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standup comedy

It’s Always the Year of the Asshole

Thursday, July 14th, 2016
At a recent comedy show there was a table of disruptive people. They weren’t heckling the comedians directly, just talking animatedly amongst themselves. This seemed odd since this wasn’t a random...

A Day in the Life of a Standup Comic: Just Writing

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015
One day when I was waiting for the subway, a young woman with an expensive camera introduced herself as a Columbia University graduate student in its photojournalism program and asked permission to...

This ‘n’ That

Saturday, April 26th, 2014
I filmed my big DVD Tuesday and am still coming down from the high. Wednesday saw me tired and barely able to move. Thursday I was kind of back. Friday night I went to bed and just didn't move. It is kind of a weird sensation. Friday morning on my jog Bill Evans did buy me coffee though. On Friday he buys everyone coffee. It was good that he did that. The post show withdrawl and depression was starting to set in.

Yeah, the withdrawl has been strange. I walk down the street and don't hand post cards to people I know. My hands are free which is bizarre. I also have these feelings of depression that come out of no where. It hits me that I am broke ass broke, and am not as far along as I thought I would be. Granted, I have done a lot in my career. I have done things I never thought I would do. I was on TV Thursday. It was awesome. Still, I thought....I dunno.....Being on TV would mean my bank account would know about it too sometimes. I thought it would mean I would have to hustle for work less and not worry about money. Neither one of these things were true. Hell, when I was on Rachael Ray and they were showing my reruns I was handing out fliers in the cold, paying my breakfast with my laundry money, and having club owners dodge my phone calls.

On the other hand, I am thrilled. Since I was a kid I wanted to make a DVD of my live show. Taylor Mason did it. I was sixteen when I saw it. The men who fixed my mom's car were huge ventriloquist fans, and followed Taylor Mason. In my opinion, he is the most underrated man in comedy as well as the vent world. Yeah, they respect him, but he doesn't get as much tout as Fator and Dunham. Probably because he sticks with churches and such. Still, he's funny. Now I made a DVD. Granted, the process almost killed me. Still,it's been a dream of mine and it is something comedy fans buy. I had a good night, too. Afterwards, I felt like Rocky after a big fight, bloodied and bedraggled but somehow I came out a winner. Yeah, Apollo Creed didn't win this time.

I am in transition right now and am scared, excited, frustrated, but happy. I am starting a new sports broadcasting job via internet. This is awesome because I like sports. I am also releasing my DVD which is cool. I am hoping my fans buy it and it gets me better bookings. Also, I am starting a teaching job. Like the broadcasting job, it's not bukoo bucks but it's steady money and that's what I want and need. I also do a theatre the weekend after Memorial Day. I have always wanted to do that as well. So these are four things I have always wanted to do. I have always wanted to do sports broadcasting, be a community activist, release a DVD and tour theatres. My act is more suited to that. Additionally, I did well in a second interview for something. Hopefully I get it.

I am just waiting for the next big thing in my life. I have come so close and have never gotten it. People know who I am and what I do, but I am ready for that next jolt. The scary thing about being in transition though is that the money is not coming in quite yet. I will see some when my DVD is released. I will see some when the sports job starts. I will see some when the teaching job starts. I will see some when I do my theatre and start booking others. So it's going to come. Granted, I am not fixated on money but there is no worse feeling than being recognized by a fan and having your rent check bounce. Hashtag uncool.

On top of that, I was almost rolled by a green card seeking prick. I feel hurt because there was a part of me that liked him as a person, and knows my friendship was real on my end. He never saw me as a friend, only an opportunity to get what he wanted. I just feel angry and hurt. On top of that he mentioned he thought I was rich because I had been on TV. Ha ha! Jokes on him. On top of that he knew I had a hard time in my past when it came to men and viewed me as an easy target. I wasn't easy enough not to open my eyes.

 Everytime I believe there are good men out there, they prove me wrong. I am okay with being alone, not being used. I blocked his ass online, and hopefully now he has found a new woman to scam with his tricks. He believes in magic, right? I do too. Watch his ass become a puppet.

I know it's gonna get better and something is gonna click. It has to. I'm working too hard.
Love
April
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
www.aprilbrucker.com

Hey Jealousy (Gin Blossoms)

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
Last night I did my show at the Metropolitan Room. It was a success. I had a decent crowd, and everything went well. Yeah, it almost killed me. I felt like Rocky Balboa after a fight. My DVD is going to be good. One of the oldest friends I have in comedy, Eric Alexander, filmed it. Ron Barba opened for me. Matt Bailey did some magic. Choomassi serenaded us. And of course Steve Ryan was Pot Roast, Meatloaf's disinfranchized brother. I did well. There were some spots where looking back I could have done things differently, but I did very well. This has been a dream of mine for ten years. I did it.

However, after the show I was speaking to the sound man at the Metropolitan Room and we had a very insightful conversation. A gentlemen from France, he is a jazz guitarist and married the sister of the famous singer he played for. They now have a thirteen year old daughter. Anyway, the conversation turned to comedians. He said, "Comedians are weird cats. The comedians who come in for the open mic sometimes come with their heads down and are angry. They are negative." He hit the nail on the head, comedians are not positive creatures by habit.

And then he said it best, "They make excuses for why they don't have the career they want."

So many times I have heard comedians crap on someone else who is making it. If it is a woman, she must have slept with a lot of people. I can't tell you how many people it is rumored I slept with. Hell, if I got Kathy Griffin, Chelsea Handler, and Rosie O'Donnell in the same room they probably slept with more nonexistent people than I have. (Rosie's nonexistent people are men too btw). If it is a dude, the other male comedians slam him as a douche bag. Maybe this is true, but he is a hard working douche bag which is more than I can say for your ass. In comedy everyone has a strike or two against them. The only thing you can control is being funny. Why not concentrate on that instead of what everyone else is doing?

One comedian mentioned in a post that when a comedian does well onstage and the next comic afterwards rips on their act, they lose the audience. She pointed out that they do this out of sheer jealousy. She's correct. Instead of being themselves, doing their act, and focusing on themselves, they blame everyone else. I have seen this several times in my comedy career and it is eekworthy to watch. Once May and I did well, and this idiot who was on Letterman once and has been washed up ever since followed. He ripped on us and the audience went silent. He had a hell of a time winning them back. I thought he was going to apologize afterwards, but he didn't. Of course, he only does certain shows and released a comedy album no one cares about. He wanders the scene looking for the meaning of life. I am garnering a following and filmed a DVD people already want to buy. He can rip on me all he wants, I am not only funnier but now I have the better career.

Yeah, it is easy to blame others when you don't get what you want. Maybe you aren't working hard enough. Or maybe you don't have the skills. Melissa Robinette, a wonderful actress and President of Actor's Equity of the East Coast and founder of The Biz of Show is from a circus family. She explained when actors find out they lost the job because they wanted a tap dancing leading lady, they put down the the other actor. Melissa said that circus folks learn how to tap dance so now they have that skill, and they can never lose that opportunity again. Bottom line, losers make excuses. Winners dont.

Also, every opportunity is not for you. A college chum scored a role in a Tyler Perry movie. As a black actress, that was her gig. Another was in Spiderman on Broadway, and she has a voice I could only hope to have in the next life. Same with my other college classmates in Hair, Wicked, etc. At the same time, if a horror movie with the lead being a female ventriloquist is casting, it probably won't be something they are up for. You get the picture. If it is yours, it will be yours. If not, their loss.

Tomorrow I am doing a test run for a sports app. My passions are football, boxing, UFC fighting, and sometimes baseball. Tomorrow will focus on basketball. I follow it,  but not as closely as the other sports. However, I am asking questions and getting informed. No one wants a stupid woman in the chat, right? Also, I referred my sports nut man comic friends. Why? Because they are passionate, funny, and I am everyone deserves a shot.

When I have worked with celebrities, they were positive. When I saw Alicia Keys interview, she was positive. A friend of mine on Broadway saw me on the street, gave me a hug and mentioned she saw me on TV with my puppets and was so proud. The sound man at the Met Room told me that the people he met that were the most successful were the most generous and had the biggest hearts. They also helped their friends out, too. It's because they don't have that insecurity and fear.

Bottom line, these people are positive. The fact they are successful is no accident. They are able to be happy for others because they are not focusing on what others have. Instead, they know what they have and don't have, therefore they can enjoy someone with a different skill or talent. They also have self-worth and that means they can be happy for others. Once you get that, you find there is no reason to be jealous.

If you are experiencing jealousy, why? Not everyone has everything. You don't know what someone has been through. Also, if you are on the receiving end, it sucks. However, know the universe might be teaching you a lesson on how not to act towards others. Yes, some muscle memory the next time you feel jealous because you are only human, right?

And if you want to give a jealous hater some shade, don't fight with them. It will only make you nasty, and that will piss people off that could help you. Instead, do you. Be good at what you do. Concentrate on your own game. That will make you rise above more bullshit than you could ever imagine.

Love
April
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
www.aprilbrucker.com


Withdrawl

Saturday, November 16th, 2013
My audition is over with. I went in and let my material do the work. I smiled, had fun, breathed. They were stoic but laughed at the end. They said they would make sure my paperwork was good and let me know if I was free to go. That could mean anything. Either way, I did the work, had fun, and did my best. I also looked good. Now it is in God’s hands. As I was leaving though, someone recognized me from TV. Crazy how that works. 
I also had a stage mother or two snarl at me with their little Brandene who was just another Selena Gomez knock off. I wanted to tell them that if they were going to pimp their kid out, they should at least realize that there is one difference between Selena and Brandene. Selena has this magical thing called talent, little Brandene, not so much. 
Today felt good but I also felt drained. I worked hard to have my set timed with network friendly material. For two weeks I put my pride aside, humbling myself as I went back to shitty open mic afte shitty open mic. To say I didn’t want to slit my wrists each time my ego took three steps back and shilled out money for stage time I would be lying. To say sometimes I didn’t want to take the freaking mic chord and hang myself from the rafters for the first few days would be a lie as well. I worked my ass off for the opportunity I was given. I paid in blood, sweat, and tears for this audition. Maybe the universe will take that into account.
On the other hand, I feel a certain love for comedy that I haven’t felt in sometime. Work shopping a new, clean set has been nothing short of exciting actually. While most of my stage time was open mic, I actually looked forward to a new challenge everytime I stepped up there. Sure some of the folks I shared the stage with were newbies, but I learned a thing or two from their wonder and enthusiasm. I also journeyed out of my comfort zone to some alt venues where I found they not only loved comedy, but were very welcoming of me. I have always been hit or miss with alt venues, sometimes they are wonderful but sometimes they are just too weird. However, I felt a new respect as they wrote smart jokes, used SAT words, and didn’t pander to the lowest common denominator. In addition, I also found the basements of my earlier days homes that still welcomed me with open arms. The stage felt like my safe classroom again. It was as if I was twenty years old, no TV credits and no books published to my name. The only thing I wanted was to be a good comic and to write the perfect punchline. I was eager to get onstage even if I tanked. So what I was sick? Like a heroin addict needs their dope I needed my fix too. It was making me sick, I was going without basic needs, and yes I was going broke. Stage time was my crack. While I am not used to paying for it these days, I was grateful to have it.
All week my comedy angels have been around me which has made me feel nothing short of blessed. For as much jealousy as I have felt since my face has been on TV, I have felt a lot of love too. Whether it was two headliner friends of mine looking at my material. Or a club manager friend who threw me up so I could practice my audition set in front of a real crowd. I feel good about the kindness I have been experiencing from those around me. It’s like the jealous shitheads don’t matter. Actually, they don’t.
For the past two days I have been ill from burning the candle at both ends. Dayquil and penecilin infused I headed to my audition. I did what I set out to do. I hit my jokes on the mark. When I felt like I was speeding up I took my breath. They asked me a question about how I got into vent. Then I was done. The whole thing feels like a surreal blur now. Did I get it? I don’t know. But this was a moral victory. I was scouted for this thing. I prepared a clean set. I followed directions. I set out to do what I needed to do. Now I am at the next level, ready for prime time baby.
I am now at my house. My body pounding from the past three weeks: book talk, audition tape, clean set prep, and big audition. Now what is next? I am disinfecting my place because Wednesday I got a stomach bug and threw up everywhere. There will be a lot of laundry that needs to be done. I really feel weird because I am not in front of my mirror practicing with May, and I am not a shitty open mic paying for my comedy drug. I am not pounding on doors for stage time either. I feel like I am counting days in a drug rehab. What to do with myself?
My skin does itch. My head does pound. I am feeling useless as I look for the meaning of life. I am depressed cause there was this build up and it is over. At the same time, I am relieved my act came out of my mouth smoothly and my roommate and I hit the mark.

It’s called withdrawl. May Wilson suggested we need to tell some good dick jokes. Maybe she's right.

Love
April
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
www.aprilbrucker.com

Red Light Sucka

Thursday, November 14th, 2013
Back in the day I did a lot of shows in the Village. I lived around that area so it was easy. McDougal Street was literally Comedy Country. Yes, there were a lot of clubs in Midtown but those were tourist traps. McDougal on the other hand, it was where the heart and soul of the comedy world hung out. It was sort of a comedy utopia, where national headliners who had been HBO and mere fledglings like myself rubbed elbows. While they usually bumped me, which was okay because I was a mere mortal earning my angel wings, I always learned a lot by watching them. Sometimes they would encourage me and have a helpful word of advice. Sometimes they would just tell me to hang in there. The beautiful thing was, because so many of us ran alongside each other anything could happen.

One evening such a thing did. I was at a club called Mo's Comedy Mad House. Located at the back of what was formerly the Thai Hut, a Thai eatery (duh), we had our regulars. Some were open micers like myself, others were national headliners as I said, some were regular drunks like Leo. Mo was always good to me. I always was fed and ate for free. When my set didn't go so hot he always got up to the mic and said, "Lets hear it for April. It's New York and you can see anything here." Sometimes he even threw me a guest spot. However, Mo had his moments where he could administer justice in the way no other club owner could.

It was rumored amongst the comedians Mo had mob ties. No one knew where he got his money to keep his small club standing, plus he lived in a nice flat. I didn't care. The olive skinned, mustached, screamer comedian was always a friend to me. One evening it was an open mic night. It had been an up and down night. I had done a decent set with a few nice laugh breaks and a dead spot or two. Barry Lawrence, my buddy, got up and did well as always. After our sets, Barry and I were at the bar where Barry was helping me clean up a joke that had some promise. Sue Costello had stopped in and was onstage, and Dean Edwards had given us the big hello. Lena Oslo had motioned for us to move over at the bar. She had a great set that night. The dimpled degenerate ordered her usual, and I was ready for a Jack and Coke. Mo fronted the bill despite me being underaged, twenty.

Just after Sue Costello departed the newbies resumed the night. The audience was thankful someone knew what the hell they were doing behind the mic. Just then, this guy got up in this tragic looking suit. He looked as if Upchuck from Daria picked out his clothing. Just then he began his big wet abortion of an act. It was unfunny hack jokes about hitting his girlfriend. The audience listened politely and gave him a pity laugh or two. Barry Lawrence looked at me, held his beer up and said, "This is why I drink." And then downed his beer.

"Damn straight." Lena Oslo said as she engaged in her alcoholism as well.

I joined in. The man continued to groans. This was terrible. Finally Mo was flashing the light after five minutes. There was relief. Somehow, this would be comedic genius didn't see it. He kept going. The light kept flashing. This man kept going. The audience started laughing as Mo's light was doing sort of a fancy light show as she was flashing it, at the point where it was sort of a strobe. The genius wasn't getting it. He thought he was killing!!! So then the audience started clapping for him to get the message. Meanwhile this reality detached numskull was in comedic bliss. Finally Mo gets on the loudspeaker and says, "Yo, I am flashing the light because it means your turn is done man.!" Then the audience began laughing.

"Holy shit." Lena Oslo said as she, Barry, and I burst out laughing. This whole thing was real. I was laughing so hard I fell off the bar stool. I was wearing a dress and fell down accidentally showing the bar my undies.

Barry and Lena picked me up preserving my dignity. The ventriloquist had escaped her turn without bombing. The freakshow onstage was eating it, and we only wanted more. Finally, the idiot said goodnight ant Mo returned to the mic. Dean Edwards took the stage. Talent, punchlines, and show quality were restored. The moron left the stage and joined his girlfriend. They left. As soon as they were out the door, Lena, Barry, and I laughed again. Then we got drunk some more.

You don't want to kill in the wrong way and die a horrible death. You don't want to be the punchline for all the wrong reasons. Hell, you don't want people to keep laughing as soon as you leave the stage cause they really don't want more.

That is why you always obey the red light, sucka!

Love
April
I Came, I Saw, I Sang:Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
www.aprilbrucker.com

Discomfort

Monday, November 11th, 2013
This past week I have been trying to go up as much as I can to prepare. I have returned to some of the haunts of my youth in the Village, in the days before I knew what it was to have fans let alone be on national television. In the days where my ideas were on loose scraps of paper before I wrote an actual book. While I only have started to make some real progress I am a long way from where I once was. The return has been good and once again they are becoming my old homes. Same with my former home club and other places. However I know the game there. I know the crowd. I know the comics. So I debated journeying out of my comfort zone.

I have long since heard about The Creek and The Cave. There was a part of me that was curious about the place. Certain comedian friends of mine raved about it. Others insisted it was cliquish. I never had been, but already I was judging. I didn't have a weird beard or weird glasses. Although I have a doll, I am hardly alt. I don't strive to be ironic. So basically I wrote the place off. Contempt prior to investigation as they say.

Finally today I told myself I had to go. I just needed to do something different. Because the same places had become my practicing grounds I was getting bored of them, getting bored of my act, and the chip on my shoulder that I have been trying to get rid of was reemerging. After showering and putting on fresh clothes, a spiritual shift in case you have never tried it, I decided to pose the question on facebook. Everyone said shake it up. So on the 7 train I went. I got there early of course and ordered some chili. As I downed my tasty dinner I saw a couple wander in. They were theatre people talking theatre talk and using the SAT words my mother claims I threw out with the bath water as a basement comic. I wasn't sure how I felt. I am not that kind of "smart person." Yes, I write books. But I am not a shit head who corrects people's grammar. I knew this could go either way.

The comedians rolled in and I chatted it up with two newbies. They were new to the game and nervous about the whole standup world. I told them talent doesnt depend on how long someone has been doing it, and that someone could be good or bad at any level. Everyone though seemed really stoked about comedy which was a good thing. I saw some people I hadnt seen in ages which was sweet. Suddenly, as the chili settled in my stomach I had a feeling I made the right decision by venturing out of my comfort zone.

The mic began with the host, a girl named Peggy, doing a few minutes. She was very sweet, warm, and funny. Immediately, she made everyone feel welcome and creative a supportive atmosphere in the room where everyone was safe to be themselves. One by one the comedians took the mic. Each had varying levels of experience, talent, and preparedness of course, but each was passionate about comedy. Each was hunting in their own way for the perfect punchline. Each felt the love and support from their fellow comedians. Making a comedian laugh is like making a mime talk, it's hard work. However, these people did laugh and gave good feedback. I felt a love, comfort, and gentleness here that is a foreign concept in most city rooms. Here I felt a lightness, a passion not only for performing but an art of comedy itself. I felt like I could crash and burn without getting bruised if things didn't go well.

I also garnered a whole new respect for alt comedy. Sure, some of it is hard to take. However, there are also some talented alt people who are good writers and good performers. All comedy does not have to be dick jokes. As I have been crafting this clean set I have gotten a whole new respect for people who are smart and clever. Yes, it might not work in some of the basements but not every show has to be in the basement. When I speak to kids about writing I tell them everyone has their own voice and there is room for everyone's voice. Same goes for comedy. Usually I am guilty of thinking of my own set as well. However, I was busy watching my fellows do their thing which was very exciting. It felt like I was learning and growing in a way I hadn't in some time.

I was amazed by what a family this group was. One of the cohosts had a birthday and the other cohost got her a cupcake and we sang. This cohost also somehow had gotten two ventriloquist figures for her birthday. And when I came up with a real ventriloquist act she thought it was amazing. When my turn came, I did something that has been hard for me for sometime in comedy. I HAD FUN.

 As time goes on, all comedians, myself included, take themselves oh so seriously. We start to see money from comedy and it becomes serious business-ironic when you think of it. And then we develop chips on our shoulders and attitudes about the politics. Soon it becomes more about who we think we are and less about the art. Suddenly, we start writing less and get sick of our acts. We never get sick of hearing ourselves talk about ourselves or others talk about how great we are. We are sick creatures like that.

I had a lot of fun though. The room was also very kind to me. Some of it was that they like comedy. Some of it was that I have been working hard on the set I am preparing. Some of it is that they were supportive. However, a portion was due to the fact I let go and felt comfortable doing so. Afterwards people told me I did well and asked if I would be back. The answer is yes I will. My experience at The Creek and the Cave was a good one. It left me more stoked about performing and more excited about writing than I have been in YEARS. Comedy has a good home and every comedian, old and new, has a safe place to perform, experiment, and grow in whatever way they need to.

This winter I wrote a blog about stepping up my standup and not being sure how I could do that. The answer is to be around people passionate about comedy, writing, and go to out of your comfort zone. And maybe this place has it's little circles but so does every place. Whenever I focus on being funny and don't focus on the politics, I don't feel that sting. I am there to perform, not pass notes. When I do that I get along with every comedian and do decently with every audience, no matter where I am.

So yes, I will be going back to the Creek and the Cave, I will be eating more of that delicious chili. I will be chasing the perfect punchline. I will be wandering out of my comfort zone. Just like the twenty year old kid who dreamed of being on national television and carried her ideas on loose pieces of paper, I won't stop until I get the perfect punchline.

Love
April
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
www.aprilbrucker.com

Fear and Loathing

Sunday, November 10th, 2013
Comedians are like bitchy scorpions. There are only so many spots at any club, only so many people who can be on any show, etc. It's like we all can't have nice things. This is most apparent on car trips. It starts by bringing up one comic and then it is a trash fest. Some of it is out of jealousy that they got the spot we wanted. Some of it is out of fear that we might never get what we want. Some of it is out of insecurity because we must trash people we feel are lesser. Deep down, it is more fear. More fear that we will be forever trapped doing shit open mics, shit bar gigs, shit check spots, and at the end of the day we will languish in obscurity only to die unknown.

Early in my comedy career I saw people floating around who had been at it for years. One woman had been doing open mics for fifteen years and still sucked. I deeply hoped that wasn't going to be me. However, I was afraid it was going to be. I saw others seemingly never move from the bringer system, damned forever to be comedy cattle running and feeding off of dream grass only never to get the nutrients. At other venues I saw people bark for what seemed to be forever never to move up. And then I saw some people do the same terrible set for years with the same lackluster jokes. Running the open mic marathon it seemed as though the lanes were clogged like a bad LA traffic jam and I would never get the red light. As for the road, I did that as a feature. I opened up for guys who were either really funny and would never have their talent recognized, or incredible hacks that killed for audiences that didnt know better. For a while it felt like there was no way to make it.

As a comedian I never believe my fans or the audiences that love me. In the initial early stages of my career, I very well knew I wasn't very good. When I would have a bad set, it followed me for sometime in my mind. When I had a good set, I bragged about it. Some of it was that I was proud of my work. Most of it was because I thought it would never happen to begin with therefore feared it would never happen again. I was accused of having no humility. It was true. I was deeply insecure and not the biggest April fan. But humility is not thinking less of onesself but thinking of onesself less. I was thinking of April all the live long day.

Time went on and I accomplished some things. It wasn't so much talent but hard work. I will admit, there is always someone funnier, prettier, and a better writer than I could be at any given moment. However, none have pounded the pavement like I have. Even my enemies have to high five me for my work ethic. In order to accomplish that fear and loathing, I became even more bragadocious. I don't think it was an accident that I found myself more depressed than ever deep down. Yes I was releasing a book but why did I secretly feel like dog shit run over by a mac truck? Answer, I was chasing the wrong solution. I thought ranting about being a woman in comedy was the solution. If I were a man I wouldn't have to fight so hard. I had fans writing me letters. Fuck open mics. Let me tell you how successful I am. Want to read a copy of my book?........

This past winter, I found myself unsure of how to step up my comedy. How to grow. The answer was to drop the fear and loathing and to do the work. This past week I did a show where the audience was slower to warm up to a ventriloquist act. However they got into me and I ultimately ended up doing well. After I stepped offstage I didn't hear the congratulations from the audience or felt the love I received from my fellow comedians. Instead I could only focus on the fact they didn't dig me at the beginning of my set. I was talking to a fellow comedian about this and how I always focused on the weak part. The audience members who didn't like me. My comedian friend concurred that she did that too. We all did.

On my walk home I worried that I was never going to go where I wanted to go. I also worried that I was going to settle again. Then I realized no. That wasn't going to happen. The mistake I made was falling victim to the fear and loathing. My ego seduced me into taking April the Reality TV Queen and April the Author into comedy clubs. That person doesn't always belong. Instead, when I go to a club I am just another name on the lineup. My job isn't to primp my feathers and remind people of who I think I am. It's to make the audience laugh. Also, there is something to be learned from every comedian on the lineup whether they are a household name or whether they are unknown. When that is my attitude there is always something gained.

These days when I step onstage I take the twenty year old kid who was awkward and had a weird looking, antiquated puppet. She wasn't afraid to fail, and was humble enough to do the work. She took tanking hard only to keep doing more of it until she got good. The beautiful thing was she wasn't so egotistical she wouldn't take a suggestion. As a result, the Comedy God's smiled upon her again and again. She was a good kid, sometimes taking things too hard but always chasing the perfect set. She always knew she could do better and the secret was more stage time. These days I bring her to the clubs. Not April the Reality TV star or April the Author. Those two idiots wouldn't have been possible without that weird, determined, and tough kid blindly chasing a dream.

Good things have always happened when she has been around. Sure she succumbs to the fear and loathing, but only to get up and try it again.

Love
April
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
www.aprilbrucker.com

Sludge Hammer (Peter Gabriel)

Friday, November 8th, 2013
Every comedian has had a hell gig. Some of us have had many. It's part of being in the game. Several years ago, I had the mother of all hell gigs. Curtain up and enter the Moose Lodge. A buddy of mine named Jimmy McCaffrey who was a sometimes comedian and in full time conflict with his ex wife had booked it. The show had a mix of folks still in the incubation stages of comedy like myself, seasoned comedians, and of course headliners. I figured the show could have gone either way when I got there. After all, this was Jersey. These were all white people. I had done well in a black room only the week before. This would be a breeze, right?

WRONG!

The show began and my friend did a minute and a half up front. The rest of us were looking at each other like "what?" The first comedian went up. He was a slight fellow named Paul Mazeroff who's gift was the business side, but as for material, he had a solid minute and a half. Paul wasn't even onstage for a minute and he was already being heckled. I was supposed to go next. OH SHIT!

After three minutes of this nonsense Jimmy gave Paul the light. The next comedian was Howard Feller, who killed it. This was an awesome experience and even more awesome to watch. Okay, maybe they weren't going to eat us alive after all. After Howard I went up. I brought May out. Some of the room was into me. Some wasnt. Actually, they were divided down the middle. I didn't care. I just wanted to survive. Some drunken white racist idiot said, "This isn't standup comedy. She has a puppet." No shit Sherlock. I have a puppet.

The next comedian, who's name escapes me, was a blur. After him they interrupted the comedy show so this weird looking Napoleon Dynamite kid could say a prayer. In a surreal blur the comedy show continued. Some of the comedians battled with these bizarre angry white hecklers. One lady, a mom comic who's name escapes me that kept talking about her kids, gave one guy a t shirt. They were silent during her set, which meant they were paying attention but not laughing is the most brutal form of bullying in comedy. The show finally ended with Danny McDermott taking down and ultimately verbally killing a heckler.

After the show, one of the worst hecklers said, "I felt bad for the comedians. No one would even give them a chance." Yeah asshole, you heckled. A bunch of folks gave me and the rest of the comedians backhanded compliments. One tattooed dude said he really dug me.

They say from every hell gig you learn something. One of the weirdo hecklers said he saw my jokes on my hand cause in those days I wrote my set list on my hand. I stopped doing that and just memorized it.

Years later, when I was on TV the tattooed dude who liked me dropped me a fan note.

Last night Chris DiFate and I saw each other after a number of years. While it was good to see an old friend, it was even better to laugh about the shared shiteous experience we had together. I had forgotten about the horrid prayer. Chris reminded me. The beautiful thing about comedy is everyone pays their dues. As you move up the ladder, you laugh with others about the same harrowing experiences.

There is no business like show business

Love
April
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
www.aprilbrucker.com

Starving the Devil

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013
When I first started comedy, the only thing I had were my dreams. I was a kid from Pittsburgh. Having no idea what it really took to be a New York City comedian, I chased my dreams running on the hard pavement like Hussein Bolt. Of course I made friends with other young people chasing theirs as well. We saw each other at mics, grabbed pizza, and talked about how one day we wanted to be on TV in some capacity. We also traded punchlines and sob stories as we journeyed towards our pipe dream. We were going to be friends forever, right?

Time passes, and comedy is a vicious game. Being funny is part of the equation, along with the business and being at the right place at the right time. There were times I was acid tongued because I believed someone less talented advanced for no reason whatsoever. Of course there were other occasions where I was just bitter in general. We were all mice going for the same three pieces of cheese. There was going to be a little resentment over the fact there were so many spots, right?

Finally two and a half years ago my comedy luck began to turn. It seemed I was getting on TV quite a bit. Granted, I had a niche skill and was working for it. Not to mention that I branched out into music and was on my way to publishing a book. It looked like spending my twenties as a poor bohemian were finally starting to pay off. Sure, my high school and college mates were getting married, having kids, and starting their lives. I lived in a cramped apartment with no man and no money and a shitload of puppets and costumes most of the time. Yes, my bathroom looked like a drag queen vandalized it. However, I was also getting fans around the world. I was getting my music to chart on internet radio. My job as a talking head was fun and exposed me to even more folks in different reaches who saw me on TV. Oh and I published my book. My friends were going to be happy for me, right?

WRONG!

Suddenly it seemed I was public enemy number one. I was dissed on several blogs, and my so called friends from back in the day were the first to take shots at me. Some accused me of sleeping my way to TV time. Others said I lied and cheated my way to get things. Then there were those who called me an open mic hack. Meanwhile I was featuring and sometimes headlining. When they saw me in person they would be fake after slandering me online, which was even more painful because one idiot even left his name. Then there were some who decided to shun me all together. It was like we were friends who talked about our comedy dreams and then they couldn't say two words to me. Of course there were the brave idiots who took shots at me whether it was something backhanded or outright fought with me. Translated, I was being bullied and paying the price for seeing success. I couldn't get a break.

For a while I tried to tune it out, but it's hard to when people are nasty for no reason other than the fact they are jealous. I tried to keep in mind I earned these things: living off my laundry money and being so poor that sometimes I washed my clothes in my bathtub with my own shampoo. Soon I became nasty to counteract these people. Fighting back is the only thing a bully understands. Finally, as doors opened elsewhere my attitude became that I was too important to pay for stage time. I would show up if I liked the venue, was getting money, liked the producer, or if a fan was booking the show. Of course when any idiot started with me I would be quick to remind them that I was on TV in case they had forgotten. I thought I was showing them.

Instead I was only hurting myself. I felt alone more often than not, because I was also shutting people out who were my friends regardless of whether or not I was successful. Because I wasn't performing as much, that side of my personality was emerging in ways that weren't so good. I played a prank on a friend that I thought was funny. She thought it was mean and ended the friendship. I was increasingly glib to the point of being mean. The chip on my shoulder became uber magnified. I had been a woman slugging it out my entire youth and had faced so much sexism. When asked about all I had accomplished I came across as the biggest, most whiny victim in the world. At the times I wasn't sporting a bad attitude, I told everyone about the book I published and all I was doing with it. I claimed I was too tired to write jokes because I had written over 300 plus pages. Meanwhile it was all just a way to run from my bullies. In a way to fight the jerks I became one myself.

Finally I hit rock bottom. I found myself very depressed around the time I published my book. Some of it was the let down from a huge project. However a lot of it was because I wasn't writing new jokes. Standup had been the outlet for my rage and awkwardness back in the day. The stage had been my safe place. I no longer had that. Soon my urge to say the first thing that popped out of my head was getting me in trouble as well.I was turning into someone that no one liked, not even myself. One morning, as I felt the rage build up inside me I messaged a friend whom I will call Mr. Ed. To give you an idea, Mr. Ed is not a talking horse (irresistible hack joke), but an established comedian who has always been a friend that I admire. Positive and successful, Mr. Ed is one of those magical people who still loves to make people laugh.

Mr. Ed is somewhat psychic. We started the conversation about his headlining gig and he told me he killed in a whole new way because as he wrote in caps he HAD FUN. The universe was speaking to me. This was something I had not done in a while. Then I proceeded to pour my heart out and told him what I was going through. I asked Mr. Ed how he handled the jealousy and negativity. Mr. Ed said the only way to handle it was to starve it. I told him that would be hard for me. Like the blind karate master in the Kung Fu movies he had another move. Using the caps lock on his computer he typed it again in big letters. Now it made sense. By fighting back against these bullies I had been feeding into their negativity. They were just nasty people all around, and the only one I was hurting was myself.

I spoke to my mother about this who also had some good input. She said, "They had the same opportunities as you and didn't take them. That's not your fault."

Of course there was an old friend of mine who informed me that my attitude was becoming a problem. He also told me that the people bullying me were "shitheads" and I had to ignore them. Finally, he told me I was alienating people who could assist me. While it was harsh it was also the reality check I needed. Before my success was making people despise me. Now I was just doing it on my own.

Things steadily became easier, but I still had some hang ups. However as I strive to get this audition set ready, I am struck by how many people have come out of the wood work to help me. Some are old friends. One by the way is Mr. Ed. Some are new friends. This has enabled the walls to come down, and some of my old friends have reappeared. It turns out they still cared about me no matter where I am in my career, and are happy for me as long as I am happy. As a matter of fact I have never felt so much love coming my way in my life. It has been amazing, and it has made me love comedy in a whole new way. Since my energy is renewed, I am meeting others who perform simply because they love the art form of comedy and ultimately hunting the perfect punchline. Despite the fact comedy and I have had an abusive relationship as I run after the perfect clean set, I am more stoked than ever to get onstage.

I have also learned that while it is mean to be gossiped about, it is also mean to gossip about others. While sometimes all humans envy, it is important to be happy for others when they are successful. I am also seeing that while everyone is crazy in the beginning of the comedy race, everyone ultimately goes their own way. Some become performers, others writers, some club owners/bookers/managers, or go into TV production. However, those of us who finish end up working together which is kind of cool.

My pink cloud was a little bit obstructed yesterday. Someone who was an old friend back in the day who's second rate hack career has gone no where took a very public jab at me. This moron has no business critiquing anyone, especially since my second toe on my right foot with fungus has more talent. However it upset me because we were friends once upon a time. It was the same knife to the back piercing my heart. Yes, I did cry like a Goddamn woman. After calling a friend and sobbing wildly, I took a shower. I tried to brush it off but felt badly.

That is when I realized it was about him and not me. He had the same opportunities that I did. This man wasn't worth my tears let alone the paragraph above. That is when I threw on some clothes and got onstage.

I found out I was on Wendy Williams which was cool.

I also botched my clean set because I had wasted my energy. TV time is nice, but doing the work got me thus far. Don't stop the thing that makes it all possible, right? Plus in all that goes into show biz so much is beyond our control, so make what we can control good.

With that being said, haters make you famous. On that note, my clean set still needs a butt load of work

Love
April
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
www.aprilbrucker.com


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