Standup comedian is such a huge part of my identity in my hometown that when people ask me about myself they usually do it by asking me about comedy. I consider comedy at this point to be something between an expensive hobby and a self-harm habit. I try to manage how much it fucks my life up. I’ve kind of given up on being able to quit.
My comedy right now is real burlesque-y. I put on a tight dress, I put on a lot of makeup, I talk about my big butt, people really like it, and then I go home. It feels like work. I don’t do it and think “Wow what an amazing chance to express myself.” I feel like I gave some other people a good night, like I do when I’m waitressing, just for less money.
And this way of going about things has resulted in me making more money from comedy. In the past 3 days I earned $125 from comedy. (I earned $140 from waitressing though, just to keep it in perspective.)And the chances for me making money from it are better than they ever have been before.
This nice guy who wanted to connect with me asked me about the difference between treating comedy as an art or a craft. I’m the wrong person to ask about that. I feel so divorced from comedy as a tool of self-expression. I feel like a cartoon character up there, a workhorse.
At the show on sunday the guy who followed me told the audience he would “fuck the shit” out of me. Everyone in the room got real quiet. That stuff used to bother me beyond measure and now I don’t even react. He asked me out on a date a day later and I thought about it, for awhile. Then I thought geez Maria-standards, let’s remember about standards.
Then yesterday I saw that guy who laid down on me on that terrible date in the fall. So I just feel really tired today.
I feel like I’ve been working so hard to treat my body as sacred, but all the incentives run towards letting people treat it as a big joke. Just let people talk about it and laugh about it and have whatever access they want to it. And it’s like, well of course they want that- I’ve got a clearly well-fed, clearly female body, and you put something like that onstage people go a little nuts. It’s all they can react to. So they have to laugh about it because they’re freaked out.
This body has so much power. But it’s like, because my body has so much power, people gotta put me in my place for walking around with it. Like because the body has so much power I gotta demonstrate that I don’t know about it. I gotta walk around all meek and nice and saintly and bubbly and joking about it.
But I do know about its power. I do know. Well, I don’t know the boundaries of it yet. But I know there’s something there we’re scared of, and we laugh about, and that’s what I need to work on- going to those places. The more I go to those places the better my life gets.
So much of comedy is watching men shit on women. So much of what passes for male humor is men getting up on stage and saying we’re nothing to them, we’re convenient sources of sex, they’re playing with us, they’re laughing at us. And audiences eat it up. But what I know, from meeting those guys over and over and over, is that those guys are so scared by the draw of women. Like, they gotta make the jokes because they are so scared by how badly they want women’s love. And then they make the jokes, and they make a career out of the jokes, and they live their whole lives treating the women who love them as jokes, and then they never get what they want so badly. They never get what they want because they’re scared of what they want.
It’s weird to realize how scary you are. It’s weird to realize how scary your body is. It’s so beautiful, and so normal, and so powerful, and so very, very vulnerable, and it’s scarier to men than guns. This world is completely backwards. Well, it’s reversed, is what it is.