Everything Is Already Something Week 51: What Collaboration Does For Me

Allison Page, collaborating.

I used to be a loner. Picture a grouchy old bearded man in a sweater, hunkered down in an armchair, scribbling away on a stack of paper, occasionally shaking his fist at the sky. Possibly at some point he throws half a glass of bourbon in the face of his wife. That was me, but not a man with a beard. You know, but bearded on the INSIDE. Often, I think people have this idea of what a writer is and immediately they think of Ernest Hemingway. And that’s how you’re supposed to be a good writer, isn’t it? All the geniuses and masters toil away in their own well-crafted solitary confinement – crouched down in their pillow forts where all the pillows are barbed wire, and we tell ourselves that’s how you get to be a writer. That’s how you get to be an artist. AN ARTISTE. That suffering makes your art better is a long held idea. I admit to buying into that at some point. I think we all have – especially when young and impressionable. Anyone who caught the bug of wanting to write books or plays or poems (DEFINITELY POEMS) or to act or dance or paint or sculpt or…I don’t know, whatever you guys are doing – puppetry? Anyone who had that impulse at a young age probably started identifying their artistic heroes and began to define what they wanted to be by taking note of what created the artists they connected to most. That was a hell of a sentence.

Misery worked pretty well for Alanis. Teenage girls of the 90s, can ya feel me?

Misery worked pretty well for Alanis. Teenage girls of the 90s, can ya feel me?

Let’s take young, pink-haired, angry Allison for example.

I’ve known I wanted to be an actor since I was probably 5 years old. At that age I was mostly inspired by cartoon characters – let’s be real, cartoons are fucking great. Actually, I remained inspired by cartoons for a while. Actually actually, I still am. I was the only little girl I knew who wanted to be The Genie from Aladdin instead of Jasmine. Animaniacs was a big deal in my life. I mean, it still is. It holds up. (Garfield and Friends does not. Don’t bother.) Once we start getting into the real people I looked up to, though, it doesn’t take long to start finding the darkness. (If we’re being honest The Genie isn’t actually that happy a character, he just deflects his sorrow with jokes. So I guess the darkness crept in even earlier than I thought.)

By the time I was 14, I was already very into old movies. Yes, I was very cool and popular (lies). It was at that age that I first watched a little movie called Der Blaue Engel, or The Blue Angel. It’s a little German tragicomedy about a teacher who falls in love with a cabaret performer. IT DOESN’T GO WELL. It ends with Emil Jannings dying while regretfully clutching the desk from which he used to teach before the succubus Marlene Dietrich ruined his life because he loved her so much that it turned him into a literal sad clown. SO FUN. And that’s the actual movie that made me want to be an actor. Isn’t that wild? Sorry, spoilers in case you haven’t had time to catch this movie since it came out in 1930. But really, it’s beautiful and cruel, you should see it. That was sort of a sidebar because I’m really talking about writers, but I was an actor first so there ya go. When I was 16 I decided I finally had a favorite play. It’s still my favorite play. What is it?

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Yikes.

Quite a choice for a teenage mind. But just because something is dark, does that necessarily mean it came from a person who is feeling dark? When you look at comedies, they certainly don’t necessarily come from people who are feeling fun and light. I’m meandering a little on the topic at hand. Let’s get back to it.

Here’s a sampling of some writerly heroes of mine:
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Dawn Powell
Dorothy Parker
Raymond Chandler
Dashiell Hammett
Clare Booth Luce
Robert Benchley

Go ahead and google how many of them were lonely writers and avid drinkers. Just as a sample group. Get ready to be sad!

Robert Benchley: absolutely hilarious and definitely died slowly of cirrhosis of the liver because he loved sad/alone drinking. YAYYYY.

Robert Benchley: absolutely hilarious and definitely died slowly of cirrhosis of the liver because he loved sad/alone drinking. YAYYYY.

I’m not saying I’m as gloomy as any of those people or that they were alcoholics because they were writers, but I think writing can breed loneliness or at least nudge it along. You so often do it alone. I mean, in the end you have to do it alone, right? You can’t have 20 fingers typing on your keyboard or writing with your pencil. Well, you could, but it would take forever. As much as I am alone when I write, I try to spend an equal amount of time either writing WITH other people – like, actually collaborating on something, or writing NEAR other people. I think if you’re in the business of writing about people, that it’s good to maintain connections to people as opposed to doing the opposite of that.

When I write sketch comedy, I do that in a super fun writers room scenario. There are something like 10 – 15 of us (some writers, some actors) throwing out ideas, talking about possibilities, and laughing really hard. It is AMAZING. It feels like magic should feel. So much so, that when I’m executing all those ideas, it still feels collaborative even when I’m alone. Weird, right?

Clearly that’s kind of specific to sketch. When you’re writing a novel, or a play, or whatever else you’re writing, you’re not always looking for that level of collaboration. But that doesn’t mean you have to stew alone all the time. I like to be alone together. I can sit and work on what I’m working on, and a friend can sit across from me or next to me at the table to my left, and we work in silence sipping coffee as long as we can, then turn to each other when we kind of can’t bear it for a minute. We’ll gossip about something, or talk about the trouble we’re having with a particular section, or even *gasp* read a bit we’re particularly proud of to the other person. Or if we’re really struggling, just talk about the coffee we’re drinking. Sometimes if I’m working on something particularly draining, chatter about coffee might be the most I’m able to think about. It’s been good for me, this process.

I want to be a good writer. I think I’m an okay one. I want to be good, but not at the expense of my grip on reality and connections to other people. I don’t need to be Fitzgerald or Parker or Powell, I just want to be the best writer I can be while not falling into the gloom. If that means I don’t go down in history, I’m okay with that. Since allowing myself the possibility of collaborating or writing alone together, everything seems like a little bit less of a struggle. I mean, geez, writing is already not so easy. If you can find a way to make it a little bit easier, I don’t see how that can be bad. I still have my grouchy-old-man-in-a-cardigan moments, but I have fewer of them. And there’s a nice space of happiness in between: the comfort of knowing that the person next to you is dealing with the same thing you are. Or, if you’re competitive, the knowledge that you may be kicking their ass in the number-of-pages-typed-in-a-day department.

I’m not going to say collaboration will kick your depression. What am I, a doctor? No. I’m not a doctor. Don’t ever let me tell you otherwise. But what I am saying is that while hell may be other people, it is also probably a lack of other people. We need each other a little bit. Maybe even just for an occasional reality check.

There isn’t one way to be a successful/good/happy writer. Just like there isn’t one way to be nearly anything. Don’t try to fit yourself into a dangerous mould. Make your own mould. Hell, BE the mould.

Me? I get by with a little help from my friends.

Not actually Allison's friends, but let's pretend.

Not actually Allison’s friends, but let’s pretend.

Allison Page is a writer/actor/comedian. Her new play HILARITY, about a comedian struggling with alcoholism and jokes, is being produced by DIVAfest and has its world premiere at The EXIT Theatre in San Francisco. Previews start March 5th. Tickets at hilarity.bpt.me

It’s A Suggestion, Not A Review: Moliere- Made to Order “Wile-U-Wait”

Dave Sikula, writing us from the directing chair.

I’m directing again. I enjoy directing. I’m not bad at it and the results are almost always worth the time it all took. There are, of course, occasional exceptions to this, but Dirty Work at the Crossroads and Damn Yankees will go unmentioned in these pages. (Though I will give you a full debriefing if you get enough alcohol into me – though there’s not that much alcohol in the world …)

But I digress.

I’m directing, and this time, it’s a unique experience for me because I’m directing my own script. Now, let me clarify that. It’s my script, but it’s neither original nor wholly my own. It’s an adaptation of Moliere’s The Imaginary Invalid, written in collaboration with, primarily, my long-suffering wife and, secondarily, the cast.

When I toured the theatre at the interview, I knew it was going to be a small-scale production. I could see I wasn’t going to be able to fly in chandeliers or helicopters, and my royalty budget was going to be minimal, so I started thinking of what I could do that would fit the budget and the space. That’s fine. In the last decade, I’ve become more of a minimalist, and do what I can to get by with metaphor and suggestion. I was given carte blanche on what script to select, and after some brief thought, I remembered how two of the funniest productions I’ve ever seen were of Invalid, and that it might be time for me to try some Moliere. And if I was going to do Moliere, well, why not do my own translation? I mean, there would be no royalties at all, so the script would say exactly what I’d want it to, and it could be fun. Regardless, it would push me out of a comfort zone and force my creativity into an unfamiliar direction.

Pushed out of a comfort zone, or off a cliff?

Pushed out of a comfort zone, or off a cliff?

Now, I know I’m not unique in this. Playwrights do it all the time – the proprietor here is a prime example. But there’s a lot to do. It’s not as complicated as acting in a show while directing it, but it’s no walk in the park. We’re three weeks into rehearsal (and I’m already on my third ingenue. Don’t ask …), and it’s a constant battle to watch staging, add business, and course correct while simultaneously wondering if something is phrased correctly, gets the point across, advances the plot, and sounds right. And, most importantly, there’s no writer to blame if any of those script factors are lacking.

One of the things I’ve wanted to do during this process was to give the actors a literal voice; to make sure that not only are their ideas implemented, but that my deathless dialogue feel organic to them. (I can’t really call it Moliere’s deathless dialogue because A) it’s not in 17th century French, B) it’s not in rhyming Alexandrines, and C) I’m pretty sure Moliere never included references to Monty Python, the Marx Brothers, or Taylor Swift.) That’s the beauty part; even though Moliere’s point was that all doctors are quacks and frauds, and that none of them are to be trusted (which is ironic, because this is the play in which he suffered a fatal seizure while performing), we’re able to take his basic characters and situations and make them do whatever we want. (And, of course, since Moliere himself was adapting commedia archetypes and making them say and do whatever he wanted, I feel no qualms about doing that to him.) In my case, it means ribbing both “natural” medicine and hard-core evangelicals, among other targets. Given the time, and a desire to stick to the basic structure of the play, I wasn’t able to take it as far as I wanted to, but I neither wanted to really insult people nor lose the lightness of the original. It’s a dumb comedy about a rich hypochondriac who gets fleeced by con men, and that’s the story I wanted to stay with. All the rest is layering and dressing.

That whirring sound? Moliere spinning in his grave.

That whirring sound? Moliere spinning in his grave.

The thing this whole experience has pointed out to me is how back to basics it all is. It’s not quite “two planks and a passion,” but it’s not lavish. Jeebus knows that none of us do this for the money, but this is an extreme case of that. We’re taking a story and telling it in a fun and light manner. We don’t have much in the way of sets or costumes or props; we’re not skimping, but it’s not a show about the trappings. It’s a show about a company getting together, playing multiple parts, and entertaining an audience, and maybe giving them the slightest of messages to take home with them.

Dr. Hugo Z. Hackenbush. Not in Moliere's original.

Dr. Hugo Z. Hackenbush. Not in Moliere’s original.

It’s something I’d recommend to any director. Sure, it’s a privilege to work with big budgets and be able to get anything you want, but it’s truly bracing and challenging to have limited resources and make your creativity work rather than writing a check.

Everything Is Already Something Week 49: When Women Aren’t Even Writing For Women

This morning I went through the numbers at the company for which I am one of two Creative Directors. Not finances – it’s a major LOL if you think I have anything to do with that. But the breakdown of who we work with. (We’ll come back around to why I was looking at this in a minute.)

Actors:
17 Women, 9 Men

Writers:
19 Women, 11 Men

Some of these people do double duty, so figuring that in we have:
31 Women, 18 Men

We have one director who isn’t from either of those groups:
1 Man

And two stage managers:
1 Man, 1 Woman

For an actual total of:
32 Women, 20 Men

That’s pretty great, if you’re looking at it from a “BUT ARE THERE AS MANY WOMEN AS MEN?!” perspective. Though we weren’t out in search of having a female dominated sketch comedy company. That’s just what happened. Those are just the people who passed through our doors, whom we liked a lot and thought were funny and fun to work with and displayed the varied set of skills which make someone good at this crap. In the five years I’ve been with this crazy group of humans, there have always been really amazingly talented women – both performers and writers. But sadly, that doesn’t always equal the varied types of roles for women that you might think it would. It does SOMETIMES. We’re not that shitty. But it seems as though it gets away from us. I say us because I am just as guilty of immediately writing a role for a man as my cohorts (regardless of their gender).

Be the Lisa Loopner you wish to see in the world.

Be the Lisa Loopner you wish to see in the world.

Right now, I’m directing our set for SF Sketchfest – admittedly one of my favorite shows of the year, every year. And as I was putting together the sketches to use for that show, a sad-pants theme started to arise: almost all of the crazy, kooky, wacky character parts were for men. I’ve been doing some cross gender casting out of necessity, which is fine. I’m happy to do that. But my real wish is that we would write more over the top characters who are PURPOSELY women – as opposed to having a woman play a part written for a man (regardless of whether they choose to play the part as a woman or as a man). We tend to have six person casts – three men and three women, but sometimes having enough juicy stuff for the women to dig into without cross gender casting can be next to impossible.

Yes, women can be Vice Presidents too.

Yes, women can be Vice Presidents too.

In some sort of strategy to combat something or other – I started writing some characters with no gender at all. Actually, I wrote a whole sketch with only non-gendered characters in it, and it’s one of the best I’ve ever written. I doubt that means anything, but it is interesting. (They ended up being played by 3 men and 3 women, I think.) And the idea of casting someone purely out of their fit for the role, and not due to their male or female identity is a good one, to me. It leaves a bunch of things open for interpretation, and I like that.

Our company is about to have possibly the craziest year we’ve ever had, with a brand new production happening every month. And, as my preamble for the kickoff meeting for our inaugural show in that schedule (actually called SEX BATTLE…so that’s pretty funny) states: This is a year of risk-taking for us. For all of us. Not just in the quantity of our content, but in the quality, style, and variety of our content. I’m challenging myself to be better at these things this year, and I’m going to pose that challenge to the rest of my cohorts as well.

Cookie Fleck knows what's up.

Cookie Fleck knows what’s up.

We have all these magnificently talented, energetic, creative women going to bat for us, and if we don’t give them the material they deserve, it’s no one’s fault but our own. We haven’t been total failures at it, but we’re not where we should be. And thankfully, with all these shows happening, we have 12 chances to try to get it right.

SEX BATTLE actually cannot have this problem – we’re dividing up writers and actors into two teams (chicks and dudes) and each team will create the same amount of sketches on the same topics (Politics, Love, an Impressions Speed Round and many others) so the only way they can fail at parity in my eyes is if somehow the ladies only write sketches where the other ladies have to play men. But I don’t think that’ll happen.

I anticipate at least one Hillary Clinton impression.

Allison Page is an actor/writer/creative director at Killing My Lobster. You can catch the Sketchfest show she’s directing January 27th at the Eureka Theater.

Everything Is Already Something Week 47: Method To The Madness, Putting Together A Holiday Sketch Show

Allison Page gets into the Christmas spirit.

“We have too much Santa!”

“There isn’t enough Hanukkah!”

“Nothing about Boxing Day? Where’s all the love for Boxing Day?”

In the middle of writers meetings for a holiday themed sketch comedy show, lots of stuff is shouted out, lots of things are written, and a whole big gaggle of factors come into play before the final lineup is chosen. Last night, Killing My Lobster had its final writers meeting for KMLZ Holidaze, a gigantic variety show we do as a collaboration with Z Space. There’s music, burlesque, drag, Santas whose laps you can sit on if you dare – and about 50 minutes worth of sketch comedy. It’s a condensed process that goes very quickly. All the writing is done in two weeks, and anyone in the show can submit anything, it’s not just limited to the writers. It can get crazy. But it’s always a hell of a great time.

We’ve done this before, and some patterns have definitely emerged. Here are some things you can count on:

First Meeting: All The Santa
Oh my god, so much Santa. The end of the first writers meeting always concludes with “Okay, guys, we’re done with Santa. We don’t need any more. THE POSITION HAS BEEN FILLED. MOVE ALONG. NOTHIN’ TO SEE HERE.” Which is partially because everyone KNOWS that they can’t get them in after the first meeting, so if they have a Santa idea, it better come runnin’ in at that first meeting. And eventually decisions have to be made about which Santa sketches can live, and which must die. No matter how good they are, there can only be a couple of them before the audience is like “Soooo, this is just a Santa thing now, errrr?” It’s like a Christmas Thunderdome…sorta.

The Deep Dark Abyss
Man, we are some dark minded humans. The doom and the gloom came out the first night, as well as the Santa stuff – sometimes in the same sketch. It’s easy, with comedy, to go for the negative. Often that’s an okay path. But with sketch, if you do that the entire time, it’ll be the darkest, most upsetting evening of entertainment you can have. Maybe that impulse is aided by the fact that the holidays often bring out the worst in us, even if just for a moment. You’re surrounded by your family. They’re asking you questions about your job (or lack of job), your personal life (WHEN ARE YOU GONNA HAVE KIDS, PATTY?!?!), your fashion choices, your dietary choices – just about everything. My grandpa used to make fun of me for wearing red nail polish. Like…what? That’s not even interesting. Then there’s the hypocrisy of the meaning people may or may not assign to the holidays, combined with the commercialism that tends to overpower that stuff. There’s a lot to be Scrooged about. That stuff needs to be tempered with some positivity so the audience doesn’t run out into traffic and throw themselves into the street. Last year I submitted a sketch I wrote about a boy who meets two snowflakes who proceed to tell him that they’re not special, neither is he, he’ll probably just be a barista until he dies, and he might as well start taking anti-depressants now. When the boy says “But I’m not depressed!” the snowflakes respond with “Don’t worry – you will be!” Uh, it didn’t get in.

Songs, Songs, Lots Of Songs
Anybody can rewrite a Christmas carol to make it about global warming, three-ways, snack foods, or your spouse cheating on you. I’m saying anybody, because a ton of people do that. (Me included…today I mourn the rejection of “The Office Non-Denominational Holiday Party” which was set to the tune of White Christmas”, but seriously it was pretty stupid.) Original songs tend to go over better, but that takes a lot more work, obviously. This year there’s a great rap song that’s a play on The Night Before Christmas, which I think is a total show-stopper (written by Ken Grobe, who has a history of writing awesome songs like “Acid-Face Hanley’s Christmas” and “Luwanda Buckley and The Sex Robot”…or something like that. It was definitely about a sex robot and a country singer.)

Acid-Face Hanley sings to the kids, KMLZ 2011

Acid-Face Hanley sings to the kids, KMLZ 2011

We can’t fill a whole show with covers of carols. I mean, we could, but I feel like a few audience members would start to lose their minds and develop a serious bloodlust, causing mass chaos and zombification.

Feedback and Rewrites
The cool thing about KMLZ is that there are tons of people involved. Which also means that when a sketch is read out loud around the table, everyone has an opinion. Sometimes the opinions are all “THAT WAS HILARIOUS!”. Sometimes it’s clear there’s a problem with the sketch and 12 different opinions about what the problem might be, or how you could fix it if you rewrote it this way or that way. Everybody says their piece, and then the writer is left to decide what to do. They edit it in whatever way, and bring it back after the rewrite to see if it’s better. Sometimes it’s fixed and awesome. Sometimes it’s on the right track but not totally there. And sometimes it’s worse because possibly the premise wasn’t strong enough or clear enough from the beginning. It happens to everybody. (I’ll miss you, “Infinity Scarves For Infinity”, I just couldn’t make you happen.)

The Resubmission Shuffle
Sometimes a sketch doesn’t get into a show, and the writer loves it, and brings it back. Sometimes multiple times because it just keeps not being chosen. Sometimes that means shoehorning it into a new category. In the instance of this year, there’s a sketch that doesn’t really have anything to do with the holidays, but the opening line was changed to include “…at tonight’s Hanukkah party I am going to tell Morgan I’m divorcing her!” The rest of the sketch could not have less to do with the holidays, but is super funny, and has now finally made it into rehearsal. (I want to say this sketch is maybe two years old and that this is the first time it’s made it into rehearsal. It’s called “Slapping And Drinking” and was written by The Bardi Twins.)

It's hard to answer the phone in a snowsuit when you have weird low tables.

It’s hard to answer the phone in a snowsuit when you have weird low tables.

It’s in! Oh…It’s Out.
So your sketch made it into rehearsal! Congratulations! Wow, you really beat the odds! 13 writers and your sketch survived, that’s a hell of a thing! But that doesn’t mean it’s going to actually be onstage. About 40 sketches were submitted in two weeks. We’re going into rehearsal with about 18 of them, knowing we can’t fit them all in. In the end, I suspect it’ll be 13-15ish. It’s even possible that something will get all the way to tech and be cut. That always burns a little. So close, and yet so far. Ya can’t win ‘em all. But fear not, friend. If your dog is worth a damn, it’ll have its day…um, maybe. Hopefully. Them’s the breaks. But that’s also the exciting thing about doing this – stuff changes really quickly and you’re flying by the seat of your pants with a bunch of other people who are doing the same. There are a lot of flying pants going on.

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You can see KMLZ: Holidaze at Z Space December 12th at 8pm, and December 13th at 7pm and 10pm.

Cowan Palace: The Golden Girls Take Over San Francisco And Other Chats With Matthew Martin

On this day before Thanksgiving, Ashley thanks you for being a friend while chatting about the Golden Girls with Matthew Martin.

The Holidays are really here! And nothing says seasonal spirit like gorgeous San Francisco drag queens getting all dressed up as the legendary Golden Girls, am I right?

Yes, it’s true. For the past nine years, it’s become a local, celebrated way to enjoy the Christmas festivities. The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes are back and they’re more fabulous than ever.

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Need to see more? Understandable. You can take a sneak peek thanks to YouTube! Still not enough? Lucky for you, I had the chance to interview Matthew Martin who has been with the production since 2007. Matthew is not only the director of the show but is also starring as everyone’s favorite Southern belle, Blanche Devereaux!

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AC: Tell us about how you first got involved with this unique project. How has it developed over the years?

MM: We first did this production in 2007 at a friend’s Victorian here in San Francisco. It was a group of performer friends doing something fun together: 2 episodes verbatim with an intermission. I don’t’ think any of us foresaw the enormous popularity that would ensue. The audiences and shows grew and grew and GREW, going from various small venues to the grand old Victoria Theatre in 2011.

AC: What makes this year’s show different than past productions?

MM: This year’s show is different in that we’ve gone musical! Dorothy and Blanche are vying for attention at the Rusty Anchor, the local piano bar and break into song! We also have new sets. Of course, every year’s show is different, but the audiences are the same faithful crowds that have been growing with every season.

AC: What was the biggest challenge in rehearsing the show and getting it ready for opening night?

MM: Getting there, as with any show! There are always many variables and personalities involved with any theatrical production. Besides actors rehearsing, there are the departments of publicity, technical aspects, lights, sound, costuming, ticket sales. The costumes alone are a show within themselves! It’s a 1980s fashion show and another popular aspect of the production. Love the audience’s “what were they thinking?!” reaction to 1980s fashion sense!

AC: What was the biggest surprise you found when translating a script meant for TV to the stage?

MM: How rabid the fans are quoting chapter and verse of the original scripts and how well the comedy stands up 30 years later. Good writing remains good writing, always. A delightful surprise is the demographic appeal of the Golden Girls. EVERYONE loves them! Old, young, gay, straight, male, female. Love seeing the cross-section of people in every audience. That is the San Francisco I know and love and grew up with here.

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AC: I love the idea of bringing in celebrity guests! How have those personalities helped to influence the show?

MM: It’s always fun to have some local celebrities make a cameo appearances with the Golden Girls, but the audiences are coming to see the Fabulous Foursome!

AC: Why do you think this production does so well in San Francisco? Do you think it would have the same impact in other cities?

MM: The power of syndication makes it very appealing to everyone, here in San Francisco, and around the world, literally! It is “Very San Francisco” for sure, having 4 guys in drag playing these iconic roles, and our audiences can’t wait to come. It’s an annual pilgrimage, a true holiday tradition for many people here.

AC: Have you always been a Golden Girls fan? If so, who was your favorite character?

MM: Who doesn’t like the Golden Girls?! They are ALL my favorite, for different reasons, and it’s the interplay between the decidedly different four of them that makes it so funny and relatable! Like family members! Every Girl gets a rousing round of applause just by walking on the stage. It’s the audience’s way of saying hello and we love each and every one of you!

AC: Bang, Kill, Marry, Share A Cocktail: Sophia, Rose, Blanche, Dorothy

MM: Oh Lord. It had to…..I’d bang Blanche (myself! Haha!), I’d kill Sophia (out of seniority! She’s had a good long life), marry Dorothy (a woman with sense and experience) and share a cocktail with Rose (or 3 and get her bombed!).

AC: What kind of research goes into directing this show and did it vary from the type of research that went into getting into character?

MM: The research is in the years of watching them on television! The Golden Girls are very familiar friends, that’s part of their enduring appeal. It’s very nostalgic and like a comfort food for our audiences. People have a true attachment to the series, so we, the performers, know them as well as the audience. After playing these parts for so many years now, the actors get into their respective characters very easily now.

AC: What do you think it is about the show that still resonates the most with modern audiences?

MM: The truth of the comedy resonates with everyone! Modern audiences relate to the comedy and drama, as times change, but people don’t! The issues that they would explore on the series are the same as today. Love, friendship, old age, health, mothers/daughters, divorce, ex-husbands, companionship, annoying roommates, and people just having to live together to learn from and tolerate one another. The writers didn’t shy away from serious subject matter either. Some of the episodes were groundbreaking for their time in addressing such social issues as abortion and drug addiction.

AC: What’s the one Golden Girlsfashion statement you hope makes a comeback in 2015?

MM: God, not sure anyone wants ANY of those fashion statements to make a comeback, or maybe in the Smithsonian, behind glass! I do love the flash and dash of some of the getups, and Blanche gets to wear some hilarious outfits, but again most of the wardrobe is in the category of “What were they thinking?!” in the 1980s.

AC: Where can we catch your next show? Any big plans for the new year?

MM: We just finished filming Hush Up, Sweet Charlotte which should be released next year. We are doing another run of D’Arcy Drollinger’s hit show “Shit and Champagne” at The Oasis, the new club D’Arcy and Heklina are opening South of Market! I will also be doing a version of my solo show All Singing, All Dancing, All Dead at the new club later in January.

AC: What’s your favorite part of the holiday season?

MM: Being together with family and friends and reminded that the holiday season is a state of mind, not just a few weeks for love and laughter on the calendar. The holidays are a very tough time of year for many people, so performing in a show making people laugh and smile is a beautiful gift to give and receive!

AC: What food are you looking forward to indulging in this Thanksgiving?

MM: All of it! Of course my brother-in-law’s fabulous barbequed turkey, some sweet potato pie, and all the sides! Pecan pie, pumpkin pie…then I won’t eat for a week so I can fit into my costumes for opening night, December 4th!

AC: In ten words or less, why should we come see Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes?

MM: You will be HAPPY that you came to the show!

So with that my Theater Pub pals, I leave you with this: Thank you for being a friend.Travel down the road and back again. Your heart is true, you’re a pal and a confidant.

Be sure to check out what’s sure to be a fun and festive way to enjoy the holidays with The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes 2014 and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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Come see Matthew and The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes 2014, Dec. 4 – 21, 2014 – Thurs. Fri. & Sat. – 8:00 pm / Sun. – 7:00 pm at the Victoria Theatre in San Francisco! Tickets are $25 and are available at http://goldengirlssf.eventbrite.com/

Hi-Ho, the Glamorous Life: An Analysis of My Relationship to Comedy (With Jokes)

Brace yourselves for Marissa Skudlarek, comic genius.

September is Comedy Month on the Theater Pub blog, so it seems like a good time for me to parse my rather vexed relationship with the idea of comedy.

Simply put, I think I have a good sense of humor, but I don’t get excited about COMEDY! the way so many other people of my generation do. I remember reading a survey (which I am now unable to find on Google) that said that young people increasingly see comedy as central to their identity. Comedy festivals proliferate, and every Millennial seems to be working on a humorous web series. Stand-up comedians, who once upon a time were themselves subjects of mockery, are the new rock stars.

These days, being interested in or good at comedy means that you’re one of the cool kids. And I am inherently skeptical of cool kids.

It wasn’t always this way: for eons, tragedy was the most prestigious genre, and comedy was considered frivolous. But now that the tables have turned, comedians are reveling in their newfound power. And sometimes, I feel, they overreach – they make claims for comedy that it doesn’t deserve.

Comedians like to consider themselves truth-tellers, and at their best, comedy and satire can effectively cut through society’s bullshit to reveal radical, disturbing truths. But this doesn’t mean that all comedy performs such a noble public service. Some comedy reinforces stereotypes instead of smashing them. (In the case of “ironic racism” or “ironic sexism,” comedy tries to have it both ways, which is worst of all.) Sometimes people refuse to laugh at your offensive, taboo jokes because they’re uptight prudes who can’t handle the truth bombs that you’re exploding in their faces, man. But sometimes people refuse to laugh at your offensive jokes because you just aren’t funny. Not every fart joke is a truth bomb.

Because of this strong association between comedy and truth, people often fail to acknowledge that comedy can be just as artificial as drama. It sounds respectable to say, “I loved that play! It made me laugh,” but it sounds suspicious to say, “I loved that play! It made me cry.” Maybe the play didn’t make you cry for the right reasons. Maybe it was cheaply manipulative and sentimental; maybe it played on your emotions. But laughter is always considered above reproach – even though the art of provoking laughter is itself an art of manipulation.

I do appreciate how, in the 21st-century comedy renaissance, women get to join in on the fun. People once honestly believed that women aren’t funny, and maybe it’s true that traditional, stereotyped femininity doesn’t offer much opportunity for humor. Comedy is transgressive, loud, messy, and active; it assaults dignity and convention. And women finally feel free enough to take part in this.

But if I’m a feminist who feels ambivalent about comedy, what does that make me? Does it mean I’m secretly afraid of strong, funny, loud, messy women; does it mean that, deep down, I am a reactionary troglodyte? The Twitter avatar of popular comedy writer Megan Amram (who went to high school with me, incidentally) shows her making a grotesque face: caked-on eyeshadow, dead eyes, double chin. And we are supposed to interpret this as a bold feminist statement. Unlike other women, blushing flowers who bat their eyelashes and pray for male approval, Megan’s not afraid to look ugly for the sake of a joke. I admire her gumption while also knowing that I lack it: when I choose a Facebook or Twitter profile pic, I select an image that shows me at my best (or at least, not at my worst). Megan’s Twitter avatar is supposed to make me laugh, but instead it makes me feel ashamed. I feel that I am a bad person for wanting strangers to think I’m pretty, and that my desire to cater to the male gaze is, for all I know, single-handedly upholding rape culture in the United States.

So you see what I mean when I say I have a vexed relationship to comedy. (To feminism, too.) Furthermore, I think my problem might be that I draw a mental distinction between comedy and humor. I love humor – and I can’t stand humorless people. I often say that I could never write a play that’s devoid of laughter, because I don’t think the world works like that! Our foibles, the absurd things we do to get what we want… these are the basis of drama, and they’re also inherently funny. And even in life’s saddest or darkest moments, people will find things to laugh about (perhaps in a bitter gallows-humor way, but that’s still humor).

But at the same time, I am not sure that I could ever write a 100% comedic play. For me, writing humor means creating a world where funny things can happen. (It could, in fact, be identical to our own world.) Whereas writing comedy implies the creation of a world where only funny things happen – where anything that doesn’t provoke laughter is simply ignored. And I consider that a dangerously false outlook – just as wrong-headed as total humorlessness is.

I think that life teeters wildly between great joy and great sorrow – so isn’t it odd that there are thousands of aspiring comedians, but no aspiring tragedians? We would find it absurd (or horrifying) if someone said that they spend all day thinking of ways to provoke people to tears and catharsis, but we think it’s perfectly natural to spend all day thinking of ways to make people convulse with laughter. And that’s really kind of funny, when you think about it, isn’t it? It could even be the beginnings of a comedy sketch.

Marissa Skudlarek is a San Francisco-based playwright, producer, and arts writer. Her Twitter avatar (@MarissaSkud) is a photo of the back of her head.

Working Title: Dark Comedy and Skeletons!

This week Will Leschber takes a walk on the dark side of comedy.

As you may have noticed, here at Theater Pub, September is a month of comedy!

Looking for live comedy? Check out great suggestions by Allison Page.

Looking to laugh at someone else’s life? Check out Claire Rice’s “Comedy of Personal Errors.”

But if you are looking for something a little on the darker side of comedy, read on. Sad clowns are my favorite. It’s possibly more accurate to say that there’s something about the sad clown juxtaposition that has a greater draw and hits closer to home. The sound of sad clowns and dark comedy seems to me a resonating indigo bell. Maybe it comes down to the fusion of two spectrums of theater, or life in general for that matter. Comedy, tragedy, light and dark all at once. That is closer to my experience.

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We get everything all at once and have to juggle the mirth and the struggle simultaneously. Laughing around a hospital bed as you share old stories about a fading friend. Celebrating an anniversary while a close friend disintegrates towards divorce. Proudly graduating and then being forced to recon with uncertain futures. Moving away from home. Leaving a secure, steady job that you hate. Marveling at a beautiful sunset with no one to share it with. Experience is layered. Great comedy deals with bigger things than just getting a laugh. The best dark comedies may have an easier time straddling line because we give them room to grow beyond the mere joke. Fight Club, Fargo, Barton Fink, In Bruges, Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas, Death to Smoochy, American Psycho… All these films are concerned with a layer of topics and still remain brazenly funny. They wrestle with Identity, finding your place in the world, materialism, the cost of creativity, definitions of success, commercialism, the meaning of repentance and also unconventional humor.

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One of the best dark comedies of 2014 is in theaters now. The Skeleton Twins stars Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader as troubled siblings who reconnect after a ten-year estrangement when one of them attempts suicide. Sounds dark, right? Well, it is. Darker than I expected after hearing the buzz and seeing the trailer. But the film also contains some of the funniest scenes of the year. I laughed so hard and so long at a sequence in which Hader’s character Milo attempts to cheer up his sister by lip-syncing Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.” It may be the funniest 5 minutes of film this year. This is bookended with the lives of these characters falling apart. It’s a marvel of balancing tone. Moreover, the two lead performers are the what allow this film to elevate to a higher level. We seen comedic actors given the chance to do dramatic work before and when its done as well as this you should pay attention.

Everything Is Already Something Week 41: Things And People That Are Funny

Allison Page knows what funny is.

September is comedy month over here at Theater Pub. Or it’s supposed to be. We do what we want. Anyway, I’m getting you back on the comedy course riiiiight now! And as the resident comedy obsessed eat-sleep-breathe-it blogger I deem myself worthy of this endeavor. (And comedy doesn’t just mean stand up, by the way.)

MARIA BAMFORD

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I have to mention her, and I have to mention her FIRST. It’s really hard for me to believe there’s anyone funnier than Maria on planet earth. I laugh harder and more consistently at everything she says and does than I ever have at anything. I know, that sounds like an exaggeration, but it really isn’t. She’s incredibly unique and wonderful. Watching her is like watching a majestic unicorn morph into 26 other animals right in front of you. I have listened to her albums over and over again and I never stop laughing (Check her out on iTunes. Unwanted Thoughts Syndrome is brilliant.) You can catch her stand up at Cobb’s Comedy Club October 28th and 29th. If you haven’t seen her before, I really cannot recommend it enough. She’s also a sweet and delightful person, so that’s a perk.

SHIPWRECK

“Good theatre for bad literature? Marital aid for book nerds? A literary erotic fanfiction competition for the ages?” Shipwreck is a monthly event at The Booksmith in the Haight involving 6 writers who are assigned one character each from a classic/great book, and are tasked with writing erotic fan fiction putting that character into places and situations they were never, ever, EVER meant to experience. Full disclosure: I have participated in Shipwreck once so far, for Catcher In The Rye. I got second place, just behind Maggie Tokuda-Hall who is now the FOUR TIME CHAMPION. She’s like a magician of hilarious filth, and you can see her and a bunch of other writers at Booksmith on October 2nd, destroying characters from Stephen King’s Christine. The best parts are the dramatic reading of each piece by Steven Westdahl, and the fact that the audience votes on their favorite nasty masterpiece.

MISSION CTRL

Mission Control is a sketch comedy group spawned from Piano Fight’s loins. They are consistently funny and completely insane. They’ve done at least one sketch that made me feel like I was on acid and I’ve never actually been on acid. People who think sketch comedy is just shitty theater are stupid assholes who don’t know what they’re talking about and should see Mission Control.

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When PF opens their fancy new space in the heart of the Tenderloin, I imagine the guys at Mission CTRL will be making a whole lot of smart nonsense. Whenever that happens, you’re sure to see news about it on pianofight.com or on Mission Control’s Facebook page which you can find for yourself. You know how to internet, I’m not going to teach you.

IVAN HERNANDEZ

Ivan is really funny. He runs a show called Give Me Fiction populated with comics, writers, and generally wonderful degenerates who read stuff they wrote and that’s it. There’s no winner, no loser, no end goal apart from just listening to some cool/funny/great new prose that someone wrote based on a particular theme. It’s a thoroughly good time in the Cynic Cave at Lost Weekend Video (Or is it Cinecave? I see both. Whatever, just go.) It’s also been turned into a podcast, which you can listen to here: http://boingboing.net/2014/09/09/give-me-fiction-the-podcast.html Ivan’s also a great comic and his Twitter is a solid place to spend your time. You can follow him @ivan_hernandez

SAN FRANCISCO IMPROV FESTIVAL

If you’re one of those “Uhhh…improv can be reeaaally bad” people, I hear you. Believe me, I hear you. But if you want to find some good ones, this is a great place to do that. Groups locally and from other reaches of the planet come crawling out of the woodwork to perform starting TODAY and lasting until September 20th. I’d go for Boom Chicago, Jet Eveleth and Scott Adsit, Speechless, Huge and The Vendetta just to start – though I’m sure there are lots of great offerings to get educated about at http://sfimprovfestival.com

Scott Adsit looking serene

Scott Adsit looking serene

JANINE BRITO

Janine is a former bay area comic who’ll be coming through again September 25th and 26th with Guy Branum and Kevin Shea. She’s most well-known now for being a part of the Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell team, but she’s very much funny in her own right and totally worth hobbling over to Cobb’s to see. W. Kamau Bell calls her “a sarcastic, snarky smart bomb of comedy funk straight from the 80′s,” and he’s not wrong.

Or you can say “Fuck it, what’s Allison doing?” and see Killing My Lobster at Cal Shakes’ Grove September 26th at 6:45pm before ambling over to see their production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This is really just the tip of the iceberg as far as bay area comedy goes, but I don’t have all day, Reader. I just don’t have all day.

Allison Page is an actor/writer/comedy maker in San Francisco, you can find her on Twitter @allisonlynnpage.

Everything Is Already Something Week 40: Sorry I Didn’t Go To College Pt. 2

Allison Page, going back to school. Sort of.

Sorry guys, I still haven’t gone to college.

A little over a year ago I used this blog as a platform to tell the story of my first 4 1/2 years in San Francisco, being poor – really, really poor – and trying to find work that paid enough to feed myself and pursue my artistic life. That was harder than it could have been because, uh…I didn’t go to college. As you may have figured out.

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A lot has happened since I wrote it and I’ve been meaning to write an update. Now here we are, in August 2014. ’Tis the season for people to go back to school, so it seems only fitting to talk about it now. Lack of education has also been rearing its ugly head lately. January 31st I was laid off from the cushy job I enjoyed for two fleeting years and which pulled me out of poverty and sleeping on floors. It wasn’t just me who lost a job. 314 or so other people were laid off the same day I was. It was a strange day to say the least. Aware that some people seemed to go into conference rooms with a manager and then immediately exit, looking like they had just had lobotomies, meant that whatever happened in that conference room wasn’t something I wanted to happen to me. I tried not to make eye contact with the manager in hopes that if I were about to be laid off/get a lobotomy and he didn’t look me in the eye, he would forget and I’d get to stay there/keep my brain function. When I got an overly gentle tap on the shoulder, I knew what was going to happen. I was losing my job. No one wants to lose their job, not so much because that job won’t be theirs anymore, but because that means now you have to go find another one, and you remember how much work it was to get this one.

They pretty much looked just like that.

They pretty much looked just like that.

I’m sure everyone was feeling a little overwhelmed and worried when they were given the news. The whole building felt tense. The people being laid off were shocked and sad, and the ones not being laid off were some combination of not being sure they wouldn’t still get the ax by the end of the day, and trying not to look happy that they were spared because that would make the sad people hate them. I couldn’t help but feel a little different. The truth is that most, if not all, of the other people who got laid off, will probably end up with the same position at a similar company. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if they had new jobs waiting. Job poachers wait outside that building when news of a layoff starts to spread. They have business cards and yell out “ARE YOU AN ENGINEER? WE NEED ENGINEERS!” So many people leave with their belongings and a possibility of future employment at the same time. These jobs are what they do for a living – the thing they know the most about. The thing for which they went to college and are passionate about. But I got my job there (game writer/narrative designer – basically the person who creates the fiction of a video game) based on a number of lucky things coming together. I have no educational background in that, or really anything else apart from the time I spent in cosmetology school in my home town’s technical college, from which I didn’t graduate. Otherwise I’ve just been acting and writing my entire life without proof that someone showed me how to do it. And you better believe none of the job poachers were outside the building shouting “ARE YOU AN OUT OF WORK WRITER AND FORMER HAIRSTYLIST WITH NO EDUCATION AND A COMEDY AND THEATER BACKGROUND? WE NEED THOSE.”

All I could think was “Well, Allison, say goodbye to making any money. You lived on easy street for two years. That’s amazing. Now say farewell to the sweet life and say welcome back to the hustling days of yore, because you’ll never have it this good again.” In my mind I went from rags to really, really nice rags back to rags again. And I had all these plans for the future. I was going to produce my own full length play. I had intended to just save up and pay for it. Now I would have to think about a fundraising campaign during a time when I wasn’t sure how I’d be making regular money for my own expenses. The good news is, I got a good severance package. Good enough that I decided to not pursue a job immediately and instead devote my days to writing. Doesn’t that sound magical? I thought so.

But I couldn’t write shit.

Most days I stared at my laptop in dismay and worried about the future. This was not helped by everyone always asking “What are you going to do in the future?!” (Thanks, EVERYONE IN MY ENTIRE FAMILY) After a few months of sitting on my couch eating sad sandwiches, or drinking an entire pitcher of sangrias in the union square sun, something weird and unexpected happened. I became Co-Creative Director of a theater company. I threw myself into it head first. It’s been crazy, exhilarating, awesome, and only slightly complicated. “Now,” I thought, “It doesn’t matter that I don’t have a degree. I already have the job!” Well…yes and no. The Managing Director, while working on funding strategies sends me a text:

He: “Hey, where is your undergrad degree from?”
Me: “I don’t have one.”
He: “HA! Ok. Just trying to make us all sound more qualified for this grant.”

Ah-HA! It’s come back around. Now it may be a granting issue? Even though the company has been around for 18 years and in the few months the other Co-Creative Director and I have been in charge we’ve gotten more done than most people would think could happen in a year? What if we didn’t receive some kind of funding because of my lack of a degree? Ohhhh that would be a bad day. I’d have to pour a pitcher of margaritas down my gullet just to swallow the shame pill. I haven’t heard more about this since he brought it up, so I’m going to take the pleasant road and assume he didn’t send the grant and a receive a response that just said “HAHAHAHAHAHAHA YOU’RE SO DUMB, GO TO THE DUMB STORE, WHERE YOU’LL FIND LOTS OF CLONES OF YOURSELF HAHAHA.”

The theater community in general is pretty chock full of people with fancy educational backgrounds. And it’s the same with the specific group of people with whom I most frequently associate and collaborate. I’m the quaint loose cannon from the middle of nowhere who has never used Viewpoints and hasn’t read The Cherry Orchard. It’s actually amazing to me sometimes that my friends in the arts are…my friends in the arts. They actually listen to me sometimes, which in light of the stuff I’ve never studied or cared about, is kind of crazy. (Cut to next week when they’ve all read this and decide “Yeah, why do we listen to her anyway?”)

I’ve also managed to land myself a steady stream of freelance writing gigs. Mostly working on scripts for web commercials. Hey, it keeps me from getting evicted.

Actually, that’s my biggest piece of advice to both college students and life students. Not that I’m prone to giving advice. Anyway: don’t beat yourself up for making a living. I’m still just as dedicated to my artistic pursuits as I’ve ever been (possibly more so) and I don’t feel bad about using my skills to pay the bills. It doesn’t make me a hack or a sellout – not in my eyes, anyway, but feel free to call me either of those if it makes you feel good. I think It just makes me an adult who knows that to be able to nail my artistic endeavors, I gotta eat lunch. Many of the artists (theatrical and otherwise) I respect the most, have other jobs to keep them afloat in this workaday world. On the upside I think it gives us a broader view of life.

I know, I hate myself for using this picture too.

I know, I hate myself for using this picture too.

I could sit at home and torture myself into writing all day, or I could go out into the world and have experiences worth writing about. Even if that means I’m writing jokes about the effectiveness of a certain kind of Bleach®.

So, how do I feel about not going to college, a year later? I feel pretty good. I feel just like people who did go to college in that I can’t predict the future. But I feel prepared to deal with whatever that future holds. Even if it means I end up selling shoes or sweeping chimneys…hey, are chimney sweeps still a thing? Maybe they bring that up at Harvard. Damn.

Allison Page is a writer/actor/co-creative director in San Francisco and you can find her on Twitter @allisonlynnpage

Everything Is Already Something Week 39: It’s Okay To Laugh

Allison Page sharing something personal… and also her glamorous new headshot.

Oooh boy. Everything’s a nightmare. Each day brings a clutch of dark clouds. The news is a series of alarms and images of innocent people in unthinkable situations. Living legends turn into just legends. You’re reminded of your own mortality. Your own illnesses. Your own downfalls. Your own failures. You feel bad about not feeling bad about the right things. You feel bad about feeling so bad about the wrong things. The job market is terrible. Rent costs are sky high. What would you do with a better apartment, anyway? You don’t even keep the crappy one clean. Some people don’t even have apartments. Or dogs. Or families. Or lunch. You don’t take care of yourself the way you should. You’re low on vitamins and high on espresso. You think about how no one lives forever. Not even that guy. You wonder why some friendships don’t work out. Some relationships. Some jobs. Some sandwiches. Nothing seems easy, everything seems hard. What can you do?

Everything’s a nightmare.

It’s okay to laugh.

Sometimes you think you can’t, but you can. Don’t you hope that in your last moments, you laugh? And this probably isn’t even your last moment, so you should consider it. It’s okay not to, for a little while. But please don’t wait too long. It’s okay to think about how bad and wrong something is, and to try to make it better and less wrong, or to just understand it. That’s good. That’s important. But the cause of You is also important. You’re the only one there is, after all. Maybe you think that sounds stupid. You’re right. You should laugh at that, too, if you want.

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Share a moment with someone that makes you both happy. Now, look what you’ve done. That’s quite a thing to do. If you miss someone, think about why you liked them so much. I bet they made you laugh. Think about how they did that. Now laugh about that, too. It’s okay to feel bittersweet. Sad. Exhausted. Scared. Filled with ennui. To know that all the answers are hard, and that some might not even exist. To say “Well, it’s not as black and white as that.” It’s okay to be in a weird gray area that makes no sense to you. To say “I’m upset. Nothing will make me not upset.” but recognize that something probably will. And it doesn’t mean you’re a terrible person if you’re able to see the sun coming up over the horizon.

As theater makers, art makers, comedy makers, anything makers – we sometimes exist to provide escapism that is desperately needed. And it doesn’t mean that we don’t care. It’s really the opposite. Sometimes we’re here to face an issue head on, to take on the burden of trying to explore the source of unrest, messed up power dynamics, injustices, loss, mourning, outrage. But sometimes we just need to lighten a load that can be so heavy no one person can bear it all. Because people need to talk about the bad things, work out the bad things, actively try to solve and understand the bad things – but they also need to remember there is some goodness left. A beam of light to look forward to.

Right now it feels like there are a million contests happening at once and all participants are trying to win the “No, This Is The Worst Thing That’s Ever Happened” award and begrudging the pain of others if it doesn’t align with their own pain. Different pain is not mutually exclusive. Don’t worry, all these things can be awful at once. And other things can still be good while those things are being awful. That’s okay too.

Two days ago I wasn’t sure if I thought anything would be funny ever again.

I tried to take a picture of myself smiling yesterday, and this is as close as I could get.

I tried to take a picture of myself smiling yesterday, and this is as close as I could get.

I went to the place where I make comedy, and laid my head down and cried alone for an hour. And then I had to go to a rehearsal, which I considered a nightmare. How was I supposed to be funny? How was anyone? But the strange thing is, within 15 minutes of being there, I was laughing again. I was still sad, don’t get me wrong, but I was laughing. And that did a lot for me. A room full of people all keenly aware that the world just got a little less funny and wonderful – and we were laughing together. That’s a pretty powerful thing. What would I have done if I tried to skip out on rehearsal? I would have gone home and cried some more until I fell asleep, probably. Which is okay, but I think the former was better.

And so tonight I will put some comedy into the world, in front of an audience. I really need that. And I can only imagine that they need it too.

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Allison Page is an actor/writer/comedian in San Francisco. You can catch her tonight in the live sketch comedy show Killing My Lobster Goes Radio Active at Z Below, or catch her on Twitter @allisonlynnpage