I was trolling for myself on PIPL, which is THE place to find out if your blind date has a history of sex offenses, and found, lurking on the internet, a ten year old treatise on rabbit-hating. I really think it’s just as true today.12.30.99
Rabbits are Bad: A Poem By Melissa Favara
Dear Miss Favara;
I am a representative of a group called H.A.R.E., Hate A Rabbit Evokation. Our group tries to educate the public: rabbit references in literature, art, and film are undesirable in the extreme. Far from their cleverly honed public image as cute, silent, harmless animals, egg-gifting, carrot-nibbling cuties, rabbits are in fact fearsome, tusked and armored beasts that roam the midwestern plains in search of toddlers to eat. Your poem’s assertion that you should talk to them represents a public health and safety hazard . However, I find that I still liked the poem, once I had thoroughly exised the word “rabbit” with liquid paper. Unfortunately, I can barely see anything on my monitor these days. Oh, will this be displayed on the Internet? Oh, Rabbits.
Some comedians who try to be edgy aren’t because there’s nothing there, nothing to pull from. And then there’s Virginia Jones.
She has a laundry list of experience to draw from: a boxing instructor, a swing dance teacher, a waitress, a DJ, a designer of country and western apparel, a sales clerk at JCPenney and now apparel development for Nike. Also, she was once the only vegetarian assistant manager at Jack-In-The-Box. And now she’s talking to me.
How long have you been doing stand up? I have been doing stand-up for almost four years! It will be four in May 2010. My first open mic was 5/29/06, and that can be heard here and is delightfully rough and awful:
It was a magical evening, I went up at 11:30 or so, and my set was interrupted by a gentleman in a suit who had been smoking crack in the bathroom all night, and a drunk comic who put a flashlight down my shirt and laid down on the floor and took his own clothes off.
I got to do a little time in NYC in October at a club called Eastville, which was described to me as “a club so shitty, you could get time there!” and it was accurate! I was glad to get the time, though.
Were you recently in a rock opera? We just closed 5 runs of Chariots of Rubber, a hair metal musical about best friends, love, and demolition derby. We called it a rock opera sometimes but it wasn’t really, because there were spoken parts in it. It was written by Jeffrey Wonderful (words and lyrics) and “Private” Mike Albano (music.) It was in pre-production for three years and rehearsal for (I shit you not) a year. Everyone involved was kind of from the rock world rather than theatre, so we kind of puzzled through it together. It was really great.
I played Cindy, a race driver cum hooker. My favorite scene is where I got to sing a song to my boyfriend’s head, which has unfortunately come off in an accident.
Do you have a good heckler story? This may or may not be a cheat. I was in Austin, Tex. for a comedy festival, which was a great time, and I was excited to perform for my mother and sister, who had never seen me onstage. I was the “headlining” standup lady, (it was a mix of improv, standup, and sketch) so I got twenty minutes of stage time, during which my mother heckled me unmercifully. Obviously, she did not mean it in a negative way, but she just didn’t understand that the silence inbetween the setup and the punch is important. And she didn’t stop! Ever! Yelling out where I was born, facts relevant and irrelevant- even when I threatened to punch her in the face. After the show, people told me they thought we were hilarious and thought that she was a plant.
I don’t generally get heckled – I have shut some people down, but it’s never been too involved. It’s generally people who think they’re helping, or who are so excited to be out of their houses and drunk that their thoughts come tumbling out of their mouth.
Tell me your favorite joke. “I can’t think of anything worse after a night of drinking than waking up next to someone and not being able to remember their name, or how you met, or why they’re dead.” -Laura Kightlinger
Who are your five favorite comedians? Eddie Izzard. Bill Hicks. Steve Martin. Paul F. Tompkins. Woody Allen.
I am struggling with wanting to put a lady on the list and my lady hero is Elayne Boosler, but it would have to be in her strongest period, 1980-1985, or thereabouts. My top five ladies are Elayne Boosler, Tina Fey (not really a standup), Maria Bamford, Paula Poundstone (improv genius) and Jen Kirkman.
What are you currently reading? I am reading a book called Hip: The History by John Leland, which traces underground/outsider culture from jazz to modern day. It is pretty cool. I have always been interested in the cool kids and alternative culture.
I have started re-reading Infinite Jest by dead guy David Foster Wallace and I will be done with it by Xmas 2010. It annoys me that his writing is so dense and creative, and yet Dave Eggers lives on. Where the Wild Things Are was good, though.
What are you currently listening to? Ha- HAAA! Last couple of days I have been listening to, pretty much nonstop, the Harold and Maude soundtrack of Cat Stevens songs that I have assembled on Itunes. If you want to sing out, sing out! This makes sense in context, though, because sometimes the funniest people are also the saddest people. My favorite artists are Nick Cave and Robyn Hitchcock, both of whom I find desperately funny.
Who or what inspires you? I am inspired by my interactions with other people, and telling stories and hearing stories told. Most of my jokes grow out of things that I say spontaneously to friends, or that grow out of conversations and real-life, and I love storytelling and bull***tting. Yay! Bull***tting = technical term!
I first saw a version of this trailer in 2004, as the working title Diva 51. Looks like it’s finally coming out as Believe, in very limited release in London, LA, and New York. I sure hope I get to see it. When I was searching for information about the original rumored release date, I ran across a 5 year old post by myself on Tribe (hey burners! remember Tribe?). I don’t know if it’s upsetting or comforting that I have such persistence of vision.
Increasingly, after years of fandom, the thing that most impresses me about Eddie is not his wit. It’s the single bloody mindedness with which he approaches everything. He’s taught himself comedy on the streets of Camden to become a fracking phenomenon. He’s a stocky trans person who’s forced Hollywood to accept him. He ran 43 marathons in 50 days on six weeks of training (translation: no training.) He can do anything he believes he can do, and he believes he can do anything.
Postscript: I was glad to get to see this movie in NYC while we were there. It contains some amazing footage of his early act and peers, street performances, and standup, information about his comedy club in the West End, and also some recent backstage footage of his prep and method (and lots of loving shots of sponsor M.A.C. cosmetics). What again impresses me about Eddie is the many times he tried, and failed, to be the world’s best standup comedian, until the time he succeeded. People call him a genius, and maybe he is, but he’s a genius covered in scars and bruises from the many times he threw himself at the wall and didn’t stick. He’s my goddamned hero.
I love the Famous Mysterious Actor show, and I genuinely had a great time appearing on the show, but my set went a little short.
Before the show, the suave and talented producer, J.D., took me aside and told me that I would have five minutes, and that he would light me when my time was up. When a comic has an alotted time, an emcee or producer will raise a flashlight or wave a phone to indicate that it’s time to wrap things up.
I was onstage, and I did a little shucking-and-jiving with Famous before I started telling jokes, and I was in medias res when I saw an amber light. It seemed soon, but it was more important to me that the show run smoothly than for me to do every single joke that I had planned on. I start going into my final joke, as I have been programmed to do. A few lines in, I get the light again. I nod at it, to indicate that I understand it’s time for me to get offstage, and I finish my joke to some applause, and I sit on the couch to do panel.
I get the light again.
Peering into the darkness, I see that a woman is using a camera that, instead of flashing a white light, points an amber light at the performers onstage. This means that 1.) I have gone short on my time for no reason and that 2.) At some point onstage, I nodded knowingly at a woman who was taking my photograph, whom I now dislike.
Yaaayy! Later, J.D. slipped on Ethiopian food and fell off the stage. Serves him right.
The very funny Lindy West wrote blurbs for all the comedy events at Bumbershoot, I particularly liked her take on FMA.
FAMOUS MYSTERIOUS ACTOR The Famous Mysterious Actor is a frightening specter. It has long hair, like a woman, or a hippie. It has a high-pitched voice, like a woman. Or a wild bird of some kind that speaks human language. It has a thing about Pixi Stix, like most women, and it wears a mask like Eric Stoltz in Mask or Jim Carrey in Look Who’s Masking Now. Or a Mexican. It is very mysterious. It comes from Portland. LW