A Day in the Life: Female Comic
9:00AM I flutter my eyes open briefly as my boyfriend (Aristotle, also a stand up comedian) gets up and starts getting ready for work. The minute he leaves the bed I roll over and spread out, face down, head under the pillow as I cling to a few more minutes of precious sleep.
9:15AM Aristotle comes in and hands me my breakfast sandwich and then starts the coffee maker. If I’m in a loving mood I will start the coffee maker, but this is a rarity. I eat while I watch him putter around, packing his bag. He kisses me good-bye, and I get my phone out and tweet for half an hour to an hour and check my Instagram comments to make sure no one called me fat.
10:15AM I get up and get ready which usually involves throwing on jeans and a t-shirt, curling my hair a little bit and flinging on some mascara. I throw my notebook in my bag, check twitter again, toss some Trader Joe’s snacks in my bag, lock up and say bye to my gay Asian roommate who is coming home from the night shift. I head to work.
11:15-ish I park in a garage down the street and walk to Flappers Comedy Club where I am the “Guest Appreciation Manager” which means I manage the people who call you about tickets and I run the Barkers (street promotions team). I am also the liaison between the office staff and the programmer for the website (since I used to project manage website redesigns) and I help out with social media tactics since I was the social media manager at the Improvs in south Florida and the chick who does it at Flappers is my bestie so I advise her on comedy-related tactics.
12:30PM I text or DM with other comics (mostly males) asking where they’ll be getting up and if we reach a consensus someone will usually put my name down on a list somewhere so I can make it after work or I’ll just show up and hope to have my name pulled in a lottery. We all check The Comedy Bureau (run by Jake Kroeger) for mics and if it’s a slow night I’ll just go see a show with some awesome headliners. Carpooling is the best; when that works out the whole night is better. Even if I have a booked show later I like to try to hit a mic first as a warm-up. I’m a glutton for punishment, you see.
2:0oPM I go try to bond with my employees and drink another cup of coffee. I sync up a podcast episode (usually one that a fellow comic is on, which I saw on a Facebook post) and zone out while I do boring stuff for hours.
4:00PM I eat whatever healthy, low-calorie crap I packed so I don’t eat again after that unless something bad happens. It’s L.A. and I was a ballerina for 20 years, so I feel the pressure to be skinny (as well as hear my mother’s voice in my head).
5-6PM I am completely focused, barking orders at my employees while trying to boost morale, discussing comedy with my co-workers and constantly thinking of ways to get butts in seats for the club. I have some major projects too, so I have like eight running to-do lists. I don’t have much time to tweet or write, but I squeeze it in every hour or so. I close up my computer and bail unless I’m on a show at the club. Flappers has open mics around this time during the week but I don’t go up on them often.
7:00PM I leave the club and go to an open mic within a 20-minute drive. My usual haunts are Amsterdam Café in North Hollywood, Sardo’s in Burbank, Echoes Under Sunset in Echo Park or Jake’s in Pasadena. During this drive is when I make a phone call to one of my non-comic friends (mostly dancers) just to try to maintain a semblance of a normal life. Usually before 8pm it’s a dead room with mostly male comics staring at their phones, but at least I can verbalize some of the garbage that’s been spewing in my head all day. I bring my notebook on stage and record my set with my iPhone so I can listen to it later while I’m banging my head against the steering wheel and wondering what I’m doing with my life.
7:30PM I’m at the mic, either head-down in the back with my notebook or chatting with my homies. There are a couple of female comics sometimes, which is always exciting for me. True story, the ratio of male to female comics is like 100 to 1! I try to make friends with everyone. Often times at mics I’ve never been to before the male comics ignore me because they think I’m a groupie or a bimbo (even though I dress down) but then once they’ve heard my set I usually get a few interesting conversations out of it and maybe even a friendship or booking. I mostly discuss horrible, awful, dark things that get groans more than laughs and male comics seem to appreciate that.
8:00PM I head to my show, sometimes needing an escort to my car. Going to mics alone can be intimidating, especially for a woman. A couple of weeks ago a crazy guy was following me down the street in Pasadena and I got lucky a cop came around and walked me to my car. Not that I can’t handle myself I mean I carry a knife and I dress down but still, it’s a little scary and shit happens. A lot of these mics are in dive bars where the clientele are less than stellar in terms of sobriety and ability to act like humans. I should buddy-up, as they taught us in Girl Scouts. Easier said than done, what with the crazy erratic schedules of comics.
8:30PM I’m en route to my booked show. Recently I was booked in Manhattan Beach, sometimes I’m in Los Feliz or Claremont, next month I’m in Covina, etc. The host or whoever runs the show usually knows who I am and recognizes me, sets me up in the green room or at the bar, and gets me water (I don’t drink).
9:00-ish The other comics show up and once they know I’m a comic too they either say hi quickly or walk away and get out their phone, notebook or recording device and do their own thing. I really don’t actually get hit on that much so more than likely they’re going to go away and write. I’ve made a lot of good friends from doing booked shows where I was alone because I’m basically a male comic in a female comic’s body. After my set I chat with audience members who are usually men who say things like “I don’t like female comics but you were funny” or women who say stuff like “Get it, girl.” So I leave motivated either way. Nights that I’m booked at my home club of Flappers I get home later because I hang out a lot longer since I have many friends there.
Midnight or later I make the decision to either call a female comic like Lauren O’brien or Delanie Fischer and try to meet up and hang out at the Improv on Melrose or with my best buddy Erik Myers at the Laugh Factory or just go home. Hanging out is the best way to meet people and get booked but it can be very taxing when you have a day job. I’d also never do it alone. Sometimes comics come over to our apartment because we have an awesome patio, which makes for great smoking/writing sessions.
1AM I return home to North Hollywood to find Aristotle either already home or en route after shows of his own (or he’s about to scare the shit out of me and Vine it à la his “Scaring @craydrienne” series). We put on gym clothes, smoke some weed, and go work out for about an hour, catching each other up on our days as we do. His hustle is similar to mine, and he learns more about what it’s like to be a female comic during every chat. After cardio and weights I do ballet stretches at the bar because if I go too long without dance in my life I get stir crazy and this is my time to think about my jokes and what I would’ve done differently and how I want to take a joke to another level.
1:30AM I’m in the zone. I look at my hand where I’ve written a one-word prompt for each of my newest jokes so I won’t forget to do them onstage and the sweat starts to seep through my hands and the ink smears as I absorb the material and decide in that moment whether I want to continue working on that joke, table it, or scrap it for good. Sometimes I’ll just tweet it and see what kind of reaction it gets, but it can be difficult to fit an entire bit in 140 characters.
2AM We get home from the gym, shower, tweet, smoke again, put on Buffy, make love and pass out. We’ve been together 2 years but with the slight amount of male attention I get being one of very few women in the field I have to keep reminding Aristotle that he’s the one I want and that I will always come home to him. Again, not a lot of people hit on me, but enough to make him puff his chest a little so I have to keep him happy…if you know what I mean.
3AM We’re about to get up in 6 hours and start everything all over again and I can feel my jaw clench as I think about what’s next for my jokes and my career and whether I’m starting to look old and if I should be thinking about having a regular life and then I pop up and write down a tag for a joke really quickly before laying back down. Aristotle tickles or rubs my back and I feel myself drift off to sleep. This is my life, at least for now.