17 6 / 2013
When you’re onstage in a comedy venue. Or outside of a comedy venue, talking with other comedians about their shitty Dads. It’s a very, “This is why I’m here” roadmap conversation, and for once you can rest assured that every word escaping your mouth will be accepted and seconded by other kids of general fuck-upedness.
There was a time where I hated my Dad. Or perhaps, there was a time where I was saddened by my Dad. I wished he was “more,”: more present, more active, more supportive, more of the person he was when I was 12 and he was sitting me down each week to show me a new Albert Brooks film or Don Knotts movie and would tape episodes of the Simpsons onto one VHS compilation and we would have these inside jokes that - to this day - are some of the funniest words I have, and will ever hear.
I was mad at him because he wasn’t this guy anymore. I was sad because he was changing. I was listless because I didn’t know what the future would hold. And I was resentful that he kept on living, not under our roof, off somewhere else, being a Dad to somebody new.
Over time, I would hold onto this grief. This sadness that made me who I was almost as “street cred,” for a badge in legitimacy of what I could and would experience as a young twenty-something. I wasn’t conscious of this process, but wouldn’t budge in my tight grip.
There are moments where no man is a great Dad. And there were moments with mine where he was spectacular, and other times when he was the villain in our household. I hated how comfortable this felt at times - not that it was my Mother’s wish in the slightest, but that’s where the cards were laid.
I found myself longing for something. Wondering what it would be like to have a Father’s influence on my upbringing; wondering if I would have dated better; if I would’ve not lunged into love so quickly in my early twenties; if I would’ve appeared more grounded, or more level-headed, or more this or more that.
The facts remain, and nothing can be altered. I didn’t have a Dad in my house growing up, but I had plenty of Father Figures. I didn’t have a man helping me through the rough times, but I had a strong Mother navigating through all the torture of adolescence. I’m happy for what I had, and no longer miss what I never could’ve experienced. I don’t hold onto that sadness, or the anger, or the resentment, or any of it - he was what he was, and he never meant the bad stuff. A relationship in his life ended, and he did what he could to move on - trying to navigate but slipping through his own rough waters.
And even to this day, I’ll find myself standing outside of a comedy venue - talking about Dad stuff, swapping jokes about failure and I find my thoughts lingering, traveling to those inside jokes - and God Dammit if I don’t still laugh as hard as I did when I was twelve.
Happy Father’s Day - to those who made the best with what we had, and no longer live life with any regrets.
12 6 / 2013
Outside of the realm of say - a day-job, or perhaps a romantic relationship actually “quitting” something is a rare occasion for humans. Usually our lives follow the slow, natural decline of slipping out of a habit, only to be discovered months or perhaps years later that we are no longer the thing we once said we were.
I feel constantly conflicted toward stand-up comedy, and the fact that I never seem to do enough of it. When you start, it’s a pop of a gunshot, a spree to the other end of a conversation you have outside of Tiger Lily where you finally feel like “one of the guys.” You run to relate to, and later contribute to talks that make you at once feel like a peer and a surrogate sibling. I love these moments, I live for these moments; but they are slippery and hard to find once you stop doing it 2-3 times a week like you said you were, and you become distracted with other creative pursuits, and life intervenes; and all of that collides.
My life isn’t dormant; I’ve never been one to sit on my hands. I struggle with perfecting scripts that no one may ever read, I sing karaoke, I go on dates, I try to sew, I make “art,” I hang out with my family. These are all things that push their way through my life and leave me full, yet I can’t shake the feeling that I’m lazing about.
My friendships within stand-up are some of the strongest and most fulfilling I have ever had. I think there’s something to be said about that. That “fighting together in the trenches” kind of feeling, where you support each other when there’s an obvious bomb, and cheer each other on through victories. I understand that this anxiety I’m feeling, this conflict I’ve had with myself over stand-up is 99.9% me - and I’m generally unsure of how to solve it without just doing more stand-up. Which I will do.
Maybe there’ll come a point where juggling everything I want to do will feel easier, and in life’s own crafty way it’ll have the smallest impact on my psyche. I’m not sure what I intended to get out of writing this post - perhaps other people out there share a similar anxiety? Maybe my pains in juggling my creative life and my “actual life” will be relatable? Maybe I just want some kind of gold star from the universe.
Or maybe I’m just discouraged in knowing that I’ll never write anything as funny as this:
Yeah, that must be it.
29 5 / 2013
I am constantly being pulled apart by creative projects. Projects that are meant to be my lifeblood, projects that I willingly choose to be a part of, projects that I ENJOY end up being the bane of my existence, simply for living on my calendar.
Like most “Slashies” (a term I lovingly borrow from ‘Zoolander’) who divide their time between stand-up, writing scripts, making shorts, making “art,” sleeping, and doing some serious hanging with friends who divide their time similarly - it’s DAMN HARD. How do you manage? How could you manage?
Focusing too much on one area, makes you feel like you’re cheating on another. I’m often wedging myself within that purgatory where thinking about all I need to do stresses me out, so that I don’t do any of it. Kind of like dog-paddling in your subconscious. The essence of procrastination.
So I was thinking - let’s try to have a “Perfect Week” one in which we do everything we want. Really go to the gym 3x’s a week, really read for 30 minutes/day, really make some traction on that script draft, and then really write a new joke and actually go to that open mic in the middle of God-knows-where to hang with who-knows-what.
Maybe if we know the week after is a “vacation week,” and it appears to us like a light at the end of the tunnel, we’ll work harder. Who knows? Maybe we’ll give ourselves shingles from all the stress. That’s a possibility, too. But the one thing we won’t crumble from is the lack of trying, and the guilt of devoting your life to something you rarely even do.
So, who’s with me?
23 5 / 2013
"I feel like a I want to switch gears a little bit, and I don’t know what I’m going to do. But you know what? I think that kind of sums up life. We don’t know what the fuck we’re doing half the time anyway. Or at least me. I can’t speak for you. I’m sorry if I did. I’m a meandering idiot. That’s it, meandering idiot….or maybe I’m enlightened. I’m sure a lot of people thought Buddah was an idiot. Some kind of guy sitting there under a tree staring off into space, doesn’t really seem like the brightest thing on Earth, does it ? And, you know, if you sit under a tree, you’re inevitably gonna get some bird shit on you. Enlightened or not, birds are going to shit on you. I’m sure Jesus got it. You can’t tell me Jesus wasn’t doing ‘Sermon on the Mount’ and a dove flew by and dropped some bird shit on him."
Meandering through the opening of year 2 of Conversations with Matt Dwyer
Episode 53 with guest Josh Caldwell, Musician (Les Blanks, Holy Folk)
Feral Audio (via podquotes)
Matt Dwyer is one of my dearest friends and favorite people. And he’d probably call me a dummy for saying that. He is brilliant. By himself. Without any constraints of an art medium to hold him. The kind of stream-of-consciousness that pops out of his big dummy head is brighter and funnier than anything else we struggle to phrase. He’s a good dude who deserves the best, and he’ll get it.
16 5 / 2013
I was 10 years old when my Dad showed me the sequel to “Back to the Future,” and for a long while it was my favorite. I could tell you - right here, right now - nothing is more tantalizing to a young kid than a cool image of the future. I’m pretty sure this is universal to the 12-and-under crowd.
I remember doing the math in my head - the “future” in BTTF II is the year 2015. I would be 27 at that time. Who would I be? I mean - I would be DRIVING and living on my own, so common sense tells me I’d probably be a pretty cool person.
I thought I would be married by 26. But that’s an unrealistic goal to set for yourself since it relies on another human being.
I thought I would have a house. Economy aside, I probably wouldn’t be able to afford this anyway. Unless I wanna share a bathroom with 4-5 other people, I can check this off the list.
I thought I would have a cool dog. At this point, I can JUST BARELY afford to feed myself. I don’t have “Trader Joe’s Fuck You” money just yet - but I’m on the cusp. I think.
I thought I would have not a job, but a “career.” This is partly true. As is the truth for so many of us living in Los Angeles and chasing the dragon, it’s feast or famine. I’m very lucky to have people who work in various levels of Entertainment who think I’m a pretty okay lady. Though, it still feels a little like lying when I tell people, “I’m a TV writer.” Or even worse, “A stand-up comedian.”
It’s important to learn about expectations, and how most of what you measure yourself up to is a 10-year-old’s image of the future. I don’t feel anywhere near what I thought 2015 would look like, but then again - where the fuck are all of our hover boards?
I live in a shoebox, I double my kitchen table as a work station, guzzle caffeinated things that are killing me slowly all to meet deadlines for things that will seem incredibly silly in retrospect - but holy shit I would not change a goddamn second of it.
My friends are great, my health is steady, my Mom’s pretty cool, and I don’t live next to someone who’s trying to be a DJ, or a drummer, or runs an underground daycare operation.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go sing Showtunes into a karaoke mic during Happy Hour, then immediately run to tell jokes into a microphone for an audience I most likely will be friends with. And if you’re reading this and you are ACTUALLY Doc Brown and/or Michael J. Fox - please - don’t tell my 10-year old self that sentence; I wouldn’t wanna hurt her due to her MIND BEING COMPLETELY BLOWN IN HALF.