Last weekend was incredible for me, sweet friends. A while back, Jenny Yang from Dis/orient/ed Comedy asked me to do a show in Portland, one of my favorite places in the world and on a show that I had loved, loved, loved performing in last March. So I headed out of town and treated myself to donuts and drinks and jokes with other funny people. However, I did not have the $6 ribeye. I would rather have paid $8 for the T-Bone even though I’m sure someone would have come up to me and said, “Would you like to buy your steak a drink?”
If this show were an exotic dancer, I would have emptied my bank account buying overpriced drinks because it was a gorgeous evening that gave me everything I wanted:
Your comics for the evening: Jenny Yang, Me!, Atsuko Okatsuka, D’Lo, and Bri Pruett. Not pictured: Katie Nguyen, who rode a bike and wore tights and yet, was not sweating as much as I do when I wear tights and/or ride a bike.
The fridge in the Helium Comedy Club green room is covered with scrawls and notes from funny people like Doug Benson who carved into the side: “I will do anything to a fridge but sign it.” My favorite line was from Patton Oswalt who wrote: “Pancakes. That is all.” If I am ever lucky enough to have you in my audience, you would understand why I love that line so much, coming from something as hilarious as he is.
My Uncle Jack came out to see me. He is one of my favorite people on this planet and I was very honored he made a night of it, watching his niece do impressions of my mom and talk about old man love. I’ve had people ask if I get nervous if people I know are in the audience, but once I start going, I don’t think of them when I’m on stage. I wouldn’t mind if my mom, sisters and the Catholic priest who baptized me were in the crowd. They all made me who I am and if they don’t laugh, I could just point at them and yell, “This is because of you!”
I spotted the Saipan area code sticker on a nice, shiny car and of course I had to pose. If this were the Safeway grocery parking lot, I would have waited around then probably hidden once its owner returned and asked who this weird, not Pacific Islander looking lady was hovering over a car.
The crowd was exactly how I wish every crowd could be: attentive, responsive and not afraid to laugh. Here’s a glimpse of how awesome it was and also how I jump around:
WOOT is right! It was that kind of night. I also need to get this recording as my ring tone and soundtrack as I do anything in which I exert energy: working out on the elliptical, picking up crap my kids leave around despite my repeated requests to pick. up. your. mess. so. help. me.
I had a great time talking with people afterward and in one of those very lovely conversations, I realized why I love comedy so much. It’s been with me for a long time, when I was little, I remember watching the adults of my life sitting around and laughing and wanting so much to be part of that and understand what those triggers were. Chamorros are all about storytelling and hilarious stories become part of a litany, something repeated at fiestas and barbecues and dinners. I remember performing for my mom, especially when I started telling other people’s jokes and she wanted me to repeat it to whoever was in earshot and her instructions were sharp: “TELL DAT ONE JOKE! THE ONE WITH THE MAN!” So I did and I loved it. And I still love telling jokes now, especially when they are about her, in her voice. I am so physically distant from Saipan, so whenever I get to talk about my mom or my home or what it’s like to be a pacific islander transplant in a very strange, pumpkin spice latte loving land, I connect to someplace very dear to me.
We ended the evening with some more drinks at a hip place (beards! tattoos! beard tattoos!) called the White Owl Social Club that had a gas lit fireplace outside and a packed spoken word open mic on the inside.
Portland, you were nice and wonderful and kind and laughed hard. My only problem is that it took three visits to Voodoo Doughnuts to get this order and I didn’t even know how to eat it.
I figured out eventually, off camera. You don’t want to see that, Portland, or any city with internet connection. I’ll be back to eat your doughnuts soon enough and I’d be happy to share one with you.