Comedian

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What 10 Years of Standup Comedy Does to a Person.

This week sometime is my 10 year anniversary of doing standup comedy. I have done it every week since then. It is the second longest relationship I have ever had, basketball being the first. I know it was the second week of January but I do not know what day. I don’t know if I realized what it would turn into at the time and didn’t want to get ahead of myself by tattooing my standup birthday on my body. It has been the best decision I have ever made, even though it was scary at the time and very painful many subsequent days. The rewards and genuine joy I feel because of it will always outweigh the tough days, the doubt and the sacrifices that inherently come with doing something you truly dream.

How I Got Into Standup Comedy

If you ever become anything out of the ordinary choice of career paths people will forever ask you “how did you get into that?” Some are curious because it is something they might want to try. Some people are curious because they don’t quite understand how I could be doing what I’m doing. Some people are just curious and interested in other people’s lives, those are my favorite people. I’ll tell you the story.

I was an athlete, all the way through college. I played basketball. Up until I was 20 years old if someone asked me how I would identify myself I would have said ‘basketball player.’ I had a less than desirable Division I career and due to injury was forced to stop playing after my sophomore year. That changed my entire life.

I tend to leave this part out when people after shows look for a hopeful answer of how I started this seemingly glamorous career of performing in hotel bars. I started standup pretty soon after a full mental breakdown. I would say it was a combination of a pinch of clinical depression, dashes of unaddressed childhood trauma, a hefty pour of assault my freshman year and now losing the one thing in my life that I thought was good or I felt defined me. So, I broke completely which led to a month long stay in a recovery hospital.

Do I consider myself some sort of survivor because I was able to find something I love right after the worst time in my life? Yes, I also love the show Survivor. I mostly consider myself lucky.

I also keep that part of the story out normally because I refuse to buy into the sad clown stereotype. Standups are all depressed? Maybe we are depressed but we are not always sad. I also keep this part out because I don’t think that break is what led me to standup. I loved watching it my entire life and had been writing jokes for about two years before I ever got on stage.

Five months after this experience, I was ready to give it a try. I had searched ‘how to start standup’ so many times and I knew that in Seattle there were a couple of clubs that had a whole outline on how to do it. So I picked Giggles, yes the notorious Giggles. It was a Tuesday or Wednesday and I had planned to go and just watch. I heard an interview with Erin Foley about her first time and she said you should watch first.

I had a friend come with me and we parked and walked up and owner was outside putting stuff in a truck. We asked about the open mic and he informed us that the club was “rebranding” but would be back with open mics soon. That actually led to me pushing my start date back for another four months or so. It also led to infamous Jiggles days where that comedy club became a strip club. Don’t worry, it turned back into a comedy club and then closed. The space is now a different comedy club that hopefully comes back after this pandemic is over, in another 10 years.

Cut to the second week of January 2011, I had watched one open mic from the front row. The host had been talking to me afterwards and when I said I wanted to do standup he encouraged me to just come the next week. So I did. I had been practicing the same 3 minute set I thought I would do for a year. It was Laughs Comedy Spot in Kirkland, WA (at the time) and I did it. You were supposed to bring six people and I told him I brought four, really I brought zero. I was also not yet 21 and used a fake ID even though I didn’t have to for that establishment.

Lucky for me January is resolution-comic time. I did not consider myself one of these comics because of my intentions of starting earlier but this means great open mic audiences, full of people that aren’t waiting to go up and try their own dick jokes, real people. I had a great set. There were many nights after that I did not but that one was great. Sometimes I’m embarrassed, other times I’m proud that one of the jokes from that first night is on my album and on some of your underwear (I sold merch of a joke I told on my first open mic, years later). I wonder everyday what would have happened if that first night didn’t go well. I wonder if I had watched the Giggles open mic during the summer time if I would have been like ‘no way I’m doing that.’

I do think it all worked out the way it was supposed to, still waiting for some big, obvious, culminating sign but that’s my hopeless romantic side that is constantly waiting for pieces to click together and make sense. That’s how I got into standup comedy but that was very much just the beginning.

Years 2-8 of Standup Comedy

I have been told so many different things about the chronology of standup comedy. Here are some of the things I have heard:

  1. You don’t really find your voice until seven years in. You know what you’re doing at 11 and you make it at 15.
  2. There are different points where you feel like you know what you are doing and then you don’t really know until 11 years. At three and then again at seven you think you know what you’re doing but you don’t until 11.
  3. Move to New York or LA after one year.

I won’t tell you who said those things because you won’t know who they are.

The only thing I have truly learned in standup comedy and through this industry is that no one knows what they are doing, at all. We are all just making it up. We have these ideas as younger people that once you are on TV you are famous and working forever. Standups are told that if you ‘just keep writing’ you’ll be fine, it’ll happen, you need to take time and have the material. These are just things people say when they can’t help you or don’t want to. Don’t get me wrong, for the love of everything keep writing, BUT it very well may never correlate to whatever your goals are.

For as often as they warn you of how many no’s you have to collect, people in this industry are terrible at saying no. In fact they very rarely say no. They much more often say yes but most often say nothing. If you don’t get a response, you didn’t get it. I think that’s because everything has changed so much that the person you say no to this week could be selling out rooms from a TikTok video in a buffalo costume the next week. So if you didn’t say anything… you didn’t say no either.

My career through the middle times (so far) was a lot of travel and road work and honestly, I loved it. I felt it made me funnier and fearless of any type of crowd. Small, big, drunk, clean, nothing really scares me and moreover I have fun with pretty much every crowd. I have had this rekindled desire for it this year as well. I would trade a lot of things to perform COVID free for middle aged drunk people at an Elk’s lodge in rural Arkansas again and I mean that.

What I Fell In Love With in Years 8-10

Things will change, we are well aware of that now. When I started standup I said my goal was for standup to be all that I did. After four years I did that, I quit my day job, I went on tour for three months and I moved to LA. This was the time I learned the most, learned how much other people are just as insecure as we are, even if they have success. This led me to make my own stuff. I love standup for that reason, it’s what I wrote and I’m sharing it with you and we have fun together. There isn’t a middle person, there isn’t someone changing it, it’s just me and you and laughing. I thought maybe I could do that with other things.

The guided meditations were actually my first experience with this idea of making things myself. That very first comedic, dirty guided meditation I did… was not good. Well, the meditation was pretty good, it was funny and dirty but the video wasn’t. I think I just had photos flashing hahaha. But by just putting it up and seeing what happens, my friend and the future editor and collaborator of 80 For 80 (along with a much more impressive list of credits), Ruben Rodriguez contacted me and said he would make the videos for me and birth was given! We did them once a month and I honestly loved them. It was something else to focus on. The meditations, the podcast (HugLife) and everything after that made me trust myself more, understand I can take control and that people enjoy what I make and it really helped my standup as well.

Then 80 For 80, another idea I really felt strongly about and shared with Ruben and he suggested we try for a grant. We did and we got it. It was this validation that something I had thought of was worthy of someone giving me money to make it. It was difficult but probably the most rewarding thing I have done from idea to release. I was hooked.

This last year has been mostly that, building and making my own things because I know now that I can get them done and I feel good about it. Yes, I wish everyday more people would share those things and they would blow up but I still feel a sense of peace with making everything the way I wanted to with talented people who believe in what we are doing and who want to make funny shit.

I may be most proud of the meditation album, the one that not everyone quite understands. It is the funniest and most different thing I have made and it really was a “I want to do this, I’m going to make it happen” situation. Aligning with talented people and putting out quality is very important to me and I know that I have done that. Do I meditate on Lizzo coming across Chill and sharing it cause she loves the meditations so much? Yes, of course. Am I happy without that? Yes. We had two #1 comedy albums within a month of each other and the first meditation album to be #1 on a comedy chart, all during the collectively most difficult year of my lifetime. I am very proud of that.

I miss live standup, so much. I am trying to be as smart as I possibly can about all this but I want to be in front of people again, laughing and telling jokes. We did so much of what we could, developed livestream shows of all kinds, got my YouTube channel rolling, put out my debut standup album (a dream of 10 years) and put out my first comedic meditation album. If we fail, it is never because we weren’t trying.

I say ‘we’ all the time because there is none of this without you, without an audience, we are a team! I have learned so much more over this year that it is about you. It doesn’t matter which sexist booker I don’t want to deal with anymore, it doesn’t matter what cruise ship agency doesn’t want me, all that matters is us having fun and if you are enjoying what I’m doing and I’m enjoying what I’m doing, I think we can continue to make some really awesome, really funny stuff.

I say we also because I have finally let people I love help me and support me in these things and it has been so helpful. I’m learning to ask for help more. I couldn’t have done anything this last year without Aryn’s help and now we are engaged so she is stuck helping me write trivia questions and stopping our conversations to say “oh, I need write that down” forever. Another reason I don’t think artists have to be depressed to create.

After 10 years I love comedy more than I ever have, chomping at the bit to get on stage more than in my first year and finding ways to make that work. That is exciting to me, I watch people get discouraged or quit or burn out and I’m happy, in this moment, I’m not feeling like that. All I can say now is thank you.

Thank you for 10 years of coming to shows, buying underwear and shirts and magnets, helping me record a live album, supporting everything I have put out by watching, or downloading or buying. Thank you for following and sharing and liking. Thank you for the messages and comments that say you thought something was funny or that you liked the albums, it sustains my spirit for weeks! And a final pre-emptive thank you because I’m going to continue this for as long as I can and I’m so thankful for the chance to get to do standup for you live again, soon!

Thank you for 10 years, here’s to 50 more?

-Monica

Interested in the projects I mentioned in the story? How about links???

80 For 80

Albums

YouTube

HugLife Podcast

The Best Gifts for 2020

What a year it has been. The only certainty we have now is that something else fucked up will happen before it’s over. If you are anything like the American public you can relate to a tighter financial budget for this holiday season and a tighter emotional budget to match. With both of those things in mind I have put together a short list of gifts that will be perfect for anyone this pandemic holiday season. I have added links to the best and most affordable versions available.

6 Ideas For Last Minute Gifts in 2020

  1. Pandemic Coupon Book: This item would be the DIY option and depending on what you choose to include, it can be a thoughtful and low cost gift. Similar to a love coupon book where you exchange an oral sex coupon for actually having to put effort into your relationship, the Pandemic Coupon Book can have things like “get out of one political conversation”, “one zoom call WITH makeup” or “one socially distant trip to your house where I take your phone and smash it with a hammer for you.”
  2. Anything Schitt’s Creek: It seems funny that it has always been a bad thing to be up Schitt’s Creek, until now. In reality you don’t want to be up Schitt’s Creek without your Roland Schitt all over photo leggings or a wine glass that says “fold in the cheese.” Schitt’s Creek really got the wind in its sails right as it was reaching the shore. Therefore, inevitably it is on the same level as The Office where you can make merchandise and instagram accounts dedicated to its quotes for years and years to come. Might as well stock up on some silly gifts now before they run out of Mutt tree ornaments.
  3. Fill Out A Form: File someone’s unemployment claim for them, apply your friends for an EBT card, fill in the answers on a BuzzFeed quiz and help them figure out which Friends character they are. People hate filling out forms, most companies bank on saving money because no one wants to fill out the form to get it back. It’s free for you and far more useful than the fucked up hat you were going to knit them.
  4. Sweatpants: Maybe you get this person some nice outfit or beauty supply gift basket every year but save it. No one is out here, trying to look good right now. We are all giving it one day a week and from the waist up, at most. Get some nice, cozy sweatpants. Something that will absorb the shame of delivery food for every meal but you can wear to the gas station two nights in a row. It’s rare that people get themselves some quality sweatpants, you’ll be a hero.
  5. Relaxation: This could be a bath bomb, a box of CBD gummies or a guided meditation album by Monica Nevi called Chill (you knew it was coming). It could be something sexual, some people haven’t been touched in almost a year, not even from the pandemic, just in general. Get ’em something that vibrates. Are you the wild friend that loves Chardonnay and always gets everyone a vibrator? Well, this is the perfect time to check in on a friend and send some good vibes. Get them a yoga membership for online classes. Help them destress in anyway possible but the most important thing is that you show you really care by getting them a copy of Chill by Monica Nevi.
  6. Support Something Local or Small: I would gladly take a box of sticks if it supported a good cause. Maybe you are shopping for one of those people that just has everything and buys themself stuff all the time. Force them to be a better person, get them something that benefits a good cause or supports a small business or artist. I hope Bezos only gets gifts that are directly purchased from small, independent businesses or artists. Artwork is a really cool gift. Get someone some artwork, all artists need the support right now. Buy them an album from an independent artist (or comedian) they will like. The live standup album, Mostly Finger Guns by Monica Nevi is available in dropcard form and will get to you before the holiday.

This year is about pivoting. Pivoting is so much easier when wearing your “nice sweats.” Give the gift that represents 2020 the best, something they didn’t ask for.

Find some of the things on the list here:

All Over Schitt’s Creek: AllOverShirts.com

Dani Dodge, Artist: studiododge.com

Easton Johnson, Personal Training: beastonathleticperformance.com

Monica Nevi, Comedy and Meditation: monicanevi.com/store

Meditation is Stupid

Meditation is for dirty hippies and spiritual weirdos, they smell of pine trees and sweat because they made their own deodorant. Meditation is weird chanting in rooms full of rich women who want to connect to the spiritual earth and then drive off in a Range Rover with their unvaccinated children. It has a similar feel to yoga with less farts, hopefully. Guided meditation feels weird and I don’t like listening to someone I wouldn’t be friends with in the first place try to calm me down. Bitch, I am calm.

I meditate everyday, I just put out a guided meditation album, I still believe all the things I said above.

Meditation is Whatever You Want It To Be

The definition of meditation is as elusive as the act itself. That’s because the self-righteous love nothing more than to make something simple seem really difficult.

It’s very hard to do! Be impressed!

The Self-righteous Meditator

Some say meditation is practicing for death. I did not know we were supposed to practice. Since most of us will die in different ways, I suppose it’s fitting that meditation is different for everyone.

Meditation is just clearing your mind and letting thoughts pass by you instead of holding on and thinking about them. Sure, you can sit there and close your eyes and try to completely clear your mind or you can breathe out so upsettingly loud you can’t think about anything else. Sit-meditation is not the only thing you can do. There are motion meditations, so you focus on doing concentrated motion and only that motion, the more repetitive the better. The old people at the park who look like they are fighting each other in slow motion, that’s meditative.

Ever heard anyone say ‘I’m in the zone?’ That’s the same thing, doing one thing where you don’t think about anything else. Not that fight you had with your partner, not the fact your boss doesn’t pay you enough and not your in-laws. Stress goes out the window when you are just focused on one thing.

I love how meditation enthusiasts think it’s the fix-all for everything. Of course it is, it’s literally not thinking about anything. It’s, in the most physical sense you can mean it, taking your mind off of your stress.

Duh it works.

But you could say that about getting black out drunk. It is still there when you come back. The difference is that the anxiety, shakes and headache I have after a blackout do not aid in my ability to see my stresses from a different angle or to have collected myself. A blackout will definitely allow me to forget about the stresses because I was too busy making new ones, I heard.

What is Comedic Meditation

You can meditate in whatever way you want to, as long as you get a break from the demented whirlwind of stressors that is your own mind. You don’t need a robe or to smell like dirt to achieve that. This is why I like comedic meditation, to remind you not to take yourself so fucking seriously. As the worry of not being able to focus on your breathing creeps in, a strong curse word will tell it to fuck right off. When that self-righteousness shitstorm tornado touches down, a good dick joke will kick you in your ass and bring you back down to earth, connecting you to mother nature. Dick jokes and swear words connect you to the matriarch of life.

Yes, I do have a new guided meditation album that is this exact thing, so I like it. I genuinely enjoy listening to my own album, the self-righteousness is what makes me fit into this community. My specific brand is more motivation and positive affirmation mediation.

There is only one criteria for meditation to be helpful and adequate, did it make you feel good? Smiling and laughing are my favorite feelings, so I made meditations that provide that. It helps that an incredible composer (Jeremy Shabo) put some perfect and original meditation music behind each track. A comedic guided meditation is still a meditation and so, by my own logic, it is stupid. Stupid stuff is hilarious.

If you take 5-7 minutes to relax and every 10-30 seconds you smile or laugh, that’s pretty fucking powerful. Plus if meditation is a practice for death, I rather go out laughing anyway.

If you think meditation is stupid and too hippy dippy for you, try comedic meditation. If you like meditation and want to deepen your understanding of self, try comedic meditation. If you are a hardcore meditator or instructor remember it’s much easier to focus on your breathing when you pull your head out of your ass, try comedic guided meditation.

Try it right now. Right here: Chill by Monica Nevi

Leave a comment or contact form if you want to hire me for your company Christmas party, clearly I am very motivating.

Achieving Dreams in Chaos

Mostly Finger Guns is here.

We need a break.

I love checking off lists. I love finishing something I said I was going to. I love being done. That being said, I’m not that organized and I struggle to manage my time in a regular scenario, let alone this one. 

I set a lot of goals this year, which by the time March rolled around, seemed like a setup! A lot of those goals were to finish projects I had been dreaming about and working on for years leading up to this.

I recorded my first standup album in December of 2019, after Christmas, literally as late in 2019 as you could get. We sold out shows at The Comedy Underground, I hand picked six people to open for me that all crushed it and I had the most fun I have had on stage.

I had been working since Spring of 2019 recording guided meditations for a 10-track album (out in one month!) and sending them to a composer, Jeremy Shabo, who was putting them to original music. We would talk about what kind of feel I wanted while listening to it and then he would come back with something perfect. I felt great about the progress I was making and excited to have something more to give to you, finally.

Cue 2020.

I was finishing up the meditations and getting calls from the label about the standup album and how happy they were with it. Still touring and enjoying shows, excited to tell people my albums were coming out (they would clap when I just said I was putting one out). Then this ALL happened.

The largest crowd I have performed for in 2020 was giving my cousin’s eulogy. The next night I performed in a movie theater for a lot less people and made jokes about my Corona tattoo. Sure, I got laughs at both but it was less than a week before everything shut down and I might never do standup as we knew it, again. 

We had no idea what we were in for.

When this all first started, I did not know what to expect, none of us did. I couldn’t have predicted this. We would be eight months into a pandemic and semi-lockdown when I finally achieve dreams I have had for 10 years. It does make the release feel a little bit different. 

My love affair with stand-up, now feels like a long-distance relationship. Everyone tells you that you can make it work with Zoom, you’ll be together again one day and at least they can’t get you pregnant.

I ‘found’ stand-up when I was in a terribly low point in my life. I put found in quotes because I had wanted to do it since I was 14 but it took a lot of personal struggle and six years to actually get up and do it. I was a month from being 21 and really had nothing to lose. I watched people record live albums, I bought them all and later on I opened for SO many comedians recording their albums. I opened for one label five times in one year and there was never a mention of recording me, at all. 

Give us a break!

A lot of my career, I have felt like I just needed a break. Well a lot of my life. Which, I understand isn’t the best outlook to have for an optimist but it piles on after awhile and I’m sure we all feel that way. I had been toying with the idea of just recording my own album and figuring out how to put it out but I really wanted someone to do that for me. 

A year before the pandemic started I was at the Limestone Comedy Festival in Bloomington, Indiana, stressing about how I would get the most out of the three days I would be there. I guess I did okay because right before I was headed out to leave, Ross Duncliffe from On Tour Records asked to have a coffee meeting before I left. He wanted to record my album and I’m so glad that we did and so glad I took 20 minutes before taking a shuttle to Indianapolis to talk with him. 

The experience of getting the album the way I wanted, recording over a full weekend, hand selecting my openers and watching them crush followed by the months of listening over and over again afterward to make sure it’s great, was all a stress I had wanted to experience for so long. Now it’s happened and during the weirdest time. Did I imagine not being able to tour when it came out? No. Did I know I would have to conquer a Ninja Sex Party to top the charts? No. I thought that would mean something different. It seems like it could be tainted in some way but for me, it actually feels like I got a bit of break, right when I needed it.

It’s like the NBA.

I can only compare it to basketball because that’s the only thing I compare anything too. If you won this year, if you were the LA Lakers or the Seattle Storm, some people may give you an asterisk. Some people seem to think it would have been easier to have a season in a bubble, during a pandemic. But I think the asterisk means it was harder. Watching the NBA and WNBA get tested every single day, have to play games every other day, be activists everyday, all while separated from their families… kind of makes regular seasons look simple. 

As much as I want to celebrating today with you, in person, performing, having bud lights with my family, I am proud to have the asterisk of making this happen DESPITE the situation we are in. I feel like Sue Bird in the clutch today, we made it happen anyway and I am Megan Rapinoe’s favorite comic. 

A good friend told me I was immortal now. What an interesting way to think about it. This exists forever now. I feel special to have become immortal during a pandemic! I’m ready for my Marvel movie now. 

I hope listening to it, gives you a break when you need it to. Break from politics, from remote learning, from work and from me posting about it. 

I am proud of what we’ve done and I’m so thankful to have all the people in my life and all the people who are getting a break with this album as a part of my team! Join us for the livestream celebration show 10/30/2020 on YouTube at 7pm pacific time. 

Thank you so much, 

Monica Nevi

Click to get your copy!  

 

 

Staying Soft Is Hard

The title is a dick joke? This will be a good one.

As tempted as I am every time I sit down to write to just bombard you with blog posts of only dick jokes, this is about keeping a flaccid heart. In the very base of it aren’t we all just a bunch of dickheads running around pretending we know what we are doing?

Staying Soft With Myself

I have not had the easiest time in my life being soft to the world. Just based on how many times people have said “I thought you were going to beat someone up when you first got on stage” I can tell maybe I don’t have the most inviting vibe. However, once you are in the circle, once you are one of my people, I am extremely soft. Which is potentially why it is so difficult to get into.

I have realized, over the last year and a half, the person I have always been the hardest to was myself. Just a real boner, trying to force myself to do things, deny myself things I really wanted or ridiculing myself for any lack of anything. Which is probably what has made my attempts to be soft more difficult.

Very important to note here that soft does not mean weak. It probably is the stronger, more powerful of the two. Like quicksand, it takes a little longer but eventually it takes everything. Being hard can only last so long before you have to go see a doctor. Once, I was able to accept that being soft was not being weak, in fact it took more from me than any tough-bitch bullshit I had pulled before, then I felt like it was a challenge that I wanted to beat. A very competitive, almost macho outlook on this topic, I know but baby steps.

I still have very little idea what I’m doing and how to really be soft with myself but I can tell you that I have made some very interesting changes and I can tell just that, changes. Last year I started writing letters to my friends and drawing them terrible pictures of whatever animals I thought they might be able to make out. It was like mail charades. I also decide to start listening to myself more and what I really wanted and not what other people kept telling me I wanted. Did you know they don’t know the answer to that? I spent a lot of time pushing things away and trying to control everything that was happening instead of accepting exactly what I wanted and what made me feel good and letting things happen.

I’m also impatient, turns out. This has been huge in the being soft to myself category. It’s tough to give and take time to actually be good to myself. As gross as it sounds, I have to love myself. So I have spent the last year constantly masturbating. Kidding, although it’s hard not to when it’s so easy to access TubeV Sex. What I mean is that I need to love myself as a person. Even writing this now makes my insides roll their eyes a little bit still but the craziest thing that has ever happened to me happened this year… I have felt good FOR NO REASON. There have been a lot of personal changes this year but it has also been one of the more stressful times in my life, which prompted the changes, because I told myself I wasn’t going to let it make me hard again. I was going to keep my focus on staying soft, like a boy in junior high P.E. I was going to stay flaccid and easy to move. I wasn’t going to poke anyone else or have to hide myself in public. When my heart is erect, it is intentional, so I have to keep my flaccid heart to myself.

Many techniques have helped me with this, including meditation, writing and doing real weird energy shit but I am really enjoying making everything a dick joke the most.

Staying Soft With Other People

Most of life is super easy if there are no other people in it. Easy doesn’t mean good. Which makes staying soft to others the most difficult. Some times it seems like they are put there just to get you all riled up. Difficult to stay soft when there are so many pussies and buttholes running around. We have to do it anyway. Being hard hearted to others doesn’t help either of you.

Remember from earlier that we are all dickheads and no one knows what they are truly doing. That’s what I have learned, we are all just guessing and some of us are better at being confident about our guesses. We are not in control, someone can be a boner at anytime. The only thing we can control is ourselves and we all make mistakes, I know that for sure. They don’t know what they are doing either. Their isn’t a way to know what’s going to happen or how it will happen, we just know that it will happen, whatever it is. So be patient with them too right? Making a boner go away takes some specific thoughts but most importantly it takes a little time. Patience with other people is very crucial to staying soft and no one wants to help the person who is hard in the middle of everyone.

I am still having so much fun with this dick analogy but it may be making less and less sense.

The big thing with other people and staying soft to them is that they are OTHER people and really what they do has little to do with you. Making yourself hard over other people’s lifestyles is just a waste of everyone’s time that I have never really understood. I want you to be exactly who you want to be, do what you want to do and love who or what you want to love, especially yourself. If we look at other people’s lives with softness then their differences don’t bother us as much. Example, it’s pride month and if you have a problem with same-sex relationships then that makes you hard, which seems to be the opposite of what you were trying to do.

I’m not sure this even says anything but I am so happy with how many dick jokes I was able to fit into one post. Don’t let the tough things in life make you hard, if it breaks your heart, try and let it break it open.

Stay soft my friends.

 

No Phone For 7 Days: A Life Experiment

Undoubtedly, my shitty attitude had been bringing on a flurry of rough life situations in April. All the things that could have gone wrong or just not gone were doing that, all at the same time. I don’t mean to be dramatic but sometimes when it rains it pours. So lately I had been feeling like the scene in Aladdin when they are trying to escape the Cave of Wonders on the Magic Carpet right before the cave closes around them.

Me=Aladdin/Abu/Carpet

Cave of Wonders=Life

I am a positive person, I have seen the movie, we slip out just in time with the lamp and everything wonderful in the end. However, there is a middle part, of learning, that you can’t know or control until it is happening. I am feeling much closer to exiting the cave now, fear not.

What Happened To The Phone

On a Wednesday afternoon I was heading to meet a friend to watch the Spurs game at a bar in North Hollywood. There is a store I like nearby so, knowing I was going to have some drinks during the game, I took a Lyft to the store and planned to walk from there to the bar. Due to my constant adult-like behavior (sarcasm), my phone was almost all the way dead. When I got in the Lyft I asked to charge it and slipped it in the back pocket of the passengers seat to let it charge up. When we arrived at the destination, I got out of the car with my bag and went in the store. After 15 minutes of looking around and picking out what candles I wanted I reached in to grab my phone so I could get my credit card and it wasn’t there. I burst out laughing in the middle of this very small store. You have to understand that I was very much in a “of course this is happening” kind of downward spiral at this time. Nothing was going right for me, so of course I leave my phone in a Lyft, while completely sober on a Wednesday at 5pm.

I know where the phone is so we just have to figure out how to get it back. I pay and then walk to the bar to meet my friend. I tell him what happened and we use his phone to submit a lost phone form online. You see, it’s usually easy to get a lost item in a ride share by using the app on your phone to call the driver you just had. Seeing as it was, in fact, the phone that would have the app on it, that wasn’t really a possibility.

My phone causes me a lot of anxiety some times, it’s what I do work through, how I check on things I’m waiting for and how we all hear or don’t hear from the people we are missing. So there was a part of me that didn’t really care that it was gone. The other part knew I was leaving for Phoenix in a day and would be much better off having the phone before then.

That didn’t happen.

Living With No Phone

The process of getting it back was difficult and had to be done over e-mail. Turns out I should have just been sending them handwritten letters to speed things up. They quickly confirmed the driver still had it and we agreed to have him drop it off at the office in Downtown Los Angeles. Then I could pick it up, easy. Except the driver didn’t get back to them about that plan for 6 days. So there I go navigating the world in a phone-less pit of despair.

I do it anyway though, I head to Phoenix after looking up and writing down directions, like a fucking pioneer. Aside from the communication and social media pieces there are many things we use our phones for that we don’t even notice. I drove 7 hours listening to the radio, whatever would come up. There was an hour stretch of the driver where only two stations would come up and they were both Christian stations and one was in Spanish. Did you know there is both Christian rap AND Christian metal bands? Yeah, take your phone out of your life for a minute and see what you can learn.

I was hoping that some of the time off would help me sort through some of the struggles I have been having and help me slide the magic carpet out of the giant panther’s mouth before it closes on me. Turns out your problems are not in your phone, they are still right there in your head. The only difference is that now you can’t silence your feelings with music you actually like or podcasts full of dick jokes.

Phone Desert

I make it to Phoenix after having to stop at a Starbucks to use my computer to get completed directions to my friend’s house. It was a little ‘girls weekend’ with my roommate from college and another one of my best friends that I played basketball with. We are a good time separately and a wild combination. This only made me a little nervous as if I was to get separated from them… would I be able to make it home? Why don’t we just put that to the test the first night, get it out of the way. We end up at this club with some dudes we met at the pool, dancing on tables and misplacing fucks to give left and right. One of the trio is married and she headed home a little early, the other found someone to touch and I was just trying not to fall off the hydraulic table that moves up and down (only in Scottsdale are you allowed to potentially murder people with nightclub flair).

I once read in a book that your soulmate is the person that comes along in the most difficult time in your life to help you through it. This phone-less-empty-soul-desert seemed like it was definitely not that time and I was kind of staying away from people. Having no phone in cocaine powered Scottsdale, AZ and losing friends to the night every 10 minutes seemed like some kind of test from the Universe. The gentleman I ended up chatting with did have a variety box of chips in his car so I really thought, maybe the soulmate thing could be true. Turned out he had just stumbled over and no one at our table knew him. Not that I have ever really required the Carfax on someone I had been with before but still.

Somehow I channeled the navigational powers of my ancestors and remembered my friend’s address and the chip guy gave me a ride home. He only let me take two bags of chips and assured me they were not for kids he didn’t tell me he had. Although, it was nice to meet him and I was home without being murdered, I didn’t find a soulmate in the fog machine capitol of the world, thankfully.

Shady Aftermath

I go the rest of the weekend dancing very close to my friends as I do not want to get lost again and chance it. We all make it through alive and I am still getting texts from people I just gave my number to anyway because even though I told them I had no phone, they didn’t care. As I returned home through 8 hours of Coachella traffic, navigating with my brain and praising Jesus through 808 drum beats, I realize for a moment that nothing really happened. I had tried to just let things come as they do, trust that things are unfolding as they should and just let it all happen. I try to do that all the time now, actually. But as I returned to my apartment to find my e-mails still empty of the location of my phone I realized that even without it I still went, danced, stayed alive and had a great time with my friends as I would have anyway. There was still a twinge of stress in my heart as I would really hope to have my phone to go to Hawaii for 12 days and my flight was 2 days away. But what do you know? The day before I got an e-mail that said the phone was at the office and I could come pick it up and I did.

Moral of the Lost Phone Story

No matter how you are feeling now, no matter what you are waiting for or hoping is returned to you from your Lyft driver, it’s going to be okay. You’re going to make it to Phoenix and back, get your phone, go to Hawaii and fly out of the Cave of Wonders just in time. If you give yourself the chance to relax into it, you may just end up with a couple extra bag of chips.

This has been another installment of “Monica does something stupid and tries to make it more important than it is” brought to you by Amazon.

 

 

These Kids Are Badass [For Their Lives]

It’s been a couple weeks since these badass kids and many others who support them marched for their lives. Which is why I want to say something about it now, so that maybe we won’t wait until more of them are dead to be reminded.

I wasn’t able to march that day, although going to protests has become a hobby of mine in the last year and a half. I was on a bus from Spokane to Seattle trying to map out the decisions I had made to lead to that situation. As we picked up a couple passengers from the Wenatchee jail to take them home to Everett, there were these kids all over the country making so much noise. Making enough noise to make me go “oh shit.” These kids are badass. When I say kids, I mean it. 11-year olds out here giving better speeches than Toast Masters will ever teach you. They have been pushed to the edge and now they are pushing back. I personally think it’s great, if you do not agree with what they are saying that’s fine, this isn’t meant to be divisive, although pretty much all words are divisive right now. I do think that whoever you are or whatever you agree with, you should be well aware of how badass these kids are because they are in control now. Their cute signs that rhyme about how they are going to be able to vote soon are more than cute, that shit is real.

March For Your Life 

I was never this badass but in school we always enjoyed the idea of standing up for what was right. Nowhere near the levels of badassery these kids out here are working with but we liked pushing back. My junior and senior year in high school myself and a few friends never stood for the pledge of allegiance (yeah, we started that shit) because not everyone could get married. One full school assembly my entire class sat down during it and they made everyone do it again. The second time half of our class got up, but we didn’t. I know what you are thinking “what was that going to do?” nothing. “That is not a big enough group of people to do anything” sure wasn’t. “That’s disrespectful and I’m sure your teachers hated it” well… that’s debatable. What did happen though was that Washington state, where I am from, passed weed and gay marriage with flying rainbow colors as soon as we could vote. Then the whole country did it as well. So I’m not afraid of the noise these kids are making, I’m surrendering to their cause because a combination of my generation and theirs will be in charge real soon.

The older group of voters and politicians is dying and what is left is my generation, the ever-liberal millennial, these badass kids coming up and the parents who raised both of those groups to be how they are now. Us millennials, we really are lazy but maybe that has just been because we know we have little to offer compared to these little savage hearts. We mean well and we can get on board with stuff very easily.

March For Our Lives

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s not only their ability and willingness to organize and actually stand up against something at a young age but goodness they are fierce. They have had to experience going to a potential war zone everyday of their lives. When I was a kid (wasn’t that long ago, 10-year reunion this year) we had lock down drills, if someone came into the building with a gun we locked down. I was in two actual lockdowns that were from shootings near the school but not at the school and another that ended up being construction noise from nearby. Never once did they tell us what to do if someone ran into the room with a gun and I’m sure it never crossed their minds to explain to us what to do if the person sitting next to us opened fire. Cut to my work with kids only a few years later when once a month we went through each kind of lockdown drill as well as at least 15-minutes of explaining and then answering questions about what to do if someone is in the room with us with a gun, which ways to run and why that would ever happen. Those are the kids that are marching now, the ones who have had to think about that everyday of their education and the ones who will have to think about it everyday for the rest of their lives.

These are the kids that were subjected to the terror of a military grade assault rifle and will now cope with military grade PTSD, forever. We were always told we were safe at school, that was where we could feel protected and part of something, even if we didn’t have that feeling at home. The same place these kids have had to watch their friends get murdered next to them. When these teenagers are saying enough is enough,  they mean it. And somehow, after all of this, they are doing it with such grace and class, I’m just in awe.

If you need to know my particular stance on guns, it’s very simple: I don’t get it. To the very base level of it, I don’t understand it. I can’t wrap my head around wanting one because I don’t get the protection piece, the hunting piece, the military piece, it just doesn’t resonate with me to want to have that power or to kill anything. So, I don’t argue about it or think you need to change your opinion, I just literally have very little to contribute to the conversation because I can’t even get there. I’ll play a Big Buck Hunter if asked but that’s about it.

These kids out here asking for compromise, being very understanding and trying to move forward to start a dialogue about what we can do to make this better, not lashing out irrationally. This is the exact moment I stop calling them kids. These people are badass. Far more mature and in tune with what they are doing than anyone else in a public light right now. If you still are confused, I’m talking about the Emma Gonzalez, Sam Fuentes, Naomi Wadler and all the other  young activists that stood up at this march and others like it. And all these little badasses that will keep standing up from here on out.

If you haven’t watched their speeches you should, it will make you question what the hell you have been doing your whole life. Sam Fuentes is my hero, she was a victim in the Parkland shooting, sustaining injuries and having shrapnel in her body. She spoke at the March For Our Lives rally in Washington D.C. and she performed this badass poem. A fierce poem, literally from someone who was in this shooting and half way through she throws up on stage, comments on it AND THEN FINISHES READING THE POEM. That’s the baddest fucking thing I have ever seen. I forget one word in a joke and give up on it.

In conclusion, no matter how you feel about the situation these kids deserve to be listened to, taken seriously and not forgotten. Most importantly if we don’t do that, it doesn’t really matter… these G.I. Jane, activist prodigy, keep going after vomiting on stage badasses are in control now. We are in the future, I think we have to deal with it.

This is Sam’s Speech, worth checking out.

Ching Chang Chong: AAA Membership

I have AAA Plus Membership. I think it is a necessity for people like myself, who do a lot of their traveling via car. I have used it quite a few times, for various easy fixes, mostly flat tires and haven’t thought too much about it until last week.

The AAA Plus Membership and Last Week

I’m not sure what exactly it was but last week was horribly unlucky for me. I tried to focus on the positives and keep moving but it just seemed every step I took forward there was an unlucky monster chasing me backwards. It started with the car.

Jean (the car) and I were heading back from Phoenix Saturday when, only about an hour and a half away from home, she just gave out. She broke down with what felt like running out of gas but sounded like some tube fell off. I get to the side of the freeway in San Bernardino and call up AAA. I have my AAA Plus Membership card with me, so I’m feeling okay. Not happy, but okay.

Infinite patience has been my mantra this year, so what better way to exercise that than in a situation like this? AAA seemed very helpful over the phone, I describe where I am on the freeway, tell him the next exit and say I’m on the northbound side of the roadway. He sounded confident, I felt confident, I didn’t have anywhere to be that night. Infinitely patient.

He said 40 minutes. An hour later, I’m still doing good even though I have been visited by one hopeful competing tow truck and a police officer just making sure I was alright. I receive a call from the driver and he says he is on the southbound side and cannot seem to find me. It takes him awhile to get all the way around to me on the northbound side but then we figure it out and that’s when it happens, I meet Arturo. In such a shitty situation, when I’m tired and trying so hard to maintain this patience, I have yet to realize that this will be the greatest thing to ever happen to me.

The Rest of the Week and My AAA Plus Membership

I equate this story to the caliber of The Sound and the Fury so we are skipping around in time, like Faulkner. After the events of Saturday, the best bad luck I have ever had and my hope and effort in not letting this get me down or spiral, I was visited by many more ghosts of bad luck present. I learned of three deaths of people I knew in one day, two friends were in the hospital after being struck by cars, two paychecks were less than I was told they would be and I had three minor miscommunications that led to scheduling issues. Not to mention the general life turmoil we deal with everyday, that has been a tad overwhelming for me lately.

As of this moment, I am still chalking it up to a very unlucky week. Although, I won’t say I let it get me down and I do think there were some great things that happened during that time as well. Just oddly unlucky for the overall week. This is all without the car because it ends up in the shop, getting her fuel pump fixed. However, the most important part and best thing that has ever happened to me, could have only happened had that bad luck been started by the break down of Jean and thus the necessity to use my AAA Plus Membership.

The Tow Truck and My AAA Plus Membership

I climb into the tow truck so Arturo can take me to the nearby auto shop that is AAA approved and had been ‘informed of the priority so you won’t have to wait in line.’ Arturo and I head over to this shop to get it all taken care of.

On the way Arturo mentions that with the AAA Plus Membership I can be towed up to 100 miles. I inform him I live 82 miles away and it might be easiest if we can just get it fixed up now since it was only 2:30 in the afternoon. He agrees and we head to the AAA approved auto shop about 12 minutes away. As we arrive it is very obvious that this shop is closed and may have never been open. Arturo is a bit confused but offers the long ride home again. I suggest we call the dispatcher and see what’s up.

Turns out the only other shop around closes in 30 minutes as well and what do you know? Arturo gets his wish and we have to get heading on our 2 hour drive back to my apartment where we then have to circle the block a few times to find parking, as you do in LA.

Although, it was an interesting ride filled with Drake that was playing out of a bluetooth speaker he hung from the laundry hook, I kept laughing at the situation before and after I was blessed with the best thing that has ever happened to me.

The Best Thing to Ever Happened to Me and My AAA Plus Membership

Arturo was a nice guy, he didn’t say anything creepy. We talked about music and why I was coming from Phoenix which led to my career and that chat lasted for quite awhile. He texted most of the drive while we talked about traffic and I wasn’t even mad. Infinite patience girl, infinite patience. Plus at this point I hadn’t even learned that the rest of this week would be showered with bad luck flavored sprinkles.

I always want to take away something positive and while the situation did make me laugh, it was probably more of a ‘I can’t believe this is happening, are you fucking kidding me’ type of laugh. It became extremely easy to take away a positive since the best thing that has ever happened to me happened during this unfortunate injury to Jean.

While in the tow truck, after we had gotten gas and some ‘munchies’ as Arturo put it, we were waiting at a stoplight. It was either the Universe or a god speaking to me, saying ‘hey, it’s going to be okay, maybe.’ As we sat at the light I look to my right and a homeless man walks up to the side of the truck and starts motioning for a drink. Unable to discern whether the man wanted a drink of water or wanted money for booze Arturo and I decided we would ignore him. As the man walked away we noticed he had on a denim jacket, with bellbottom jeans and long brown hair. He walked back to us again and did the same thing. I look at Arturo and we both shrug. Then, like a ray of light that restored my faith in the world, Arturo turns to me and with the innocence of a baby lamb he says “Ha! I don’t know what he wants but he looks like those funny guys from the 80s, you know Ching Chang Chong.”

All of a sudden a choir of joyful music erupted in my head! Holy shit! He totally thinks Cheech and Chong are called Ching Chang Chong. Sweet Universe, Jesus, Allah and Flying Spaghetti Monster thank you so much for this gift. I would gladly take another week of bad luck or maybe this week is just the start to a year of bad luck, I’m not sure, but it is worth it. To be given the sweet gift of having the words Ching Chang Chong fall on my ears in that exact moment, saved me. Every pinch of bad luck over the last week has been overcome by the sweet memory of Ching Chang Chong. Every time my stress level creeped closer to the edge, I became flooded with infinite patience because of Ching Chang Chong.

The world works in mysterious ways and I am eternally grateful for this gift.

 

Singles Awareness Day? We’re Aware…

All the single people, all the single people… stop worrying about us.

Dear Couples,

Don’t worry about your single friends on Valentine’s Day. There are a few things that could be going on and none of them will be fixed by you telling them they’ll be ok, be happy one day or that they can be the third on your date. They know you are interested in the single lifestyle and how they are doing, they know. Is being single better than being in a relationship? No. Is it better than being in YOUR relationship? Quite possibly. Yes, it gets lonely, please stop asking. Here are some possible reasons this person doesn’t have a Valentine:

  1. They don’t want one: I know this is hard to believe but some people don’t want a Valentine. Some people are happy being single, maybe they want to be on their own for once, order food and be lazy without another person judging them. Buy the candy they like instead of hoping someone else will remember and not judge them. Why let a date ruin your ability to wear sweatpants. Some people enjoy their alone time and I know I get hungry whether another person is there or not.
  2. They don’t believe in it: I know plenty of couples that don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day because they don’t play into the idea you should be told when to treat your partner special, you can do that whenever you want. Or they don’t celebrate because they hate each other and they don’t want to break that streak. So it’s not so crazy that a single person wouldn’t feel pressure to partake in a ‘holiday’ that is based around buying stuff you don’t need.
  3. They are picky: This is a hard one for a lot of coupled people to understand but some single people have high standards. Maybe your friend is patiently waiting for the person that makes them want to celebrate Valentine’s Day to come into their life and they are well aware that person is not your boyfriend’s friend from work.

There could be plenty of other reasons that your friend you have deemed lonely does not want to participate in Valentine’s Day. Whatever their reason, I can guarantee you are not making it better by ‘trying to help.’

Dear Singles,

Don’t worry about your coupled friends. This is what I have recently come to understand about being single around couples. As the genius I am, last week I invited 6 couples to my own birthday party where I was alone, so I believe I am a seasoned extra wheel. This is what I have figured out, other people’s relationships have nothing to do with us!

What?

Yeah.

Just because you see someone else is in a relationship doesn’t mean you can’t have one too. A lot of times that makes us go “aw, I wish I was good enough for something like that.” Or whatever. When you could be thinking “oh thank goodness that exists.” I have been on this new ‘be happy for happy couples’ thing and I really like it. For a long time I looked at my parents and thought ‘these happy bitches, always having fun together, married for a long time, making my standards so high!’ But what I should have been thinking was ‘oh thank god, someone as weird as me can have that.’

It’s actually kind of fun being happy for other healthy couples. In reality, your own loneliness doesn’t get better if they don’t work out. That just affirms something in your head that tells you it’s not possible. So today I have been spending my time liking all their cute photos and sappy posts because I do actually want that to exist. You do too, even if it’s not for yourself.

Don’t let your coupled friends make you feel any pressure in being single anyway, there is nothing wrong with it. There is nothing wrong with taking your time and being right. There is something so right with infinite patience and when you find that (it’s not easy) then something good will happen. Until then, have a Happy Secretly Eating a Fuck-Ton of Carbs Day!

Monica

I Have Been Doing Comedy For 7 Years

Hey.

So this is it, the seventh year of stand up is when you find your voice, when you know what you are doing. I agree with that as I seem to have found another voice in my head. So look out… I’m here to ruin that theory for everyone. I would like this year of my career to be about finding my mind, I seem to have lost.

How It Started

People ask me this question all the time, which I actually don’t mind. I have an answer for this and I can show my work:

I loved watching stand up as a youth —–> Started writing jokes for fun during my freshman and sophomore years in college —–> Couldn’t play basketball anymore ——> Watched one open mic at Laughs in Kirkland —–> The next week I do my first open mic —–> 7 years later I write this blog.

The Stories

I figure you don’t want to hear all the crap about what I am proud of and the people I enjoy working with and all the good stuff, as that is not what comedy is about. Comedy is about complaining. Well too bad, I’m going to tell you some good stuff anyway and you’re going to like it. Here are the nominees for best story in each of these categories I have arbitrarily made up:

The Best Thing That Has Happened

  • I have traveled all over the country, almost every part of it, doing comedy and getting paid to do it. For the most part I have broken even and that’s pretty good for traveling.
  • Comedy has allowed me to meet people I never would have otherwise, develop relationships I couldn’t have imagined and even hang out with Canadians.
  • Stand up has given me opportunities to branch out into other amazing forms of comedy and create my own projects, podcasts and other stupid things I am deeply proud of. Huglifepodcast.com
  • I have had the wonderful honor to work with people I have watched on TV for years and for the most part decide that they are pretty nice and hard-working people, just like the rest of us.

The Worst Thing That Has Happened

  • I once asked if two people sitting at a table were mother and son and of course they were married. Then I spent the rest of the set making excuses for why that wasn’t as offensive as it definitely was.
  • I have performed and even hung out in a number of moose, eagles and elks lodges. The drinks are very cheap but so are the inappropriate comments.
  • I have slept everywhere imaginable, from cars to couches to tile floors and deflating air mattresses. Sometimes with cute dogs or cats to cuddle with.
  • I once used someone else’s dirty towel for an entire week because that was my only option.
  • A very small cowboy decided to put his hand in between my legs at a bar thus unleashing a beast inside of me that got me carried out of said bar by security, almost started a fight and honestly quite nearly got that mini cowboy killed. I have the poorly healed part of a tattoo to prove it.

The Craziest Thing That Has Happened

  • While closing out a very fun show in the Northwest a gentleman seemed to be answering his phone in the front row and talking to someone. The third time it happened I asked to see his phone, like a teacher asking for your attention would. He quickly pulled away trying to hide his phone behind himself only to reveal it was a child’s water-maze play toy that he had been answering the whole time.
  • A woman in Deer Lodge, Montana invited us back to her house to go in her bathtub, which she had pictures of on her phone. It was a lovely tub but we did decline… mostly because she had pictures of it on her phone which eluded to this not being her first time and I like to feel special.
  • I have since vowed not to drive during the winter time but in October of this year we nearly died in the snow, in a Prius, in Southern Utah… Which seems to be the saddest of all potential obituaries.
  • I once ended up after a show at a castle next to a state capitol building with the oldest man in history. He may have haunted said castle. Then we woke up in a different larger home on the water. A part of my soul may still be walking around those places.

Overall the last 7 years have been super easy, stress-free and full of love and functional relationships.

No, they have been full of sarcasm. I have loved mostly every moment of what I do, I feel lucky everyday that I get to do comedy for a living. I am excited to continue this journey and see the changes this year brings. Year 7 is the one when you start edging toward not compromising what you want for what you CAN do just because you can. Also, I am writing this blog from an apartment I share with two grown men, one of which is loudly having sex in the room next to me… so things HAVE to change.

Feel free to let me know which of the nominees in each category YOU think get the award!

 

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