I’m writing this essay on my fifth anniversary as a stand-up performer. Apart from the respect of my peers, and the literally dozens of dollars I have made while performing my craft, I think the best part of being a comedian is the fame.
Oh, reader- I can feel your slight reticence to accept my famousness- but let me assure you, it’s very real.
Ways You Can Tell You Are Famous
I started doing stand-up for the same reason most people do, which was to make British performer Eddie Izzard pay attention to me.
While this has not happened yet, it may one day happen. It’s certainly more likely to happen if I do stand-up than if I work in a warehouse or genetically modified poultry farm.
He’s already paid a small amount of attention to my friend Dax, which was he said he was too tired to do an interview after two hours onstage in Vegas. I often repeat Eddie’s advice to newcomers who want to know how to get good onstage, which is simple: get up and do comedy a thousand times. By the thousandth time, you should be pretty good! If you’re not good by then, you should definitely quit.
For the last few years, my fame level has been very dependent on whether or not I am in a vegan restaurant or a gay bar in Portland, or both (and why aren’t there more of those?), but recently, I have found that I am famous in more places than ever. Admittedly, sometimes I am confused with the adorable Kristen Schaal of Flight of The Conchords, which is fake fame. This is still OK with me. I discussed it with her, and she said that while she doesn’t see the resemblance, it does not bother her that people think I’m her.
Last Summer I was at a rock show with my friend Pete, and Pete and I were having an impromptu dance contest, the gist of which was “Who can do the most embarrassing pop-and-lock?” when someone tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I was Virginia Jones. I admitted I was, and she said, “I’m a fan of yours.” Just to be certain, I asked “a fan…of my dancing? And she paused for minute and said, “no.” Nightclub: FAMOUS.
I appear briefly in the comedy documentary “I AM COMIC”, and every time it runs on Showtime people ask if that was me, and that makes me feel famous.
Perks Of Fame
There is a privately owned movie theatre in Portland where not ONLY do I not pay to see films, I am allowed to take my small dog to films, because I’m so famous. I usually don’t, because when we went to see Grizzly Man, he growled at the bears onscreen (Genus CANIS, just like he is). But still and all- he’s allowed to go.
Fame In Other Places
A creepy-famous story happened when I was at an after-party for Bumbershoot performers last September. A young man approached me and said he’d seen me perform at the Club Deluxe show in San Francisco, and he had seen me perform in Seattle that day. I said, “Oh, that’s really cool!” Then, he showed me in his notebook where he had written down that he had seen me both places, and I said, “OK!”
The gem in my crown of famousness probably happened last month, when I was recognized at Costco. The woman manning the checkout line told me, “I thought it was you, and then when you got close, I knew it was you!” And then she called her husband immediately to tell him that comedians buy bulk trail mix, just like regular people. And yes. We do. We like the kind with pineapple in it.
Onward and upward! This month I have done shows in Coos Bay, OR, Winnemucca, NV, and was the only straight person performing at the Pride festival in Portland, (where I was so famous I was offered FREE water and Red Bull) so I really can’t help but become still more famous. Look for me in the funny pages! Reading this is like talking to me, which makes you slightly famous. Believe me, there’s enough of this to go around!