Hello Happy Face!
I wanna let you in on a secret: I’m kinda funny.
I dabbled in stand-up comedy off and on since 1999. I lived in Montgomery, Alabama and there was no intentional comedy scene. Hey, living in a state that always ends up on the national news for stupid stuff doesn’t make it a proper comedy scene. By 2008 I decided if I was going to
start my campaign to replace Sherri Sheppard on The View, have a career in comedy, I had to start producing my own comedy shows. I used my life as a maid as material for my one woman, tour-de-force, Waaaayyy Off Broadway show (Alabama is like a million miles from New York City that qualifies as Off, right?) The Recession Maid Me Do It! I developed a small,loyal following a.k.a. The Dust Bunnies and a local nightclub allowed me to perform. For almost a year I was famous! Not Kardashian famous, more like “are you that cleaning lady ?” famous!
It took six moths after we moved to Oklahoma for me to get on stage. Starting over was hard. I had no Dust Bunnies, and the comedy club was a boys club! My very first night on stage, I won a coveted slot in the finals of a comedy competition. I competed against nine other comics (all men) who brought the audience (almost all women) and I stole their thunder. They were PISSED. Only two of the comics acknowledged my win afterwards. The rest of them gave me the stink eye…which I met with my signature eye roll, tooth suck, and cobra neck…growing up in the projects has its privileges.
In August I had a great round of PR and a sad round of reality. I was featured in Woman’s Day and the Tulsa World. I was asked by a promoter to perform in one of his shows. My gut told me to say no, but didn’t. I had to cancel the show because I visited with my Mama for my birthday– a month before she died. There was no way I could perform knowing that I had just seen Miss Ella for the last time this side of heaven. I called the promoter and left him an e-mail a week before the show. He told me he understood.
The finals for the competition rolled around in November. I started promoting the hell out of it. Two days before the finals, the club had a waiter inform me via Facebook that I had been disqualified from the competition because I missed the show in August. Here’s the thing: there were no written or implied rules. The show I missed had nothing to do with the competition. The club had already decided who they wanted to win; and it wasn’t me. I was PISSED. This was a case of full blown Hateration. I commenced to open up a 50 gallon drum of Facebook Whupass that cost them business, but it cost me more. I became a mad clown. I’m sure that I came across as the stereotypical “Angry Black Woman.” (By the way, I am offering confidential assertiveness lessons, if you need to up your “Don’t make me cut you!” factor …send me an e-mail!)
The club wronged me, but I had to face the truth. I didn’t want to be a comic on the road going from club to club, state to state, being heckled by drunken frat boys and dealing with the “He Man Woman Hater” mentality that the comedy business seems to be ate up with! Besides, the pay sucks. It’s a horrible business model and the comedy lifestyle is negative and destructive to families.
I learned 3 very important lessons:
- Trust Your Intuition. I should have never agreed to do the show in August. Something didn’t feel right from the get-go. Always listen to the soft whisper on your soul that’s trying to guide you.
- Always take the high road. I got into a Facebook brawl with the club. It made me feel better, but I should never have let them get to me. It could have cost me potential speaking clients.
- Stay in your own damn lane. Seven years ago, I started a prayer journal. The first line says, “ I want to speak and write.” There is not one entry in that journal that even hinted at doing comedy. Instinctively I knew then what I know now: I am happiest when I use words of hope and laughter to heal. I never wanted the stand-up lifestyle in the first place…what I want is a cushy job hosting a show, being funny and teaching people; and I can do that my own damn self on YouTube!
Being disqualified was a good thing. I am no longer wasting time or energy on a purpose that isn’t mine. Even the good book says that sometimes what is meant to do you harm works out for your good! And, Honey Child, it’s all good!
What has been the biggest blessing in disguise in your life? How did you turn a “Somebody Done Me Wrong Song” into a huge chunk of HAPPY in your life? Leave a comment below. And please feel free to share this with your friends! Thank you for reading…and have a Big, Fat, Happy Day!