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A Death in the Family

Sunday, March 27th, 2016
I found out about the death of a cousin on Facebook because that’s how we learn of these things now. LISTEN TO THE PODCASTREAD MORE»

Beating the Blues

Saturday, February 8th, 2014
The winter has been bitchin to say the least. While the weather has been depressing, it seems that death has been in the air. I lost a friend earlier this year, actually two. One was a hair dresser buddy shortly after New Year’s. The other was someone I had lost touch with, a young man whom I quite liked that had gotten cancer that progressed quickly. Oh and then there was an acquaintance I met once known as Phil. You have been reading quite a bit lately. He talked me down from a literal ledge I was in during the hot New York July where it seemed the heat sweltered to the point where dogs could talk.
On top of that work has been slow. It always is in January. Translated, the demon of financial insecurity has come to April’s home. On top of that, people have been approaching me for shows and jobs. When I ask if they pay they skirt the question. Turns out they want me to work for shit or work for free. I am not being greedy, I want to eat and pay my rent. Or people act like they are doing me a freaking favor all the time by paying me shit or having me work for free. It’s fucking torture to be recognized on the street or to get a fan letter and know that your rent check may have bounced. On top of that, I would say fuck it and get a good day job but I have two problems. One is that people know who I am and I will have jealous coworkers harass me. Or better yet, I won’t get hired because they know that I will leave once I get a TV show. I like the telegram thing, but in January I sweat.
On top of that there has been some career angst. Someone who was supposed to get me paperwork took their time. When this happens it means the project has been shelved or you have been dumped. They got it to me, but waiting was making me ill. On top of that, a literary agent rejected my book. Basically, I did what he could do for me on my own, and he didn’t feel the sales were robust enough for a bigger publisher to nab me up. Translated, I had done his job and he didn’t have the juice to further me. I should have been somewhat flattered because he wrote the letter of rejection keeping the door open. But I was like fuck being a capable, smart, intelligent, woman. Fuck it all. Being a smart woman sucks sometimes it really does. Then I submitted a few pieces to some magazines. I have been writing more because most of my show dates have been cancelled. One chick mag rejected me flat out. What, I didn’t bitch and moan enough? Mcseriously.
Monday as I debated killing The Ground Hog I had a show. I was stopped by a man on the street. He had looked at my calendar and my shows weren’t listed. He asked why. I didn’t want to tell him I was wallowing in self-pity and depression. That would make me look crazy. At that moment it clicked. It was selfish to be depressed. The show ended up rocking. I felt better. The next day I still felt good, high from the show. Wednesday it started to hail and I thought, “The only thing stopping me from killing myself is that I don’t have the perfect outfit to die in.” Then I had a thought. January was over. The ugly sister of all the months was leaving the party. I could press restart.
And so I did. My rent somehow got paid. I also had a novel idea to improve my surroundings, clean my house. In addition, I am also taking a different approach to my writing and going a different route. While I don’t know the result yet I am letting go. Instead of asking God for answers I am letting Him direct me. I am also not letting self-pity fester in my veins by living in inaction. I am taking action. While the results might not be instant I know that they will come. There is a temptation to rest in that I don’t know the outcome so why bother? The answer is sometimes in life, you aren’t supposed to know, that’s what makes it so spectacular. That is what makes a surprise so special. That is why when I enter someone’s office or home as a singing telegram people are happy. No one expected it. And if a crystal ball predicted it, the experience wouldn’t be so exciting and amazing on both ends.
The future is uncertain and dark, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. It is uncertain and dark because we do not know. I have been the fledgling starving artist. I have been the reality star. I wrote a book. In the fear based gut that I was given because I am a woman there is the part of me that says it’s over. My fame is fading. My fans will forget me. I will die a fat, ugly, cat lover eating ice cream with her bare hands in government housing. Truth is, I am not fading. I am just getting started. Maybe I am temporarily down from my mountain top. However, it is because I am getting ready to climb another one.
When I am angry and depressed, I cannot spread my message of peace, love, tolerance, and equality. When I yell and scream, people do not hear me. No one wants to listen. Anger is bad for you. I wish I could remember my own advice.
The other comfort is that everyone is tired of the winter. We all can’t wait for it to be over. Maybe I can’t control the weather. However, I am responsible for how I feel. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. So therefore, I must feel grateful.
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl

Roasting Punxsutawney Phil

Monday, February 3rd, 2014
I hate winter more and more every day. It is turning into a canker sore on my soul. I hate this season. January sucks, February is better because work picks up but still sucks. Either way, when I think of winter, I think of death. Sometimes it gets so depressing why not die?

There is nothing like dying in the winter. Then again, a lot of people do it so the notion is kind of hack. Of course in the winter you are more likely to be alone so death is more likely to occur. However, death never comes when you need it to or want it to. So you are suck in your bed looking like a miserable fool. Then there is the thought of killing yourself. Yes, one could use the Sylvia Plath method but they made gas ovens in those days. We have electronic now, so scrap that. As for the overdose, everyone's done that too. Jumping out the window, so tempting but useless if you have the wrong outfit. Truth is, while winter sucks you are better off living.

Still, the little fat bastard Phil has sentenced us to six more weeks. So far this winter has been very dark for me. I am sitting in a lot of career uncertainty. Basically, I don't know what's next for me. Hey, with death at least you know you're gonna die. With uncertainty it's this dark tunnel. The outcome might well be wonderful, but then it might end in a barren desert. Of course, when you try to relay this to people they try their best/worst to help.

"You had a good run April, but it's a time for spiritual growth."

"You know, you could always do my project. You've gained exposure. I mean, I can't pay you but...."

"You're young, you have time."

I wish I could point to some path that looks like there is light at the end of my tunnel it feels like I am travelling in only the darkness. The fall/winter was kind of dark. Things got busy with work and I found myself poised to save Christmas. My grandfather died, too. It seemed all I did was work my fingers to the bone. As for this winter I was hoping to get a break but no. It's the slow time of year for my job. Money is tight. It's cold. My writing has been rejected from a few places. As a smart, ambitious, capable woman I am once again kicked in the face and forced to settle for crumbs.

Then those around me cannot wait to take cheap shots at me now that my chest is open. Whether it's washed up women showing uterus pictures on facebook or men seeking to oppress me because I have opinions, I feel as if I can't win. Oh and Phillip Seymour Hoffman died. We met once when I was having a bad day, but I needed a friend and he comforted me. I didn't know it was him until he rode off on his bike. What hurts the most is that he didn't realize how wonderful he was when we had him. Oh, and the Broncos sucked. While Bruno Mars did rock out a good half time show, it is proof America celebrates men who hate women, and women in this country don't have a voice. The only good thing is Amanda Knox might be going back to jail.

The only thing I have on my side is that it has to get better because it can't get any worse. Winter sucks for everyone. I have six more weeks of this cursed shit and so does everyone. Instead of dying I think I will just find the nearest groundhog and make groundhog burgers.

I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl

Warmth Beneath the Artic

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014
It is literally five degrees in New York City. Freezing. All day it was freezing. I know I have already said that. As a matter of fact my building is an igloo because there is ice covering the front. Oh and I think I saw a polar bear and a penguin walk by. They said, "Screw this. We are moving to Florida."

There has been something refreshing about the cold though. For one, everyone has kind of bonded. For one, we all hate it. We have all been complaining about it. No one likes the fact they have to go out in it to do the most simple of errands. As I walked out to get my coffee I saw store owners salting the sidewalks to fight the impending black ice. Smokers tested their commitment their vice by lighting up in the frigid climate. Ice cycles seemed so comfortable that any wise New York landlord would charge them rent just for living on the ledge.

Yesterday was just depressing. It was a lot of things. The recent death of a hairdresser friend of mine from the neighborhood has been hitting home. Edgardo Rodriguez was one of the first friends I made when I moved to Hell's Kitchen. He styled my hair when the salon downstairs was Blondie's. We talked, we bullshitted. We bonded because Chacho had walked the balls and so did Egardo. We talked about guys and relationships. I had a real friend. I was coming out of a rough time in my life, too. At twenty two, it seemed like I had run a race like John Henry with a locomotive and now I was coming out of it. It was trippy because I only saw him two days earlier. Of course this is the slow time of year for the career. And I am sitting in some uncertainty with work and blah blah blah. So yes, jumping out the window might be an option. Except I might live, break my hip on the ice, and have some interesting explaining to do.

Today I delivered a telegram. It was a chicken. Part of me wanted work to be cancelled because it was freaking cold outside. I went though. Dressed warm with time to kill, I ended up buying two new pairs of earrings. Don't ask me why. I think I just needed something to cheer me up.

I then delivered the telegram. It was a lot of fun. I began with some jokes about being frozen food, hacky I know, and then did my routine. Afterwards, I had cake with everyone where they sang happy birthday again. Some dude broke out an accordion. He joked he began playing in high school with plans to be popular. Anyway, had some of the giant cupcake. The client suggested that I wear my costume home. Anyway, they invited me to drink with them. As a nondrinker I would be no fun. Told the client he had cake on his face. If he calls my boss I was just being polite.

Anyway I wore my chicken costume home. It was warm. Have never done that before and hope to never do it again. As I made my way home I saw a friend texted me. He had a Christmas gift for yours truly. I also got some promising leads on things. As I jumped on the warm train, huddled with the rest of the masses, I realized we were all in the same boat. We were all doing our best, paying our bills, and trying to get through this winter. I also realized that the weather was going to warm up. And perhaps the worst was over.

Now back to my igloo.

I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl

Winning Against January

Saturday, January 4th, 2014
This past week has been tough. I hate January. It is the winter. Unlike any of the other months of the year it really doesn’t have anything special or do anything. January is the ugly sister of all the months. The plain looking one who didn’t get into the Ivy League and continues to whine. February you have Valentine’s Day. March is St. Patrick’s Day-alcoholic training day. April is usually Easter. May is Memorial Day aka the beginning of summer. June has no holidays but is warm so we let it slide, aka the pretty girl with no brain. July is Independence. August again, no holidays but she is the playboy model of the year, hot and nothing else. September is Labor Day, and although it is back to school it is also the beginning of football. October is Halloween. November Thanksgiving. Oh and December is sparkling, smart, and annoying with Christmas aka The Vassar Girl.

January has always been a rough month for me. Growing up it meant snow days. School always seemed like prison so it was a way to escape. I went sled riding with my brother Wendell and my sister Skipper. Sometimes we watched trashy day time talkshows, there were plenty when I was a kid. We watched them, that is, until our mother turned them off. Just because there was no school didn’t mean there wasn’t any learning. Of course it was always a rough month because I was bullied relentlessly in school as it was. I wasn’t outgoing. I struggled with my weight. Early on I had cystic acne. My mother picked out my clothes. Looking back, it is funny but the cold always made the word stings all the more bitter.

I remember one January in particular was tough. I was eight and in second grade. My teacher was insane. She was later fired for having psych issues after she ranted and began throwing chalk. Anyway, she insisted I was ADHD or had dyslexia. I will admit maybe I have a dash of the two. My mom’s youngest sister is severely dyslexic. However, this bitch wanted to test me over and over. To boot I was sick a bunch. I remember coming back from having strep throat. She gave me a math test and I failed it. I failed most of my math tests on the regular as it was. Anyway I got an F that semester, and my parents threatened to sue the bitch for being so crazy. Oh and she was telling other teachers about my progress. Later that year I was switched to a different second grade class where my grades shot up rapidly. Still I always get sick when I think of school and math. Even to this day, I picture myself as a fat woman who has no one with sixty cats on welfare in housing the government pays for when it gets cold. In this tragic tableau, my cats have their own blankets and I am eating Fluffer Nutter out of the jar with my hand. That was the way those people made me feel. Maybe this is why I am so gentle when I speak and deal with young people, because I know that many that do shouldn’t. But there is a part of me who pictures my imaginary cats with rabies ripping this bitch’s face off. Fuck you, it’s the way I feel.
I also hate January because when I was sixteen I was really struggling with an AP course load in high school. I still remember getting a premature progress report for a class in which I finished with an A plus. My dad remarked that my parents would be lucky if they could get me into some unnamed state school. Of course at this point, my brother was going to Brown. He had played football. I was a reject that wore dark clothes, dark makeup, and wrote poetry. Things changed the following year when I got a role in the musical though. Sure, my parents were concerned. They should have been. My future, however, felt as bleak as the winter landscape. It just reinforced the whole sixty cats, overweight with no future imagine burned in my mind. Needless to say I finished the year in the National Honor Society and later went to NYU. I did alright for myself.

Then of course at nineteen I had earned admission to NYU by some act of God, but the act of God didn’t last cause I was rapidly flunking out. I hated my spoiled classmates who were from prep schools and seemingly had been in therapy since they were children. My weight went up and down like the price of gold. In writing class it was a disaster, despite having talent in that area I was flunking. Sure I was one of the best actors in my high school, if not the best. Now I was being told every acting class how I just didn’t have it. Except for two, most of my acting teachers hated me. Some of it was because I was a young woman. One in particular was rather frightening. She had been the star pupil slated for success. They told her she was going to be one of the greats. Instead, when she left college the rest of the world didn’t get the message, and she found herself working odd jobs like everyone else. I used to go at it with this woman, and for as hard as I worked I never did anything right. Well I got the option to switch out and did. Through the experience, I had upperclassmen guide me. I learned not to be so hard on my peers, too. People weren’t always going to be like me, and our differences would unite us. As for the rest of my college experience, gold. Then I realized no one likes freshmen year.

And then January was when the relationship with the abusive former fiancé was at it’s worst. Partially because of his drunken antics, he destroyed not one but two living situations for me. I still remember I tried dumping him as we were walking down the street. Screaming that he loved me, he attempted to throw himself into traffic. I was sick after this. Rather than run I decided to stay because when he told me things were different, I believed him. Around this time, my friends began to confront me. I was losing a lot of weight very quickly, partially because of the stress of being with a partner who was emotionally and physically abusive. I also was hanging out less, because I didn’t want people to know how bad it had gotten. My friends who were wonderful thought I didn’t love them anymore. In reality, I was pledging allegiance to the bully I called my significant other. I didn’t want them to see the black and blue marks on my arm where he had grabbed me. I didn’t want them to see how he was trying to control my comedy career, and forced me to give up the thing I love most, my puppets. I got out of that relationship by the skin of my teeth. I now have a separate mailing address. But it helped me turn my life around, and I have been using the visibility from national television to speak out against dating violence. Truth, dating is still hard. Trust is next to impossible. The experience was as lonely as the streets on New York on a sub-zero, January night.

Of course then there was the January where the market popped. The telegrams had all but dried. I went from being slated for a TV pilot to handing out fliers on the sidewalk. I told myself it would get better as I got minor frost bite several times over. The girls I worked with were drunken party animals that I despised. Most of the time they didn’t focus and just talked about other’s behind their backs. It didn’t get better. That whole year was just a mess. I had one friend die as a result of a drug overdose, and an acquaintance’s murder make front page news. For the first time I questioned my path and my life. Since that New Year’s Day when I was on the toilet with food poisoning, I have been incredibly superstitious when it comes to a new year. I don’t look forward to it like I did during childhood. I have a set of OCD like rituals. Granted, over time I did change my luck by changing by attitude. Still, I will never forget freezing in the cold outside of a building I had filmed in a few months earlier. Humble pie at it’s worst.These days, because of that shitty experience, I am gun shy when there are signs of success. I know how quickly they can disappear. And that is why I am an egomaniac sometimes. I know how hard they are to hold on to.

This January was just as jarring. Yesterday found my nerves shot after a scathing hate note I received in regards to my videos. When I clicked to block the man I saw KKK icons and such on his page. It was all this junk about white power. The memes that weren’t white power were women being brutally raped and disfigured. Even though I got good news I had nightmares all evening. The reason this hit me so hard is that there was racial violence in my area growing up. After a group of police killed a black man at a traffic stop, tensions were high. A week later a black man wandered the street with a rifle wanting to shoot any white person he saw. The black community apologized and assured us all that he was a sick man, and they were using peaceful protest. Then shortly after the officers were acquitted, a black family moved to that town and they were “burnt out,” iron cross and all. I remember my father being upset, using the daddy lesson moment to tell us that this was not acceptable in any way. Truth is, this made us all look bad. Point is, while it was not Mississippi Burning racial violence is scary. There is a certain element of evil that occurs when the white robes are dawned and the cross is lit. Being bullied as a child and then having an abusive partner as an adult, I don’t like bullying for any reason, hate crimes included.

And then I found out my insurance runs out in September. Oh and I had a huge fight with my mother. Finally, I told her about the KKK hate letter and how this man made my stomach turn. My mom thought it was horrible as did everyone else I told. However my mom informed me he was gum on the bottom of my shoe and to just wipe him off. Someone else informed me that people like that need to wear masks because they are cowards, like any other bully. A writer friend told me to spend less time on the internet. Of course the best part was this young man was Mexican which made it all the more ironic. A black friend of mine, a fellow comedian who lives in the South, put it best. This speaks volumes because he lived close to it. He said, “He sounds like a confused fool.”

Today my mother and I spoke about me exploring more career opportunities with my writing. Some for artistic fulfillment, but also for financial security as I wait for some “yes” or “no’s”. As the temperature dropped and it seemed that everyone’s dreams were coming true, I pictured myself at eight. I was scared I would end up an unloved failure on government assistance with cats. Then at sixteen, the starry eyed outcast. And again at nineteen, crying in the back of a college dorm room. And again at twenty one, needing to leave a toxic partner but frightened for my safety if I did. I owed something to the April’s of January’s past. I owed it to them to wear my big girl pants and not let life get me down.

I began asking questions about insurance and saw there were several options. People reached out to help. I also decided to get out of my house and stop worrying about the career yes’s and no’s. I fought back against the KKK dude the only way I knew how. I got behind the mic and made it into a bit. While it needs some work, it did rather well. Yesterday that twisted clown made me cry, and today he is the butt of my joke. Even though I paid for stage time, I was able to laugh therefore I was able to win. At that moment I realized my second grade teacher probably read in my town paper that I wrote a book and had a successful signing. The acting teachers that hated me are still griping about the careers they don’t have, and I am on television sometimes. The former fiancé lashes out when I am successful, and was a great comedy bit for sometime. I don’t know what is going to pop whether it is my writing, acting, comedy, puppets, singing or whatever else.

However, I know that I can’t let people steal my sunlight. God didn’t take me this far to drop me in the Valley. Sometimes not knowing is the most wonderous thing ever, because what happens next is truly beautiful. Like any cold day, this too shall pass. Take that January.

I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl 

Being Okay

Saturday, December 7th, 2013
I have had a rough last month and a half as I have written. My family life has been stressful because of my grandfather's death. I also found out my mother had a freak accident and almost fell through the attic roof. I have other family members with other issues that I can't even go into. Work has been stressful. I am sure you are sick of hearing about it. I know my friends are.

Last night I had some writing crap to do that I have been putting off because I felt tired. I decided to swallow my pride and go to an open mic. Some of the comedians were good. Some made me want to slit my wrists. I didn't have a booked show and it was a good excuse to clear my head and get back onstage. Plus I want to tour again and need to be sharp. I actually ended up making some new friends and having fun. I felt nice, relaxed and loose onstage. It was about the comedy, not about the star power that came as a result of being the only one like myself.

I also met another ventriloquist last night. We are few and far between so it was a joy meeting another brother/sister. I also saw some friends do comedy at a show. It is wonderful to be onstage, but every once in a while you have to support your friends. For as numerous as the foes I have in this world are, there are also a lot of people who love and support me. It felt great to see live comedy, and to see so many of my friends doing well.

I know this dark patch will pass. It's the holidays. It's death. It's a whole mix of shit in the proverbial blender. After having brunch with friends and ranting my head off, I heard conga music. It made me want to be happy and dance. They say change a muscle change a thought. I did both. And a good night sleep makes a difference. Also binged on Lifetime Movies

I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl

Dancing In the Dark (Bruce Springsteen)

Thursday, November 28th, 2013
This has been a surreal week for me. Last night I got news my grandfather, Pop Pop, had emerged from death's door. The man was amazing. Twenty years ago he had a blood clot and was gonna die. He beat that. After that he had skin cancer and prostrate cancer. He beat that too. In that mix he also had some heart stuff. He beat that too. I think he survived World War II in Japan. A lot had happened. Then this morning I got news my grandfather passed away in his sleep. My grandmother, Nunni, a mercurial white haired woman who passed this spring, probably greeted him when he woke up in heaven. I got a call from my mother that things got so bad she begged my grandmother to come fetch my grandfather. Nunni answered.

The night before had been crazy. I had a mini meltdown when I received some disappointing news about a project pertaining to my book. I tried to tell myself that these weren't the people to help me. All week things had been hard. Another project had difficulties. Two weeks before were spent prepping for a network audition. I was sick and thought at one point I had some form of whatever. And then there is the usual he said she said bullshit of my line of work. I thought maybe I would get a break.

On the flipside, my Pop Pop is no longer in pain. He is happy and playing tennis. He is with his brothers and sisters who love him. He went out of this world knowing he was cared for and loved. He was ninety-five when he made his great exit. Fred Wallisch had six kids who grew up to be champion swimmers, coaches, teachers, lawyers, dentists, actors, and artists. His grandchildren were artists who had their work shown internationally, ballet dancers who danced with city ballet, professors, athletes currently prepping for Olympic trials, doctors, writers, and comedians. My Pop Pop lived to see me be on national TV and was the first to buy my book. He was so jealous when I got to go to the US Open because he was a huge tennis fan.

All day I have been in a weird limbo. While I know my Pop Pop is at peace I feel a weird sensation like it has been hard as hell to focus. This morning I delivered a singing chicken to the son of a Saudi Royal in Trump Towers. In a strange LSD like trip I ran across Sixth Avenue to get there and all along the way were these floats. Huge balloon floats. My beloved Pop Pop is dead and I am seeing huge balloon floats. Then I figured I would take some photos. People were pretty okay. Not bad. Plus my Pop Pop was someone who always looked at the bright side. The bright side was I found myself smack dab in the middle of the Macy's Day Parade. Who can be sad when you see an inflatable Papa Smurf?

The son of the Saudi Royal was not happy about seeing me, but his cousin tipped me $100. Makes up for having a death in the family I suppose. My brain felt like it was unraveling at a furious speed.

My second delivery was to Long Island. This was also kind of surreal. The family saw me as the cab was dropping me off and invited me in. I said I was a friend of Judy's, the contact. Anyway Judy wasnt there. I thought this was her house. It was almost two. Apparently people arrive late. I was supposed to call Judy first. Anyway I changed and the mother was nice but she wanted me the fuck out of her house. The rest of the family was warm and talked to me in the turkey costume, waiting for everyone else to show up. As I was waiting to sing, Judy arrived with some kids. The mother pulled Judy in the kitchen. There was something wrong. There was some yelling. WTF...Okay.

I sang and the family seemed to enjoy it, but there was this feeling in the room that was odd, and there was dead silence after I read the message. Finally I read the message. The mother angrily said, "Let me see it." She looked at it and ripped it up. "This is nonsense! Their nerve!" She screamed and stormed into the kitchen

The grandmother asked me kindly to pick it up as she reassembled the message. Clearly I had missed something. I apologized several times to the family who all assured me I was just doing my job and I had no way of knowing I walked into a land mine. They were quite nice, especially when they helped me out the back quietly as the mother was swearing her head off. What the hell had happened? This was a stunning strange dream. Grandpa was dead. I had run across the Macy's parade where a giant elf had greeted me. A Saudi Royal hates me forever for waking him, and his family tipped me generously. Oh and I accidentally poured salt on a festering wound for a bunch of strangers. All is costume.

The train ride home had me reevaluating my day as well as my life. What would be next? Did I know where I was going? Maybe it was time to move home. This had been a hellacious month that was just not getting any better. Just then I remembered when my grandfather found out I was performing comedy. He cut out a bunch of jokes from Reader's Digest and sent them to me. He also cut out his favorite Bob Hope jokes. A lot of family members tried to steer me away from the stage but Pop Pop always supported me and believed in me. The man was always telling funny stories. Always encouraging me.Always making someone laugh.

I found myself hoping maybe I could heal the familial pain these strangers felt. Because when you lose someone, it's too late.

I also found myself in a dark hole. Then I remembered the words of a veteran comedian who gave me a pep talk during another dark time in my life. A big black man, he said in a booming voice, "Sweetheart, when times get tough and you think you might never laugh again, you reach for God and you reach for the punchline."

So I did what I have always done during hard times. I took out a piece of paper and began to write. My Pop Pop lived as long as he did and conquered cancer all the times in a row for a reason. The man never let anything get him down. So as the jokes poured out of my veins, some may be gold some may be mold, I knew one thing was for sure. I wasn't just gonna be fine. When I was done climbing out of this dark hole there might be a new half hour set at the end.

I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl

Day of the Dead aka Dia De Los Muertos

Friday, November 1st, 2013
I know lots of people who have died to put it bluntly. Yes, I see dead people. Just kidding. Yesterday was Halloween and today is All Soul's Day. In Mexico, they celebrate by putting trinkets and reminders of the person on their grave. Say a person liked whiskey, they get a bottle of whiskey. So as you can imagine the graveyard is well.....interesting. So here is what I would get those I know who passed:

Nunni- My mom's mom who died of diabetes this year. She was a red hatter, world traveler, poet, and voted for Obama. Did I mention my Nunni was literally social director everywhere she went. Cool woman. I would get her a chocolate cake, because now she can break her diabetic diet, and also a date book where she could keep phone numbers cause I know she is still always making new friends still. Hey, you have to keep track of everyone you meet in this life or the next.

Justice Rob Wyda- Former magistrate of Bethel Park where I grew up. Died of a heart attack this past year. Good guy and cared about the young people who got in trouble. Served his country as a judge for army court in Afghanistan as well. Would get him a copy of my book because he would have bought one if given the chance. Also maybe a book about The Supreme Court. It might pass the time after my book gets tired.

Ray Payton- Comedian friend of mine who died as a result of untreated diabetes. He was a comic book artist, standup, and booker. Ray was one of the first people in NYC to give me a chance. He also liked white women, and at his funeral we all discovered Ray hit on every white bitch there. So our treat would be Jessica Stern and I dressed in black lingerie at his grave giving him a tribute.

Joe Cannava- A friend of mine who was a celebrity personal shopper, freelance stylist/designer, artist, and knew everything there was to know about music. Joe's greatest contribution in my life was that he got me to write again, and pushed me to write what is now I Came, I Saw, I Sang. He died as a result of a long battle with bipolar disorder and addiction. I would get Joe a pack of cigarettes, a Starbucks coffee, and of course Madonna tickets in advance. Bitch will be on the other side someday and the boy deserves to be the first in line. Oh and a copy of my book. He never got to read it.

Chacho Vasquez- This ball walker and champion voguer was a pain in my ass when he lived and breathed, but always made me laugh. His mad cap antics coupled with his spot on commentary made me forgive him despite my urge to strangle him. The poor thing also lost his battle with addiction. I know he has already seen Whitney Houston and Teena Marie live a billion times. So instead I would get him a Louis Vuitton bag, and steal it from Barney's. They don't stop white people as any NYer knows, and Chacho did plenty of mopping in his life. Also would get him a copy of my book too. Chacho is mentioned and would tell anyone who would listen. Great publicity.

Marty Fischer- One of the first managers to help me in comedy. He was of huge assistance when I was very new and very off. Marty was brutally honest to a fault, but always believed in me. While I didn't take all of his suggestions some were good. Things are happening and he did know his stuff. So I would leave him a DVD of the network friendly set I am working on. I think he would have a few notes but would enjoy it.

Mr. Tietz- My high school history and humanities teacher, he was an inspiring force that changed the lives of anyone he taught forever. We loved him so much that when we got a sub, not only were we sad but a small party of students went to his house to check on him. I would get the guy the latest book on Presidential Letters. I would also give him a copy of my book. While it isn't Thomas Paine, who he probably chills with on the regs, it would be good reading and I mention him too.

John Lea- Neighbor of mine who was murdered by his gay lover. I would probably give him tickets to see Whitney Houston on the other side but we know that concert is free. So like Joe, advanced tickets to Madonna.

Jorge Castro- Friend of mine who died as a result of drug fueled partying. Without going into detail, his death involved crystal meth, a hot guy, and a big black dildo all at the same time. My gift would be another black dildo in case he hasn't found a hot black dude. Also, advanced tickets to see Mariah Carey when she dies. He always did love him some crazy Mimi.

Julissa Brisman- Perhaps the most tragic on this list, Julissa died at the hands of Craigslist Killer Phillip Markoff. Yes, she died on the job. I only knew her in passing but always liked her. I would get her a fancy outfit, because she always liked nice things. Also a better bottle of dye because she was much prettier with her natural color.

Eric Yonish-  High school friend and former quarterback of the football team. Died in his sleep as a result of an undetected heart defect. Always made me laugh, and had a good sense of humor. Always liked pretty cheerleaders too. Would probably get him some girly magazine because he is forever 22. Also some Heisman gear. Once a football guy, always a football guy.

Nate Stiffler- Another former classmate of mine who died in a car wreck. Nate was probably one of the nicest, most social people I knew. I would get him a pass to facebook on the other side. Also give him my Nunni's number. They could be mayor together.

Adara Almonte-  We were only beginning to be friends when she passed. The events of her death remain a mystery, and out of respect for her family I will not mention them. I remember someone who supported me when not everyone did. I would give her a free copy of my book and also free tickets to any of my shows. Not just to see me but because she enjoyed live comedy a lot-whether she was performing, producing, or both. Spirits like her are needed in any and every room in any place that standup in performed.

Joey Putaro- Former classmate of mine and karate buddy who died of a heroin overdose after we graduated. Always liked the dude, he was funny and sweet. I would purchase him a new Pirates ball cap. They were in the running for the World Series this year, and he would have been proud.

Mrs. Reid-  One of my high school musical directors. She was a good lady who loved music but above all things loved teaching. Mrs. Reid died during what was to be an elective and routine procedure. Anyone who knew this gifted woman was sad. Her voice was melodious and her laugh was rang like the bell choir she oversaw. I would get the woman a copy of my book, and also perhaps the best of Broadway. She would enjoy both.

Russ Kurtz- Former classmate of mine who died in action in Iraq. Well liked with a good sense of humor, he was a hero to all that knew him. My gift would be an American flag, a girly magazine, and a Nelly CD. Nineteen year old soldiers love that crap.

Marielle Westen-  Former high school classmate who died as a result of a drinking contest gone wrong. I would get her a blood alcohol tester for fun. Also, a rap tape made by the Eras and I just for kicks aka my little high school crew.

Spenser Kimbrough- My college scene partner and breakfast buddy. He died under mysterious circumstances, some think an undetected heart defect but we are not sure. Either way, someone I liked. For him I would get the box set of The Color Purple and a T-shirt that said "I Fucked Ur Boyfriend," cause that's the shirt he wore the first time we had breakfast. I would also get him a copy of my book, because he always told me I was funny and encouraged me to follow my dreams onstage making people laugh. Would get him tickets to Whitney but he has probably seen her a million times and probably fought Chacho over the front row.

Eric Horvath- Former high school classmate of mine who died in a freak drowning accident. He always made me laugh. Probably would get him a hot chick magazine, and also a mix tape and some Heisman gear. He would appreciate all these things being eternally seventeen and getting under the skin of some dorky teacher on the other side.

Billy Bergman- Former classmate of my sister's from high school. Died of a heroin overdose right before their graduation. His parents came to get his diploma. I would probably give him a hockey puck and stick cause that is what he liked before drugs got him.

Aunt Peggy- My dad's older sister and the eldest of the seven siblings who comprised The Brucker Clan. She died of cancer my junior year of high school. A nurse in the head trauma unit at Mercy, she was smart and devoted to caring for others. I would get her a pack of cigarettes, some makeup (I did her makeup in the hospital), and of course a copy of my book. She was one of my biggest fans when she lived and breathed and was always very encouraging. I know she couldn't obviously attend my latest signing but she was there in spirit.

Carrie Martin- Childhood friend and former classmate of mine. She died of cancer when we were in middle school. Our families knew each other because both her brothers played football, and also through church. I would get her a Seventeen Magazine and a makeup kit. She might be eternally fourteen, but a teen likes what a teen likes. And these are two things no girl can live without.

What would you get the people you know on the other side?

Seriously, this list was a crazy, morbid way to spend my morning pages. But also a fun but poignant purge.

I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl

Deep In Vogue (Malcolm McLauren)

Thursday, October 17th, 2013
Today is the three year passing of my dear friend Chacho Vasquez. Drug addiction not just marred his life, but ripped him from this world. In a way it makes me angry when people say my friend's death was "preventable." Drug addiction is a disease. No one wakes up and decides to stick a needle in their arm. It's like that scene in Annie Hall when Woody Allen's classmate stands up and states, "When I grow up, I wanna be a heroin addict." It isn't a direct quote. It's what I remember.

On the other hand, I don't remember my friend being a sad sack. Hell no. If anything he was entertaining. Gay as hell, Chacho always had the latest designer fashions. But the thing was, he was a drug dealer and was old school. He had been to prison but barely touched on it stating, "It wasn't a happy time in my life. My cellie broke my heart." Then he would launch into the tale of how he would never fall in love with a red head again. Red heads, according to Chacho, were cursed. His cellie got out of jail and went back to his woman. Damn the pussy. Then after putting some clean time together, Chacho relapsed when he fell in love with a Korean man. Nevermind that he was off his psych meds. Chacho then swore all Koreans were evil. Maybe they are. I never dated one. Who knows? Probably not. Chacho had an anti-talent for making terrible decisions and never seeing his role in any of it.

Despite the outward appearance, my buddy did have that bad ass streak. Once, when Chacho was on the phone with his sponsor he was not having it. His sponsor wanted him to open up more in the meetings. Chacho replied, "Hell no, I don't want to incriminate myself." Or then he would talk about smashing someone's head in with a "lock and a sock." Afterwards he would take out his nail file because he didnt want his fingernails to look ragged.

Oh and nevermind Chacho was on benefits. He still found ways to cash that money and hit the Louis Vuitton counter. Sure some don't like the way he lived his life. He is an inspiration never to pay taxes. But the world screwed him, and the government screwed the gays in the 80s and 90s. Sure, it wasn't what they call right but I understand. Screw the damn government.

At the end we weren't speaking. His anti-talent and anti-logic got to be too much. Watching someone lose the battle to addiction is like watching someone dig their own grave in front of your eyes. Sometimes I felt I lost him well before I did. When he died I didn't get to tell him that while I loved him, I didn't love the decisions his disease made him make. I also knew in my heart it's not that he wouldn't change, he couldn't.

For a long time I blamed myself for our last conversation. It was tough because although I was no longer taking his calls, he phoned me the night he passed. For three long weeks I oscillated between bingeing on wrong men, not sleeping, and of course wanting to deck everyone I saw. Then it hit me that Chacho would have wanted me to make the best of my time on the planet. So I stopped with the idiot men and began living more than I ever had. Within a year I did more with myself than I felt I had in three. I got on TV a bunch, made music, webcasted world wide, and took the first effort to publish my book. I felt something shift in me. Like the world was mine.

For as much as Chacho's anti-logic gave me a headache, he also had some good points it turns out. Maybe he was homeless, on welfare, had HIV, and a drug problem he couldn't kick. But he always dressed like he was ready to buy a piece of real estate. So whenever I feel down now, I dress up. When Chacho had a bad day, he always spent his benefit checks at the nail salon or the Louis Vuitton counter. While I don't quite throw money to the wind like he did, whenever the nails do get chipped I head to the salon. Whenever I do something good I buy myself something nice. Yes, the way he lived his life made me want to strangle him but I was always too busy laughing. And then when he was done, he did have a few good points.

I know God took Chacho because it was his time. My buddy would have made a terrible old person. He loved his black market plastic surgery. I think had he lived to be old, Michael Jackson would have had more human skin. Chacho would have never done well with wrinkles. Not all the botox in the world could fix that. He is somewhere that the party never stops, designer labels come for free, the hot guys are a plenty, and he is forever young.

I know despite the fact we didn't part on good terms, if we saw each other now we would probably he cool. Actually, I know we would be. The truth is, sometimes I don't feel my friend has left me. In fact, sometimes I feel like I have this fierce and fabulous guardian angel from the Legendary House of Revlon who has my back. I know he is also saving me a seat in the after life. When we meet again, hopefully I will be old. Of course he will insist I meet the plastic surgeon in the after life and tease me about my Alfred Dunner nightie. And then he will tell me about how we have to avoid certain arch angels and demons cause he slept with both heaven and hell in the after party that never ends. Oh and then he will say, "This is my friend. She has been on TV. Told you she was coming."

And then he would tell me my nails look like crackhead nails and yell at me for putting a designer label on the floor. Off to the salon we would go as he reminded me that yes, black men were good in bed but Cubans- white Cubans-were still the best people in the world.

To come to think of it, these bad boys do look a little Cracky McCrack Crack.

Either way, today is the day you became an angel or whatever you are. Wherever you are, I know you are voguing with the best of them. And you are probably giving someone a major migraine too.


I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl

May the Fourth Be With You

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
I got an email from someone I didn’t know telling me that Martin’s memorial service would be on Saturday. Martin? Martin who? But deep down I knew. I just didn’t want to know. I emailed back and...

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