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I have done road gigs and the restaurants ARE ALL like Red Lobsters. Some have flashing lights that are reminiscent of a Chuck E. Cheeze. But the main point for me at this point in my career is stage time, and maybe a free plate of slop that might come along with the gig.
Even as a headliner or feature you are getting paid maybe 200 dollars which couldn't pay my phone bill. So, for comics that do, go on the road, I think it is for the love of comedy.
I began comedy for a various reasons. I was able to get out of trouble, i.e., not do my homework, and basically graduate from college because I was semi-bright and could make almost anyone smile. I was always able to befriend people from different races, ages, and religions. I knew no limits to color or even wanted to.
And I felt I had some talent in making people laugh. That seemed to be my gift. My first love was dancing and ice-skating. I did that up until my knee started popping out of the socket consistently. Comedy was really the one thing I was really good at didn't have to physically mutilate myself and still got a sense that there was movement.
I grew up looking at life different. I always felt different, I think it in part, had to do with the fact that I was deaf until I was seven. It was caused by a milk allergy and I learned from a sensory and gut level what was humorous and enabled me to read a person, no words necessary.
It might have been partly due to the fact that I was so sick as a child and basically in and out of the hospitals having major operations until I was a junior in High School. Ironically. My dad is an emergency room doctor.
One time after not listening to him while he was repairing some guys broken nose in a pool and yelled out to me "Precious don't come out here, where that was my cue, I ran out and then cracked my head open only to have him stitch me up on the kitchen table.
He grew up Jewish in Milwaukee and then served in Vietnam. My father also spent his college years doing comedy - mostly political humor. What can I say, he gave me the "Myth of Sisyphus" at the age of 12 and that's hilarious and heartbreaking in the same sigh.
My dad always told me that if he had to do it all over again he would have gone to Hollywood and tried to make it as a comedian. I guess it's hereditary because I, too, feel the need to express myself in a way that tugs at your self-esteem and also makes you have an incredible ego, if only for five minutes.
I was brought up in a family that was Jewish and we were expected to be either a lawyer or a doctor. I began to see school was not the place where I wanted to gain my knowledge, after I graduated from a Buddhist college which was an integral part in my transformation.
I got my degree in English and minored in Philosophy. I realized that my thoughts could amuse and inspire second thoughts and that's what a lot of my life is, second thoughts that are a day late and a dollar short but are at times quite funny - I had to experience other cultures, so I traveled and lived in Europe and Costa Rica.
Realization: I hate bugs.
My dad taught me that humor is a tool, a medicine, a broken heart mender and great way to influence people to either think like you do or at least make them ponder what you think about, if only for a minute. I began to carve my own route.
I did follow my dad's footsteps for a while and worked as an EMT for a year. EMT is Emergency Medical Technician--this is one step from being a Paramedic and realized I didn't want to spend my days honing my skill in operating the 'Jaws of life.'
I wanted to spend my days reflecting, sharing and teaching people about the life that I saw as humorous, painful, hopeful and fire red joy. In fact, I started my teenage years by reading Albert Camus, listening to the Beatles, and trying to impersonate Madonna in the "like a Virgin" video.
So I was this pondering soul, wondering where my "Magical Mystery Tour" was and discovering what is was like to be female in a very male world. Sometimes, it feels like Albert Camus' essay inspired by Homer's "Myth of Sisyphus".
Sisyphus was the king of Corinth who, because of his cruel ways, was condemned by the gods - - to push a boulder up a mountainside, only to watch it plunge to the bottom again each time he neared the lip, whereupon Sisyphus was forced to flee downhill, the plummeting boulder nearly on his heels.
The Gods thought, with some reason, that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor. This is for me, the peaks and valleys of comedy. I am almost at the point but really, not even close.