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let go

Hello, friend…

I was having a chat with my friend J the other day, telling him about a time when I really, really hurt someone I cared about. It’s been about 13 years since it happened and though we have long since made amends, he now lives (happily married) in California, every now and then I think about what happened. Every now and then, I knock salt into the wound. But as J reminded me, I’m not the same person as I was then… and the choices I made then aren’t ones I’d make now.

And he’s right. I am a different person, and I wouldn’t make those choices again. So, why is it that I still can’t fully completely shake off the guilt? As I get older, I know I have to let these proverbial weights off my shoulders. It’s not worth carrying. I walked for a bit after work, along a street we once strolled that Christmas everything went belly up; and as I walked, as sometimes happens, I got these flashbacks of us standing here and talking there.

What happened, you ask? A valid question. Well… when I met this guy, I was feeling amazing at having my first short film in a NYC film festival  AND I was on a high that came with the insane mood swings I had become used with being on the birth control pill. So when he met me, yes, I was INCREDIBLY attracted to him and I thought he was just the coolest cat. But I knew something was wrong with me, just couldn’t put my finger on it.  And then days later, “Aunt Flow” came to visit and stayed for 30 days. THIRTY DAYS. It was the beginning of my body & mental health hitting a brick wall. I went from this bubbly, “let’s do ALL the things” gal (who he once called “New York Kelly”) to this mean, bitchy, quiet wet blanket (a.k.a “Toronto Kelly”).

I meet this amazing guy… he came to Toronto to visit me at Christmas… and then a trap door in the floor opened up. And while it was scary, in hindsight, it was absolutely necessary because I didn’t realize how sick those birth control pills were making me. I just felt awful that I had to take this guy out in the process. He meet and falls for one version of me, and then my evil twin popped up and hijacked what was happening.

Why does that happen? Why is that life is humming along nicely and then BLAMMO,  surprise shit storm!

I hurt this kind soul because I just SHUT DOWN. I didn’t want to be touched, bothered… my anxiety hit 100%… I was needing to get all things done quickly and now... I cringe thinking about it all these years later. He whispered in my ear as we parted at the airport that Christmas “You made me feel like I wasn’t wanted”. And he was right, because I was the worst version of myself I’d ever seen. But had that not happened, I’d have continued on- convinced I didn’t have just anxiety & panic attacks and that I was getting worse and would need more treatment. My mental health fell apart that Christmas. But it was the best gift I could have received.

I needed to hit rock bottom, so to speak. I needed ALL of that to happen in order to turn a corner. It took a lot of time to get that birth control pill out of my system, it took even more time to eventually rid myself of the medicines I took to ease my anxiety & panic. I live my days now with meditation in my back pocket when I need to centre and calm down. I believe I am more empathetic and mindful now than I ever have been.

I can’t go back and changed what happened, how I handled that new relationship… but I can look back at it with gratitude. We made amends, as I said… forgiveness was given… and ultimately, it made me a better person.






Hello friend,

I realize the stupidity of what I’m about to say and I am trying to shift my focus to a positive gear… but I am genuinely crushed that my long-awaited date with a cute Frenchman got canned (by him) a couple hours before we were set to meet up. Once my hair was done and legs were shaved.

Btw- I knew the leg shave was a risky move. Every single damn time I’ve shaved my legs before an anticipated date- shenanigans emerge and not the good kind. Can someone remind me leg shaving is to be done if we make it to a second date and only then?!

Anyhoo. Yesterday had the makings of a perfect day- hair appointment, hot afternoon planned with a French guy and my debut at a well-established Montreal comedy club that night. And as soon as I got out of the salon, feeling gooooood… bam! He bails. And sends a sad face emoji.

And it took me a few to realize that my eyes were watering a bit as I looked at my phone. And then my inner Cher from Moonstruck had to yell “Snap out if it!” to myself… “You’ve got a big gig tonight!” ( okay- that second bit wasn’t from Mooonstruck but you get my point). My set turned out great, I met some genuine and cool folks at the club… I’m just so frustrated with myself that I’m a bit upset that he never matetalized and the date was a bust.

I’m a grown woman! Moderately successful!! I do a lot of cool shit!! But… I’m human with these dumb feelings.

Yes, I’ll go forth and cull from it what I can for a set.

Perhaps finding love is as hard as paying off my credit card debit. Hmm… there’s a joke there…



Hello, friend…

Two months today I will be 40 years old. I love birthdays- so I take great joy in these silly little markers… three months to go, two months…

It’s not that I’m rushing to get older. I genuinely find it HILARIOUS that I’m set to turn 40. I don’t know what this age is supposed to feel like, but I absolutely do not feel any different than I did when I turned 30… well… metaphorically speaking, I do not feel any different. I do not need to go on about how my period is hellish now, or how bloated I get eating certain foods… THE POINT is, I am greatly amused by this new number I see poking its head around the corner.

I was thinking today of where I was in my 20s, and what an utter mess I made of certain things. But I think that’s what your 20s are made for, thinking you know all because your teen years are O-V-E-R… and you are making an absolute mess of relationships. And then your 30s are for figuring out things, realizing you can hold your own, realizing right from wrong and getting a grip on your powers. And now my 40s are approaching and I feel like this might be the decade of letting go, flying and seeing what my powers can do!! And I might make a complete ass of myself… but unlike my 20s… I WON’T GIVE A SHIT!!!!! Ha ha!!!!

I highly doubt I will ever shake the ever present question of “Who gave me the Adult Pass? Should I have it? I feel like I’m still 18. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing half the time, and by the way… where are the snacks?” But I don’t think I will ever want to lose that sense of wonder, I’d be so sad if I did. There are SOOOOOOO many places to go.


WP_20140203_009(Montreal, 1983)

only me.

Hello, friend…

I’m in Montreal for the weekend, back in my hometown, telling jokes and dining on the BEST eats with family (pro tip: when dining out, make sure one of your family members is a chef and knows the chef of where you’re eating- because… ohmylord, I’m being treated like a Queen!!).

Anyway. So last night, at a gig I had, this nice looking guy offers me a drink and we talked a little, and he got me another drink and it was really lovely! He asked what my plans were while I was in town, I told him about my other show, he invited me to a party… amazing, right? Right. So he takes my number, calls me so I have his number and we part ways. I am on cloud nine. (Literally- there was a lot of pot being smoked at this gig.)

And I get in the car. And I check my phone to add his number. And my heart sinks.

He clearly hung up when calling me too quickly because I NEVER GOT HIS PHONE NUMBER. My phone had no missed calls. Why didn’t I check it as he called me and not simply assume all was well??!!!


It just makes an ass out of u and me.




My Top 5 Amazing Women of 2017

Hello, friends…

A lot of lists float around this time of year and I will happily add to the pile if you don’t mind. 😉

I know SO MANY AMAZING women and this is stupidly hard to chop down to only 5 to mention but… these are ladies you should know about & follow on the social media. Because they are awesome and I don’t know how I got so lucky to know them.


My Top 5 Amazing Women of 2017

  1. My niece, Charlotte … she’s kicking butt in the kitchens of Montreal and growing up into the coolest lady.  aaauuuggghh….  I AM SO PROUD OF HER!!!!! 
  2. Ashley Wittig…  co-owner of Bunner’s, teacher at Misfit Studio,  and just all around really really awesome lady (who I don’t see enough of really- must change that in 2018…). Follow her on Instagram @ashleyhalston
  3. The ladies of Baroness von Sketch… if you’ve not seen this show for some reason, please change that NOW.  I am blown away by what they’ve done and insanely proud of how my friends Jennifer Whalen & Aurora Browne have grown since I first met them many moons ago. Follow them on Twitter @BaronessShow
  4. Through making my documentary No Responders Left Behind, I have gotten to know some PHENOMENAL women… widows of 9/11 responders, sisters, wives of responders and responders themselves. So to ladies like Caryn, Taylor, Jennifer, Rebecca, Wendi, Marzena…. I marvel at you. And adore you. I won’t share each of their social media handles, but I will ask that you check out organizations that mean a lot to them:
  5. I have to give a LOT of love and thanks and gratitude to my editor at Hello GigglesRachel Sanoff because she is just the best. 🙂 Thanks to her, you get to read my essays and I get to share my stories with so many people. She is the best. And you should go check out Hello Giggles because it’s a great space to learn and share…  follow us on Twitter @hellogiggles


In truth, I could list 50 women on this… but it’s a small, amazing drop of the amazing people I know. My mom is up there, my sister and sister-in-law, my friend Jenny who’s starting her own wedding organization business, the wonderful women who run amazing comedy rooms in Toronto and invite me on… I cannot wait to see where we take things in 2018.


the power of 2017

Hello, friend…

Winter is officially here. Christmas is a few sleeps away. 2017 is slowly coming to an end.

Before I head off to a stand-up gig tonight, a few thoughts on this year. Now, at the start of the year with Trump being sworn in and the gong show that has continued on since… at the start of the year my overall impression of what I thought 2017 would have been like wasn’t a pleasant picture. I’m still devastated he’s in charge in the States, but what the past few months have given me is waaaaaay more hope than sadness.  And that has surprised me, to be honest.

But just the power of people coming together for common good has been good for the soul. I’m still concerned where things will go on this planet, I worry what the world will be like when my nephews and niece are my age BUT… for now… for now, I look back at this year and I’m happy.

Did I fall in love? Um, no. No, I still really suck at establishing a solid relationship.

BUT. Before you think “well, what else matters, really?” First off, shut up… secondly…

This year I became a contributor at Hello Giggles. My first story with them (insert shameless plug here)…

… well, that landed me an interview on CBC’s Radio’s Fresh Air program.

I started doing stand up in ANOTHER PROVINCE. The fact that my first gig outside of Toronto was in Gatineau, Quebec still bewilders me. That in January 2018 I’ll celebrate my 2 year standup-versary bewilders me. My stand-up career started at the tender age of 38. Amazing. 😉

My nephew turned 1 this July. The tiniest Zemnickis is just beginning his adventure and I marvel at simply watching him watch the world. This is all new to him. Hummus is new to him and the little man really loves hummus and making silly faces. I think he if he can hang onto that as he grows up, he’ll be set.

My documentary, No Responders Left Behind, my FIRST documentary with my friends Rob, Kristine & Jaime completed filming and was sent off to the Tribeca Film Festival for consideration for 2018. I am going to crap my pants if we get in.

I know, I know… I didn’t find love in 2017 but… the year isn’t over yet and truth be told… there was a LOT of love around me this year. On the good side, my friends Heather & Jeremy got married and invited me to their wedding. My friend Zane married his love, Willa. And people I loved so much, Ana-Alecia and Ray, well they lost their battle with Cancer but they left behind SO much love and light I hope their magic stays with me for always and always.

And the MeToo movement. MY god. What a beautiful thing that has been, because those of us who have been silent and hiding our scars… We can SPEAK UP and SPEAK UP and SPEAK UP. I just… I love it. Because those scars are heavy. And they need to gooooooooooo. And even if you can speak up, you know that you’re not alone and you’re loved and BELIEVED that it’s not and never was your fault.

Power is a good word for this year. Some have taken it in a bad direction, but I think the power of good is winning out. And we will Care Bear Stare the pants out of it as 2017 ends and 2018 begins.





funny / not funny

Hello, friend…

I’m about to dash off to work but I need to get something off my chest before I head off into the world today. Yesterday, on the ol’ Facebook, I spotted a cartoon someone shared making light of how many people seem to be coming out with their stories of sexual assault. There are a lot of people. I get it.

I just started at my computer, looking at this cartoon.

And my thought was simply “oh. boy.”

Here’s the thing. There’s power in numbers, right? If you see a lot of people speaking up, this beautiful domino effect occurs, you can tell you story at long last. Because the truth is, when you experience something utterly horrible like rape or sexual harassment you tend to feel like the person who did that to you will be believed before you will. Because most of the time, a lot of the time, that is the case. So you keep quiet.

And this thing bubbles inside of you for YEARS.

This will likely make ZERO sense if you’ve not had this happen to you.

Those of us who have not spoken up yet, or are doing so after 30+ years aren’t “jumping on the bandwagon”, this isn’t a sports team for fuck’s sake. It’s happening because we feel safe to speak out, well those who can and are able. Some are not. Some may never be. I had something happen to me when I was a teenager- I still cannot speak of it and I’m almost 40 for christ sake.  (That sentence is the MOST I have ever said aloud about it. Really.) I’ve experienced sexual harassment at work, taunted “because I wasn’t in on the joke” and called a bitch because I wasn’t being “one of the boys”.

Sure, I will acknowledge that some people lie and pretend they are in this shitty, shitty club for a moment of fame. I have no idea why, but people can be dumb. They make those who have actually experienced stuff really really scared to come out. You turtle back inside of your shell.

I love turtles, but. Anyway.

Person who made that cartoon and those who shared it, please don’t be surprised SO many stories are coming to light. Be supportive that folks have the courage to speak up.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go to work and then prepare a roast chicken dinner party and then transcribe for a documentary. Because I got shit to do.