I guess there's an open call today in dowtown Chicago for the next funny woman in America. The Shelarious competition.
A friend of mine said he thought I
should go to the audition. He came up with this brilliant idea
two days ago. He thought it would be easy enough for me to come
up with two minutes of material that would wow the judges and start me
on my new career in stand up. As what? The new Phyllis Diller. I don't
Don't get me wrong. I'm
immensely flattered that someone thinks I'm funny enough at this age to
consider going to the audition -- however misguided, drunk, or insane
my friend is.
He even offered to come with me, probably to keep me from chickening
out, assuming I actually got into my car and drove in the direction of
the club where everything is happening.
There was a time when making people laugh was something I tried to do
every day. Ever since I got laughs in eighth grade at a summer camp
talent show. It became my surefire way of getting attention in high
school, since I wasn't short, blond or a cheerleader.
But chasing after a show biz career
at this late date isn't going to happen. At 62, wait, I'm 63, I don't
feel like having hundreds of pairs of eyes staring at me in disbelief
as I toddle out on stage. Or worse, only one or two pairs of eyes
staring at me from somewhere in a darkened auditorium while I stand up
like a dufus mumbling jokes about what? The hair growing on top
of my big toes? Eating dinner at four in the afternoon to avoid acid
reflux. Trying to convince your doctor that you remember sex.
Unfortunately, I'm at the age where I can only make you laugh at me,
not with me. In fact, I think my friend is suffering from "I knew you
when" syndrome. People who knew you back in the day have a knack for
remembering you as you were, not as what you've become. There's an
expectation of continuity. Once you were funny, you're always funny.
I once ran into a guy I had dated in college when I was in my thirties.
I was also pregnant at the time and my sense of humor was seriously
impaired. His only comment was a clearly disappointed, "I knew you when
you were zany."
I think something like that is happening this time. My friend remembers
all those times I made him laugh. A lot of that was by making faces and
doing physical schtick. I used to take a drink of water and let it
dribble all over me. Big yucks. Or trip on my way out of a room. Huge.
And boy could I stumble on the stairs. Killer. Some of it was
funny because I looked like a model and no one expects Tyra Banks to do
sight gags. Not that I ever looked like Tyra Banks, but you get
the idea. If I did any of that stuff now people would just call the paramedics.
I did allow myself a moment or two to contemplate what I might say, if
I decided I would say something, even though I had no intention of
I'd drive out in one of those HoverRound things and say, "I'm here for the free Tampax."
See what I mean.