I have been accidentally watching a lot of stand up lately. The first round happened when I went to the wrong UCB show and saw a bunch of good comedians - amongst them was Chelsea Peretti, an LA comic who is a writer for Parks and Recreation, who did this bit about a banana that has really stuck with me. She mentioned how awkward it is for her to eat a banana in public. I was just thinking about that the same day. So then I thought - I must be a comedic genius as well.
Yesterday I saw Chelsea Handler on some red carpet on my way to an audition. Ryan Seacrest was there as well - they were the only two I recognized, oh wait - the other girl who did the red carpet broadcast for E! was there - the one who looks like an alien. I was imagining what it will be like when I am on a red carpet and all of the photographers are shouting at me . . . to get out-of-the-way.
I also have gone to see my friend Ashley in two shows at the Broadway Comedy Club. The woman who runs the shows is open to having me come in and do something. There are a lot of these types of performance opportunities in New York. You are part of a variety show and you are expected to bring your friends and family out to watch and pay admission and drink their two drink minimum (pop counts). If you do that - then you can be in the show. I am good at getting people to come and see me, but I don't want to be in shitty shows. Last night I watched approximately two hours of the worst stand up comedy I have seen at the Pitt and scattered throughout the BCC show (I haven't seen a lot, but I know when things are not funny). I can't believe the shit that people say to try to get others to laugh. Man.
Ever since I had my show at the 45th street theatre (in case you didn't know - I was in a sketch show directed by Michael Bowen Horn - son of one of the co-founders of Second City; Roger Bowen - it was so great and I felt really inspired after working with him and trying my hand at sketch comedy) I have just fallen in love with comedy. I guess that really happened after my first intro class at Second City with Natasha Boomer, but I had to wander into drama in order to come back to comedy with a vengeance.
I have been reading the biography of Lucille Ball and watching clips of both her and Carol Burnett. I am starting to notice the type of comedy that works for me and the type that does not. I feel like most television comedy - reality shows, red carpet commentary, stand up, Saturday night live etc - has, at its core, this really mean spirit. Sometimes that makes people laugh, but at what cost? Why is it funny to watch people suffer? Do we see our own suffering in that and relate to it and then find it funny? I don't believe that is what is happening in these cases. I don't want to support it. Good comedy finds the humanity in the situation and helps ease the pain of the person experiencing that very issue. We love and sympathize with the characters and celebrate humanity. Good comedy has love and respect at its core. That is the type of work I want to do.
In this clip - Lucy and Ricky have moved to the country and have chickens who are not producing eggs - she has planned to plant eggs in the hen house to make it look like they are producing.
As those of you who know me know - I like to collect people. I find those with great skills and celebrate them. Things in New York are no different. I have found a little troupe of people who are going to get together on Friday and make some plans to shoot an improvised film for the New York unscripted festival on Memorial Day week-end. I am excited to work with the people who I have collected - they are all pretty fabulous and FUNNY - well, they make me laugh. They are also all attractive cause I like that too.
In the tradition of bad stand up I will go back to talking about it now with a no segue.. .
Seeing all of this bad stand up (and with the encouragement of people who have said I am good at comedic stuff) has REALLY inspired me to start working on some sort of one woman show thing. I HATE the description 'one-woman-show' though. It's as if we have to apologize for being the only woman there. Sorry guys - there's only gonna be one woman on stage so your fantasies will be limited (see how I was trying a little 'bit' there on all of you? I don't think it worked - I didn't hear any of you laughing).
The idea I have is to poke fun at all of the things I have wanted to be when I grow up. I have tried most of them which is the part that I find funny. I will work on some stuff and maybe try it out in front of some friends and see what they think. If I do I will record and send along.
In other news . . . I have been doing a lot of filming - almost every week-end, and have been learning a lot. I have decided not to go out for so many projects in the next two months though (I think I'm staying until July 1) and focus on writing and creating my own comedic material. As much as I enjoy and am stimulated by drama - I have not found the material as inspiring as the comedic ideas in my own head - New York is so FULL of funny people. And by funny I mean crazy. I want to play those characters.
I had my first rehearsal with the new band yesterday. We had some really magical moments and I am excited to see what happens when we all relax and start making sustained brain connections. Miles the drummer and I already seem to be doing it with both improv and song lyrics so it's only up from here! I can't believe I have only just met all of these people. They are so wonderful and I feel like we have been friends forever.
Also - Hip Hop Karaoke is happening on May 11th in Times Square - if anyone is thinking of coming for a visit - that would be a GREAT time! Lots to look forward to in May . . . but now, the laundry.