Now What?!: Entry 11 Why I hate the Blues.

Kansas City is famous for 2 things. Blues music and BBQ sauce which  is fitting. All you can do there is eat and cry. 

Dad told me that it was James Brown that advised musicians to always stop at Kansas City on tour because the audience reception always made it worth while  and he was right.  Kansas City people love a concert and will demand a 30 minute encore or even longer  because  after the concert, there will be nothing left in town  to do. I’ve seen it myself. Every concert I’ve been to in Kansas City, the audience  sounded like Johnny Cash’s at Folsom Prison with women.  At every  concert I’ve been to in London, New York and Tokyo,  I’ve seen people looking at their watches. I’ve seen them calculating how they were going to get home and if  the star of the show dared to  do a second song for an encore?  The audience would groan as if to say, “Another encore song? Really, Elvis?! I know you’re the king of rock-and-roll-come-back-from-the-dead but I’ve got an 8:00 meeting in the morning…”

Dad always wanted me to like blues music and I did. I thought it was hilarious, especially when white people sang and played the blue. They just took it too seriously. Everything bad that could  happen to you in a song always happened to these people and it never let up. I could never tell which was funnier: a song that as it progressed the losses got bigger and bigger to a ridiculous extreme  or when the singers  listed losses in random order, giving the seemingly more mundane losses more weight while  accidentally revealing the singer’s conceits and pettiness. 

When I was in university and 19 years-old. Dad took me to BB’s BBQ.  A  Blues and BBQ joint. It’s the  kind of place that had picnic tables inside and hard liquor in the back. It could never decide if it was a family restaurant or a place you could pick up an ill advised one-night-stand after you sent the wife home with the kids. 

The night my dad took me there, there was an entire little league baseball team of 10 year-olds taking up two picnic tables directly in front of the stage and a few tables behind them were drunk coupless at the bar groping each other. 

We sat at the picnic table adjacent to the little league team and inches away from the white band that was playing. There were a few other people sitting at our picnic table that we didn’t know. One was an older, Santa Claus in a Hawaiian shirt type  sitting next to my dad. He and my dad tried  to chat over music that was so loud, the wind from the speakers blew their hair ever so gently.

I tried to enjoy the show but I was just too young and too physically close to the band to do so.  I was so close to the stage that one of the band members hit me with his guitar on his way down to the floor for his big solo which would have been really impressive if there weren’t so many picnic tables around and I was the only on who could actually see him. I looked less than impressed because I was  mentally nursing the part of my leg the guitar hit. Since everyone was trying to see him but could only see me, I did my best poker face because it really did smart something awful.

At the break, dad went to the toilet and that’a when Hawaiian Santa leaned over to me, cocks an eyebrow and asked, “Does this kind of music turn you on?!”

I yelled back, “I’m hear with my dad! What do you think?” 

After that, Santa talked to somebody else and now every time I hear blues music, my appetite disappears completely.

Now What?!: Entry 10 Artist, writer, or alcoholic? A primary student's career choices

I have resisted writing for  as long as I can remember. As a kid with cerebral palsy in the 80’seI had very few role models. All I had as a future was whatever that guy from My Left Foot could do: I could become a painter, writer and of course, an alcoholic. But I wasn’t interested in doing anything that guy did because he was sad. ( I thought the same thing the first time my parents brought me along to watch a Woody Allen movie.)  Besides, I could move more than my left foot, so I could be more than that, right? 

Looking back, that movie influenced how other people thought about me more than it influenced how I thought about myself. Like when you see someone tall, you think, “ I bet they play basketball and put stuff they regularly access on top of the refrigerator.” I won all kinds of art awards in primary school for stuff that even I knew wasn’t that good. One teacher gave me a blue ribbon for a finger painting I did. She mentioned that she liked how I only used one hand to make it, as if it were an artistic choice. I remember narrowing my eyes at her praise of my “bold decision”. That wasn’t “a decision” I was working with what I had. What was I going to do?  Use a paintbrush between my toes? I don’t think so lady. 

I was never a big fan of art class in primary school anyway. I couldn’t hold paper nicely. It was always instantly crumpled and destroyed in the one hand I had little control over but used to hold it  in while I attempted to cut the paper with blunt left-handed scissors.  The whole process was so uncomfortable and painful, my joints were always so stiff from trying to make tiny things in class…  It’s why started cracking my knuckles to the State physical therapist’s chagrin. And then, at the end of the day, we threw whatever it was we made away. Ugh. What a waste of time and energy! Sure, drawing and painting were ok, though I never really liked the compliments I got for what I did. It just seemed out of proportion to what I was actually producing. They all talked  as if I had a plan. I suppose that’s how people who are not artists encourage those they think are “real artists”.

It’s funny how what people assume about your abilities can do one of two things, encourage you to be more like that or it can repel you from doing or being anything like that very thing.

Now, I feel like I have enough life under my belt to say something, not because I’m disabled or it’s expected of me but because now I have something to say.

Now What?!: Entry 9 Midwestern Competitive

I have always been athletic but I have rarely been an athlete. When asked if I wanted to do the long  jump by my middle school coach I told him, “Well no sir. Frankly, I suck at it.”  He chuckled and then told me not to use foul language at school again. I was surprised. I thought I was talking about sucking as in a vacuum cleaner. I ignored his warning and went back to the track. 

For a while in my pre-teens I did 5 and 3k “fun runs” as they called them to raise money for head injuries and nasal infections. (I kid you not.)

I wasn’t particularly fast but I was competitive in a very Midwestern way. That is to say that I was in denial about my competitive nature until it occasionally reared its ugly head.

On one  fun run, there was a nice lady in her 30’s jogging at a similar slow speed and we chatted a good way through until I saw the finish line. My family was not at the end of the finish line but her’s was. They had even brought and stretched out red tape for her to run through. 12 year-old me did not realize this at the time and that is my only defense. When I saw that tape, I instantly knew I would never win the race but I knew I could beat her so a few feet from the finish line, with no warning whatsoever, I sprinted and ran through the nice lady’s friends’ red ribbon. I got a smattering of confused applause from her friends because when an obviously physically disabled girl with mild cerebral palsy runs through your red tape, you have to clap because she’s just proven she’s just like every other kid in town, ya know, a little asshole. 

Now What: Entry 8 The Exvangelical

I am an exvangelical. I used to be what is known as an evangelical Christian of an annoying but earnest variety. I wasn’t brought up in it. I chose it when I was 12 going on 13. Life at home was getting harder and puberty was just complicating things. Looking back, I just wanted to be apart of something  anything that loved me back. A friend at school had invited me to go to church with her and when some boys started asking her really hard questions about the Bible and she had the balls to say, “ I don’t know but I’ll find out what I can and get back to you..” I thought that was a pretty fair and reasonable answer. 

I fell for church hard and fast. I was there three times a week or more, Sunday morning, evening and Wednesday nights as well. I went on summer mission trips and taught vacation Bible school too little kids in the summer. Looking back, I wish I had been a member of other things I could have put on a university application but I really think it provided, as best it could, the emotional support I needed at the time.   I once tried being on the basketball team and that was much more of a cult than my church ever was. 

Then I went off to university and joined all kinds of church groups where I learned all kinds of things like: I am disabled because I don’t have enough faith. I am disabled because I was chosen to carry this burden for  God and if I were ever to be healed, it would mean that a demon possessed my body. Most churches were never comfortable with my mild cerebral palsy. Then again, most churches undervalue the women in their church and smother their talent and self-worth.  I think way too many women take to heart sermons that are directed at men, but that is for another post.

It was in university when I started to see the cracks in a lot of the theology. There was the time when a Bible study leader tried to scare us into preaching the gospel to more and more people because if we didn’t, they would go to hell and it would be our fault. He was red in the face and shouting at us. That’s a lot of responsibility to put on a 19 year-old’s shoulders. I was terrified of going to hell  for years and years and one day I was just too tired of being scared so I stopped. 

I thought to myself, “Maybe I am just too close to this. Maybe I am listening to people that are also too close to this and live in a culture and community where they have to do this to thrive.”

 I am still a Christian. I just think I have little less faith in the institution of church, especially as someone who does a lot of public speaking. I can tell when the preacher has padded his message to fill the time. It’s too bad more pastors and preachers don’t have a background in street performing. Fire-eating is a much more engaging and effective way to fill in  extra time at a funeral. 

Now What?!: Entry 7: Locked out

There are two kinds of people that do stand up: funny people and those that wanted to be musicians but can’t count or keep a beat for shit. I’ll let you decide which category I belong in.

I like having a routine. They say that the reason you walk into doors and walls and stuff like that in a new home is because your body hasn’t formed a sensory memory of the place yet. 

A routine prevents me from walking into mental walls. I’ve been doing my admin first thing in the morning. By 10:00am, I walk around the flat like I’ve got medals pinned to my chest. 

Today I’ve been thrown off my routine as I went to buy groceries and on the way back, realized my flat keys had fallen off the Harry Potter Timeturner  keychain and were nowhere in my bag. Thanks Harry.

I called my out-of-town boyfriend and he tells me, “These things happen, ya know”  “No they don’t and no I don’t. It’s a key CHAIN. The keys are chained to the thing, they don’t just fall off! ”  No one else was in the flat and I didn’t have any of my flatmates numbers. (It’s one of the reasons we get along so well. Email and the occasional chat in the hall suffice)

I waited outside the front door for an hour, emailing my flatmates hoping no one  was on a cheap impromptu September holiday while London’s last bee buzzed around my yellow sweater utterly convinced that my cerebral palsy-tight right fist is a flower. Fab.

This whole time I am berating myself for being so careless.  I’ve never lost my keys before. O.K. there was that one time in university  I threw away my keys along with the contents of my tray in the cafeteria but that was during finals and I hadn’t slept in 24 hours. That was permissible stupidity. This was just a massive waste of time unless beating myself up actually burns calories. If it does, I’ll have to buy a new wardrobe in the children’s section in the morning. 

I’m due for an post-Edinburgh Fringe depression anyway. It was bound to make it’s way here somehow. You can’t live on adrenaline forever.  I’ll just lose myself in a marathon about something really sad like the AIDs epidemic in the 80’s  and shoulder pads.  I am just going to let myself gently bottom out on the sofa  with more than one hot chocolate. I  will just let the groceries stay in their shopping bags a little while longer. It’s fine. The flat is colder than the fridge anyway.

Now What?: Entry 6 Dave Chappelle’s Transgender Jokes

I’ve spent a few days pondering why Dave Chappelle chose to punch down and make fun of transgender individuals. 

It certainly wasn’t brave. 

0.6 percent of the US population identify as transgender in the United States. So if you are going to pick on a minority to make fun of, number-wise, transgender is the way to go. More people in America were  offended by Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift’s award  speech than there are transgender people in the US to offend. Everyone else is just offended on behalf of the transgendered. I think Chappelle could have, If he wanted to, picked on an even smaller minority, those that cut off a limb or injure themselves because they identify as disabled. ( The transnsabled, yeah, it’s a thing) I’d like to see how he’d handle that but it’s just not as easy to make fun of as something so tangled in gender, is it? 

I say I’m interested in what he would have to say about it because I think he is the kind of comedian that never stops writing and is still at the top of his form. 

I think he is bored. I think he is so good at his art form that punching down is one of the last mountains he has left to scale.

It’s like a world-class chef with over 20 years of experience and all the Michelin stars and accolades a chef could get that is so bored cooking with food he decides, “That’s it. I’m only cooking people now!”

The dishes are expertly prepared and garnished. The connoisseurs rave about the dishes perfect texture and aroma but at the end of the day, you’re still eating people. 


People don’t get into comedy because they are healthy and Chapelle  has had his struggles over the years. 

I remember him being 

been burned and lied about in the press for doing the right thing in the past. And I think that has made him extremely distrustful in general. 

I also think he’ll come around eventually. I watched him get chewed out by Maya Angelou on television for using the n-word when she was still alive and I imagine Oprah will probably box his ears any day now. 

I’m still interested in what he has to say and he still makes me laugh out-loud.

He just isn’t the hero I wanted him to be. 

Now What?! : Entry 5 Happy September! Cookies don't move

I love the first day of September. It feels like a brand new start to a new year. I am sure it is the American school calendar that has conditioned me think so. The supermarkets and drugstores are filled with  school supplies and lunchboxes. In the words of Tom Hanks in You’ve Got Mail. “It just makes me want to send you a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils if I knew your address.” There is a growing crispness in the air and I feel as if I have been given a fresh notebook for the year.  “This next year will be better.” I told myself every year as I flipped through my new school diary and imagine how those blank pages will be filled. 

In the States, kids would be getting on bright yellow school buses in brand new clothes whereas in the UK it’s the same old uniform on public transport or lingering outside a Starbucks at 3:15. Apple cider festivals will start up soon and memories of visiting Missouri Town and reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie books on the school bus come to mind.   

I will be starting a class soon. I am not sure what I will be studying exactly but I have decided it is the easiest way for me to make friends in a new city. I am not great at making friends in a bar or at a party. I am much better at meeting people while doing something challenging. I met one of my best friends at a one-off  French crepe cooking class I took when I was a little obsessed with all things French about 10 years ago.

Cat, who now works in Bahrain,  thought I was a professional chef of some kind because I could crack open eggs with one hand. It wasn’t until the teacher told me I needed both hands to execute one point in the process was it revealed that I had cerebral palsy.  Cat and I both laughed a lot at her assumption. (She did not know I once baked cookies with so much butter that when I took them to work to share, they were pronounced “not cookies” because  “cookies don’t move”) It is just easier to make friends in a workshop environment with other adults in major cities that are also, more often than not, part nomad. I also find it is the fastest way to make people who might be intimidated by unexpected differences more  comfortable with my mild physical disability. 

I hope you all have a wonderful September and a wonderful “new year”. Apple cider for everyone!

Now What: Entry 4 Why women just don't want to have fun

I identify a lot with Peggy Olson from Mad Men.  She comes from a working-class family and a religious background where hard work was the religion.  In one episode, she goes on a blind date, gets super drunk and in the moment decides to fly to Paris in the morning with her date. When she can’t find her passport, she reluctantly postpones the trip, no pickles are tickled and her date goes home.

The next morning, Peggy is mortified at being so vulnerable, care-free and well, stupid. She regrets everything. Her straight guy friend at the office thinks otherwise. “Sounds like fun.” he says. “I don’t even know him that well. It was so embarrassing.” she counters. “Yeah, but you can get to know him!” he says confused by her shame. 

It’s not until the company is absorbed and her boss, Rodger Sterling, fun time extraordinaire and rich man,  reasons with her and gives her a painting of “an octopus pleasuring a lady”  that she finally allows herself to drunkenly roller skate around the empty Sterling Cooper Draper Price office as she waits for her new office at McCann Erickson to be ready. 

I am proud of myself for having more fun at the Fringe this year.  Stand ups by nature are loners and if they are not, they tend to drink or drug a lot. Women who are stand up comedians tend to be  even more Lone Ranger like. We like having complete and total control of what we say and do on stage. Talking to other women comedians at the Fringe, there was a lot of talk about flyerers, audience numbers and PR. We were busy trying to make the most out of the Fringe for our careers and when we weren’t doing that, we were asleep. 

At one industry bar, I saw a group of long-time Fringe male comics huddle and make noises football teems do just before a game. I wish we had more of that. I did go to a party once earlier this year with a lot of women comedians for a make up party.  People brought all their make up that they wanted to use or trade while we shot the shit, got drunk and fucked up our eyebrows together I just think events like that need to happen on the regular.

 Sure we are strong bitches that don’t need anybody but I think we could all do with a bit more fun. After all, if you are having fun, it’s easier to bring the fun to the gig. I guess I’ll have to do something about it which is perfect as it is more work for me to do. Now I know why this doesn’t happen more often.


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What Now?!: Entry 3 Air Ambulance Charity Gig

It’s nice to know what day of the week it is again.

I managed to start a few good habits during the Fringe that I hope I’ll continue. I was a lot more social than I usually am and I drank more. Quite an achievement for a former Southern Baptist. 

My alcohol tolerance isn’t all that high to begin with. I have a theory. You can either do a lot of alcohol or sugary snacks. In the same way Chris Farley was told, you can overdo drugs or food but you can’t overdo both. 

Sugar has always been my self-medicating drug of choice. Gluttony is the only permissible indulgence in Baptist Midwest but you’re not allowed to dance off the empty calories after which is why we are so round. 

After a day if admin and writing I meet up with my friend and new comedian Mark. He’s from Kentucky and dead funny. He informs me that everyone that works at Dollywood is  paid and treated very well. ( Take THAT Disney.) He is visiting there soon and promises to get me a shirt with rhinestones from there. I will hold him to that promise. 

Afterwards, we go to Whitechapel where I do a gig for an air ambulance fundraiser. Medical professionals are my favorite people to gig for probably since I’ve spent so much time with them and it is nice to make them listen to me for a change. There are not many people I can reminisce about the stank of ether with.  They also have the darkest sense of humor. They have to, otherwise how could they go to work everyday?  It is a rare gig when I don’t have to explain what cerebral palsy is and it was nice to tease them about how horrible emergency care professionals are to drink with because no matter how messed up you get, you could be in the gutter with a broken jaw and legs pointing the wrong way and they will still have “seen worse”. 


This daily blog is not checked for spelling or punctuation like Chortle.

Now What?!: Entry 2 Sleep? What's that?

Sleep is strange thing. I am of the generation that bragged about never sleeping. The less you slept, the more productively you were working. Sleep was an unnecessary vice that the unambitious were unable to shake. The musical genius kid in high school that everyone knew would “make it” bragged to me about sleeping only 3 hours a night and was trying to find a way to sleep even LESS. I felt bad for knowing I could never do that. “I guess I will never be a musical genius.” I thought. “But one day, I might actually be happy.” 

I always thought I regularly got 7 hours of sleep. My new Fitbit has informed me that I sleep 5 hours a night on the regular and I am shocked. My boyfriend is not. I go to bed later than him and I wake up much earlier than he does. 

“Why are you so angry?” is a question my boyfriend often asked me when we first started dating. “I don’t know. Nobody has ever asked me before.” Was always my answer. Living most of my adult life alone, no one had been around to notice and neither did I. I was in a practically constant state of irritation. 

I’ve made an effort to sleep more and it is definitely a process My body isn’t used to it and seems to say, “Are you SURE you want to sleep 8 hours? That’s a long time….Maybe you should work up to it. If you set a target that you can’t meet, you’ll only be more irritated…”

I’ve slept 7 hours two nights in a row now and I feel as though I’m recovering from Jet-lag. A little groggy and woozy. I am sure it is just my body adjusting. There fit no Oprah “Aha” moment. More of a “ Oh, ok. This could be good for me.”

They say now that sleep is when your brain organizes information it has taken in while you were awake. That makes a lot of sense. Two of my grandparents were good sleepers and olympic nappers. They napped on the bus, in church and at family functions like weddings they didn’t approve of. I am am sure it is why they lived into their 90’s and why my grandmother could tell you the price of shoes Kansas City  in 1930. She was a terrible storyteller, but gawd was she exact with the details. 

So I’ll keep giving this sleep thing a go. If anything, it is cheaper than therapy. 

What Now?! : Entry 1 To swim or not to swim in a Lido that is the question

The Fringe has ended and I should take a few days off to relax. This is what my thought process is when I try to decide exactly how to relax….

Maybe I should go swimming.

London has been so warm the past few days it makes zero sense that the Lido pools are still freezing. The outdoor pools in this country are open all year and are attended  by old people in wet suits that think heated indoor-pools are instruments of the devil. 

The first and only time I went to a Lido, I foolishly jumped in without testing the water. The pain was so sharp and all over my body, it felt like was like jumping into a liquid iron maiden. It was only after jumping in in that I realized most of the adults in the pool were wearing wet suits and most of the children in the pool were only there because they were double-dog-dared to. 

I love swimming though my technique could use some correcting. I know you are supposed to take shallow breathes but I genuinely don’t know when I will come up for air again and prepare accordingly. The way I take huge gulps of air between strokes, I’m sure my lungs look like the food pantries of a conspiracy theorist. . 

As a child, I was fearless around water. I loved jumping off the high diving board. I never “dived”. That was too scary, but I did do turns and flips. The scariest thing I did was climb the ladder up to the high board at the public pool. Because I couldn’t use my right arm, once I got to the top of the ladder, I’d bend over the board to let go of the ladder  and  get a better grip on the railing so I could pull myself up onto the board. I did  this for over nearly a whole summer before my dad saw me do it. He put the fear of falling backwards onto the concrete into me and I never did it again. 

As an adult, I love swimming laps but it is also source of immense anxiety. I am an ok swimmer buy am constantly worried that I am holding up traffic behind me. I am constantly monitoring everyone in front and behind me and do everything I can to let the faster swimmers pass before I push off the wall. Gawd, this must be what driving feels like and I am so glad I don’t do THAT.

It is annoying when I see someone with a severe disability on TV driving.  I remember some paralegal that has no arms or legs and does everything with her tongue being featured on TV in the US years ago. She had a lovely house, career, 5 kids and drives a truck.

Yeah, ok. disabled people can drive. That doesn’t mean all disabled should. As far as I’m  concerned, showing disabled people driving is just an excuse  not to improve public transportation. If I made it big, I would spend my money on improving the train and bus system in the US. I would be instantly broke again but I’d be able to go into an American town while reading a book and that sounds fine to me. Yeah, that’s it. I think I’ll read a book on my way into town.

This daily blog is not checked for spelling or punctuation, just like Chortle

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I'm doing the Edinburgh Fringe and I've already Fucked it up: Entry 28 the drinking my own piss kids show.

It is the final day of the Free Festival at the Edinburgh Fringe and I entertain the idea of browsing a few shops that I walk past every day. Not that I am going to buy anything. My suitcase is ridiculously heavy. Ian Fox, my Fringe wife, tells me of a service called “Send My Bag .com. It is a service that sends suitcases and boxes door-to-door  all over the world for a relatively small fee. It’s a small fee compared to  excess baggage fees at the airport. It sounds great, unfortunately, I have decided to bring with me a pressure cooker and don’t want to give some poor baggage handler a heart attack. 

I meet up with some comedians as they take down equipment and posters in their venue on Blair Street. Some of the comedians had been out until 7:00am the night before.  If you are just going to drink and are  not going to do drugs, there is no reason to stay out past 3:00am because comedians become gremlins after that. Comedians on drugs are no fun to be around unless you are also on drugs with them and even then it’s a crap shoot.  On top of that, the end of the whole Fringe is nigh and those that have spent 8 grand or more to be here  are determined to squeeze as much forced fun out of  the last few days as they can. It is uncomfortable to watch. Young and beautiful first-timers who are feeling particularly vulnerable get hit on by much older people in a pseudo-mentor-that-actually-just-wants-to-put-their-dick-in-you way. It is awful to watch. With all the talk about  mental wellness at the festival, we need parachute troopers to swoop into industry bar conversations and inject self-worth and esteem into those that definitely need a boost before they are taken advantage of. 

Here is a nice Fringe moment:

There are two shows on our floor. One for kids the other is a bunch of foul-mouthed comedians. One of the comedians is on stage talking about drinking his own piss and a Dad standing outside with a small child still thinks THIS one might be the kid’s show.

I do two ten minute spots and I am so tired the right side of my mouth is refusing to help me enunciate parts of my set. That’s a first. On the way out of the Three Sisters, Ian takes us out a secret exit as the courtyard is full of people watching sports. On my way out, I walk straight into the metal lid of a skip. It hit me just above the brow bone pretty hard. I start to worry about my peripheral vision as I have been walking into stuff a lot lately. Ian points out that yes, I might have vision problems but I could start to fix them by tucking my fringe behind my ear as it is a bit long and tends to hang over my eye. Very good point.

I make a mistake that I haven’t made all year. Two audience members sit in the booth seat at the side of the chairs which means that they are not really watching the show as much as they are watching other people watch the show. Everyone else is having a kick-ass time but those two sit on the side like well-behaved Statler&Waldorfs. I should have told them to move but whatever. Some people are perfectly happy being miserable and who am I to take that away from them? I am sure I am putting way to much thought into this. It was a great show and everybody else loved even the darkest bits that if you don’t like,  just mean that you are a very emotionally healthy person and were probably dragged to see me by a friend that needs therapy. 

I can’t bear another industry bar night and find myself at the Sweet Venues rap party which has  a much less predatory feel to it and feels much more like the last day at a cult’s summer camp. There are songs everybody sings/dances along to and speeches are given  that are heart-felt and haphazard. A bowl of purple, monk-made liquor is passed around like communion. I do not partake. I have not caught the Fringe flu yet and I’m not going to let it happen now. 

Cabaret sensation Jojo Bellini and I sit, watch and roast the partiers there  properly. We made Statler&Waldorf proud as the Prosecco flowed. I took a taxi home at 2:30. My boyfriend called and pronounced me spectacularly drunk. I hung up just after he said, “I am going to have so much fun teasing you in the morning.” I fall asleep wondering how I am going to get lipstick off the pillowcase. “Baby wipes clean everything but I don’t have time to have a child  before check out tomorrow zzzzzzzzz.” 

What I’ve learned/relearned after doing 63 shows, 24 hour-long shows in 25 days:

1. Change your socks a couple of times a day. You walk more than you know and it is hard enough to sleep away from home without athlete’s foot. 

2. Benches are the enemy of comedy. 

3. Always have people siting next to each other as much as possible. Even if they protest, assure them they will enjoy the show more and they will eventually learn this is true.

4. Be nice to all the venue staff, tech and flyerers. If you are a dick to any of these, everyone will know within a matter of hours. Especially if you slap someone, you will be the punchline of many a pun as one person was this year. 

5. See more  shows in the first week while you can still get tickets to amazing stuff.

6. Go see bad shows by good people and you will understand the Scottish mindset a bit more. More often than not, it is a heart-warming and bonding experience with other members of the audience. It’s being involved in a car accident made entirely out of bouncy castles. It’s absolutely bonkers and almost better than a show that is brilliant on purpose. 

 7. Ignore bad shows by pricks. 

8. Posters are important but not as important as excellent flyers.

9. Get a flyerer you can pay them for the work they did that day and will still come back for the next day’s shift. They do exist if you treat them right. 

10. Maybe don’t get a flyerer that says he is teaching the crows to say your show name. ( Mine did not do this BTW.) 

11. Heat is not necessarily the enemy of comedy. It is the enemy of anything longer than 45 minutes.

12. Don’t watch “funny”TV shows or movies. You’ll just pull the story apart and won’t enjoy it. 

13. Read anything that is not a review or show promotion for at least a half an hour a day.

14. Only read reviews of other people’s shows you’ve actually seen to judge the critic and then decide if you want to care what they think of you.

15. Remember this Festival is a game. 

16. Decide if you want to play that game or decide to invent your own.

17. Have fun 

18. Know what your goals are

19. Know what your  show is about and who it is for

20. And FFS, don’t bring a rice cooker.

What the last day of the Fringe feels like.

What the last day of the Fringe feels like.

 

I’m doing the Edinburgh Fringe this year and I’ve already fucked it up: Entry 27 The Jeremy Kyle Cock show

It is the next to the last day at the Fringe so I drag my ass out of bed and make my way to the Grassmarket weekend market and enjoy posh people’s yard sales. There is a lot of breakable stuff and costume jewelry my grandmother would have loved to own but would never have put on. 

I saw an incredibly expensive dream catcher and it reminded me of the one we had in the house growing up. My mother collected Native American art and there was so much of it in the house people thought we were part Native American. Looking back, I think her being an orphan, she really identified with the displacement they have experienced. The Trail of Tears played a significant theme in the decor now that I think about it. I don’t know why that’s never occurred to me before.  Ugh, that’s grim. At least she was a fan of Southwest pastels which made our home look like the set of the Golden Girls if it was filmed in Nevada. 

Anyway,  there seem to be new people in town and they look less tired. The end is in sight but as I overheard a woman at the next table say “Edinburgh’s never really over. It just keeps going.” She’s right. It can be a hamster wheel. 

The weather is unseasonably hot for this part of the world and I should have cut the show down a bit when I saw people really struggling not to pass out but I wanted to see if I could power it through and make it work anyway. I think they would have appreciated more oxygen but everyone seemed very happy with the show and the venue staff said they were hearing great comments outside the room. 

I really like this point of the fringe where I have memorized the show to the point that I can just really get into it. I even added a new bit and it fits like a glove. It’s nice to “live in the show”. I don’t know how else to put it. 

I see a video of myself doing stand up on the Twisted Mirror TV App and think, “I have got to get a lip brush to apply red lip stick with. I look insane.”

I see the most pierced woman in the world on the Royal Mile. Her name is Elaine which means she was born to have over 6,000 piercings or go into accounting. 

I do the finale of Imaginary Porno Charades and did a pretty good “Peter Pants”  and threaten to beat a team member with a stool to get them to guess “The Jeremy Kyle Cock Show”  but fail with that one. 

Naked people ran through the show as tends to happen at some point towards the end of the Fringe. It’s happened so often with this one streaker that I can tell they’ve been hitting the gym over the past couple of years and think, “ Good for them. It’s nice to see people taking care of themselves at the Fringe for a change.” 

After eating a pound of warm cheese, I make my way to an industry bar. People are not so much starting to unwind as much as unravel. People are pushy making their way to the bar and making the most out of the last few hours of the most social time of the year. I run into Yuriko and I am so proud of the both of us for having fun this year. Yay us. 

A little after three, I get a taxi home and have a lovely chat with the  driver about the festival. 

He doesn’t go to any shows. He is too busy but go to a sport thing to unwind ( the mixture of Edinburgh accent and unfamiliar team names make it impossible for me to decipher what sport he is actually talking about. )

When he asked me, “ What do you do for fun during the festival?” I said, “ Listen to podcasts about Jerry Epstein, the Opioid Crisis and for-profit prisons in America to remind me that in the grand scheme of things, the festival doesn’t really matter.

The taxi-driver said, “ Well, as long as you enjoy it...”

Not checked for punctuation or spelling, just like Chortle.

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I’m doing the Edinburgh Fringe this year and I’ve already fucked it up: Entry 26 Top Bum

As the Festival is winding down and Monday is a bank holiday, I muster the strength to deposit the now obviously ridiculous and stupid amount of cash I’ve been carrying around all festival. I haven’t been consistent in writing down how much money I made from the bucket this year. The buckets have been good but I don’t want to measure my show in an oven monetarily. It’s nice and embarrassing to realize I’ve been carrying around over 300 pounds in cash. I have been using a card reader as well and it was nice to look at my bank balance and know I’ll be comfortable this Fall. I’ve made a profit this Fringe, second time in a row. It is much easier to make a profit when you’re not flying in from Japan, I’ve learned. I had a chat with my boyfriend about my turning down the paid Fringe offer earlier this year. I was wondering for a minute if I had made a mistake not trying to gather a big 4 stamp. He reminded me I would have hated bleeding money for a month and the payoff was less than guaranteed. He’s right. I would have hated it.  

I still have 90 posters that I haven’t put up and I am wondering if I should hire someone to put them up next year. Every year I think that and then I also think, “The money is better spent on flyering. If the poster image is ridiculously entertaining, I just might.  

The bank is on the other side of town and I rush to my first spot of the day. I arrive backstage 2 minutes before I go on stage and that was really fun. The adrenaline of running to the gig extended to the stage and woke up a very hungover crowd. 

The show tonight goes well. I give myself some more time to talk to the audience that usual and it goes well. Comedian Aaron Twitchen  told me I’m like a drag queen that can write actual jokes. That sounds about right.  There is one joke in my show that I love. The punchline is fine but I feel like there is a better one just around the corner. Hopefully, it will occur to me by Sunday. To be honest, it’s probably one of the reasons I am not bored with the show yet. 

Afterwards I do porno charades and   Feel like I am finally getting the hang of this game and am getting better at jumping in on the shit talk and banter. 

One of the team captains “stole the wife” of the other.

I said “ If’s fine because she was inflatable anyway.”

Team Captain “Aye, that’s why she went down on me.”

Me “Because you’re a prick.”

Fist bumps galore.  God I love being a dick with like-minded people. 

Three Prosecco later Aaron Twitchen and I are are in an industry bar as we both believe Fringe flu comes from drinking outside in the cold.  Seriously, unless you are ice fishing, what is the fucking point?! And if you are Ice fishing, what is the fucking point?! Ok. I’m drunk and I know that because I suddenly have a self-esteem and am about to tell everyone exactly what I think of them. Time to go home. 

Night night! Lights out at 3:14 am. 

I'm doing the Fringe this year and I've already fucked it up: Entry 24 I had to pull the show

The boyfriend has flown back home and it is starting to feel like the last week of the Fringe. People on the streets look tired and  their brains are fried. Wednesdays are the hardest days at the Fringe because even if you are on holiday for a week, you don’t go out to watch a show on Wednesday. You are recovering from whatever it is you did to yourself on Monday and Tuesday. You might go out on Thursday but even on vacation, you are still looking forward to the weekend. It is just hardwired in the brain. If you are a local not on vacation, you don’t go to a show on a Wednesday unless you are a diehard fan or you hate your life. That’s my theory in a paragraph. 

I’ve got a breakfast meeting at Starbucks with people from the Ouch BBC podcast. They came to the show the night before. I suspect they  wanted to make sure I could get through an entire conversation without using the word “cunt”. It was a struggle but unlike all my applications to the BBC 4 Radio Comedy Award, I manage to not drop the c-bomb the entire conversation. 

I sit in the cafe for three more hours and do my best to not move a muscle. I have been walking so much that the side of my big toes are bruised. I didn’t even know that was a thing. 

In the afternoon, I go to the BBC tent to record the podcast with two other comedians doing the festival with other physical disabilities, Jon Long and Aidan Green. The green room has clear boxes of perfectly-cut triangle sandwiches that look like the  start of an OCD infinity mirror. I’d like one but no one has opened the boxes yet and I don’t want to be that asshole because it looks too perfect. It’s fine, I’ll get one later. Plus, I‘ve been given a white and red stripe bracelet that lets people know I am with the BBC or that I have started working at TGI Fridays. (It’s also on my good hand to which means I have no idea how I will take it off.)

We talk a lot about growing up with a disability and I have always thought having a really supportive group of friends and loved ones is really important. I moved around a lot as a kid and changed schools relatively often. We always lived in the Kansas City area but far enough away that I had to change school districts a lot. When asked why we moved so much,  it was really hard to answer. I had never given it much thought. After thinking about it now, I believe my parents were just very bad with confrontation. They would have a tiff with a neighbor that would eventually become an all out war. I remember one neighbor’s dog kept killing our dogs and another neighbor got upset when our dog killed one of their cock-fighting chickens. Of course I remember this AFTER the podcast. It’s fine, the BBC  probably wouldn’t have let me say “cock”.

With the BBC or TGI Fridays? Either way, I need the money.

With the BBC or TGI Fridays? Either way, I need the money.

I fall over a man in a wheelchair near the Royal Mile. By far, this is the best fall I’ve ever had at the Fringe because it happened so slowly.  Slow falls, once you’ve hade enough of them are great because you become Neo in the Matrix and can maneuver your body in a way that makes it hurt less. The fall was my fault anyway, that’s what I get for trying to dodge a flyerer. 

 I had an audience of one and I wasn’t angry she wasn’t more people. I found out she was a Midwesterner from Chicago in the UK for the first time. We chatted a bit about travel and then I told her to go to someone else’s show. An educated black American lady did not fly across the pond to see me. She had just taken a flyer. I told her to go see Jessica Fostekew’s extra show at the Monkey Barrel or any other show there. I’m playing the long game at the festival.

My flyerer Is upset more people didn’t come and promises to work “extra hard” tomorrow. What a sweetheart. I knew I chose a good egg. He is probably the best flyerer I’ve ever had at the Fringe. 

Now that I don’t have a show, I have time to drop off my wet hiking towels at home before watching the best drag show I’ve seen at the Fringe this year, Divet. Yuriko Kotani and I are drag show buddies and we both agree it is the best drag show we’ve seen and we’ve gone to see Rupaul’s Drag Race Contestants. It was the perfect show for a Wednesday. Parodies of music divas and some of the best dancing you could hope for. I wanted to take pictures but was too captivated to pull out my camera. Do yourself a favor and follow Jero on Instagram who was also on the Finnish tour of Kinky Boots. 

Afterwards we get drinks at the industry bar and talk about our plans for September. Start writing next years show, natch.

I’m Doing the Edinburgh Fringe and I’ve already fucked it up: Entry 22&23 Two 4 One

Alright, the boyfriend came a few days ago and gloriously shook up my daily Fringe routine. After Brunch at Belushi’s, we head to Bob’s Bus a venue and a bar with sofas. My boyfriend’s walker is outside and acts as a sign to all that pass by that the mischief maker is in. 

Edinburgh is physical brutal on everyone but the hills and cobblestone are particularly vicious for those with a walker or wheelchair. The other day I saw an able-bodied person zip past me on a Segway three times and I just wanted to deck him. 

We stay in the bus for a few hours and watch comedian Chris Betts’ solo comedy hour upstairs on the bus. It’s a great show with some convincing reasons to take up smoking. 

I go and meet up with my superb flyerer a couple of hours before the show. It’s a grueling job and the people that do it deserve a pat on the back and the knowledge that what they do is very much appreciated. 

Italian comedian and longtime friend Stefano Rapone comes to the show and for a Sunday, it is a downright raucous and fun audience that picked up on even the subtlest jokes and segues. I get to push them further than most of my audiences. Not that the show is pretty much imprinted on my brain, I feel more relaxed and able to play a bit more. 

The boyfriend, Stefano and I go get a bite to eat after as we talk about the shows we are going to see and what we have seen. I go and do a spot at a midnight show that is less of a show and more of a cult which is how the host describes it and it fits. The spot went fine but I was still buzzing from my earlier much higher energy audience. Who cares? Mmy boyfriend is in town! It’s time for pickle tickles and bed, an excellent way to end a fringe day. 


The next day is date day. I am super excited because I’ve gotten my boyfriend to agree to come with me to a play I’m sure we will both love. Every year for my birthday I make him take me to a musical and then TGI Friday’s because he hates them both and the fact that he does it anyway shows me just how much he loves me.

My boyfriend is a Shakespeare nerd and I’ve gone to see proper Shakespeare theatre with him before but even the best performances are taxing. Listening To traditional Shakespeare for more than an hour is like listening in on an intense corporate takeover meeting in a second language. You know it’s important you follow what’s going on but your vocabulary just isn’t what it needs to be for a lot of it. 

This show sounds perfect for us. One of my favorite comedians doing a one-man Shakespeare play in layman’s terms in an hour. I even check to make sure the venue is accessible and it is. My boyfriend is only excited by the opportunity to tease me for liking this comedian and if it means he’ll come with, I’m fine with it. I’m also excited to watch this play because the last time I had to read it, it was taught by a substitute teacher that later I found out is now in jail for being a pedophile. It would be nice to remember this particular Shakespeare play as something other than “something a pedophile taught me in school”. 

It is a really great performance. It made the play accessible and really fun. My boyfriend and I later both reckon it will do well in schools. As soon as the performance ends, my boyfriend says” Well, that was pointless. Why wouldn’t you just watch the real thing?” I should have known he would feel that way especially since he quoted whole chunks of the original as we made our way to the venue. What a nerd. 

I had a lovely and lively show and afterwards took a friend to see one of my favorite shows of the Fringe, Karaoke Saved My Life. I enjoy going and egging other people on to get up on stage and sing something out of their range. There are a lot of people with great voices in the audience and are most likely in shows at the Fringe themselves. Those people are fun but not the funnest. The funnest are the one’s that belt it out as best they can with no technical ability but are all heart. The second best are the ones that suddenly discover for the first time they have a beautiful voice. It’s like watching a chick hatch from an egg. 

Not checked for punctuation or spelling, just like Chortle.

Click here for more info about my Fringe 2019

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I'm doing the Edinburgh Fringe and I've already Fucked it up: Entry 22 intracranial orgasm

I am up and out of the flat by noon and am pretty proud of myself. The Rose McGowan show is on the Mound a venue I always forget exists because it it huge and removed from the hubbub of the more pedestrian George Square. I suppose it is the place an act should aim to one day play but it always seems elusive and lonely to me as a building. 

I genuinely didn’t know what to expect and if I am completely honest, I still don’t know what I saw. It was a sort of high-tech listening party of an album McGowan had recorded that “used all of the sound tricks Hollywood used to manipulate us” for good and healing instead of evil. There is a slide show at the very beginning explaining her background and promoted her book “Brave”. Having just paid 22 pounds for a ticket, I didn’t like being advertised her book as soon as the show started and felt my arms cross. I was just about to say “ Fuck this.” And then she walked on stage in a sort of ethereal, angelic yogi and shapeless princess Leia dress pant. She can command an audience and just when you think she might be mentally checked out there she lets you know she is sharp as a tack and in on the joke. 

She asks the audience to close their eyes a lot and walks us through visualizations. There is a lot of artsy stuff going on on the screen behind her and I want to see it. She has a habit of telling people to close their eyes but not telling them when to open them. At one point, she asks us to keep our eyes closed for the duration of a particular song. I oblige but when the song ends she informs us that if we had opened our eyes, we would have seen the artwork she had made out of video of her that was put up on porn hub. I get her point but I would have liked to have seen that. 

After the show, she says she will be signing books after the show. I have a place to be but decide to pick up a book anyway. I ask a Chinese student waiting in line what she thought of the show and she said she had come because, “I like the show Charmed.”  and then said “ I think someone hurt her.”

One of the songs made the Chinese student think of a word she needed to look up in google translate “intracranial orgasm”. I think that pretty much sums up the show for me. Something I have never heard of,  expected to see and not the easiest to explain. I am glad I went, it did take me out of the Fringe bubble and I did leave feeling refreshed.  So that was nice.

That’s what she said.

That’s what she said.

My show went well and was a typical Sunday show in that everyone is lower energy than Friday and Saturday crowds but definitely have longer attention spans. A heavily-medicated person fell asleep in the show which is just as well. A fellow comedian and I talk after the show about how every female comedian she knows has a stalker and how blasé we all are about them. At least mine is too sleepy to do anything.

Boyfriend is in town tomorrow and these dogs are barking so early to bed for me.

I'm doing the Edinburgh Fringe and I've Already Fucked it up Entry 21:Disney Crap

I have tried and failed to watch three shows. One’s run is already finished, one was too far away to get to in time and the last one was sold out.  I made like I was playing baseball and took the bench at Starbucks. I have never been one to plan my fringe ahead of time. I always plan on reading the broscure when it comes in but is is a dull read-through,  a three-hundred plus page thesaurus of , “brilliant must-see show”. The boring photos in the programme are either due to the fact that they are famous in the UK or that they have no idea what they are doing at the Fringe and their image is giving you a pretty good clue as to what to expect.

I decide to buy tickets to the Rose McGowan show for the next day because I loved listening to her cut through the bullshit and rip Hollywood apart on a podcast that didn’t know quite how to handle someone so unwilling to play the game anymore. I don’t know anything about it and am prepared for anything. 

  The show is rammed tonight and everyone is game for the show although some have clearly had too much to drink and it gets a bit rowdy. I tend to attract hecklers probably because I don’t hate them and relish to opportunity to say something mean to someone that really deserves it. I can put someone in their place every now and it’s nice to exercise that muscle. A comedian friend wanted to come into my show but it was just too packed and I have no problems with making drunk punters sit in a sauna of a room but I would hate to do that to someone I would actually see again. 

The show goes well even though I know parts of  the show so well at points that I could almost be going too fast like a Southern  auctioneer in my race to finish the show before the heat finishes my audience. 

I go to the Disney Dance party. There is, sad to say, very little Disney in it. I was expecting to do sing-a-longs and instead tried to jump up and down to Green Day for an hour. The bright side is four of the people at my show earlier were also at this party and it was nice to drink and try to dance with them. 

I then braved the industy bar and ran into my new Fitbit buddy, Caroline Mabey.. I’d say we navigated the networking waters pretty well and I headed home at approximately 2:45 am. (I have realized that I hate everyone after 3:00am and it is best to just to go home before the less-likable me comes out.) On my way home,  I eat street-vendor  bratwurst and I know this is a sign I am drunk because it smells like heaven.

 Night night.Er.r uhh..good morning

This daily blog will not be checked for punctuation or spelling, just like Chortle.