Stand-up? I can’t even stand up

Gina Yashere, Maria Bamford, me, and Jamie Lee

I’ve been in LA for the past two days to tape a new stand-up show for TV Guide Network called “StandUp in Stilettos.” I’m also part of a theatre tour called “Pumps and Punchlines…” Haha, but I digress. SIS is an all-female comedy series hosted by Kate Flannery from “The Office,” and it premieres on June 16! Kate was lovely and super cute. Haha, but I think she was the only person who had on stilettos. I rocked a pretty basic pair of sandals that were still murdering my feet, and an olive green top with gold accents from the Noriega/Khadafi collection (pictured above).

Funny ladies Jamie Lee and Maria Bamford were on my episode. It was my first time meeting Maria, and she was awesome. My good buddy Gina Yashere came over to the studio a couple hours before her taping so she could catch mine. Because she is also awesome. Can’t wait to see this show. Though in the past year or two I’ve taped several things that never made it to air — or just haven’t made it there yet, I haven’t told jokes on TV in quite some time. Really looking to get my groove back in 2012. Wish me luck!

Advanced Placement

Got this tweet from a HS student in Albuquerque, NM saying that her high school’s AP English class was reading and debating my NYT piece from February. How cool is that?!?? Though I obviously know how far-reaching the Internet is, I often write or post things without even considering their potential reach. I’m flattered that someone who teaches AP English thought my article worthy enough to share with his class. Moreover, some 16 years after graduating HS, I finally made it into an AP class. Wait til I tell my mom! #Validation

Lending a Hand: Natasha’s Justice Project

On Monday night, I performed at a benefit for an amazing organization called Natasha’s Justice Project. NJP is a not-for-profit that advocates for survivors of sexual assault by working to expose the extent of the rape kit backlog, informing the public and media about the crisis, and educating legislators about the need for changes to the statutes of limitations for sexual assault prosecution. The founder, the super-awesome, and brave, and determined Natasha Alexenko, saw her unprocessed rape kit sit unprocessed on a police department shelf for 10 years before it was processed. Her assailant was finally convicted and jailed another four years after that. But she is one of the (for lack of a better phrase) lucky ones. NJP estimates that between 200,000 and 400,000 rape kits around the country are shelved and collecting dust due to crime lab backups.

Natasha was featured in the HBO Documentary “Sex Crimes Unit.” She and her staff travel around the country to build awareness and raise money to support the effort, but they’re also conducting research to determine the precise number of unprocessed kits. I can’t imagine going through something like that and not receiving closure — not because my assailant had a good attorney and beat the case, but because his/her fingerprints, DNA, etc. had never even been entered into the system. The crime of rape currently has just a 24% arrest rate.

The event was held at The George Washington University, and though the cause is a very serious one we definitely had a great time at the show. Y’all know how I get when I drink white wine

The local news came out to interview Natasha and there was a Q&A after the show. I learned so much. The numbers are astonishing. I wanted to do more.

I often feel like what I do for a living is so trivial. That although I’m a news and politics junkie, my comedy doesn’t reflect that or address any important social issues. I see causes I’d love to support, but lack the financial means to do so… But if by telling stories about how weird my parents are or how my dating life sucks, I can do even a tiny bit to help relieve the stress/pain/fear these women and men face, then I am 100% about it. This cause is definitely one I’ll continue to support and bring whatever attention I command to. I promised Natasha I would, and I meant it. If you have a few minutes, check out Natasha’s Justice Project online. Right now. Read the statistics. Read Natasha’s story. You’ll be amazed.

I plan to do all I can to help.

What can you do?

All photos courtesy of Alexis Greenberg Photography

No Hate

This afternoon I drove up to the Gay Community Center in Richmond to take my photo for the NOH8 campaign! I’ve been looking forward to this for months. I’ve wanted to be part of this movement since the first time I saw one of Adam Bouska’s awesome photos, but I was never able to make any of the open photo shoots held in my area until today. In case you’ve been living in a cave and aren’t familiar with this movement, here’s a little background:

On November 4, 2008 Proposition 8 passed in California, amending the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. The defeat provoked a groundswell of initiative within the GLBT community at a grassroots level, with many new political and protest organizations being formed in response.

The NOH8 Campaign is a photographic silent protest created by celebrity photographer Adam Bouska and partner Jeff Parshley in direct response to the passage of Proposition 8. Photos feature subjects with duct tape over their mouths, symbolizing their voices being silenced by Prop 8 and similar legislation around the world, with “NOH8” painted on one cheek in protest.

When I got there I was number 168, but the line moved super fast. To keep us entertained while we waited for our numbers to be called, there were several drag queens who performed, and there were also some impromptu dance numbers by random audience members. Too much fun.

It takes them between 4 and 8 weeks to send you your final, retouched photo. Can’t wait to get mine! The session went so fast I didn’t even have the chance to get my smize together, but I’ve seen enough of his photos to know I was in good hands! Hooray for this!

Baby Jesus, please heal my road rage

So I flew down to Tampa on Wednesday to do a show at University of Tampa. This church was just across the street from campus and I thought it was so beautiful I had to stop and take a photo of it. Booker T. Washington, thanks Instagram for turning my cell phone pic into this!

But I digress.

Perhaps if I spent more time in places of worship such as this, I wouldn’t find myself in situations like the one I experienced earlier that morning. Exhale… So, OK, I was headed to tiny Newport News (VA) International Airport (sidebar: I would like to see proof of their ‘international-ity’; I can’t imagine what other country they fly to). The sun was just coming up. It was nearly blinding me, so I had to drive slowly and squint in order to follow the signage pointing towards the parking lots. Well, the lady behind me had no patience for me. She kept trying to pass me and was tailgating me, but she couldn’t get around me. She started honking and from my rear-view mirror I could see her making some really aggressive gestures. I tried to let it go at first because I realized I was driving poorly. I even gave her the “hey-my-bad-please-forgive-me-but-I-cant-see” nod/gesture in the mirror, but she wasn’t having it. When I finally found the parking lot and pulled up to the ticket dispenser, she laid on her horn.

That’s when I lost it. That is when Miss Benita went off.

Because of the angle I pulled in at, I had to put my car in park and get out to grab the ticket. I was about to get back in, but her leaning on the horn combined with whatever she was shouting at me from the safety of her car caused me to lose it. I turned and started walking towards her car… And that’s all I’m going to say about that. Because I’m not very proud of what happened next.

Fast forward to me finding a parking space and getting on the shuttle to the terminal. I thought I was scot-free until we got to the last parking shelter and had to pick her up. She and I were the only two people on the bus, and we rode over to the terminal in complete silence, avoiding eye contact. We both acted ugly. But in an ugly contest, I’d have been the undisputed victor. I felt really badly about it, but anyone who’s ever ridden in a car with me, or been on the phone with me while I’m driving knows that my road rage is legendary. I’m generally not aggressive without provocation, but tick me off and it’s… it’s…

I need Jesus.

I don’t know what it is about my car, but it’s where all my frustration melds together and I can get it all out. Sometimes my anger gets jumbled and misdirected: “Oh, so you think you can just cut me off without a blinker, then stop short and sleep with my cousin, you no-follow-room-respecting, cheating ass bastard?!???” And the insults I hurl rarely make sense — I called somebody a “bastard fart” the other day — but it feels good.

I’m gonna ask Baby Jesus to help me curb my rage though. I’m not trying to get “50 Cent-ed” over some bull. Pray for me. For real.