That one time I almost killed Jay Mohr (part 1)
THE SET UP:
First of all, here is who the hell I am…really no one. I am a mom of two amazing kids (a teen and a 9-year-old). I live in Chicago and I work at The Second City, or I did before lockdown. I mean I still work there, but there is no work to be had right now. Plus Second City is looking to be acquired, so our future like everyone’s is unknown. In May a bunch of comedy friends of mine and I started a weekly internet live streaming comedy game show called Wisecrackin’ . It was a show out of necessity that I didn’t know I needed. See I don’t really perform much anymore. I opened four different storefront theater’s in Chicago over my 20-year adventures. The last one I owned, and it nearly killed me. I sold it in 2017 and vowed I would never produce a show again. I would do drop-in shows if asked, interviews, podcasts, and direct my students at Second City. I am no spring chicken, I am by no means old unless you mean in the world of Hollywood, and my life has lead me here. To this moment, this weird F-up’d moment for all of us. I wasn’t supposed to be producing a show, not now, not like this. But after pitching the idea to a few different people no one was interested I felt compelled to make it happen. So my full-throated need to have a project took over. I started doing the show. Now obviously it is not a very big show. We get between 100–300 audience members per show. But it has strangely become very important to this time. My friends who are working road comics have had life halt as they scramble to try to get drive-in movie theater gigs or beer gardens. Plus I have an uncanny way of talking people into doing stuff. It is my only superpower, and it has gotten me in trouble more than once. Somehow I have talked 22 strangers into writing me a brand new show every week for free. I have talked about 15 of my acquaintances and very close friends to show up and perform for free. I would like the show to become something huge and wonderful for all of us. But if it never becomes anything more than that thing that got us through this moment I will be satisfied with that.
I had thought if I could get some bigger names on the show we could grow the audience. Growing an online audience is NOT my strength or you would know who the hell I am. So I am going to an OLD playbook of how to get butts in seats and it doesn’t exactly translate to this time. So I was looking around on Cameo. It is a site where you can connect with famous people and ask them to wish you Happy Birthday, or say Sorry You Have Cancer, or whatever people want to hear from celebrities. You do this all to a tune of anything from $50-Big $$$ depending on how famous someone is. I only really got hip to Cameo because one of our regular castmates Steve Gadlin was using it to get cheap celebrities to do endorsements for HIS internet show. Cameo launched a new feature where you could text message a celebrity for $1. No promise they will write back. If they do and you want to reply it is another $1. So I was like F’it I am gonna spend $20 and text a bunch of comics that I would love to hang out with. That was really all I went into this thinking…1. Would I love to hang out with them 2. How likely are they to do something so low rent for free
The people I contacted I would love to hang out with ANY of them for 5 min. But it was for sure varying on who I thought would reply. In some cases, I swam pretty shallowly (so I thought) and in some cases I took a big swing. Here is the list of people I contacted. You can decide for yourself If I swang to big or wasted money.
In no particular order: Andy Dick, Chevy Chase, Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Ian Black, Bob Saget, Paul Rubens, D.L. Hugley (this one I was like…big swing and a miss. He never replied but I think I would die on the spot if he did), Jamie Kennedy, Judy Gold, Chris Gethard, Anthony Michael Hall, Danny Bonaduce, Marsha Warfield, Laraine Newman, Paula Poundstone, and Jay Mohr.
The pitch was simple. “Me and some no-name comedians from Chicago do a live stream comedy game show Friday’s 8pm CST wanna sit in? Wisecrackin.com we would love to hang out. Comedians are pitted in a head to head contest to write a punchline to a set up they have never seen.”
That one time I almost killed Jay Mohr (part 2)
So after I get off an hour-long phone call with the man the myth the legend Jay Mohr my head and stomach are flipping. I started to have (what I would assume or at least what my therapist says) is normal fantasy after someone would connect with a celebrity. You know, he and I become best friends. He takes me to comedy clubs in NY and introduces me to all my heroes. It’s no big deal for him, but he loves how jazzed up I get about meeting his friends. He mentors me on becoming a huge comedy icon. And we end up texting each other bits through the week to try to make each other smile. Ya know, normal stuff. Let me sidestep for a moment.
KAREN vs CLAUDIA
Man do we all love shitting on suburban white ladies that call for the manager. The internet dubbed them “Karen”. My baby sister Toni and I talk about this. See we are Sicilian (half) but it was the culture we were raised in the most. Me having married an Irishman I know my kids aren’t at all Italian…they are Irish. I only make the distinction of being Sicilian because if you know a Sicilian than you know…we don’t call ourselves fucking Italian. Italians are the blond-haired blue-eyed monsters that put sugar in their gravy (for example). Not the Elmwood park Italians I grew up with. To this I say, step aside Karen…here comes the Claudia. A Claudia is an Italian broad that not only wants to talk to your manager, but she also wants to take a piece of your soul with her as she exists. She says things like “Do you want to go explain to my kids why you are ruining their lives with your bullshit right now? Please come look my kids in the eye and tell them how you don’t give a shit about their life because you don’t want to give me, what, fucking 10 % off what is bullshit shoes any way you cowardly fucking nobody”…yeah know normal stuff.
I, with much medication and therapy, try to keep my Claudia at bay. I know she is only just under the surface just waiting to put out her cigarette so her hands are free so you can really get the full emphasis of what she is laying down. Claudia drops that finger in your face and you stand cold frozen afraid any sudden movement will set her off. Oh yes, my friends, Claudia and I are well acquainted. My sister and I often talk about our “Claudia” moments. As we have aged we are able to bring her out in needed moments. Just ask Kevin from Statefarm when they almost wouldn’t cover a pipe that burst in my home. I am positive at some point in Kevin from Statefarm life he cried after my phone call with him. No regrets.
MARRIED FOR 20 YEARS
So I have been married to my husband for 17 years. We dated for 5 years before we got married. So the last time I dated anyone it was a lot harder to tell if the lady was crazy. I remember listening to my boyfriend (now husbands) answer machine messages over and over when we were dating. I couldn’t imagine what I would have unleashed on him if I had a device that could send him my thoughts instantly at any time day or night. I am positive I wouldn’t have made it past the third date. The only way he would know if I was calling him 20 times was if he had caller I.D. annnnnd he did not. I don’t even think we even emailed at that time. We meet taking Improv classes at The Second City. I wanted to be a comedian and he wanted to meet people and become better at public speaking. He was out of work (by choice to find himself or whatever 27-year-old guys go through when they think they are too old already). He had my glimpse of crazy as I would get into a knock down drag out fights over my scenes and punchlines I didn’t feel like the guys were giving fair shakes to. Not a whole lot of ladies in classes in the 90s. I think I was among 3 in the class of 20. I miss those dumb days of fighting over a punchline as if your life depends on it. As if Loren Michaels was going to stumble into the student theater at Second City and your one punchline would be the thing he falls in love with. KNOWING you are right if you could just get it in front of the crowd. Your half drunk Improv teacher giving you notes, but also hitting on you, but also asking if hey could score drugs off you. It was the 90s. I grew up behind those walls at Piper’s Alley. It was a magical time to be in the building.
Why do I bring this up. BECAUSE I can get crazy if I don’t hear back from you. I don’t honestly know if other people go through this. I don’t think I have talked about it much with folks. But if I don’t hear back from you in a day the hair on the back of my neck stands up as I scam and plan how to get your attention again. Hit you up on email, like a few tweets, maybe go back and heart a few text messages…opps weird my phone just did that. Anyway did you get a chance to read my email?
I don’t try to be this obsessive, trust me I really really wish I wasn’t this fucking nutso. But you roll with what you got and you lean on your friends to tell you when you step over the line. All of this is to say…it takes all my strength to not try to bother people…or how I see it in my brain as bothering someone.