I thought that I would go to the clubs, check them out first and perform. Which I did. I went to black nights. Comedy clubs are like any other kind of club you have college night, Latino, night, Black night etc.
Comedy clubs Black nights: Improv on Melrose on Mondays hosted by De Ray. Tuesday nights at the Comedy Store, Wednesday the Comedy Union hosted by Lavell, Thursday at The comedy Store smaller room hosted by " Big Les" Friday Comedy Union hosted by Rodney Perry (Who is on Last Comic Standing this year), Saturday at the Comedy Union, Chocolate Sundays at The Laugh Factory. Random days at the Ha Ha Café. That’s the circle black people would do.
By now, I ‘m teaching Anatomy and Physiology and hands on for Massage Therapy at a Technical College. So I making good money and going to the clubs at night.
I start going up and won Lavell’s comedy contest twice at Comedy Union. Comics I met all asked me where do I live, do I live by myself, what do I do. I would answer, I live in Los Angeles, I live by myself and I’m a teacher, originally from Florida.
Once I was walking into my place and some comedian had followed me home. " Hey can I come inside I thought you carried yourself very intelligently and I want to get to know you better, you’re not like everyone else". It’s 1:00 in the morning? " "Oh that’s how you going to be, I thought people from Florida are supposed to be nice."
That guy showed up unannounced two more times. No man comes into my place. I just wanted to perform. I didn’t want trouble. So, I stayed away for a little while.
I realized that people I have seen on television (Def Comedy Jams or BET) don’t have a lot of money if any at all. I met plenty of comedians who lived in their cars had a membership to a gym to shower and hang out if needed.
I was shocked even Lavell who is on this years Last Comic Standing has roommates. He is a very large black guy who is very funny and brings down the house all the time in a ghetto way. I will be interested in seeing how he does in a mostly white crowd on the show. I wish him well. I would perform and he would talk about my breast and behind for 10 minuets after I left the stage.
I felt like people were going in circles. I would ask a comic, how long have you been doing this? 5,10, years! Going from club to club hoping for a break.
Big Les is one of the funniest people I have every seen. I asked someone, Why hasn’t she made it. Les rock the house down every time? "Because she isn’t attractive". I thought that wouldn’t matter in comedy. It doesn’t for the men. I see big Les in bit parts on TV and I saw her on a commercial once. Big Les knows all the top black comedians like Eddie Murphy, Jamie Foxx but no break yet. She hasn’t’ given up. I like her.
I just didn’t see myself going round and round for years. Most of the comics drink a lot and smoke at least pot. My comedy was like Bill Cosby, Jerry Seinfeld, or Ellen. I can talk about everyday things, and tell funny stories. I thought black comic black night
I always would go first if the MC knew me. It was hard to go up after someone talked about their time in prison, what they did in the bedroom, and smoking weed. Those were the only things people would talk about.
I couldn’t hang with anyone. They talked about how poor they are and how hard life is. Comics would ask me for rides or money. I always said, no thank you.
Comedy Clubs aren’t in Bel Air or Beverly Hills; they are usually in the hood or hood-like areas late at night. Comedy clubs opened around 9:00 pm and you get out after 12:00 AM.
I would be on stage and wonder how am I going to get to my car and I hope that my car didn’t get broken into tonight.
I would valet sometimes, but I couldn’t do that every night. Plus the valet would pull the car up in front of the club. Comics thought I was showing off or someone new realized I had a car and would beg for a ride. I didn’t want people to know my car.
I don’t think anyone took me seriously as a comic and thought I would be back to Florida where I belonged. But I just couldn’t go back. When I left Florida I was married to a Doc, had a dog and a cat. I can’t go back with nothing. I’m not ready to go back…yet.
Comics aren’t treated that well. They are always new comics coming and going. The clubs always have people who want to perform. There is always someone funnier than you are, younger, more connected and willing to do anything.
The comic is not paid well in California if at all. You can make a living in New York doing stand up, but in Calif., It’s all about getting a show. So most have some kind of day job. I’ve seen MC’s treat comics like dogs. The clubs are going to be packed regardless of whom is performing. So comics can leave or go, the show will go on and sometimes better without you.
When you see a celebrity, I thought that was good. I’m thinking they might need a comic on their show or use you on the road or something. That’s not the case. They are there to steal your material. And some are bold enough to tell you "That was funny, I can use that".
Most comics won’t make it. So the established comics can take what they can use or have people to take it for them. I see and understand why comics can become drunks, druggies or depressed. It’s rough.
I felt like what else I’m I supposed to do? I can stand the comedy clubs. (The behind the scenes part) But I kept going. People told me my whole life I was creative and funny. You should be a comedian. Where else am I supposed to go? I kept going to the clubs until…
To be continued…