Tag Archives: Stand-up comedy

north pole, south pole

Hello, friend…

Just a quick thought before I go to bed tonight. How life swings from one extreme to the other, how the heart and spirit can soar before the proverbial balloon is popped and everything falls to pieces.

This time last week, I was settling in for the night at my sister’s home in Lachute, Quebec and preparing for my first batch of stand-up shows outside of Toronto! I had always thought my first gigs outside of Toronto would be in Barrie, Ontario or whatnot… not miles and miles away in my home province of Quebec. But I had a fantastic Quebec debut in Gatineau, Quebec and cannot wait to go back!!

A year ago, I could not have fathomed my stand-up career would be moving along as nicely as it has been. A year ago, I could not have fathomed I could say “my stand-up career” with a straight face.

Then fast forward to tonight, I am digesting the news that my dear friend Ray has passed. His death is not a surprise, he was not well at all, but it is still a tough reality to digest. I will be at his funeral in a few days, to wish his family love and Ray peace as he goes to infinity and beyond.

A year ago, I met Ray as part of the documentary I’m co-producing on a phenomenal man named John Feal & his fellow 9/11 first responders. I recall John telling myself and the crew we’d be meeting Ray that day, and I loved him from Hello. Despite the cancer that had invaded his body, Ray was light & love. I was able to call him a friend for one year, 365 days.

Such extremes, but such a perfect example of where life can take you. A girl came into the bakery so sad, only letting me know that she was having a very bad day and we agreed a cupcake would help perk her spirits. Hopefully it’s sweetness would counteract her tears.

As my heart nurses its wound, I take immense pride in recalling how days before I went up on stage in my hometown and made people laugh. At one show, friends were in the audience. My sister and my nephew as well. I marvel at where my life path has taken me, and wonder where it will continue. If I will ever remember what it feels like to be kissed at the end of a date, because I think I’m starting to forget how nice that can feel. But that’s the beauty of a new day, isn’t it? New opportunities present itself… as my friend Ray would have said, that’s a good thing.

I have lost two beautiful friends to cancer this year, Ana-Alecia & now Ray. But while it took my friends, it can’t take away the impact they had on me and those who knew them.

Because that’s all that matters really, how you impact people & the impression you leave behind.

xo.

… a little bit of magic

Hello, friend…

I’m just home from a really great night. I did some stand-up at a venue I’d never been at before and the place was packed and friends were there… and there was some super fun karaoke times afterwards. The simple fact that I get to go and tell jokes is something I beam over. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE stand-up. I feel my nerves go up to a level I cannot describe as I’m being introduced and then I get to the mic, and I feel like I’m home.

I feel at home on stage, just me with a mic, telling jokes.

I don’t think I could have predicted EVER saying that 20 years ago, when I was at the bar next door to the venue I was at tonight.

20 years ago, I headed over to Toronto’s famed McVeigh’s for the first time with my dear James for a pint. I’d never had Guinness before, but James didn’t need to know that. But that night was magic… we talked about EVERYTHING, we confessed having feelings for each other. We kissed for the first time in a corner of the basement. That night I fell in love with James, and Guinness and Van Morrison.

As you know, if you follow my stories, James has been gone for just about a year now. Tonight, as I left the club, after a girl power inspired of No Scrubs with my friends- I was smiling as I do and looked at McVeigh’s and saw James and I that night 21 years ago saying our good-nights. Or trying to. 😉 I kept walking and then completely caught my breath… because…

When James was getting really, really sick we talked. And I decided with my love being so sick, he couldn’t do all he wanted to do so… since I had been thinking about doing stand-up for a good year at that point, I decided to jump and I asked friends if I could do a set at their show. They said Yes.

Something I now love to do SO MUCH came from my pain of knowing he wasn’t well. So James… thank you for pushing me. You always knew I could do things I never thought I could do. Thank you so fucking much.

I’m home and it’s 2am and I’m eating McDonald’s and my throat hurts from laughing and singing off-key and I’m so happy.

xo.

timing

Hello, friend…

I had a thought tonight as I left a comedy writing workshop tonight, and went to get a boneless chicken roti from one of my favourite spots in the city… I was thinking of how lucky I am. Here I was, at 9pm at night, walking up Bathurst with a roti in hand and feeling good about some new jokes I tried out tonight. Kelly from a year ago was anxious to put her toes in the stand-up comedy waters but it would take three months to get the lady-balls to actually do it.

Okay, talking about myself in the third person is weird. I’ll stop.

But yeah, in January of this year, I convinced friends to put me in their show and with my brother and a couple of friends in the audience up I went. 37 years old and no-longer a stand-up comedy virgin!! Huzzah! (Though I’d never been so convinced I could possibly pass-out in front of people as I was that night, oh my god was I scared.) Now, I’m not someone who feels like I’m an adult most of the time; I’m 38 but I think I’m still 23. But I know that I’m older than a good lot of the comics I’ve come across so far, and I had a moment tonight where I thought “Why the hell didn’t I start doing this 10 years ago? I CAN do this damnit! Why didn’t I know I could do this when I was younger??!! AAUUUGGHH!”

The thing is, I wasn’t ready to do this at 28. The timing wasn’t right.

Yes, I spent countless nights as a teen watching An Evening at the Improv on A & E, or sneaking in a late night David Letterman episode on a school night. But there was no thought that EVER came into my head that said “You should try stand-up comedy!” I did tech for improv and sketch troupes, though and THEN I got on stage myself and it was fun but it never felt… right. I was trying to fit into a pair of pants that fit but… if I sat down I couldn’t breathe. And I don’t know about you, but I like to be able to breathe in any position I’m in. It’s, as the French say, really fucking important. (Read that last bit in a French accent for the full effect.)

I morphed into background stuff, and I still love background stuff … but when I was 24 I started writing again and that became my first play. I think that’s when the proverbial penny dropped, and slooooowly I found my confidence. And then fast forward to tonight, I am 38 and I’m heading home with a roti that I should NOT be eating at 9pm at my age but fuck it. I’m heading home having told some jokes that made some cool people laugh and I’ll do it again in a night or two.  As I ride the TTC and listen to my music, I daydream about submitting a package to Late Night with Seth Meyers of my material… because, why not try?!  I can try that! What’s the worst that could happen?

It’s all about timing. It’s all about the timing when I’m up on stage with that mic and a spotlight on me, thinking to myself why  I didn’t try this sooner.

I wasn’t ready to do the thing. But now… I am doing the thing.

Cue late night dance part to work off late night roti!!!!

xo.