Mike has been really supportive of my using my maiden name as a stage name. He said he would have done the same. It’s weird to call it my stage name. It’s my name. I didn’t lose it. I was Ramona Concepcion legally for 23 years, and using Mona Concepcion as frequently as I have in the past six months has energized me and awakened parts of my personality that I have kept shelved far too long.
As a comedian, I want to be identified as a Chamorro, a comedian from Saipan and the only female Chamorro comedian on this planet. Comedy is still my bailiwick, the work and rewards are all mine. It’s not community property, even though my husband stays at home so I can go out and tell a room full of strangers some jokes. I am always grateful for this but I have to make clear to the men in my life: I am the comedian here.
(Side note: I do see comics bring their kids, mostly dads who want to sign up for the bump list (the list for the following week) so they just show up with kids in tow. I know moms and dads who have hired a babysitter so they can get some stage time. I always love these comics and laugh because that’s what you do–support your peeps.)
It’ll be costly to make this name switch on paper. In the county I live in, it will cost $160 to change my name back, plus the time I’ll have to take off work to schedule a court hearing. Plus the costs to change my name on anywhere that it appears–my passport, kids paperwork, financial documents, etc.
I changed my name because I thought that’s what you do when you get married. I didn’t question it and I don’t regret it doing it at the time. It just makes things difficult when I have to explain that I perform under another name but nothing’s happened in my marriage. I really love the name that I was born with, much more than the name I married into.
Right now my changes are relegated to Facebook and other Internet warrens of mine, like kirida.com which I have had since I lived on Saipan. That is mine, too. It’s really easy to make doctors appointments or call the school and say the last name I share with the kids. It’s easy to identify myself as a mom of TJ and Nathan, the name is a natural tether if you couldn’t tell from our massive eyebrows.
When I’m on stage, I control what people know about me, whether I share that I’m a mom or that I suffer from Old Man Love, or that I’m from Saipan. I can’t control what they assume or where their minds drift as a lady takes the stage. I’m just Mona Concepcion and I’m here to tell jokes.