokes” about how they’d fuck me, which they came up with on the spot.”

“#139: This “booker/comic” booked me for a show. later he contacted me and told me i needed to audition. As he was a comic I asked what mics shows he’d be at in the next week or so so I could go and audition then. He told me I could come over and audition at his place. I told him I didn’t feel comfortable. He then replaced me on the show with another female comic saying he needed a hot female comic whose picture on a poster would help sell tickets.”

“#218: My experiences range from a simple assumption that I was backstage because I was someone’s girlfriend even though I was the headlining act to being violently sexually assaulted then shunned because I refused to sit down and have a chat with my attacker and another comedian so we could “work it out”. I’d like to point out that the attack was one where he smothered me to the point of seeing stars and left me covered in bruises. The local community then shunned me to a point where I no longer worked.”

Guys, this is a REAL problem. These are REAL things that women comedians submitted ANONYMOUSLY. They are not making these things up! I implore all of you, especially male comedians to visit womenincomedy.org and read these things for yourself. I have experienced some of these things myself, and they get laughed off. Or it is followed up by “yeah, that’s (insert gross booker’s name here) for you”. Leaving me with few choices but to take the stage time I desperately need with a booker that gets away with his behavior.I have also been told ” If you don’t want to be sexualized, don’t make jokes about sex.” WHAT?! That is insanity! No matter what a comedian’s material is, every comedian deserves to be treated fairly and feel safe to share their work. Stop this behavior! Believe us when we tell you that something inappropriate has happened and have our backs!

Thank you to all the male comedians who support women in comedy, you are more appreciated than you know!

 

 

Highs and Lows of Duncing

When I first started comedy, I had no idea what the difference between a good room and a tough room was. It all seems the same to you at first. As I gained experience, I started to have my favorite rooms and knew the places where I would kill no matter what. Then, one Friday evening, I was faced with Louie’s. It is consistently rough. It is full of regular bar flies that could really care less if your jokes are funny or not.

I had my first little melt down at Louie’s, due to my first experience with a table not approving of dick jokes. The more I tried, the worse it got. Then I had an outburst telling the host over the microphone “No one is fucking listening, I am fucking done!” my green, baby comic, entitled ego was showing. To add insult to injury, an audience member decided to pull me aside and tell me how painfully horrible it was to watch me die up there. I vowed to never ever go there again.

The thing about comedy is, comedians are gluttons for punishment. Not to mention Curt informed me that this room was my best tool for our upcoming road shows where it is not acceptable to just stop because the crowd doesn’t get you. I decided to go back, also because I love the hosts of the show, who are endlessly supportive. And something amazing happened, my parents showed up, and my Dad knowing how much I struggled with that room, decided to try comedy! He did pretty well considering he had nothing prepared. it was a touching and unforgettable moment. i fell in love with Louie’s as rough as it is.

Last night, I went to Louie’s really to support John, one of the hosts of the open mic. There was an awesome show going on across town,so many comedians went there. I had new stuff to practice anyway. An old friend of mine showed up to support me, which was super nice, however, I was feeling indifferent. I was there to have fun, that’s it.

I got up to the microphone, and expected the usual. But, as I started to speak confidently, something weird happened, a hush came over the crowd. I looked down expecting that a nipple was hanging out or something.But, no, they wanted to hear my jokes! It was a huge thing for me to dominate that room. Personal growth. There you have it, the story of overcoming my fear of drunks.

 

Duncing best friends

I figure now would be a good time to talk about my comedy duo and how that all came to be. There are certain people who like to make assumptions about how Curt Fletcher and I became friends and how we came to be business partners, we are kind of an odd pairing I suppose. you know, sweet tempered, bearded comedian and boobalicious, loudmouthed asshole..

To understand mine and Curt’s friendship, you have to go back a few years before the thought of actually doing comedy entered my mind. I was working as an assistant with The James Douglas Show as well as on a local talk show called The After After Party. I have always had a fascination with comedy, and here I was in front of and working with local comedians. It was easily the best time of my life. I remember that I used to stop all of our guest comedians and talk to them intensely about comedy. Curt and I talked briefly, and became facebook friends, and then that was it.

A few years passed. I was no longer working in any kind of entertainment. I was trying to fit into a small town community that I had no real place to be in. On my birthday, I received a message from Curt Fletcher wishing me a happy birthday and asking how I was. Little did I know how important Curt would become to me. The next couple of weeks, with me being a bored housewife, Curt and I would talk for hours. The closer we got, the more I opened up about my life, and what was going on. There were many nights that after a particularly horrendous fight, which started to become an almost daily occurrence in my toxic relationship, I would turn to Curt who was the only person awake. He helped me through so many things at that time, and no one will ever understand how much I love him for that. Then he brought up my love of comedy and my odd way of looking at life, and suggested that I try comedy. That conversation changed the course of my life in a big way.

After my divorce, I moved out of that small town, and started doing comedy regularly. As I got more into it, and saw it as something I wanted to take seriously, Curt and I formulated the idea for a comedy duo. Why not? I turned to Curt for every question I had about comedy anyway. We wanted to start producing shows and performing together. Perfect. Private Duncers was born!

I am not blind to the fact that Curt has thrown many opportunities my way, and every day I am grateful. Our working relationship is a ying and yang kind of situation. We push each other. He often gives much needed constructive criticism and I come up with over the top yet realistic goals. Our working relationship comes from a place of deep friendship, on a foundation of respect. There you have it, the story of two unlikely friends, in a genuine and loving friendship, working together. Nothing salacious or seedy, as some have assumed.

How I came to be a dunce

A crumbling marriage, a comedian best friend, and an insatiable need to vent frustration without the means to go to a therapist led me to face my fears and jump.

I remember very clearly the conversation that led me to my very first open mic. That conversation changed my life forever. I was miserable, falling apart, and needed to do something to feel alive again. So I headed to my first open mic, jokes in hand, ready to fail. As I took my first steps to the microphone (after almost leaving before I was called up), I felt something intense. It was fear mixed with excitement and adrenaline, hell of a combination! The very first laugh is something that will remind me every day what I was meant to do with my life.  From that moment there was no way I was ever going to stop doing that! I eagerly went home to my husband and told him all about it and showed him the video my friend had recorded.

Fast forward a few months, I had not done comedy again, but my life was in shambles. My husband asked me for a divorce and all I could think to do was comedy. I threw on a slutty mcpartygirl dress I had not worn since I was 21, knowing it was going to make my husband think twice about letting me go. I told jokes, got laughs, felt amazing and returned home to find that my cunning plan had worked. Temporarily. A week after reconciling with my husband, my marriage was officially over. I signed divorce papers, and left with nothing more than my dog and a poorly packed suitcase. Two days later my love of comedy quickly became the glue that held me together.  Comedy saved my life. I now am part of a comedy duo with my best friend, I host a showcase, tour and finally found myself!