Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Great Minds

I have a joke I tell based on fearing judgment for marrying a white person. I worry about scrutiny my future kids will be under for being different and whether or not they will identify with the black race if they don't look conventionally black. I told it during an audition for NBC's Stand Up for Diversity showcase:

I am afraid of the stigma that comes with having mixed kids. I feel like if I am ever walking down the street with my child in a stroller I'm going to have to wear a shirt that says, "NOT the Nanny".

A fellow auditioner who advanced to the showcase, Yvonne Orji (follow her on Twitter) asked me if I knew the woman who already made those shirts. My jaw dropped. "Those shirts are REAL?!" I asked. She said she was pretty sure she had seen them online. So much for selling it as merchandise after a show. So much for my fans wearing them to my book signings. I did something every cautious comic does: I Googled. Just how prevalent is this concept?

From a blog called "Not the Nanny":

On Friday my posts also appear as an online column for Time Out New York Kids. Visit them at Time Out New York Kids for more city-specific parenting tips and diversions. The regular column is called Not the Nanny, which pretty much answers the crazy looks I sometimes receive when I'm out and about with my rosy-cheeked son.

Wow. So the paranoia is widespread. People DO give looks. But do they judge?

From another blog called, "I'm Not the Nanny":

As the mom of biracial children, I've been mistaken for the nanny, depending on which DC Metro park I visit. That's an entire blog post on its own!

My fear is realized; it really happens! But are there t-shirts?

Sort of. These can be found on and they have the sassy wit of the "Maxine" series of Hallmark cards. They're not social commentary so much as gifts for a Yankee Swap.

I could technically still use the line from my joke with the actual emphasis included in the delivery, "I am NOT the nanny!", couldn't I?

Nope. Nightshade Creations has my number on

Tired of being mistaken for the nanny just because your kids look exactly like their father? Make it clear with humor!

It is good to know that my ideas are out there, albeit birthed from other brains. The concept doesn't become any less true for me, but it does dilute its potency and potential to make people laugh. Gotta keep my nose to the grind stone.

I almost labeled this post under "You Can't Make This Stuff Up". Because you can't...without someone else thinking of it too.

Related: Shecky Magazine on parallel development.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Nana-Nano Particle

I have had an unhealthy fear of the sun lately. I knew it was out of control when it became the first topic I mentioned to anyone who'd listen--including my dog. But he just entertained my prattle in the hopes of getting food, like a co-worker at an office birthday. Allow me to save you several hours of Internet research and a few nightmares about skin cancer: the only safe sunscreen is SPF burqa. Unless you have hits like "Thriller" under your belt, you can't pull off the fashionable face mask shown above. Is that Bryan Cranston or Aaron Eckhart making a little cash on the side?

Things I've tried to protect myself from Ultra Violet Rays

1. Being Black - Any pasty person will point out that I have melanin, a natural protectant. But after my honeymoon I learned that I, too, can shed skin like a snake and itch like the dickens. The sun doesn't say, "Oh, hey dark and lovely, almost didn't see you there. Can you scoot over so I can burn that jogger alive?"

2. Staying indoors - Recluse bonus: when you eat out less you save enough money to have groceries delivered! As a hypochondriac I am also a natural hermit, so this wouldn't be a problem for me if it weren't for the going-to-work-to-pay-my-rent habit that I have. It's recommended not to go out between 10:00AM and 3:00PM, because during those hours, a giant kid with a large magnifying glass creeps up over the mountain tops. So I'd need to get a night job. That leaves me such occupational options as grave digger, streetwalker and serial killer.

3. Long-sleeve shirts - The first thing recomended if you must go out is to cover up with clothing. If it happens to be 90 degrees out, your shirt becomes a microwave. Plus you sweat profusely. This may help you make weight for the wrestling team but if you're not a 17 year old boy you'll be clawing at your body to release it from what has become an abrasive potato sack. Leaving you naked, which is super unsafe.

4. Shade - The next thing websites tell you is to find shade. Holding an umbrella when it's not raining makes you look like Fonsworth Bentley or an Asian tour guide. Creeping along buildings and constantly switching sidewalks to maintain coverage make you look like you escaped an asylum.

5. Mineral sunscreen - This is sunscreen that doesn't have chemicals in it. In other words, you'll never see a sexy European supermodel hawking it on TV. You'll only see your disheveled, granola-eating, cat-lady neighbor spouting its benefits while she steals your garbage for her compost heap. The problem with most of these is they are sold in 2oz bottles that cost a fortune, they leave your skin chalky white, and most contain Nanoparticles.

Nanoparticles are my new boogie man. They absorb into your skin and possibly your bloodstream. They cause tumors in rats within days (when sipped as a titanium dioxide + lab water cocktail). Under the skin, they may break apart into free radicals, and everyone knows the only way to fight free radicals is by wagging your finger at them--who has the time?

My conclusion is life is a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Only replace "adventure" with "ailment that will eventually put you in a home". By worrying I have lost precious seconds of my life that I could have used opening invoices from my oncologist.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Raising the Beauty Bar

Enjoyed myself at Vince Averill's and Jesse Popp's Beauty Bar last night. There were three loud laughers up front fully reclined in a leather sofa as if they were watching me in IMAX. The back wall was lined with comics (some booked, some visiting) and some of the more timid audience members. Two Asian gals sat on the side and let me riff with them.

"Growing up I was told I wasn't black enough. Do Asians do that to eachother? 'How was your day?' Good. 'Did you ride the subway?' Yes. 'Did you get a seat?' No, I stood. 'You weren't first to get a seat?! You ain't Asian! You ain't Asian!'"

Dave Rosinsky, Jess Wood, Matt Wayne and Travis Irvine were also on the lineup. No sightings of the elusive Jesse Popp, but I got to see Vince throw down in his Sunday best (a white T-shirt and jeans), so that was exciting. It felt like business as usual, the show ran like a well-oiled machine, and on the subway ride home Jess and I talked turkey. Turkey abortions. Actually about why you don't hear more honest abortion jokes these days. Few people delve into it Pryor-style, speaking from personal experience. Most comics just have a shocking, throw-away line on the subject. I think it's time we come to terms with it. A woman has a right to choose to talk about it. Hanger in there, baby!

Beauty Bar
231 E. 14th St, 10003
Sundays at 9:00PM

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I'm on a Billboard

Madison Square Garden

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Money Matters

Read this awesome post from comedian Becky Donohue about the importance for artists to be smart with your money. This is different from hearing your mom tell you to be responsible first then see if you have any time left for your hobbies.

Don’t quit your dayjob. Even though this seems likes the blog that encourages screaming at your boss and burning your briefcase in a fit of rage, it is not. What I really encourage is PLANNING YOUR ESCAPE. A lot of the time that happens by thinking about skills you ALREADY HAVE that could make you some money away from work and on your own terms. I had a roommate once who had a love of design and who worked on products for his 9 to 5 job. On the side he created a bag business. Eventually, it became his full time living. If you love to workout, get certified as a personal trainer and teach a couple of classes per week. Eventually, you may be able to leave your day job and free up your schedule for auditions and creative work because you got certified. I had another friend who was a great dog walker and a good comedian. She started walking the dogs while waiting tables AND doing stand up. Very quickly, there was no more waiting tables. She had a thriving dog walking business. Now it’s all stand up. The idea is to plan your eventual escape and to make it gradual with transition jobs and money making small businesses in place.

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