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It seems like every other week, there’s another competition. I just want to tell jokes, and if I have to compete to do so, so be it. I’m not a competitive person; I could honestly care less whether I win or lose(although, who doesn’t like to win from time to time? Prizes and money are both on my favorites list).
I have a friend from college, Mindy, who is good at everything. I’m not sure exactly what it is about her, but whenever we’re playing a game of cards or flip cup, or beer pong, or poker, I really enjoy seeing her lose. Even if I have to sacrifice my own success to make Mindy fail, I do it. This has become problematic with our relationship from time to time. To keep our friendship in tact, we have made the rule that we always have to play on the same team and then it isn’t nearly as fun for me to sabotage her success. Sorry, Mindy. I do it because one of my favorite things about you is your fiery competitiveness, and nothing brings it out better than when you’re losing. It fascinates me and cracks me up. Also, I very much enjoy this picture of you and have a copy of it framed on top of my television.
I’m in yet another competition this next week, and I’m pretty excited to perform at Herman’s Hideaway. I don’t care if I win, which is horrible to say, but I truly do not care if I win. Boy, I sure do know how to sell a show.
Print off the ticket below for a discount to Denver’s Top Comic at Herman’s Hideaway on 10.28. My buddy, Eric Oren, will also be back from Chicago to go head to head with a bunch of other dudes. Love that kid & can’t wait to see him. He’s hilarious and always brings a really great crowd. He always wins… asshole. Maybe I’ll try to sabotage him this time… hmmmm (making a sinister face and rubbing my palms together)….
Then, I’m taking this class from Jeff Singer that I’m really looking forward to:
And then I’m going to find a beach where my phone doesn’t work and I can’t access the internet. Can’t wait to do nothing, sit around and drink with the Key family and not have to be in a competition.
I had two Female Betta fish. (Note: FEMALE. Female Bettas can share a tank, Male Bettas cannot.) One was named Joe Paterno, and the other was named Bob Saget. This naming convention seemed like an excellent idea because my roommate, Jessica (who knows nothing about football, and a lot about Full House), would have to say things like, “Did you feed Joe Paterno and Bob Saget today?” or “Joe Paterno is looking more colorful every day!” Awesome.
Joe Paterno and Bob Saget were inseparable. They would give each other kisses, eat together, play together, and just generally have a good time. When I was cleaning their tank, I would separate them into two coffee cups while their water was adjusting to room temperature. One time, when I was cleaning their bowl, JoePa had jumped from her cup to Bob Saget’s because they just couldn’t bear to be apart. Love was in the air.
Several weeks later, I was cleaning their tank again, and left them in the two coffee cups to let the water adjust. About a half an hour later, I went back into the kitchen to put them back in the tank and Joe Paterno was gone. I frantically started to look around for her… on the counter, in the sink, on the floor. I lifted my foot. There she was, on the rug by the sink, dead. Screaming, “Joe Paterno committed suicide!!”, I ran to get Jess. When we came back into the kitchen, we see the dog, Huxley, sniffing the lifeless JoePa. The dog picked her up in his mouth. Jessica and I ran for Huxley and made him drop the fish. JoePa wiggled on the rug. She was alive!!!! I picked JoePa up with a paper towel (’cause fish are gross) and tossed her into the bowl. She had some crumbs and other mystery stuff stuck to her scales, but appeared to be OK. Bob Saget joined her, and all seemed to be in order.
JoePa was different after this life-altering experience. She began to act violent and mean towards Bob Saget and always ate all of Bob’s food. Pretty soon, Bob had dwindled to half of the fish that she used to be. Her fins had been eaten away, and she refused to come out from under a rock to eat. Eventually, we had to separate the two because we feared that Joe Paterno would eat Bob Saget entirely. Bob died a couple of days later and we gave her a burial at sea. The surf was smooth and clockwise.
Joe Paterno transformed into a Male Betta giant zombie fish and seems content on being alone. Fish can change gender. Google it.
Joe Paterno is invincible? Maybe.
Joe Paterno is too much of a bad ass to be a Female Betta? Probably.
I tell a joke about an ex-boyfriend who told all of our friends that he thought I was crazy when I decided that I didn’t want to date him anymore. He heard about it and contacted me. I assured him that all I say is that he smells like poop (which of course, is not true. Why would I date someone that smells like poop?). He wished me luck, and I’m doubting that we’ll ever speak again because the only thing that we have in common is that we’re tall.
The truth is, some things don’t work out, people change, and everyone is a little crazy. So, stop your whining and laugh about it.
When I was 15 years old, I saw an ad in The Sandusky Register to be an artist at our local amusement park, Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. If you asked me when I took the job if I would still be working there after college, I definitely would have said, “no”. So as I stood at the same location 12 years later with a College Degree, I remember dreading the moments that someone from High School would stop and say, “Hey, Heather! What have you been up to?”
There is nothing else on this planet that I despise more than an amusement park.
The company I worked for, Kaman’s Art Shoppes, was great for artistic types and helping creative minds learn sales, managing people, a business and operations. It also gave people like me, who are driven and competitive, an opportunity to make a ton of cash. All of the sales were commissioned based, and I could sell like crazy. Eventually they started sending me to parks all over the country, to hit high sales, teach others how to make money and learn all of the random crafts that they sold. By the time I circled back to Ohio, I had learned how to produce all kinds of shitty art to hustle amusement park guests: Caricatures, Pastel Portraits, Hand-cut Silhouettes, Hair Wraps, Face Paintings, Routed Wood Signs, Rice Jewelry, Carved Rings, Henna Tattoos, etc… etc… Need a camera set up on a Roller Coaster? I’m your girl.
Upon graduation from Penn State in 2002, I didn’t have a whole lot of options. As appealing as the offer to work for plumbing supplier in Lakewood, New Jersey (the Hasidic Jewish Capital of the US) was, I chose another route. I took an offer to manage Sesame Place in Philadelphia during the summers and spent winters in Florida at Sea World and Busch Gardens. I also got really fat.
My art was mediocre compared to my coworker’s. Pro Caricature artists would call my caricatures “Cute-icatures” because I would make people look cuter than they really were (An ingenious selling strategy in my opinion). My main weakness was drawing those little bodies. My bodies are awful. And horses… I can’t draw a horse. My theory was, “They probably don’t know the difference.” And for the most part, they didn’t. Every once in a while, they’d get rejected (a reject is when someone doesn’t want to buy your drawing because they think it doesn’t look like them. See www.rejectsthebook.com , by the talented Mr. Bluhm).
In my 12th year, I returned to Cedar Point and was working at a stand with a few of the best caricature artists in the country. It was raining and the park was empty. I still wanted to make some cash, so I was on high alert for anyone that might want a drawing. Sure enough, a little girl walked up to the stand.
I sat her in my chair, and asked her what she wanted to be doing in her picture.
“I want to be riding a horse.” She said.
“How about a cheerleader?” I happily reply.
“No, thank you. I really want to be riding a horse.”
“A horse is Okay, but wouldn’t you rather be doing something super cool, like playing soccer, dancing or….. you could be a mermaid!!! How about a mermaid!!???” I was NOT going to give up the sale to another artist….
“I have been riding horses all of my life, it’s my birthday and really want to be on a horse!”
Muscling through it, I start to draw the ugliest horse that I’ve ever seen. It looks like a brown and grey hippo coming out of the little girl’s crotch. I scribbled some high grass so that I didn’t have to draw the legs. It takes me 15 minutes. It’s the longest 15 minutes EVER.
As I was working away, my fellow artists were walking up behind me saying things like, “What ya drawin’ Heather? Is that a HORSE?” “Wow, that’s great!” (looking at the girl) “Oh, you’re gonna love it!” Assholes.
Despite my attempt to hold it in, I was silent laughing so hard that my shoulders were violently shaking and tears were streaming down my face. I had to hide behind the easel as I was sketching so that the little girl didn’t witness my hysterics.
I finished the drawing, ripped it off of the drawing board, showed it to her, held my chin high, forced big smile and said, “IT’S YOU!” She loved it. Her mom bought the largest frame that we sold, and put it on hold at the stand. To make matters worse, the girl kept bringing her friends back to show it to her.
My friends, these amazing artists, still make fun of me for that drawing. The poor young lady probably still has that picture of herself, as a little girl, humping a hippo that seems to be entangled in high grass. If I ever see that drawing again, I will set it on fire.
Shortly after, I quit working in amusement parks and moved to Colorado.
Did I think that she should have bought the drawing? Who cares? Am I proud that I was able to make that extra 20 bucks and have higher sales than my peers? Hell yes. I see much worse art in people’s houses, restaurants and at arts festivals regularly. Did I still practice to get better? Of course.
At least I tried. Without taking on challenges, we will never find our strengths.
Confidence is everything. Confidence should come from experience, talent and hard work. I still can’t draw a stupid cartoon horse very well, but I definitely can sell one.
During the day, I work for a software company; bridging the gap between the engineers and our customers. I’m one of two women in my office and four throughout in the company. The men are nerdy and awkward and it took them four months for most of them to talk to me. I wear holey jeans, no make-up and stupid t-shirts to fit in. The three other women are strong, intelligent and the most helpful people I have ever worked with. After a year of learning from them, I have probably gained enough experience to double my salary if I ever decided to move to another company. But, I like my job, and it’s not about the money.
Comedy is strangely similar to the world of computer geeks…
When I first started in stand up, the only girl I saw getting up in the scene was Melanie Karnopp at Paris on the Platte. I thought that I had an edge because I was one of two women in Denver. I also saw how easy it was to always get a spot in an open mic and showcases because I was the only girl who showed up. From this I derived a theory, which was, “Women do not have to try as hard to come up with quality material in comedy because they always have mic time and a spot in the show. Guys have to work harder to get the early spots at places like the 404 and the Squire, which is why so few women succeed.” And I thought, “I’m going to be different.”
Then I started seeing women comedians all over town: The beautiful and funny Jodee Champion at Comedy Works, Timmi with her giant green notebook of new jokes at the the Squire and the Lair, Melanie Karnopp (aka Heather Snow) everywhere, Pam VanNostrem with her Denver Divas at the Improv, Nicole Qualtari blogging it up for all @DenverComedy, the hilarious Nora Lynch telling stories at the Narrators, Jill Tasai, Mara Wiles and Alicia Jacobs helping Team Charpie win the Funny Final Four, Cougar Carol with her strange and awesome self, and the list goes on…. My theory is completely wrong, off-base and ignorant. How could I have had such little faith in my fellow woman?
The best thing about these ridiculously funny women is that they’re also wonderful people. We look out for one another. They’ve all been nothing but supportive and would never throw each other under the bus. We bomb, and we pick each other back up. Even when we bomb hard… Go Team Tits.
So, last night, like every night, after geeking out all day, I get home, put on some decent clothes, brush my hair, throw on some make-up, and roll out to wherever I think that I can get some mic time. I head over to Comedy Works with some friends to see if I can get on stand-by. It’s like getting all dressed up for prom and having no one ask you to dance. I have yet to get up on stand-by. It’s been eight weeks. I brought people. I swear I’m funny. There were no women on stage at Comedy Works last night. But, the guys killed it… and that heckler in the front row.
Jill Tasai gives me a ride to the next spot. She whips a 35 MPH U-turn into a parking spot across from Kinga’s…. I scream (’cause I thought it was funny). She punches me and teaches me the “screaming distracts drivers” lesson. Joke fail.
We arrive at Elliot Woolsey’s going away party and see Jodee Champion spit out hilariousness for her dreamboat BFF. I high five Timmi as she heads out to the Squire, slap Jodee on the ass and group chest bump Nicole Qualtieri and Melanie Karnopp. Then we get in a big circle after the show, pass around the mic for half-jokes and all of the guys all talk about wanting to bang us.
That’s how we roll.
A friend in the industry recently told me that when they’re looking for comedians, they’re looking for good comedians… and that could lie in a man or a woman. Let’s hope this is true as the Denver divas continue to tear it up.
Nice to meet you, ladies. We’re going to have a lot of fun.
Last night, I did my first set at Comedy Works in Denver. I was floored at the amount of support I received from my friends and family who came out. No need for a Facebook invite. I had two minutes to make them giggle. It was a success.
My main joke was about dating a deaf guy and having learned all of my sign language from playing poker with the hearing impaired. Which is actually a true story… slightly exaggerated, of course.
I started playing poker when I was living in New Jersey in 2004. The town I lived in neighbored Seaside Heights, where the ‘Jersey Shore’ is filmed. I hated that place and dove into playing poker nightly to deal with the anxiety and stress of my job and living in the least friendly state in the union. It was a crazy time, and I spent most of it in Atlantic City.
After a year of misery, I got the hell out of Jersey and quit playing poker.
Then, last summer, I started playing free Hold ‘em at a great little coffee shop/bar, Gallop Café, in my neighborhood. This weekly activity completely changed my life as I knew it. I met a group of people that turned into my Denver family. Among them, Emily Chaney (Paris on the Platte), who is responsible for me getting into the comedy scene. She is a poker force to be reckoned with… I’d give away all of her tells, but then she would change them, and I would no longer be able to take all of her money. My poker family has seen me through substantial weight loss, depression, several boyfriends, break-ups, unemployment, a new job, and my start in comedy.
Among this eclectic group of people were three players who play regularly for the National Deaf Poker Tour: Ken, Raymond and Genie. They were constantly signing across the table to each other. I started asking about the signs, because it was crucial in my winning against them. Regardless, they would almost always take all of my chips.
Of the three, Ken was the one that I felt closest to. This wasn’t because when I pointed to my mouth and asked if he could read lips, he puckered up and leaned in.
Ken has traveled all over the nation; teaching sign language classes and training ASL instructors. The plan (my plan) was to bribe him with a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue to get him to teach me sign language. He was just as sneaky with signing as he was with pocket pairs. I asked him the sign for “University” once. He tricked me and had actually taught me the sign for “Pussy” which I used about 20 times before he told me that he had been messing with my head. For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why he always wanted to talk about where I went to school and why he couldn’t stop laughing when I did. I did not graduate from Pennsylvania State Pussy. Most of what he taught me has made it into my joke. (except for fisting… which Ben Kronberg suggested. It’s funny. I like it. Not Fisting. The joke. )
I did learn all of the sign language that I know from playing poker with deaf people, their family members, and ASL instructors. I did go out with a deaf guy who was under the impression that I knew sign language. I never bought a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue for Ken, which is why I still speak sign language poorly.
Immediately after I did my first set at Comedy Works, my friend Tammy told me that our friend, Ken, had died that day.
Rest In Peace, buddy. You will always hold a place in my heart… and my joke.
Blogging doesn’t seem necessary until there’s a point when one feels that they need to explain their actions.
Here’s a good exercise for everyone to try:
In one sentence, explain the first impression that you give people. If someone was to describe you, what would that description be?
- I would be: The tall girl with blonde hair that you have probably seen at that dive bar.
- I used to be: That famous college football player’s girlfriend… the tall one.
I like the first title better.
- I hope to become: Heather Snow, you’ve seen her. She’s funny.
I’m doing my best to become a part of Denver’s local comedy scene. The comics here are certainly friendly and supportive, but you can tell that you’re not funny when no one is laughing. I don’t care how pretty you are, that’s not going to cut it. (No matter how much they want to hug you when you get off stage.)
So here goes: I’m Heather Snow. I’m six feet tall, a girl & I’m going to be funny.