Fabamy's Blog

Crazy life of a CenPho comedian & socialite

My time with Joan Rivers September 4, 2014

Filed under: My crazy life — fabamy @ 1:47 pm
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Back in 2004, I was listening to Kevin Gassman when he was on All Comedy Radio here in Phoenix. He had tickets to the Joan Rivers show at the Celebrity to give away. I won those tickets and took Kass McPherson with me to see her. Two female comics to see THE female comic of the WORLD!
I had a little note card that I took with me, and wrote a little note inside. “Hi Joan! I’m a comedian here in Phoenix and would love the opportunity to meet you after the show.” I included my business card, and gave it to a security guard. I told him what was inside, and never really expected him to come back to us.
He came back! About ten minutes later, he informed me “Joan will see you after the show.” I looked at Kass, and then he said “You have to go back alone.” There was a split second of guilt, and Kass nudged me. “Go! Go!”
After her show, which was one of the most amazing performances I have ever seen in my life, I went back to the green room. I knocked on the door, and her assistant answered. “Amy?” I wasn’t even nervous, and just said “Yup, that’s me!”
A tiny blonde woman walked towards me, held out her hands, and gave me a hug. I was wearing heels and looked down at her. “We have to stand and take the shit these ASPCA people give me.” Then she rolled her eyes, laughed, and we stepped out into the hallway. I got to stand WITH JOAN RIVERS for a good half hour. She asked me about some of my material. I told her my “Ladies, ever sneeze and pee a little?” opener. She laughed and said “Keep that!”
One of the things I really related to was that she’s always been known to “say what everyone else is thinking.” I’ve heard that about myself so many times! People will also say “You shouldn’t joke about (insert here).” Right. You know what Joan would have said if you told her “No abortion jokes!”?? You would have gotten a piece of her mind.
I’ve met a ton of celebrities in my life. There have been 4 that affected me. Joan was one of them.
Thanks, Joan, for being my friend for an hour. I can’t even imagine where women in comedy would be without you. You. Were. It.
Melissa Rivers thank you for keeping us all posted. I’m so sorry for your loss, but I’m also so glad you had the mother you did.

RIP.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWncIpPuNJo

Here is my interview with the news yesterday. I’m still so crushed.

Interview with KPNX Channel 12

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Why comedy is frustrating…and insulting in the Valley. October 11, 2011

Filed under: My crazy life — fabamy @ 3:26 pm
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I’ll start by first saying that even though it doesn’t pay my bills, comedy is a JOB. I look at a gig as a responsibility to the audience, comics and promoter. I have a job to do: Make people laugh. Paid or not, it’s still a JOB.

When you start a new job, you look to the people you work with who have been there for a long time. You ask advice. They’ve got experience, right? They’ve been with the company for years and *probably* know what they’re talking about, right?

When I started doing stand-up several years ago, I looked up to people I met who had been doing it already for quite some time. I could name names, but that’s not important. I still go to them for advice and I TAKE THAT ADVICE. I am ALWAYS willing to learn and SWALLOW MY PRIDE, even it it makes me uncomfortable. I’m learning. I’m growing. I WANT to learn and to grow. I will never be the best at comedy and really need to spend more time on my writing, but that’s something I’m focusing on more. It’s my duty to make a crowd laugh. It’s advice I’ve gotten from others who have been in comedy for years.

I don’t know if it’s that I’m not afraid to speak up, but I get a lot of comics who come to me to voice concerns, gripes, etc. I know not everyone wants to say things publicly, and I’m ok with that. Newer people still want to make a name for themselves and not ruffle feathers. I, on the other hand, have that luxury. Whether I’m welcome at a venue or not, I’m still known and respected for my hard work. Everyone recognizes that, even if they don’t particularly like me. I’m fine with that.

I’ve also run shows. I did it for a few years and it was exhausting. It was a TON of work. You have to line up the BEST talent for a show. That’s not to say that everyone will be a great comic, but that they will fit in with a lineup. You NEED a strong lineup to make a great show. If you don’t want a GREAT show, then don’t fucking run one. You have to promote your ass off because most of the comics don’t bother. Guess what? That’s the PROMOTER’S job anyway! I know I have a shitload of friends who come see me. I know I get booked sometimes because of it. Great. I’ll take it. But if you are such a terrible promoter that you book someone because THEY bring the crowd, quit. Quit now.

The number of comics in a lineup should be limited to 7. That seems to be a magic number and a general consensus in the comedy world. I did not make this number up myself. That gives newer talent some stage time and makes room for the better comics who are featuring/headlining. A show should NEVER go beyond 90 minutes. I’ve heard promoters say “Yeah, but they paid $5 and three hours is a great value for $5.” What? First of all, you’re asking your comics, who get there on time, to sit through three hours of (some of the time) horrible comics, just waiting for their slot. This is incredibly rude and disrespectful of a comic’s time. You want to keep a crowd (that’s drinking 99% of the time) quiet and in their seats for 3 hours? Not gonna work. It rarely does. I wouldn’t even want to sit through a national headliner for 3 hours. A GREAT comedy show is long enough for people to have a good time, but short enough that they’re not leaving before the REAL talent hits the stage. Don’t insult the AUDIENCE by making a show too long.

It’s a given that a show won’t always start on time. There are only a few in the Valley that actually do. Fifteen minutes late is ok. And hour and fifteen minutes? No. Way. Again, insulting and disrespectful. I know, going to most gigs, that I’m there on time and that the show won’t start on time. It’s a given in the industry. But don’t ever make people wait for over an hour. Ever. Totally unprofessional. Don’t advertise the time incorrectly.

The lineup should always have a feature and headliner WHO DESERVE THOSE SLOTS. Again, a maximum of 7 comics is going to give you a great show. Oh, did comics show up and ask for stage time, but they weren’t booked? Write their names down and let them know that you’ll consider them in the future. Don’t have the balls to do that? Too nice to let someone know THERE’S NO TIME FOR THEM? Then you shouldn’t be running a show. You’re doing a disservice to that comic. They need to learn to respect your show and the other comics. I’ve had to do it, on both ends. Your lineup should be mapped out BEFORE the show. Yes, there will be a comic who’s late or can’t make it. Those are CHANGES to a lineup. A CHANGE means the work has been done ahead of time but needs to be adjusted. Know the lineup. KNOW YOUR TALENT. If it’s a new person, they go up early. I just did a show for the first time a month ago and went up second. Did I whine about it because of my experience? Hell no. I’m paying my dues at a new venue and appreciate the time I’m given. Did I go up later the next time I did that show? Hell yeah. Because I had to prove myself to people who hadn’t seen me.

Your feature and headliner are the MOST important people in the show, along with the host. The host keeps a show flowing. SHOULD know that a quick minute or two are done between each comic. Nothing more. Your feature and headliner should DESERVE those slots. It’s not for your friends or someone who shows up a lot or brought the most people. It’s for THE BEST TALENT OF THE SHOW. Don’t insult the crowd by giving someone who doesn’t deserve 15, 20 or even 30 minutes that much time. YOU DON’T HAVE TO MAKE THE COMIC HAPPY. You are supposed to ENTERTAIN the crowd. They paid (or not), you do your fucking best to give them the best you have to offer. If you can’t do that, then you obviously shouldn’t be running comedy shows.

I have friends in other cities who are comedians. They always know about how ridiculous PART of the scene is here. It’s embarrassing. It’s insulting to know that there are those who SHOULDN’T be in the comedy scene at ALL are giving Phoenix a bad name. I take a LOT of pride in 90% of the comedy shows and comedians here. I am GRATEFUL to be a part of it. I am PROUD to be a part of what’s a great community, for the most part. I even defend Phoenix to my friends from LA, NY and Chicago. To some extent. When they come in to town, I give them a red flag list and a green flag list. Seriously. Because I don’t want real professionals, who tour nationally, to see some of the shit that goes on here. They are given the red flag list to see the trainwreck shows. I cross my fingers that they go to the ones on the green flag list.

I see a few promoters begging for new talent to come perform. Why? Because their shows are so rotten & shitty that veterans won’t perform there anymore. So what they do is put up ANYONE. People who obviously can’t get stage time anywhere else. If you’ve got a pool of the same 30 comics or so (out of the 400+ in the Valley. No lie.), then you’re doing something wrong. If you have a lot of newer (I call anyone doing comedy less than a year “new.” It seems to be the timeframe for weeding out people who had the balls to try, but realized it wasn’t for them. KUDOS to them for trying. BIGGER KUDOS to them for stopping.) comics performing for you, it’s because they just don’t know any better. And neither do you.

 

Not a lot of fun stuff written above. It sucks. But, as I always say in life: “Someone’s gotta do it. Might as well be me.” I’m not afraid to be the one that comics vent to, knowing I’ll say something. It might make me unwelcome at a venue, but there are over 40 shows a week in the Valley, not including the comedy clubs. I think I’ll manage to still get stage time. :}

 

Community. August 13, 2011

Filed under: The kidney donation — fabamy @ 11:44 am
Tags: , , , , ,

The past few days, I’ve seen some things said about community. Or lack of it. People who don’t feel a sense of community are usually those who don’t deserve it. You have to be a good person for a community to envelope you. You have to GIVE to get.

Living in CenPho for 6 years now, I’ve always felt a sense of community. Familiar faces in the grocery store, the cashier at the local mini-mart, and groups like Yelp have shown me what community it. Out of that, I’ve become involved in branches that stem off everything else.

In comedy, there are a few different communities. There is a LOT of drama, but I’ve found a niche of people I enjoy performing with/for and I consider that a community.

Yelp has to be the first real community I have become involved in since moving to Phoenix 9 years ago. I’ve been a Yelper for 5 years now and have met some amazing people. During the kidney testing & surgery, Yelpers who I had never met came to fundraisers. The Community Managers showed support by helping to promote our events. Why? Because it’s a great community. Sure, there are assholes in that community, but does 1% really matter against 99%? Nope.

Facebook has shown me community as well. I’ve been getting friend requests from other kidney donors for the past several months. We’ve built a community by sharing ideas on aftercare, things to be aware of, and giving each other a pat on the back. It wasn’t an easy thing to do, but to have support from perfect strangers with the bond of saving another life built another community.

I’ve never been to India and I am not a religious person, but thoughts and prayers were sent my way. Hinduism is a very spiritual religion and I felt it, from a billion people, from half a planet away. Community.

And then there’s the monster community-builder for me: Twitter. Getting messages & follows from people around the world who heard our story, just because they wanted to show support to a stranger who did a good deed. You don’t have to donate money to our cause to show support. Showing up at a fundraiser and enjoying good food & entertainment are support enough. Believe me, seeing a friendly face made me get through terrible days more than once. Random, anonymous donations came in. How could it NOT be a community???

And then, there is Phoenix, and most importantly, the group of food enthusiasts & restaurant owners who came out in droves to show what community is. A restaurant I had never eaten at brought me food the day after I got out of the hospital. Three restaurants donated proceeds to our cause, and they didn’t have to. It’s a tough economy and the F & B industry is suffering, yet these people felt they had to do something. Countless products & gift certificates have been donated. By people I don’t even know personally.

As I write this, I am crying so hard I can barely see the screen. If it weren’t for ALL the communities I am so freaking lucky to be a part of, I wouldn’t have gotten through everything. It was an incredibly tough journey & I had to hide a lot of the pain so that my new brown family didn’t have to feel badly. My healing process was cut very short because of one thing: community.

So, if you feel there is no sense of community out there, you need to take a look at yourself. Blaming the outside world, constantly, is just proof that you have no idea what community is and you probably don’t deserve to be a part of it.

Community.

 

25 Things About Me (from Unmarketing) May 26, 2011

1. I was married for 10 years

2. I can wiggle my ears (withOUT using my hands!)

3. I have an older, half-sister who found me on Facebook after almost 20 years of not seeing her.

4. I loooooooove Super Mario World!

5. My favorite bands are: The Gap Band, Black Flag, Jane’s Addiction and Metallica.

6. I play Powerball every week.

7. I taught middle & high school Spanish for 6 years.

8. I’ve been doing stand-up comedy for 8 years.

9. I was a radio DJ for 4 years.

10. I detest “LOL.”

11. I play Mafia Wars on Facebook. I’m not kidding.

12. My siblings: an older, half-sister from my father’s first marriage; “real” sister (both parents same) is 22 months younger than I am; I also have two step-sisters (both younger than me.)

13. I have 5 tattoos.

14. I’ve been doing yoga for 12 years.

15. I have a quilt my grandmother made me 25 years ago. I use it on a regular basis for naps and when I’m sick.

16. I broke my nose once, climbing out of the back of a car when I was 21. My friends had to drive my car for me.

17. I once ran head-first, at full speed, into a tree. A bee was chasing me. I was 9.

18. I love painting: on canvas, walls, paper

19. I’ve never ridden the light rail, though I am a big fan of it.

20. Two dream cars: Lexus ISF or Audi A5.

21. I have a friend on death row for being a serial killer.

22. I’ve hiked half of the Adirondack 46. (The 46 highest peaks in the range.)

23. I was a foreign exchange student in college & went to the University of Costa Rica.

24. I’ve been fluent in Spanish for over 20 years.

25. I have a collection of books written by female comedians.

 

 
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