Instead of writing or working, I have updated my map of mostly everywhere I can remember doing comedy. If I’ve ever done your show and you wondered what I thought about it, you can probably find out!
How We Prepared Emma For The Adventure Of Marriage
Meeting The Crew
My baby sister Emma is getting married, and we meet up in New Orleans to celebrate. Her bachelorettes are a combination of big-city career women and her high-school friends, and of course her two sisters, who have already been married and divorced, but are trying to maintain a good attitude. We’ve got single people, people in long term relationships, and lots of married women. Lots of advice, lots of perspectives.
Joni got married early and dotes on her two adorable kidlets. She doesn’t always know about internet slang, memes, who’s president, or other minor trivia. She’s a busy lady.
Amanda is a corporate woman, also with two small kids, who has just relocated to the midwest with her family.
Sadie, our other sister, is divorced with a kid. She’s looking for Mr. Right and has been frustrated with the men she meets on dating sites.
I’m divorced, childless, and happy about it. I disliked being married and won’t seek it again.
Asha is desperately beautiful, partnered, and a doctor. She’s seriously intimidating.
Marie is European, never married, and sometimes seems a touch naive.
“It’s not going to be one of those embarrassing Bachelorettes” we say to one another.
“We’re not going to have penis necklaces and straws. We are sophisticated people. We went to college. We like art. We’re not going to be basic.”
When we say it, we mean it.
My sister is getting married to a lovely man. I’m very happy for her. Men she has dated before have been toxic or distant. This man is loving, handy, and seems to take real pleasure in making projects for her. He is kind and smart and I am so excited to have him in my family.
The Adventure Begins
We start the first day with a fancy breakfast and doting waitstaff. We are offered $24 bottomless mimosas, but we giggle and stick to tea. My sister is wearing all white and a veil, which she assures us she will be wearing all weekend.
Marie points out that in Europe, the bachelorette party is called a Hen Night. Because so many of us are married and divorced, I identify more with Hen Night than Bachelorette, just busty busybody chickens clucking around. Joni asks if the bachelors have a Cock Night. This is very funny of Joni until I realize she didn’t mean it to be. Marie says no, in Europe the men have Stag Night, and then, I guess, a chicken and a buck get married.
We break for after-brunch drinks. We explain to Joni that sometimes people pee on each other in bed, and that eggplants are emoji for penises. Sadie is swiping idly through her Tinder matches, explaining that her only demands are that the applicants have hair and don’t demand NSA hookups. We explain to Joni what NSA hookups are. Marie wants to stop on the pictures with taut, hairless abs, but I tell her that if a guy leads with his abs, he’ll show them to everyone. I want to swipe right on a cute artist named Will but Sadie stops me. “He doesn’t have a job and he doesn’t have a kid. I know that right now.” She dismisses him. I keep trying to tell her that, as we move into our fourth decade on earth, she might have to be flexible on hair. “Nothing doing”, Sadie says. “I’m not matching with a bald POS like my ex-husband.” She tells us that, hilariously, he blamed her for his hair loss. “Look”, he said, “I wasn’t balding when we met.” I laugh, but I’m also sad.
We have a day of bachelorette adventure. We drink terrible drinks. We dance to jazz bands. Our bride is congratulated, over and over. We beam with pride. We drink. We take a ghost tour. We drink. We see a psychic, and drink.
We compare our psychic readings. Asha has been told she’s very lustful, and not apologetic about it. She agrees 100%. She enjoys sex, and resents how her mother talked to her about sex, that it was something men always wanted and that women never wanted, but which had to occasionally be tolerated. She has a healthy sex drive but spent most of her young adulthood feeling ashamed.
Sadie was told that, after a terrible marriage and some disappointing dating, she is still too angry to successfully partner with a new person, that she is a teflon pan on which no-one can find purchase.
Emma’s reading is exciting and rosy, about her new role as wife and her new life.
My reading is mostly about career and goals, but at one moment the psychic cocks her head and asks, and you’re seeing someone? And I say yes, and she says, and it’s good, and I agree, it is. It may seem like faint praise, but it is good, and I’m grateful.
Yelling At Clowns
The second morning, we head to the famous Cafe Du Monde for coffee and beignets. A colorfully dressed clown crows when he sees my sister’s veil and he starts making her a penis crown out of balloons. It is almost pornographic in its detail. This is not his first penis crown. We refuse it. “This,” I tell him, “is not that kind of bachelorette. We are not interested in being covered in penises.” He spreads his hands and pretends to be offended. “And besides,” I continue playfully, “all penises are pretty much the same. They don’t matter.” The clown angrily starts listing types of penises. “They can be big! Small! Curved! Straight!” We are grateful to be seated and get away from the clown yelling about penises.
I think we try to simplify down to penises because love itself is so scary and full of unknowns. People can change, their goals and life veer away from each other, they can fall in love with other people or just out of love with each other, so we like to simplify it. Penises it is. I get up to go to the bathroom and when I get back, my sister is wearing a penis crown. It has been given to her by a stranger. As we eat our beignets, we explain to Joni the concept of polyamory. “Is that”, she asks, “legal?” We assure her that it is. What she’s thinking of is polygamy. If you don’t marry everyone, we tell her, you can sleep with as many people as you want. She smiles and shakes her head.
SAME PENIS FOREVER
That afternoon, we have a lingerie shower. Suddenly, there are penis straws and a penis pinata and a sign that reads “SAME PENIS FOREVER.” Where did all the penises come from? No-one knows.
My sister opens all her fancy underwear and we laugh and clap.
I ask the room for marriage advice for Emma.
Joni offers, “always give him a blowie on his birthday.” I raise my eyebrows at the idea of an annual blowjob.
Asha protests. “What if”, she asks, “ you really like giving them?”
Joni blushes and says, “Oh, I guess you could do more! Just- not less.”
I tell Emma that you should always support each other. You should always try to give them the best of your time and attention. This, because it is not about sex, is boring the room. I also give them my Dad’s advice to me, which was never to do a chore that you don’t want to do for the rest of your life. On some level, your spouse is a roommate that you hope will never move out.
Sadie says that although Emma has been distracted by the wedding, that’s just a fun party. The thing to concentrate on is the marriage, that’s the long term project that will shape her life and her partner’s life. Emma nods and smiles but doesn’t really seem to take it in. Sadie and I laugh together because this is the best advice she got on her wedding day, but didn’t recognize until years later. Weddings are a lot of noise and dresses and expense, maybe to distract you from the profundity of sealing your life to another person.
Amanda offers that you should marry your best friend. This is simple but profound. We all nod. Beauty fades and they lose their hair, but when you really like each other, you’ll get through the hard parts.
“There is no long relationship”, I say, “Without hard work. Everyone has to work. The idea that your relationship will be good without work is the biggest lie of all.” Joni agrees and says, “it’s weird, all the movies end with the couple getting married and nobody wants to talk about what happens after that, which is the rest of your life.” “That’s true”, interjects Sadie- “if a couple is married at the beginning of the movie, they’ll either split up and get back together, or split up and meet other people, or one of them is going to get kidnapped or die. There is nothing interesting to Hollywood about a successful marriage.” After all of our deep thoughts on partnership, we’re ready to go out.
By the end of the second day, I am wearing a themed bachelorette t-shirt, a sash, and a light-up twinkly flower crown. I now understand how dogs feel when we dress them up for Halloween.
We are walking up and down Frenchman street, being congratulated by fellow celebrants. I get away from my sisters for a moment and rejoin them in a bar moments later.
“Where”, my sister asks, “is your crown?”
“I don’t know”, I tell them, but I do know. It’s in the trash can outside.
We go sing karaoke, taking over a small room. We sing all the songs about what we want from marriage, “Respect” by Aretha Franklin, “I Will Always Love You” sung by Whitney Houston, and Joni sings “Goodbye, Earl” by the Dixie Chicks, about friends getting together to murder an abusive husband. I am not sure this is what we want for wedding wishes, but that’s what we’ve got. We go to a late night dance party hosted by one of the parade Krewes and have a great time before heading back to the hotel, picking our way through the streets strewn with beads and beer cups.
The last morning of the trip, I spend some quiet time with Sadie. We talk about what we’ve learned from our marriages, and how we wish we could give Emma everything we know. We love her and we love her intended, and that has to be enough. We separate, hugging and crying, to see each other in our matching gowns in a month.
Last week on International Women’s Day I posted another author’s great list of ways men could represent for women. I’m following that up with something a little closer to home.
How to represent for women in comedy as a woman:
(This is not an edict. This is a list of ideas that are up for consideration.)
Easy: Don’t judge friends and peers for their clothing, appearance, weight, or age. Don’t think they don’t deserve relationships, opportunities, or success because of how they look. If you hear other people criticizing your women friends for their appearance, defend them.
Harder: Don’t judge women you DISLIKE for their clothing, appearance, weight, or age. Don’t do it to strangers. Don’t do it to celebrities. If you hear other people criticizing women for their appearance, remind them that this is a tool of the patriarchy. Remember that the joke behind calling someone a Cougar or a MILF is the sheer absurdity that anyone over thirty could be sexually attractive to anyone when they’re all worn out and shit, and by extension that our looks are what we are worth.
Hardest: Don’t judge yourself for your appearance, weight, or age. Don’t think that you don’t deserve anything because of how you look. Don’t allow yourself to be treated badly.
Easy: When you’re out at comedy shows, write down the names of women you find funny. Tell them that they are. Tell other people.
Harder: Book those women on your shows. (Still pretty easy!)
Hardest: Support shows with women, queer, trans, or other minority comics on the bill. Let the bookers know you appreciate the way they book their shows. If diverse shows put butts in seats, they will continue.
If woman-headlined shows put butts in seats, they will continue.
You don’t even need whole people at the show. Just butts.
Easy: When you’re booked on a comedy show and you see that you’re the only woman booked, ask the booker why. Offer to share with them your list of amazing women you’ve started writing down the names of from the last tip.
Harder: When you’re on a comedy festival with fewer than 20% women, ask why? Do they need your help promoting to women to submit next year?
Hardest: When you get booked on a TV show, and you’re on set and you see less than 20% women on the crew or staff, ask why? When you’re hired to write on a TV show and you notice you’re the only woman writer, ask why?
Don’t let men talk shit on other women. Especially if you’re new, you’ll hear men talk about women fucking their way onto shows, fucking their way into festivals. Reject this. Don’t let men tell you how other women are crazy. Don’t let them tell you that you’re the only chill one. They’re trying to pit us against each other so we continue to be divided and weak. Thanks doods!
So you can see that feminism is more than just really, really liking Beyoncé, but it’s not impossible. We can all represent for each other every day. And also Beyoncé.
Top Five Warby Parker Rip-Off Sites
Wallaby Parka- glasses for the Australian/Oceania marker
Warbaby Parklife- glasses for Mods
Whereby Pinko- Glasses for first year college students
Warble Panko- glasses for people who like singing and Japanese food
Furby Parkay- Glasses for talking animal toys who love margarine
INT: A COMEDY CLUB LOBBY. A WOMAN SITS BEHIND A GLASS CASE. IT IS FRIDAY AT 6PM. A MAN ENTERS, VISIBLY ANXIOUS. HE’S WEARING A BLACK T-SHIRT AND JEANS, LIKE A COOL GUY, ALTHOUGH HE IS CLEARLY FIFTY.
Hi, I’m, uh. Can you call..
SHE KNOWS WHO HE IS AND PRESSES A BUTTON, THEN NODS AT HIM WITH A TIGHT LIPPED SMILE. AFTER A MOMENT, ANOTHER DOOR OPENS AND A MIDDLE-AGED MAN AND A TWENTYSOMETHING MALE WALK IN.
Tommyyyyy! My man!
(He offers Tommy a bear hug, which is accepted)
Thank you so much, man. I really appreciate you sticking by me.
Well, we go back, man! Of course I want you back! Listen, I hope you got to look at the stuff I sent- it’s just for insurance purposes
Believe me, I get it. Happy to sign off on whatever you need. I don’t want any problems.
That’s great to hear. This here is Adam, he’s gonna be your, we can call him a chaperone, and he’s gonna take care of everything you need.
Nice to meet you, man.
(Offers his hand. Adam takes it and shakes it once, then releases)
Nice to meet you.
You guys are gonna get along great! And we’re gonna have a great weekend. Listen, tickets are a little slow tonight, but they’ll pick up tomorrow when word gets out you’re in town.
Sounds great, man, thanks again!
Now, Adam, don’t let this guy outta your sight! He’s our special guy! (BERT BACKS OUT OF THE ROOM, WAVING. A MOMENT PASSES.)
OK. Let’s get started.
(ADAM produces a pair of plastic bags and slips them over TOMMY’S hands and ties his wrists together, then he takes a burlap bag and puts it over Tommy’s head.)
Let’s get you to the green room.
INT: COMEDY CLUB GREEN ROOM
Adam leads Tommy to sit on a couch. Adam sits next to him.
So, I don’t know how much of that thing you read, but basically I’m not supposed to let you leave my side until you’re onstage. I will get you any food and drink you need. No alcohol, of course.
No problem. I just want to make it easy on everyone. I wanna have great shows and prove to everyone that I can still do this.
Sure thing. Let me know what I can order for you. They’ll bring it here.
I’m good for now. So, when you take me onstage, the bag and stuff comes off?
That stuff…doesn’t come off.
CUT TO: TOMMY ONSTAGE TO A HALF-FULL ROOM IN HIS BAGGED HEAD AND HANDS, HOLDING THE MIC STAND THROUGH QUART PLASTIC BAGS AND TRYING TO TELL JOKES
1. Modern Girls- with Daphne Zuniga, Virginia Madsen, Depeche Mode and Jesus and Mary Chain on the soundtrack, a great opening scene at Bullock’s on Wilshire, great shots of Melrose when it was skeevy AF, a dramatic scene at the Mulholland fountain on Riverside, a great goth bar scene, and a great role for my friend Rick Overton.
2. Earth Girls Are Easy- with Geena Davis and HOT JEFF GOLDBLUM HOLY SHIT, the very funny Julie Brown, ANGELYNE!, Michael Mckean, and Jesus and Mary Chain and Depeche Mode on the soundtrack. NILE ROGERS soundtrack! There’s a Dennis Quaid song on the soundtrack! Small role for Rick Overton. Deeply stupid, but not as bad as you’d think (hot Jeff Goldblum)
3. Valley Girl- with hot ass Nick Cage, the Plimsouls, a scene shot in what is now the Viper Room, and songs by the Sparks and Josie Cotton. A movie about punks who listen exclusively to New Wave! Sued by Frank Zappa! Two ladies who were later in Real Genius!