From the 200 submissions sent to the ABFF (American Black Film Festival)-HBO Comedy Wings Competition, I was one of nine comedians chosen to go to the semifinals in Los Angeles and perform on Tuesday night, April 10, at Ha Ha Comedy Club!
Well, I'm pleased to share that I’m one of five comics who will be going to the FINALS on June 15 in Miami Beach!
Thanks to my friend, Helene (who I haven't seen in AGES) for reconnecting and hanging out with me. Over virgin mojitos I'm grateful that we talked about everything except the show: the joys and sorrows of pet ownership, the wisdom of not having five cats, and the perils of looking after our parents. And she hung out the whole night and took some great photos!
Special thanks to my sorority (Sigma Gamma Rho) sister, Gorgette, for letting me know about the Comedy Wings Competition. True story, I almost didn't submit. I waited until the last day and the last hour to send in my application. Why?
I hate comedy competitions.
I abhor the idea of judging artistic expression as if such is actually possible. It's not. Comedy is subjective. And it's hard. How hard? Most people would literally rather die, get a root canal, or die getting a root canal. The act of getting on stage and making people laugh already subjects us to the judgment of strangers. To add an element of a formal competition is like saying, "Hey, while you're walking on that high wire, with no safety net, why don't you juggle some hungry lions while your shoes are on fire." And so, for most of my career I have refrained from comedy competitions. So why did I choose to do this one?
Well, earlier in the year I sent out a rather vulnerable email. I admitted publicly that being a workaholic, control freak, perfectionist was an unsustainable life-business model. With the pressure of self-managing my own career and caring for my elderly parents I was drowning. And so I did the unthinkable. I admitted that I needed help. In response, Gorgette forwarded the info about the ABFF Comedy Wings Competition.
And while my heart was grateful, my ego was not. "Aren't we past this, it argued?" Um, no. We're not.
The brutal truth is that if I'm not where I want to be yet [positive household name recognition as a either a TV-host (The View), a regular/recurring role on a New York-based TV series, movie roles... -- you know, all the things that go along with being Twitter verified] then I have to keep working. I have to keep putting myself out there and going after opportunities in ways that may sometimes feel uncomfortable, but don't actually compromise my values. (There's plenty of time for that).
Play hard or go home. I'm not ready to go home.
And so I got out of my own way, stepped outside of my comfort zone, and applied to the competition. The email from ABFF congratulating me on making it to the semifinals was an unexpected and delightful result. Making it to the finals: gravy. And I realize now that my safety net is my 10,000 hours. My wings are my passion and persistence.
Come fly with me.