It’s interesting that my first blog post is not going to be funny or really have anything to do with comedy. I have been meaning to start my blog post on my website for some time now but was busy with stand up shows and other gigs I had booked. After a pretty long break from comedy I was in the midst of making my comeback.
It had taken a long time and a lot of soul searching before I made the decision to get back on stage. As some of you know, I was doing stand up in LA and even had a very successful stand up show that I produced for charity called “Friends with Benefits” at the Hollywood Improv. But after I met my husband I got “out of the game” as they say. It wasn’t because my husband didn’t support the idea of a “stand-up comic” for a wife, actually the opposite is true, he is incredibly supportive. It was just that my act was about my life before I met him and after we got married I just didn’t know what to talk about anymore. Looking back I also think I just needed and wanted to relax for a while and just enjoy the quiet life.
I would still watch stand up and follow my comic friends on social media, and it was bittersweet. Part of me was so happy for them and pretty comfortable on the couch eating popcorn and watching most of them get Showtime specials and TV show deals, but the other part of me was dying inside. I would still write jokes and keep them in my phone and after a few years of marriage there started to be a lot to write about.
My husband and I had moved to Vegas so getting back on stage wasn’t easy. I didn’t know one stand up comic out here and I didn’t know one single club. In LA I could just call or show up at a club and they would probably give me some stage time. But this was going to be like starting all over again. I will be honest, it was scary, but there was something cool about being “new” again. No pressure, no expectations, nobody knew me.
My husband agreed to tag along as I got back on stage after a 5 year hiatus and he decided to film me so I could analyze my jokes and see what worked and what didn’t. After my first open mike (which went pretty well considering how rusty I was) we went back home and I reviewed the clip. The first thing I thought was “OMG, I AM SO FAT!” How did I get so fat!?? I guess sitting around on the couch and watching all my friends work while eating had caught up with me. I know the camera adds 10 pounds, but who knew it added 30 pounds. I stepped on the scale and I had gained over 25 pounds since I got married! Ugh!!! After I got past the horror of seeing myself on camera, I realized that I had a pretty good set.
It grew from there, I started to get up on more Vegas open mikes, and even booked a few gigs. I signed with a new agent, got cast in the Vagina Monologues, and started even auditioning for acting jobs again. My life started to feel pretty charmed. I was married, happy, my kids were all doing well and I had my two dogs Jackson and Roxy. I started going back and forth to LA for jobs and coming home to Vegas and hanging out with my husband and dogs was the best life ever.
Things were going so well that my dad warned me to get the Italian horn so no one could throw the Maloik on me. I did get the horn and hung it around my neck. And then one day the worst thing happened, worst than I could’ve imagined.
This is the part where I may lose some people, but for the animal lovers out there, you will understand.
My little baby girl dog Roxy Bleu who was the love of my life, my whole heart loved this little creature…she got sick and within 2 days she died. It was the worst thing that has ever happened to me. She saw 3 vets in 2 days and no one could figure out what was wrong. She died in my husband’s arms as we were rushing her back to the vet after being at the vet twice that day. Leaving the vet that day without my Roxy was the worst thing ever. I will never be over it and the pain is so difficult to explain.
I sunk into a depression and everything fell apart. I didn’t want to do anything. I had been lucky enough to be invited to perform in 2 comedy festivals. But how was I going to get on stage on August 6th?? 2 days after I lost Roxy I had to get on stage and make people laugh. I thought about cancelling, but I couldn’t. I thought about the comics that didn’t get accepted into the festival and I pushed through.
Driving to Laughlin to the festival was so hard, I was lucky that my daughter came with me. Those days were dark, we cried all day and then I had to wipe my tears and get on stage. My heart was pounding before I got up to do comedy. “Please God, don’t let me cry during the performance” I was seriously worried that I would break down and start crying. I even released a tweet asking comics how to do this?!
I know Dane Cook lost both his parents, there had to be a trick or a way to go on stage when all you want to do is curl up in a ball and cry yourself to sleep. We live our lives on social media so most people knew about Roxy and what she meant to me. I was greeted at the festival by a lot of hugs and condolences. It felt good but I was constantly fighting back tears. I could slip into an “ugly cry” at any moment so I was trying hard to hold it together. My performance that night went well, better than expected. Laughlin crowds are amazing! It was disappointing because I had been really looking forward to spending the whole weekend there and watching all the shows but after my performance I just got in my car and drove back home.
It was so hard to be home, every inch of my house held a memory of Roxy and even being with my husband was hard. Looking into his teary eyes and reliving every moment from the day we carried her home at 9 weeks till the day we watched her take her last breath at 18 months was in our every look at each other. I had 2 weeks to pull myself together before the next comedy festival in Burbank.
I lived in Burbank for 20 years, raised my kids there and I was beyond excited to be a part of this festival. I decided to take my other dog Jackson with me for the trip. Partially because I’d be gone for a week and didn’t want him to be alone all day and partially because he had started howling when he was left alone, the vet said he was mourning too. I’m a fighter, I’ve been through more tragedy that victory in my life but this thing had flattened me. Breathing became a chore. And I am dramatic but I am not being dramatic I am being serious.
So I was in Burbank in an AirBnB and the depression got worse. The wine I needed to drink at night to shut off my brain so I could sleep probably wasn’t helping.
I was scheduled to do my first of 3 shows the next day in Burbank, I went and did my set and it went ok but in the middle of my set something weird happened, I had a thought, my head said, “What’s the point?” Those 3 little words changed everything. They rang in my head as I left the club that night. I got back to my Airbnb to my dog whowas out of breath from howling and panicking all night being left alone. My life seemed to be spiraling downwards but like I said I am a fighter and between the bawling crying I kept looking for something to hang on to. I have always struggled with a very low grade of depression ( I think most comics do) but I never took meds, just mainly dealt with it through exercise and positive thinking. With that in mind I decided to go out for a run, I figured the endorphins would help fight my mood and it did help. I came back feeling better and waited for my daughter to come meet me for lunch. I had even booked a gig at a local comedy club where I started doing stand up. When my daughter came over for lunch we started talking about yoga and I decided to show her some of my favorite poses. As I was in the middle of a pose my hamstring popped, it made such a loud audible noise that my daughter who was filming at the time jumped. I tried to stand up and couldn’t.
At this point I was like “You have GOT to be kidding me?” I was starting to think a real hex had been placed on me; one the Italian horn wasn’t strong enough to fix. I had to cancel the rest of my shows in Burbank and buy some crutches to hobble around on. My husband got to town that night so he could come see me perform at the festival, I had so many local LA friends who had bought tickets to join as well. I had to cancel everyone and with my leg wrapped in an ace bandage I headed back to Vegas. The combo of the injury, the loss of my dog, and having to cancel my shows at the festival sent me into such a dark place.
My mantra became “What’s the Point?” and doing simple tasks such as brushing my teeth became hard. I hit a bottom when I was sitting outside in the Jacuzzi nursing my injury when I had a scary thought that maybe I just didn’t want to be here anymore. Maybe I could just join Roxy wherever she was. I had never thought like that before and it honestly scared me. I realized I had to do something…everyone had been encouraging me to get another dog, but I was 100% against it. It felt like a betrayal and after all Roxy could never be replaced, but at this point, I was headed for disaster if I didn’t do something.
I prayed for a sign and I got one, a puppy with the same dad as Roxy needed a home…and so Riley Bleu became a member of our family. It was not a replacement but she became an extension. She helped get rid of the question “What’s the Point?” and allowed me to re-focus my grief into love. Jackson stopped howling but Riley is different than Roxy and really wanted Jackson to play with her.
After two months of us trying to help Jackson and Riley play nice with each other we broke down and added Rocco Blak to the family. My husband thought I was nuts but the combo of these 3 creatures works and there is balance in our house. It feels right and there is so much puppy love that the shattered pieces of my heart are mending. I will never understand why Roxy left us so young, and why it had to happen the way it did. I don’t have any answers of revelations but I know that life is messy and we just get through it the best we can.
It has taken me 3 months and I still have not got back on stage to do stand up, but for the first time in a long time I believe that I will. I’ve heard it said the secret to life is you fall down 7 times and get up 8. I really didn’t think I’d get up again, but I am starting to feel like I can.
I could write much more, but I won’t. I will say that I am grateful for all the people who love me and who didn’t judge me for where I was or what I was going through. I think it has made me more compassionate because you never really know what pain someone is going through. I am looking forward to moving forward in my life and career and walking back out on that stage and bringing laughter to people…nothing makes me feel more alive than that…and I guess that is the point.