Egos And Rum Shots

Egos and Rum Shots, and other generally useless dumb ****.  It's gotten so bad that I'm tempted to end my comedy career, and my marriage.  In a scene where nobody is succeeding, everybody's an expert.  Every podcast counts as success, as fame.  If you have the most followers on twitter, you win for the week.  Nobody has a personality anymore, they're all about the last great punchline, and how they're inevitably going to be the one to deliver the next.

Nobody sees that we're all equal.  That the only people who succeed in this town are the ones who pack up and move somewhere else and start completely over.  There is NO such thing as Memphis Comedy fame.  That the two years we spent attending four open-mics a week, and four shows each weekend, got us all to exactly the same place.  Nobody wants to admit that the comedy club is long gone.  That it shut it's doors, just like every other club that's tried to make a go of this city so known for it's music.  Who wants to pay $15 to see a comic they've never heard of from somewhere in Long Island when they could hang out backstage at their buddy's concert and drink free beer all night? 

Since the downfall of Comedy, TN, things have dwindled to a slow purr.  The open-mic that my husband has run for the past three years is the only stable thing left in the city.  The guys who owned the old club run a shaky Tuesday night in the back room of a local bar that get cancelled for lack of attendance more often than not.  Even when it doesn't, it's just a room full of ******** regurgitating lackluster material they've done for at least four months to a room full of people who are just waiting their turn, myself included.

Then, out of nowhere, a meeting.  One of the guys who occasionally books shows in small podunk towns, and has never even mentioned booking myself, invites me to his house.  He wants to start an entertainment company, to get comics out into more of these small towns.  He wants us all to cough up any contact information we have, so he can get started.  I have worked for my contact information.  Why should somebody else get paid for the work I have done?  Why should I allow somebody I don't trust at all not to **** up professional and personal relationships of mine simply because he's good to everybody else in my city?

Fast forward one week.  There's a comedy benefit to raise money for SIDS awareness.  It's a great cause.  One I feel strongly about, having watched a baby sleep for a year, in absolute terror.  All the key players from the old days were invited to participate in the show, except one.  I went anyway.  Even though I'd seen everybody's act millions of times, I paid the $8 cover.  Like I said, it's a good cause.  The ONE professional on the docket asks me why I'm not performing, tries to talk me into doing time.  I tell him that it's her show, and that I don't want to interfere.  He looks at me like I'm insane.

I was right to feel awkward about it.  When the show was over, the girl who organized it drunkenly corners my husband.  "Your wife has an attitude problem." She says.  "She feels that she's entitled to gigs, even though she's not funny.  Just because she's married to you doesn't mean that those of us who have been doing this longer have to book her."

My husband left me sitting in that awkward corner, talking about me like I was the retarded kid in the seat behind the bus driver in grade school.  Sure, you might be valiantly defending him out of principle, but you're still not going to invite him to your lunch table.  You're still not going to look him in the eye.  He still makes you feel awkward, guilty about the fact that you secretly feel the same way as the people you're arguing with to make yourself feel better.

The funny thing is, I consistently either hold my own with or fare BETTER than this little portion of the comedy scene.  And I do it on my own.  Lately, my husband gets bookings through these people, and I'm getting just as many, on my own.

After two hours, when everybody other comic in the city has gone home, my husband comes to find me at the bar.  He's out of cigarettes, and he wants half the one I've bummed from the bartender.  "No," I tell him.  Begin three days of constant madness, which still hasn't settled entirely settled down.  Begin him telling me, after defending me, that I'm the problem.  That everybody else is right.  That he can't afford to disagree with them.  That the "Us vs. Them" mentality is getting to him, and that I need to just suck it up.  I actually stop and examine my behavior over the past three years.  I ask the most honest friend I have.  She tells me he's being ridiculous.  That, for the most part, my non-comedy friends shun the scene because they can't stand the way everybody else acts.  I STILL re-evaluate.  My husband wouldn't possibly say these things if he didn't believe them.  He tells me that it's not just this one girl, that nobody likes me anymore.  That I need more work.  That I'm stand-offish, that I'm a pufferfish.  He puts me in a place where I really want to quit. 

Is he a good husband?  He's wonderful with my daughter.  He financially supports us.  He's normally thoughtful and at least borderline attentive at times.  My daughter loves him, and she's already been through a mass amount of instablilty and all-around **** in her life.  I am clearly going nowhere, so what's the point in continuing to feel this way?

Do I enjoy comedy?  I have a CRITICALLY important gig coming up in five days, so I certainly hope I can find a way to.  I guess I could ask the girl who books my husband to cover for me, but I guess I'm just not that defeated.  What of after this gig?  What do I say to her?  We have been friends since before I started dating my husband, I thought, yet somehow when she gets drunk I don't matter, and she ends up pressing him into a corner somewhere.  Clearly, this is the end of what I considered a friendship.  I can forgive her, or I can say I do, but do I really? 

Do I back away now, to make things easier for my husband?  It's not like there aren't other arenas that could most likely fill the void left by comedy, but I'm GOOD at comedy.  Especially when I'm under pressure.  So, I guess, it all boils down to whether or not I'm capable of dusting off my knees and getting back on the horse.  It does absolutely no good to feel the way I do right now, but I feel it, just the same.

I want to cry, to kick things, to slap the **** out of this girl for turning my husband against me.  I want to get on stage and announce that I know I have fans, but that I've been voted off comedy island, and that I'm leaving my husband so that everybody can have their late night drinking buddy back.  So that all the girls can continue to flirt with him guiltlessly, though none of them ever pursued him before I came along, it was always just a fun game.  I feel like he wants that life back, too.  I feel like he's constantly keeping a score card of everything he does for me, and how it keeps him from realizing the height of this "comedy scene" that's just so ******* jumping right now.  LIke everything he does today that I think is sweet is just fodder for some resentment he's going to bring up months, maybe years, later.

But still, I don't leave, and I perform this gig.  So what's the point in this aching?  I don't understand what's wrong with my resolve all of a sudden.

unobserver unobserver
31-35, F
1 Response Feb 26, 2010

Sounds like a bunch of things going on here. First off, I believe you have to follow your dream and have it succeed or not on your own terms and merits. You'll always wonder if you don't and if you let someone talk you out of it, you will never forgive them. I don't understand why or how spouses can be so unsupportive. It is, or at least it should be you and him vs the world. *sigh*