Wednesday, November 26, 2008

One Woman Show and Fundraiser

...Not mine, but covered by me.

My latest posts on are about a one-woman show by Violet Krumbein at UCB Theater and a fundraiser for comedian Joe Powers.

For a front-row seat to zany costumes, dysfunctional families and making out with puppets to the theme of Sanford and Son, read about Violet.

For coverage of powerhouse sets from heavy-hitters like Colin Quinn, Arj Barker and Ted Alexandro, read about Joe.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Interview 101

The changes in the economy may mean a job change for you. Take it from someone who is going through the interview process, there is a right and a wrong way to answer questions. Consider these popular questions and consider avoiding the following answers.

Q: Why do you want this job?

A: To pay the rent. Oh, and to be able to eat out more often. I like that this job does not require me to use my brain or many of my skills. I'm pretty glad they have not yet bothered to train monkeys to do this.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

A: In a mansion or on a yacht. I plan on winning the lottery any day now. But you probably don't mean that from a financial perspective. You'd probably like to know where I see myself in 5 years as it relates to this company. I'd have to say I could see myself in an office like this one. Maybe in your position, but with less gray hair and a better-looking family.

Q: What is one challenge you have had to work through,and how did you overcome that challenge?

A: Figuring out how to use CAPS on my iPhone. I kept pressing the shift key, and nothing! It was killing me. Finally, I was fumbling around in Settings, browsing through International Keyboards (did you know that the one in France is different?) and I found out how to turn CAPS on. Turn it ON! So simple.

Q: Is there anything else you'd like to tell me about yourself?

A: I once participated in a Girl Scouts event that involved an overnight at a living history musuem called Conner Prairie. A man who went by the character name, "Old Uncle Joe" rounded us up for candle dipping at the Homestead. However, we could not begin until every girl retrieved her belongings from the restroom. After repeatedly suggesting everyone double-check her backpack for missing items, it was announced that a pair of Wednesday underwear remained on the floor. It was mine. And it wasn't even Wednesday.

Q: Do you have any questions for me?

A: When I'm hired, you mind if I switch back to Nikes, or are you a big fan of these librarian shoes here?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Who Knows Best? Black Comic Doing White Guy Impression vs. Asian Comic Doing Mom Impression

Welcome back to the "Who Knows Best" series. In these posts, Curly Comedy sits down with two performing stereotypes to interview them on their technique.

On Writing New Material

Black Comic Doing White Guy Impression: Most of my new material develops on stage. I hardly have time to sit down with a pad of paper and a pen because of my three kids. They keep me busy man. But they know to act right when the belt comes out. White parents are always afraid to use the belt. "What in the John Quincy Adams is going on around here? I respectfully asked you not to TiVo over my re-runs of Friends! You are in for a time out, Mister! WithOUT a fruit smoothie."

Asian Comic Doing Mom Impression: I write every day, all the time. My mom's like, "Why you do that? Why you no get a real job like Eunji? Eunji chiropractah--always fix my back problem! Watching you on stage give me back problem!" I know Mom, you're very disappointed in me. "I should be gobbage man!" A what? "A gobbage man, I pick up gobbage that come out of you mouth on stage. Huh huh! NOW who tell jokes?"

On Working Blue

Black Comic: You come up in the projects, you work the clubs on the tough side of town, you learn to win the crowds over with dirty jokes. Fact of life. Me, I grew up in the suburbs and went straight to TV, so working blue was more a rite of passage than a necessity.

Asian Comic: All women should know how to work blue. Because the first thing anyone is going to do is introduce you by your looks and not your talent on stage. You have to be twice as raunchy as them and knock them on their a--. Plus if you had parents that made you iron your pleated skirt after two hours of piano theory, being crass can be very cathartic.

On Touring with Friends

Asian Comic: Lesbians are a riot on tour. I stack the deck with someone who can talk about raising kids, someone who can talk about being divorced, and then I come on and do my repressed adult with boundary issues thing. At the end of the day, we all find common ground over a bottle of vodka and remembering George Carlin. He understood me more than my family. "Who dat old man on TV who complain all the time? He never heard of biting on broomstick until bad thougts go away?"

Black Comic: I travel solo. After a show, the emcee tells me where to get the honies, the middle act is my wing man, and my talent takes care of the rest. "Excuse me but does your father know you're talking to a black man right now? 'We respect you people and the way you run fast and dance well, but dog gone it, you are not going to give us mulatto grandchildren! What's next, a mixed President?'"

On Selling-Out Shows

Black Comic: Don't you ever call me a sell out.

Asian Comic: University shows are the easiest to fill. Kids can relate to the fact that I grew up like them and dress like them and still live like them.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Attention Future Hollywood Starlets!

Move over Eva Longoria. I applied to a casting call on Craigslist

"new TV SERIES seeks female ACTRESSES (ny state)",

and one day later, in bold font of various colors, I received this message:

Thanks For Your Interest
In Our New Television Series
Based On Your Qualificatios & Photos,
We've Decided To Award You The Part!

(No way! My qualificaTIOs? Is that Spanish? Ole!)

Congratulations Are In Order.

(I should say so)

Our Legal Team Has Attached Your 13 Episode
Actress Agreement.

(Is this the sharply dressed legal team Dewer, Screwer, and Leaverfordead?)

Print, Read, Bring It And Be Prepared
To Sign It, At Your November 23, 2008 Screen Test.

(Okay, I'll bring a pen. Wait, screen test? I thought I was already cast.)

We've Selected You For The New Series,

(Oh, okay. What a relief.)

Do Not Share, Disclose Or Introduce Any Information
To Other Actresses And Friends.

(Yeah, 'cause they'll just be jealous!)

You Must Create A One Minute
Monologue, Any Subject, Make It Original And Creative,
You Will Perform It On Camera On November 23rd.

(Do I have to wear my clothes?)

After Fully Reading Your Agreement, Send A Reply Email To
Our Casting Division Global Domestic Television Productions For NYC Location And Arrival Time.

(Will do. How come when I Google "Global Domestic Television Productions" nothing comes up? Maybe Google rejects oxymorons like "global-domestic". Faulty search engine.)

Welcome Aboard!

(No thank YOU. And now for that agreement.)


(You're now going by "Global Television Domestic Group"? Still yields no results from a Google search. This network must want the show to be top secret!)

(1.1 You say the Producer and Actress may agree upon "Additional Periods" for which the show "15 Minutes of Fame" will last beyond the year-long agreement. I thought networks determined when a show will end. Behold the power of producers and actresses!)

(2.1 Why do you keep calling the show a "photoplay"? And why do you keep referring to my role in the photoplay as "the Actress's services"?)

(6.1 No casual or inadvertent failure by Producer to comply with the provisions in this Agreement or failure due to acts or omission of third parties shall constitute a breach of this Agreement.

So if the Producer forgets to abide by the contract, like forgets to pay me or happens to pay the incorrect amount, I can't sue? Well, I can understand that. If I got sued for every time I forgot my keys on my couch I'd be broke!)


(7.1 Actress shall pay Producer the sum of sixty-five ($65.00) U.S. Dollars, during the initial audition process. Producer shall use this sum as a Performance Guarantee.

A small price to pay considering the $2500 per episode I'll make! But hey, not to belabor the point, but I thought you said I was already cast.)

(8.1 Series Directors will instruct and guide Actress during each shooting.

That's their job, right?)

(9.1 This Agreement shall be governed under the laws of the state of New York applicable to contracts and agreements made and performed in said state.

I vow to perform...the agreement. Sure. Interesting verb choice but whatever.)

(10.1 This Agreement...shall supercede any and all prior written or oral agreements between the parties...

Again, I assure you, I vow to perform my services for the oral agreement as the Series Directors instruct. Gulp.)

(Hey, any names behind this project? Oh, Dwayne Nelson is the Executive Producer. That's reassuring. I practically grew up with him.)

(Is he going to let me call him Haywood, or does he prefer to use his character's name from 32 years ago? Don't answer that. I always ask too many questions. Sorry. I'll just shut up and bring my $65 and my photo for the audition to the photoplay. Even though I already have the part. Thank you!!)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sad Bastard Haiku

A haiku is a Japanese poem in three metrical phrases of 5, 7, and 5 syllables. A haiku in English usually appears in three lines

I have included hyphens for those of you who have to clap it out for accuracy.

Com-e-dy is hard
Ma-king peo-ple laugh is fun
But sucks with no pay

Plan-ning wed-ding's hard
Try-ing on a dress is fun
But sucks with no pay

Job search-ing is hard
Hav-ing job while search-ing's nice
But pays and still sucks

Pros-ti-tu-tion's hard
Wear-ing ne-on skirts is fun
But sucks to pay pimp

In that last hai-ku
A-bout be-ing a hook-er
Last line was a pun

Al-so in that one
Ne-on skirts have not been worn
since Pret-ty Wo-man

Blog-ging can be hard
Vent-ing a-bout life is fun
Com-ments are re-wards

Monday, November 17, 2008


I'm getting used to owning an iPhone, and I have 24 out of 30 days left to decide if I really like it. Why the countdown? I'm not sold on it. But most of what I don't like about the product has nothing to do with how it actually works.

1. Over enthusiastic customers

Spare me your gushing testimonials. "I was running late to a blind date at a new restaurant, so I used the Google Map application to calculate just how far I was. I was able to take a short cut and arrive on time! Now we're married!"

Please. If being punctual constitutes hitting it off, I don't think you found the most easy going of spouses. I see a lot of tightly rolled toothpaste tubes in your future.

"Once while leaving my home, iPhone's built-in smoke detector sensed I left the stove on."

Methinks this is a case of correlation and not causation. I gather your phone rang at the same time you remembered split pea with ham tastes bad when scorched.

"I went into labor in the back of a taxi cab, and iPhone delivered my baby!"

Big whoop. Doogie Howser did the same thing in a shopping mall. And he was only six.

2. Peer Pressure

I was watching kids this past weekend, discussing consumerism and being aware of what you buy. We were taking turns explaining how sharing our belongings helps others when I pulled out my iPhone to check the time. "WOW...COOL!" "Let me see it!" "This is AWEsome!" They immediately forgot the lesson. My only choice was to distract them with Skittles. This is not so much peer pressure as it is feeling like a hypocritical coil of turd.

3. Early-onset Cantankerousness

If I continue to be intimidated by its capabilities (bogged down by "fancy attributes I don't need") I will be accused of being a fuddy duddy. Rejecting the latest in technology is the first sign of old age. I hate when novelists proudly boast, "I did it all with an antique typewriter!" but I find myself saying things like, "What did people do before GPS? They asked directions and looked for landmarks. Harumph." Maybe this is the peer pressure issue I was thinking of. Or maybe I am justifying my taste for creamed corn.

So do I like it? Yes. Is it handy? Yes. Do I feel like an elitist jerk for owning one? Yes. But I'm working on not feeling guilty for having a phone that is more than a phone. After all, my last phone was also a paperweight, a doorstop, and a table leveler.

Game: There are many phrases I have used in this post that are inappropriate for my age. Can you spot them all?

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Tuesday Treat

Kicked off the week with a fun performance at the cozy Cornelia St. Cafe. John Morrison hosted Pat Stango, Me, Thomas Middleditch, Charlie Kasov, Dan St. Germain, Allison Castillo, and Roy Zimmerman. The restaurant was a refuge from the arctic tundra building on my bone matter. Whenever it gets that freezing before a show I always think I should have more material on how the cold is evidenced through my shirt. Then I remember shouting "Go Go Gadget nipples!" yields very little respect at the open mics.

I stuck with my material and had a ball. The lineup was varied, and the audience enjoyed everyone, which is what I call a great crowd. One special treat was seeing Thomas Middleditch perform as a foreign character who was half of a duo. He brought a young girl with a striped shirt who had a unibrow to match his own. He supported her on his hip and introduced her as his wife Chuki. She never said a word, but each interaction they had was hysterical.

The comics all did a fantastic job, although I did not get to see Allison's set. And though I missed the brilliant political satirist and songwriter Roy Zimmerman headline, I could see that people were very excited that he was there. Just not as excited as I looked.

Morrison Motel
Tuesdays at Cornelia St. Cafe
29 Cornelia St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 989-9318

Who Knows Best? Brazen Comic vs. Self-Deprecating Comic

Curly Comedy sits down with two performing stereotypes to interview them on their technique.

On mother jokes

Brazen Comic: Ohmygawd. If I couldn’t joke about that woman I’d have strangled her with the cord to her Conair by now. “Judy Kleiman’s son is a doctah now. You should give him a kawl.” Whaddya want Ma? You want me to marry a doctor and become an alcoholic by the time I’m 40? I did an episode a ER playin’ Anthony Edwards’ love interest once. I says I ain’t datin’ a doctor but I schtupp one on TV!”

Self-Deprecating Comic: My mother had an odd sense of humor. She told me to eat my vitamins so I could grow big and strong. I asked her why she didn’t eat vitamins. She said she hates the taste of Tylenol. But Munchausen syndrome has its perks. I got more flowers than any other girl in school. And senior year I was voted most likely to succeed. Or maybe suck seeds through a straw.

On women not being funny

Brazen Comic: What a bunch of crap! You want proof? I’m a woman (pause) and I just farted. BOO YAH.

Self-Deprecating Comic: Well that sounds sexist. So is the myth that all women are graceful. I’m so clumsy I can’t even put pantyhose on right. I jam my leg in, and yank the nylon up to my chest. Ten minutes later, the crotch has fallen to my knees, and it’s March of the Penguins to get the morning paper.

On smoking in clubs

Self-Deprecating Comic: I hate the smell of cigarette smoke in clubs. It reminds me of when I used to work at a bowling alley in El Paso. The nicest thing my manager ever told me was that I was “of use” there. We had an award for Most Valuable Asset, and by two votes I beat out toilet paper.

Brazen Comic: Cigarettes are like Doritos. They make your breath stink, but you gotta have one after sex! Shake your thighs if you feel me, ladies! If comedy clubs take away people’s right to smoke they’re gonna take booze away next. And a comedy show without booze is nothin’ but an AA Meeting!

On long distance dating while working the road

Self-Deprecating Comic: I don’t date.

Brazen Comic: Interracial dating is the new gay man. It was deplored, and then taboo, now it’s mod and you see it everywhere on TV. I’m for it. If I weren’t, I’d owe my kids an explanation! What’s that? Oh, you said long distance. You gotta speak up, Hon’. (Picks up roll of paper towels, shouts in tube to make trumpet noises) How can you be appreciated if no one can hear you?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Casting Call

I perform stand-up at night, but many people tell me I have a TV quality and should go for on-screen projects. In order to get your quality onto the TV, you need to audition for commercials and pilots or shows. Sometimes what is advertised is not always what the audition entails. Here is a random sampling of gigs that I would apply for and their translation.

Attractive Actresses Needed For TV Pilot
Seeking actresses between 21 and 30 for speaking and non-speaking roles in a pilot for a popular cable network. Must be energetic, witty, and full of attitude. Improv experience is a plus. Please send headshot and resume.

Eye candy needed for situation comedy.
Acting skills not necessary. Big boobs a plus. Please send headshot including bust and resume including any skills of breasts (squashing cans a plus).

Female Host for Corporate Marketing Video
Professional/intelligent/attractive look required.
Should be 20-35.
MUST HAVE good voice for narration.
Head shot and/or current pictures REQUIRED. Any links to previous work would be ideal.

Lady Spokesperson to Hawk Faulty Product
Business suit / eyeglasses / small nose required.
Should look 18-22.
MUST HAVE voice with Julie Andrews melody and Angela Bassett authority, as we do not have technology to dub voiceover or budget for more than one actress.
Polaroids accepted. We just need to make sure you have all your limbs. Links to youtube sketches welcome, as this will be a youtube sketch.

Black Females Wanted For TV Show
Black Females age 18-25 wanted for a Popular Television Court Show. Please send pics and a contact number.
Compensation: $45

Average American Sucker who does not mind Exploitation
Can you play an angry poor person? Do you already have an addiction of some sort? Do you have many kids from different fathers? Would you like to give a shout-out to your friends in Detroit? Please send phone number because we doubt you have e-mail.
Compensation: more money than you can earn dancing in an hour we're guessing.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ask Abbi: Jitters

Chris of writes:

Do you get nervous before a gig?

Thanks for your question. Sometimes I get nervous before a show, but I'll never admit it. If you ask why I'm bouncing from foot to foot, I'll just tell you I'm excited. Johnny Carson says nervousness is just a sign that you're ready, and I agree. Once I'm on stage, the energy is re-directed, and I can have fun with people. I usually have to resist the urge to shadowbox. Rich Vos has a funny bit on how unprofessional it makes you look. But in my case, mama said knock you out.

When I was starting out, signs that the nervousness had not abated were easy to spot: my arms dropped to my sides, my voice became monotone, and jokes stopped making sense.

"Scollege is hard. I mean college. I was trying to say school and college at the same time. Good thing I opted to major in unemployment. Because unemployment is something I am being often. I mean unemployed. Who here has pets?"

I also used to grab the microphone cord when I was nervous. If Freud studied comedy he'd say it is an umbilical cord and grabbing it is wishing your mother were still attached. Another tell is that I rubbed my belly while talking. I have no idea why this was calming to me, but watching old videos is hilarious because drawing a big circle on my stomach with my hand has nothing to do with the joke. It's more like a subliminal message: This is where the beer will go when I am through with you.

Feel free to post your questions for Abbi in the comments section, to be answered in a later post, or write curlycomedy (at) with "Ask Abbi" in the Subject.

Photo credit:

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Who Knows Best? Political Comic vs. Observational Comic

Curly Comedy sits down with two performing stereotypes to interview them on their technique.

On President Jokes

Political Comic: If I weren't so angry about every president we've had in this country for the last thirty years, maybe I'd have time to golf. If a comic can't attack from the top down, he's a coward. Nobody gives a crap if your manager at Burger King's a jerk. He's probably upset about his 401K, no thanks to the President of the Divided States!

Observational Comic: Do you ever notice how Secret Service agents don't smile? I bet it's on their resume, "Objective: serious professional seeks to wear sunglasses and scowl." And how about the gardening staff? I'd hate to see them doing the morning rounds on the White House lawn. "He may be the First pet, but by gum this is his last turd!"

On Book Deals

Political Comic: Book deals are an essential step in a comic's career. The trajectory is as follows: comedy in clubs, book deal, T.V. talkshow guest, T.V. talkshow host, another book deal, make a documentary, run for office, book deal. Writing a series of ephemeral bestsellers is the retirement plan of any good comic-turned personality.

Observational Comic: I just finished penning my memoirs from age 37 to 40. It's called, "Out of Order? Order Out!" with a picture of me and some models playing my family at the dinner table. The turkey's burned, the wife is yelling at me, the kids are fighting over mashed potatoes, and I'm shrugging at the camera like, "Sheesh". You ever notice that when you're writing a novel, everyone wants to be in it? "Are you gonna write about me? Don't make me fat." No one's gonna see you! It's a BOOK!

On Mic Technique

Observational Comic: Do you ever notice how long the mic cord is? What are we, jumping rope with this thing later? How far away do I need to walk with this? Just how bad do you smell as an audience? I always tell kids that are starting out, the mic stand is your best friend. It's a prop, it's a person, it's a signifier that you're on the last joke. But does every mic stand have to be black? Mic stand's like, "Why? Something wrong with being BLACK?" No. Not at all. (rings collar) Sheesh.

Political Comic: Before the show I check the mic levels so I can yell as loudly as possible into it later. If anybody has fallen asleep after my recitation of the Declaration of Independence, shouting gets them back on track. Especially with a German accent.

On Family

Political Comic: I don't have a family.

Observational Comic: Gold mine! Kids say the darndest things, and mothers-in-law are a curse, and I'm not sure if wives shop more than they nag or nag more than they shop! "Take the trash out! Take the trash out!" Whaddya mean? I took you out last night. Do you know trash bags come scented now? I've got vanilla scented garbage. I take it out on a giant spoon.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Holographic Novelty

While many are criticizing CNN's use of holograms to spice up the already spicy news events on Election Day, I ask you, what is wrong with holograms?

They were good enough to sing back-up for Jem.

It replaced the video phone as a method of communication before the video phone was even invented!

How else could Madame Leota tell us our future at Disneyland's Haunted Mansion?

And just think of the calories you'll save when it extends into food.

"I'm still hungry Mommy."

Photo credit:

Obama: Safety in Numbers

I joke about hoping Obama will be a mediocre president so most people who are against him will be indifferent and not passionate enough to harm him. But all joking aside, I've heard my fair share of conspiracy theories that Obama now needs all the protection in the world to guard from such attempts. Most people say it under their breath because they don't want anyone nearby overhearing and getting any ideas. Here is why you do not have to worry about this happening.

Only crazy people scheme.
If you are worried that one of the people who voted for McCain and whose father voted for Reagan and whose grandfather voted for Eisenhower is going to plot against Obama, consider the wherewithall it takes to vote. People have to drink coffee to wait in line to vote, and plan the process around being home for their families. Crazies don't wait in line at Starbucks. They eat canned peaches under their bed. And they don't have kids. They have stuffed animals that tell them secrets. Fortunately most schemes are vetoed by Mr. Huggles.

Bush remains unharmed.
Even though he was openly despised by most of the country in his last years in office(or as the newspapers say, his approval rating was at an all-time low), no one even tripped him on his way to a podium. Imagine the self-restraint his own wife must have had at times to keep herself from grabbing him by the lapels and slapping him like a red-headed stepchild.

Michelle Obama.
That's her man. You ever try to take a black woman's man? Giiiiirl, you betta watch yaself! Just kidding. But seriously; box cutters.

We all got his back.
In addition to Secret Service agents whose job it is to shield Obama from danger, there is more than half a nation that would rush the stage at the first sign of menace. Do you ever stroll along a park and wistfully watch children swing? Their parents smelled you coming and won't take their eyes off you until you're a block away.

Election night was like the Superbowl.
No sports fan in America attacks players of the winning team. He finishes his wings and goes back to his life. Oh sure, he curses his fantasy football roster and spends the rest of his days photoshopping tutus and stink lines onto the team photographs, but when it comes to actual hand-to-hand combat, he'd rather take his aggression out in a video game.

Racists don't have the time.
They are too busy trying to control the minds of their children.

Evildoers are underachievers by nature.
They require a spotlight because their lives are so banal. Their year is filled with the same daily routine of working a day job and microwaving pizza rolls for dinner in front of Wheel of Fortune. As a result there's no incentive to save for the future, and they don't have any money. By the time they dream of getting attention on a national scale by traveling out of their small town they are thwarted by the cost of airfare.

Photo credit:

Monday, November 3, 2008

Cast Away!

I think boating is an honor, a privilege and a duty for all Americans. How else will you have a say in what is going on unless you boat? I think my boat is important. See?

That is why on Tuesday November 4th I am going to stand in line in front of a middle school and wait for my boat.

You know women have not always had the right to boat in this country.

It used to be for white men only.

But now it is a dream realized.

As a person of color I do not want you asking who I boat for.

It is a sensitive topic.

It is considered gauche to ask anyone who they boat for. Like asking a lady if she is going to have a Bay Bee.

It stings.

Don't let any crazy person tell you what to do with your boat.

People may think their boat doesn't count, but I say go out and boat anyway. If you've never done it before, many people will be glad to see you braving previously unchartered waters.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


My camera was stolen last month so I wasn't able to take photos of my recent adventures in stand-up comedy. Please accept these photos to represent the past few weeks.

Comedy shows...
Delusions 2008-10

Day job woes...

Bus to DC smells like toes...

Planning's tough

But remember

things can change in November