I have this. And combined with the “big eyes…” Pretty sure it’s why I’m still single.
I’m a mostly nice person, and I’m funny. But if I’m not smiling, it’s all bad. I was telling a friend yesterday about how one time at a bar, a guy standing behind me tapped me on the shoulder to chat and I think to buy me a drink (which, like never ever happens anymore), and I turned around with my “I’m-interested-in-what-you-have-to-say-raised-eyebrow” look and his response was “Damn, bitch! Why you got a attitude?” It’s an attitude obviously, but it didn’t seem like the right time to correct his grammar.
See, the main problem is that I lack the ability to raise my eyebrows without widening my eyes. I was born without the very crucial eyebrow isolation tendon-ligament. So my “yes, how can I help you?” looks exactly like my “the eff you want?” I could give Beyonce a run for her money in a side-eye contest — and y’all know that’s tough to do. Plus I’m puffy and people always assume puffy, brown girls are mad. I’m so aware/self-conscious about it that during a production meeting before we started shooting “Exhale” I explained to my co-hosts, director and producer that I have absolutely no control over my face and not to think I was “judge-y” or had a attitude.
The one cool thing about the “big eyes” is that they work great for stand-up. People come up to me all the time after shows to talk about my eyes. They use words like “expressive” and “communicative,” and compliment me on them. And it’s always strange to hear because before I started comedy, the closest thing I ever got to a compliment was, “You got some big ass eyes.”
I’ve tried to go out to places and purposefully look happy and approachable but you can’t sit around cheesing all the time without looking simple. So please, help me spread the word:
Erin Jackson is not really a giant bitch. She just looks like one.
Wednesday night was the big Atlanta premiere event for “Exhale!” I had been missing my co-hosts; it was so good to have the band back together again. We all arrived in town on Tuesday nite and met right away for drinks in the hotel lobby. We had our first round and then ordered a celebratory bottle of champagne, but we didn’t have time to pop it because we were running late for dinner. So Angela just decided we’d bring it with us. Apparently champagne is classy so you don’t need to brown-bag it while walking down the street.
Dinner was with ASPiRE General Manager, Paul Butler and author/playwright Pearl Cleage (#Swoon). Pearl is aMAZing. I’ve been a fan of her work for years and she was to moderate the cast talkback that would take place after the screening of the premiere episode the next night. She really got a chance to see that we are, quite literally, crazy people. I’m sure she was reconsidering her decision to participate. We shut that steakhouse down. Sorry, STK.
The next day began with press interviews and then came the Google Hangout with our director and producer and viewer-submitted questions. It was big fun, and gave viewers an accurate taste of what each of us brings to the show! After that, we had about an hour or so to get into hair and makeup for the big event! The Atlanta rain and humidity forced us to move the black carpet inside and it did a number on my wig. I’m glad we at least got a couple pics in before it fell totally asleep.
My Exhale co-host, Rene Syler, has a fantastic website called goodenoughmother.com And on it, she has a feature called Life Lessons, where she asks some really great questions that invite her subjects to reflect honestly on their level of happiness, life’s goals and the progress they’re making towards them. For the last week she’s profiled our other co-hosts, as well as our producer and director (I actually think our director’s profile won’t be up until tomorrow) and I definitely wanted to share. Check them out when you have a chance and get to know each of these awesome ladies a little better!
It sounded too good to be true. Dave Chappelle was doing his first tour in years, it was the afternoon before the first tour date and he didn’t have an opener booked yet. I got an invite to do the first nite and the next day I got a call saying they loved my act and were inviting me to open for Dave for the remainder of his summer mini-tour. I told them I’d have to miss two cities because of a prior commitment — the premiere event for my new talk show — and they were cool with it. Wow.
When does that ever happen?
I’ll tell you when: Never.
I opened for him in Richmond, VA; Winston-Salem, NC; Myrtle Beach, SC and Raleigh, NC. I knew from the beginning that Dave would be bringing in some friends to open for him in the cities I couldn’t make it to and likely the finale city – Atlanta. But after last nite’s show in Raleigh, the promoter let me know that Dave had decided to bring them on earlier. I was beyond bummed; I felt like one of those dudes on Hard Knocks who gets asked to turn in his playbook. I couldn’t believe it. Dave Chappelle had comedian friends he’d rather tour with than me?!?? Impossible.
Please read the sarcasm there.
I was all up in my feelings last nite, but I decided to stop pouting as soon as it became today and instead focus on all the awesome things about this experience. So here goes:
- I got to meet Dave Chappelle.
- I traveled to four cities as Dave Chappelle’s opening act.
- Dave Chappelle watched my act and said he really enjoyed it.
- I got paid for 1-3.
- Live Nation, the biggest comedy concert promoters out there, know who I am now.
- I got to work with superstar DJ and producer 9th Wonder — who I’m SUCH a fan of. He thought I was funny, told other people he thought I was funny and even asked his folks to follow me on Twitter.
Sidebar: now that both 9th Wonder and Phonte are down with the “I hope you don’t make it” movement (click here to see Phonte of LB and FE rocking my IHYDMI t-shirt), can somebody give me Big Pooh’s number so I can complete the Little Brother cipher?
But I digress.
This was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of opportunity that very few folks ever get. So rather than be salty or embarrassed that I got replaced, I’ve decided to be grateful that I was there in the first place. An iconic comic I’ve respected forever enjoyed my work enough to allow me to open a string of sold-out shows. And I am happy with the sets I did, especially the last one. AND I still have a TV show premiering in a week. All in all, I’d say I’m pretty blessed. What a difference a year makes.
Tonite we played two shows at the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach, SC. Such a cool venue. As soon as I walked in to the venue, one of the servers told me I had a delivery. Huh? Really? Then she brought in an Edible Arrangement and I thought, “Wow, it’s so nice of the tour folks to send me a fruit basket.” But then I checked the card and saw that it was from my three besties!
My girls are the best. A thoughtful gift that is both yummy and diet-approved! Love those ladies!
I’m allergic to kiwi so I tried not to eat anything that was touching it. I failed. My eyes and lips swelled and I ended up having to leave before the second show was over… But Dave Chappelle told me he enjoyed my act. So yeah… I’mma take some more Benadryl and lay my puffy-faced self in the bed with a smile on my face.
Hopping in the bed now. Off to Raleigh, NC in the morning!
So, I got a call from my manager during the middle of last week. Dave Chappelle was launching his summer tour in Richmond, VA and did I want tickets? HELL YES. He was Dave’s manager back in the day and he said he would probably be able to get me a pair.
I didn’t hear back from him for a couple days so I figured he wasn’t able to get them. Then when I come out of the gym on Friday nite, I have a message from someone at Live Nation. They wanted to see if I was available to open for Dave those two shows in Richmond. OPEN FOR DAVE… Dave Chappelle.
So I get to Richmond — nerves on a hundred thousand trillion — and I have an amazing first show. It may have been the best show I’ve ever had. When I got off stage, the promoter asked me what my schedule looked like for the next few weeks. And then the next morning he called me and told me that Live Nation and Dave were really pleased with my show and he asked me to join them for the whole tour.
They would need me in Winston-Salem, NC the next day. Then Myrtle Beach, Raleigh, Charlotte, Nashville, etc. I took my dad out for Father’s Day dinner, watched the NBA Finals game with him, washed clothes and packed for two weeks out, and then got on the road to North Carolina. Woohoo!!!
I stayed with my friend Damon who lives in Winston-Salem; his building is literally across the street from the venue. Took me less than 2 minuts to get there. It was perfect! And by “perfect” I mean “free.” The show went well, but I ended up doing my entire set with the theatre lights all the way up. I KNOW. There was a follow spot on me, but the lights were on. And the whole time I’m thinking, “They’re gonna turn these lights down any minute…” Nope. Turns out someone at the theatre forgot to play the “this is where the emergency exits are” recording before I went out and they’re not allowed to bring down the lights before they do. I could see EVERYONE. So weird.
I’m so excited for this opportunity. It all came out of nowhere and I’m still trying to wrap my head around it, but I feel like I’m ready for it. I’m gonna do my best to check in from every stop. Tomorrow we head to Myrtle Beach! Talk to you then!