SASSY WAITRESS

Chapter One
It was day two of a two week run in Indiana and I was standing in the back of the room waiting to go up. The night before, while on stage, I’d gotten into it with an open mic guy who was sitting in the front row taking notes during my set. Which means he was stealing my jokes.

Yep, front row. At least sit in the back where I can’t see your dumb ass.

Also, I had to break up a fight between audience members because no one who worked at the club seemed at all interested in doing it. So, I said, to two big-ole hammered farm boys, “You, aren’t going anywhere. And, you, are not kicking anybody’s ass. Both of you sit down right now.”

And you know what they said? Nothing. They just sat down.

I have found that if you speak to an intoxicated man the way his mother would, he will immediately behave. I don’t recommend this if it’s someone you feel romantic about because it kinda sets a disturbing tone. However, if that’s your thing, then have at it.

So, as I stood watching the opening act being verbally pummeled by the audience, I decided that my life as a full-time road comic was finally approaching its end.

Never saw that coming.

But, after way too many years of slugging it out on the road, I was over it. Not stand-up, but definitely the lifestyle.

I’d grown weary of living out of a suitcase, driving all night to get to the next gig, sleeping in my car or some disgusting comedy condo and staying in shitty, scary motels. I no longer wanted to deal with drunks, rowdy audiences or idiots who only wanted to hear dick jokes and thought it perfectly civilized to yell, “Show us your tits!”

Who raised these people?

I was physically and emotionally worn out but didn’t realize, or maybe just didn’t want to acknowledge, how much until that very moment.

Plus, I was always broke.

Always.

Fuck!

I was so sick and tired of never having any money, fighting with my boyfriend because of it and worrying about how to pay my bills. And also, getting to choose between eating or putting gas in my car.

In case you were wondering, the whole “starving artist” thing is way more romantic when you’re talking about it over a big, fat, juicy steak as opposed to a pack of stale peanut butter crackers. Hence the F-word, followed by an exclamation point a few sentences ago. For the record, I don’t exclamation point lightly. But then again what lady does really?

The older I got, louder became the siren’s call of having a pot to piss in or two nickels to rub together.

Perhaps someday I’d even own my very own Frigidaire. “What must that be like?” I’d ponder yet dare not say aloud.

At twenty-two, I gave up any chance of normal by pledging my undying love for stand-up. I made my mom cry, burned the boats, plus all the other stuff you do to prove you ain’t fuckin around, and then headed off in my Canary yellow 1974 Ford Pinto to make the world laugh one comedy club, hotel lounge, and one-niter hell gig at a time.

Oh, and also to assuage some unspoken ache.

I am too good enough, you’ll see!

They never see.

In a nutshell: After several years of roaming around the country and not living anywhere, I moved to Los Angeles in my late twenty’s. Met my ex-boyfriend. We lived (out of wedlock, much to my mother’s chagrin) in a great apartment at the beach for about a year. He got a job offer in San Francisco. I dramatically refused to go.

I went.

We moved into an apartment in Tiburon. That’s in Marin County across the Golden Gate Bridge. We had an amazing view of the city and Alcatraz. Alcatraz sits in the middle of the Bay. There’s a light on top of the prison that goes around every six seconds warning ships that it’s there and so please don’t smash into it.

My boyfriend would sit on the couch and time the light as it went around. He’d say, visibly agitated, “It goes every 6 seconds. It’s making me crazy.”  I would respond, “Let’s not blame the light, shall we? How about you just go sit in that chair instead?” His job ended five years later and we returned to Southern California. Eight years later our relationship would follow suit.

Greetings Inhabitants Of Planet Earth

Hey all-

Just a quick note regarding a policy change taking effect immediately.

I will continue to say “Hello” or “Good morning” when we make eye contact, even if you don’t acknowledge me.

I’ll still hold doors, the elevator, say “Please” & “Thank You” & “Pardon me” and offer to help carry something when your hands are full, even if you don’t extend the same courtesy.

However from this moment forward: When walking towards each other on the street, in a hallway, in the mall or anywhere one would walk towards another human being, I will no longer be the only person who steps aside so that we don’t smash into each other. I’m 6 feet tall and weigh 150lbs — I’m willing to take the hit.

Everyone was issued regulation manners and kindness when we were assigned to this post. If you can’t find yours—check in your ass. That’s usually where mine are when I forget that I’m not the only person on the planet.

Best,

Your fellow earthling

The British Zombies Are Coming! The British Zombies Are Coming!

Happy does not equal funny.

Funny does not equal happy.

Although you can feel happy when you’re being funny, I think it’s hard to be funny if you’re happy.

Not the kind that counts anyway. I’m not talking about “Why is it that you can put two socks in the dryer but only one sock comes out? Where’s the other sock, everybody?” I don’t mean that crap.

I mean real comedy. The kind that comes from the deep, dark pain that eats away at your esophagus.

It won’t let you sleep at night. It makes you break down in tears for no reason and spend seven nights a week in the bottom of a bottle of vodka. That’s the funny I’m talking about.

Some of the best comics I know are the most miserable people on the planet. Because they aren’t happy, and they aren’t afraid to admit it. They’re also the smartest.

Smart people are rarely happy. You know why? Because they’re surrounded by people who aren’t very smart.

I know this first hand. Does that sound arrogant? I don’t care. I can say that because I’m going to sat this: I’m not educated. I’m not well-read. I didn’t go to an Ivy League college. I didn’t even graduate from college. As a matter of fact, I actually spelled “college” with an a  in the first draft of writing this. Yea spell-check!

But I’m still smarter than most people. You know why? Because I have common sense.

Plus I have street smarts. I’m not really even sure what that means, but I played on the streets a lot when I was a kid, so I felt like I should throw that in there.

And I said all that just to say this: if zombies invaded a comedy club, the comics would probably be killed first.

Depending on the line up.

If you don’t get that, listen here: Zombies eat brains… So congratulations, you’re safe.

She Ain’t Heavy, She’s My Brother

So, here’s the thing with Jill. She’s been my best friend for about twenty years. I love and want to kill her more than anyone on the planet. Not including myself, of course. Well, of course.

We met on the road doing stand-up in the early nineties…I think.

I wish I couldn’t remember because the road was so crazy with partying and stuff. But if I’m going to be honest, I’ll have to say I don’t remember how long ago we met because I’m not good at math.

The first time I saw Jill was when I opened for her at The Punchline in Houston, Texas. It was a comedy club in the lounge of some hotel in Houston, Texas. Did I already say Houston, Texas?

It was a club just like they all were back during the comedy boom. Fake brick wall. Three people in the “crowd.” It was awesome. I think I made fifty dollars for the week. Sorry if it seems like I’m bragging.

Anyway, I remember she went on stage after seeing my act for the first time and said, “If you liked Becky or you didn’t, get ready because you’re going to feel the same way for the next forty-five minutes.”

In other words (not that I really need other words), we’re basically the same person with the same sense of humor.

Wow. I know. She is so lucky.

We’ve been through it all. Jill is the first person I call when I fall in love or get arrested. She’s the friend that if I walked up to her in a bar and said, ” You need to come with me right now because we’re going to kick somebody’s ass.”  She wouldn’t ask why. She’d just politely excuse herself from the table and go help me kick somebody’s ass.

Oh my heavens, we wouldn’t actually do that because we were not raised that way, thank you very much. But you know what I mean. Jill is that friend.

One weekend she was staying at my house, and we were talking about my breakup from my boyfriend of fourteen years. She was there from the beginning. I think she was more heartbroken over it than I was. Our relationship had been the one that she held all others up to. Yeah, sorry ’bout that.

So we were having drinks, and I was trying to console her with the typical reassurances: ” You’ll be okay. These things happen. I’ll find someone else.”

“But you guys seemed so perfect together.”  She said between sighs and sips of a dirty martini.

Well, obviously no relationship is perfect, but telling her that seemed like a lame way of getting the point across. So instead, I thought I’d tell an awkward story about our sex life that would make me seem great and him seem like a judgmental jerk. Then she would feel better about the breakup and we could just make fun of him all night.

Now, either I’m a bad storyteller (really?) or she just wasn’t paying attention (more likely), and somehow our wires got crossed along the way. This is how our conversation went:

I said, “So one time we were in New York and I was ‘downtown.’ ”

Now first let me clarify that by “downtown” I meant his “nether regions.”

Also, let me clarify that I’m euphemistic and put things in quotation marks whenever I’m talking about anything sexual. It makes me feel less like a whore.

So I said, “We were in New York and I was ‘downtown.’ ”

And she asked, ” Why were you downtown? Were you working?”

I said, “Well, I was sure trying.”

(Pregnant pause.)

“What?” she asked.

Jill didn’t realize, like you and I do, that I meant his downtown. Because of course, she wasn’t listening.

I said, “I was ‘DOWNTOWN!'”

(Pregnant-er pause.)

“Huh? Ohhhh!”

She and I both started laughing.

And she added, ” Why didn’t you just say that? So what was New York a euphemism for?”

As I thought,  Come on Jill, please don’t use “euphemism” just because I used it earlier. I said, “Uhhhhh….it was a euphemism for New York.”

Then she added, “Well, why’d you have to mention New York?”

“Because we were in New York!” I screamed.

Which made us start laughing again until she was wheezing and I thought I would wet my pants.

” Too bad I wasted fourteen years with that guy. Think of all the ‘downtowns’ I could have visited on the road.” I said.

“I know, ” she agreed. ” Becky’s Urban Renewal Plan.”

I said. ” I really regret not visiting ‘downtown Buffalo.'”

The giggling and wheezing went on into the night. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what happens when two nice Texas girls try and have an adult conversation about a blowjob.

No, I love you more

My neighbors in the building across the street are fighting and screaming the “F” word at each other while their children cry in the background.

The good news is, when their son ends up in jail and the daughter is a pregnant stripper at seventeen years old, we’ll be able to pinpoint exactly where things went wrong.

How Dare You

I have wasted a lot of my life saying “I’m sorry” when I really wasn’t.

I’m the peacemaker who never wants to hurt anyone’s feelings, even if they hurt mine. I try to be honest, but I’ll pull a punch if it will keep you from killing yourself.

When I was younger, it was really important that people thought I was funny. I needed to hear it. “Tell me I’m funny, please. Tell me!” When I would have a bad set (notice I said “when” instead of “if”), I’d wear the shame like a scarlet letter. Most comics believe you’re only as good as your last show. Uh-oh.

I used to equate that bad show means bad person.

Nowadays, I don’t really care so much. I say what I want. If you’re with me, that’s great. If not, that’s fine too, but I’m still going to say it. And if you’re offended, well, then I’m offended that you’re offended.

I’ve said all that to say this: my mom is mad at me because I said “balls” on television.

The Honeycomb Hideout

I once spent thirteen and a half months hiding out in a gay bar. Now, despite my six-foot frame and the fact that I bought myself “The Perfect Push-Up” for my birthday, I am straight. Sorry ladies, but it took me forty years to figure out how my vagina works, I don’t have time to be messing with yours.

Okay, why would a hetero woman spend over a year of her life in a bar for homosexuals? Well, if you think it’s because that community is accepting and there’s no judgment there, then apparently you’ve never hung out with gay men. There’s nothing but. That’s why it’s so fun. A gay man doesn’t need to know at whom or why you’re mad. They just need to know you are, and then, let the good times roll.

I’m not exactly sure what I was hiding from really, but there I’d sit night after night, a dirty martini in one hand, invisible cigarette in the other, taking to the transvestite next to me. “I’ll tell you the problem with comedy,” I’d say, followed by, “The people who book The Tonight Show can kiss my ass.” Then I’d blow fake cigarette smoke in her overly made-up, pre-op face.

“Fuck ’em, honey,” she’d say politely before grabbing her pony of Budweiser and heading for the men’s room.

Exactly. Fuck them.

I felt like a woman scorned. As if I’d put stand-up through medical school and it had left me  for some open-mic chick.

I’ve spent my life busting my hump on the road. I’ve given up everything for comedy. I’ve never owned a refrigerator or had a kid. And who knows how many times I could have been married.

I don’t know, perhaps the bald young lady with the skull and crossbones tattooed on her forehead was right. Maybe I just need up lighten up a little.

Looking back, I realize that my time spent in that bar wasn’t a total waste. Because with each passing day, the transvestite I was talking about, began to look and dress more and more like me until she was my doppelganger. The lesson I learned is this…when a man who is becoming a woman chooses to emulate you, it makes you remember that you are truly fabulous.

Too Bad, So Sad

Here are two things that most people don’t know about me:

First, I can tap dance. Actually, I’m not that good at it, although, I can “Shuffle off to Buffalo” like a motherfucker.

Second, I suffer from depression. I know, me and half of the people on the planet, right? Boring. That’s why I don’t talk about it. Nobody cares. I don’t even care, which, I believe, is a symptom of depression.

I don’t know that for sure because I didn’t go to medical school. However, I did learn a thing or two during my year and a half of junior college, which I went to on a dance scholarship, hence the tap dancing.

At least I’m not one of those depressed people who are on medication. Good grief, those people with their meds and the side effects like the spinal overgrowth and the bloody discharge. Nice. That’s who you want at your party.

Here’s an idea: instead of screwing up your body with crazy chemicals, how about dealing with it the old-fashioned way, as I do? Try staying in bed for three days while you ponder killing yourself, knowing you can’t because God will get mad at you and it will make your mom cry.

So you lie there in the dark with the covers over your head, just you and your own stink (because you haven’t showered in seventy-two hours), hoping someone will break in and end it for you.

And then one day, you just wake up and feel normal again. The sun will be shining, the birds will be singing, and you’ll think, “Man, I could fuck up a cheeseburger right about now.”

And then…life goes on.

If I Should Die Before I Wake

I am a hypochondriac. Worry is my middle name. If I wake in the morning feeling happy and peaceful, I will immediately do my best to put a stop to it. Be it “new freckle” or “cramp in my thigh,” I love to jump to the worst-case scenario.

Last week I thought I was going blind in my left eye. Turns out, I should take my eye makeup off before going to bed.

This “I’m sure God is going to kill me at any moment” personality quirk can be traced back to age eleven, when, before going to sleep one night, I had a long, tearful goodbye with my dog. Just in case one of us didn’t wake up. We both survived the night, but things were never really the same between us after that.

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