Scott called me into the comedy club’s office. I was nervous because Scott calling anyone into the office could mean something good, or something bad. Bad is, “Your not funny. Stop coming here.” Good is, “You are funny and we want you to host some shows.”
My news was good. I had set several goals when I started performing stand-up, one being I would start hosting in one year, and that I would be a feature act in 3 years. I also planned on being a major star in 10 years. Two out of three: not too bad. I have had to re-set the last goal a few times now. Scott told me what I needed to hear; all the hard work I was putting in was paying off. I struggled on so many levels, one was being likable on stage. I look back now and realize I won the war the first Saturday night I worked with Louis Ramey. He told me that women comics had it harder then men (tell me something I didn’t know!) When a woman walks out onstage, she has to win over the women in the audience which frees up the men to laugh and like her as well. Oh, I get it, I am the new girl being sized up by all the other girls in the first 10 seconds on stage.
Good thing I survived Bitch Boot Camp in junior high. If there were merit awards, I would have had a few. But all women come out scarred from junior high, not realizing how deep mine went, I became a stand-up comic, still trying to make the kids laugh in order to fit in. I had to apologize at my 20th high school reunion for making fun of so many of my classmates. When the tenth or fifteenth person came up to me and said, “Do you remember how you used to make fun of me by….??” I got on the microphone in the DJ booth and called the gathering to attention, “If I made fun of you, ridiculed you and hurt your feelings, I am sorry. We are 20 years older, I have changed. If you need to deal with this on a deeper level, call Oprah, I have been trying to get on her show for years.” I received applause, and I hope, forgiveness.
Women want to like women comics. I know I do. What makes a comedienne likable? Rosanne, Ellen and Whoopi are all very different women who made it- I want to just hug each of them and thank them for being such amazing performers, for OUR team. A few years ago, during my first run on KZEP, we had Brett Butler on the show. She was in San Antonio for 3 nights. I was so happy to meet her, and I asked her if I could perform a guest spot so she could watch me, it is a common practice in the business.
Brett said no. She told me she would never share her stage with another woman because all women comics (other than her) were dirty. LADIES! We need to help each other! Take Carlos Mencia’s behavior; he ALWAYS brought up and coming comics with him on his tours. He shared his stage and launched them on their own when they were ready.
After Scott gave me the dates I would be working, he told me, “You know Kim, people who perform stand-up, they are all a bit crazy, you included.” I looked at him, feigned a shocked visage and said, “No, not me, I have been in therapy, once.” Therapy may not be a good idea for a comic- they may get better and lose the edge. Whatever it is that gets us out on stage to tell jokes and stories, or do impressions was born in us sometime in our lives when we found that the power of laughter heals a moment’s pain.
If indeed, I fall into the crazy category, I accept the classification. Crazy seduces me to perform which is better than any drug or therapy session, and the pay is pretty good. I ask friends to my shows now, and when they come it is the same comments; “Wow, you’re good! I laughed!” Once my fiance’ invited his business partner and his wife, she told me after the show that she was nervous for me and afraid I was going to be bad and ended up being happy she didn’t have to fake any compliments. How awkward of me to put her through that trauma! (I figured she was VERY popular in junior high, but so was I.)
Lewis Black, known for his acuity, has to be at a peak level of performance to put out the energy he does. I asked him how he did it after two Saturday night shows, he looked at me and said, “I am crazy.” Every comic I have met has said that as well. I fall into the company- not good company, just the company. I am part of the army of clowns, and it is a good place for me.