Chapter 2: The Queen of Unfinished Projects

Before I go any further into this blog, I need to address an important fact. 

I am the queen of unfinished projects.

I get an idea… 

I think it’s THE BEST… 

I start it… 

Tell people about it…

Then… 

I give up.

That’s right. I bail on myself. Take THAT, people of Los Angeles. 

I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but that’s usually what happens. I have a shit ton of abandoned creations. Sometimes I get scared my high school friends will finish raising their kids before I even do anything noteworthy. I can’t imagine why my country song, “I’m Not Good Enough For Most Guys, But I’m Good Enough For You,” didn’t sell. I have no instrumental skills and can’t sing, but I believed I had a hit on my hands.

I’ve dreamt of writing a book since I was a kid. I think I got into stand up because at it’s core, it’s a forum for writers. (Plus I’m too tone deaf to become a rock star.) Stand-up is a swift creative outlet, that can jizz all over your ego. (It doesn’t matter if you interpret that as a positive or negative- both check out.) Sometimes I get mad at myself for not completing a book sooner, but then another year passes and I’m so glad I didn’t. Every extra year only brings a better chapter.

Being the Queen of Unfinished Projects (a face that isn’t on any Canadian dollar bills) is not limited to creative endeavors. There are also domestic things that most civilians could complete in a single day, but I can’t. Take for instance, my bathroom. 

My bathroom isn’t in the entertainment business, per se, but it has created some comic relief in my life. (Privately, of course.) When I moved into my first ever, one bedroom apartment in Toronto, I took on the project of painting. It was the first time in my life living alone. I always had roommates. This was a huge accomplishment, even if it was only $745/month. (Don’t try to track down my old landlord- he has raised his rates.)

I actually like painting. I didn’t know until my house in Miracle Mile with fellow comedian and BFF Melissa McQueen, Miss Kansas 2002 Lindsay Douglas, and MTV’s sweet Road Rules sensation, Kendall Sheppard. Now THAT was a household. We lived in an Orthodox Jewish community, so we were strategic throwing our parties on the Sabbath so the neighbours couldn’t call the cops. Kiefer Sutherland even showed up at one. I was a huge 24 fan at the time, so when I answered the door and he was standing there, I yelled, 

“THE BOMB IS IN MY BEDROOM! HURRY!”

The four of us roommates had a great time expressing ourselves by painting this gorgeous house. Unfortunately, our landlord disapproved of our colours. He angrily claimed “This isn’t Pee-Wee’s Playhouse!!!!” And painted over ALL our work, including Kendall’s room which was brown, pink and vanilla in honour of Neapolitan ice cream.

So now that I was finally living on my own, and my landlord actually encouraged tenants to paint (probs to save him work,) I was going for it. I started with the living room, since the guy who lived there before me had stenciled his personal poetry on the wall. The room was brown, and in white block letters, one wall said, 

“People say size doesn’t count, but my heart is a house.”

I obviously had to paint over it. Not just because it sounded stupid, but since I also slept with him. (How do you think I knew what the apartment looked like before I moved in? My real estate techniques are not to be scrutinized.) I managed to finish painting the living room in full, a deep blue with one grey accent wall. It always looked nice at night, but during the day it looked like Smurf Village. 

Now on to the bathroom. I invited over my friend Sheree to help. We were co-workers at an Irish pub in the financial district. She’s hilarious, likes to drink, smokes pot and is a Sagittarius, like me. I felt as though painting would be more of a party than a chore with her. I picked out a nice shade of lavender, soothing for the morning after too much dirty draught beer.

The paint day started off easy. I was in charge of the green tape around the edges. Sheree was basically doing everything. (Must have been good pot.) We were killing it, BUT- my ceilings were high, and we didn’t have the couch to stand on like we did in the living room. We dragged a kitchen chair in to stand on, but it wasn’t tall enough. 

“Let’s take a break. Hit Canadian Tire and buy a ladder.”

(Canadian Tire is like Home Depot, for Canadians. They should change the name to Canadian Depot.)

It was April, which is a tease of a month in Toronto. It can be deceitfully sunny. You can look out the window, believe it’s a gorgeous day, then walk outside and get whipped by wind so fierce you end up in tears. It was one of those days, but we walked anyway, because we’re a little drunk and a little high. AKA “Canadian Invincible.”

We get to Canadian Tire at Yonge & Davenport, a corner which I will later shoot my first ever half hour comedy special. Am I bragging? Absolutely not. That place has since been turned into condos.

Our shopping adventure seems too easy.

“Look! This ladder is so small! Easy to carry home! And only twenty bucks! Perfect!”

When we get back into my apartment, we crack another Strongbow and smoke a little more pot. Then Sheree steps on the new ladder.

Fuck.

The ladder that we were so excited about being small, and easy to carry home?

It was the same height as standing on a chair.

Literally useless. 

It’s worth noting that I am NOT a return/exchanger of any sorts. If I buy something and it doesn’t work out, it just goes in my closet. Or I give it away. But I don’t really have the storage space for multiple ladders, so back into the wind we go.

The second ladder requires a cab ride home. (Pre-Uber days I spent a LOT on cabs in Toronto.) We get back inside, Sheree takes a few more hoots, I continue drinking the rest of my Strongbow that I put back in the fridge while were out, the same way I used to save unfinished juice boxes as a kid.

We continue with Paintapalooza 2008, then…

We run out of paint. 

Fuck. Neither one of us feels like another trip back to Canadian Tire. We’ll finish painting next Sunday.

It was a pretty solid plan, except…

Tuesday is garbage day. I played a lot of garbage games in this apartment, cuz we could only leave our trash out the one night of the week, after 4pm. I was very careful to make sure no piece of rubbish was left behind. I made sure those paint cans got tossed. Which seemed smart at the time, but…

The following weekend I head out to buy more paint. And guess what? I forgot to write down the name of the colour. No problem. I’m sure I can eyeball it. Surely I will be drawn to the exact shade of lavender I picked last time, right?

Sheree returns with pot and Strongbow. We have a few sips, take a few hoots, and back to work. But…

When the roller hits the wall, it’s not the gentle lavender that’s already on half the room. It’s Hannah Montana purple. 

Fuck.

Oh well. The colour is a little strong for a bathroom, but who cares? I live alone. No roommate to complain, and I don’t really give a shit. I love Miley Cyrus. (Even more true after her latest album, Plastic Hearts.)

A few hours later, we run out of paint again, because of course I bought the same size can as last time.

But it’s raining. And I already spent a lot on cabs that week. 

I never finished painting that bathroom. I just lived there, with three different colours on the walls for eight years. 

So if I never finish writing this book, I’ll just look at it as finally having a second bathroom.

Chapter 1: Diary “A-ha” Moment

Chapter One: Diary Aha Moment

I’ve been doing stand up comedy for 24 years and still feel like a total loser. Not sure if it’s admirable or embarrassing I’m still chasing my dreams, but the 90’s seem to be trending again, so I might as well attempt to throw my amateur comedy career in the nostalgia mix. It hurts a little knowing you could fit six Midge Maisel careers in the span of mine. Does this blog already feel depressing? Stay with me. I’m actually a positive person. Watch me turn this around.

When I still had a day job, I felt guilty calling myself a comedian- I’d say comedian/bartender. (You don’t have to do that, btw.) Now I’m back to feeling uncomfortable declaring I’m a comic, cuz like most of us, I’m barely even doing it right now. The future is a wild card, the present feels numb, but the past is sitting all pretty, waiting to be graded.

I’m sure the last year has been both introspective and retrospective for us all. Having created an act bragging about being single, you know I spent a LOT of time alone in 2020. (I moved to New York on March 1st, so you know I have impeccable timing.) But I wasn’t totally alone. I had myself, in different versions. An entire book shelf of me. I’ve written in diaries since I was eleven. I’ve dragged them all back and forth across the continent multiple times as I try figure out what fucking city I’m meant to live in. I tell myself I’m lugging them through life because obviously I’m going to write a book one day, but it could be that I just don’t want anyone to find/read them. I don’t even trust USPS with them. I FedEx’d them here. And if you’ve ever shipped a box of books, you know it ain’t cheap. (It’s also a workout carrying them up your five story walk up.) But sentimentality can’t be replaced. Plus there’s no way I would remember half my life without these diaries. I’m simply prepping for Alzheimer’s. I can’t wait to re-read the story of my life when I’m in the old folks home spreading STD’s, as I hear they do. (It’s socially acceptable after 85.)

I have a tradition I do by myself every New Year’s Day: I pull a diary off the shelf and read the entire thing. I think it’s smart to start your year reflecting- figure out how not to fuck things up this year. Having no job currently, I had time to real them all. (Sadly there was no option for me to put this on my Goodreads page.) That’s when I had my inciting incident for this blog:

Sure I can’t DO comedy right now… 

But I can tell the STORY of my comedy…

It’s something. And it’s Covid compliant. Plus, the Internet lets you put anything on here. Have you seen it’s work?

This blog is gonna be quite the ride. If stand up comedy is a game I’d say I’ve played all the levels:

Open mic-er

Feature/Middle

Hide all signs of being a comedian from family 

Host 

Move to Hollywood too early

The road 

The shows you called “The road” but really you just drove five hours for fifty bucks

Comedy competitions

“Sent” back to Canada

Headliner

Comedy festivals

TV Tapings

Blog

Optioned my own TV show

Dated comics (could be a full other book)

Gone viral

Podcast

Another podcast

Two more podcasts

Move to Hollywood too late

Vegas

Performed for the troops overseas

Cruise ship act (THE FINAL LEVEL!)

I’ve done everything except save the princess. (You know, become famous.)

Having my own personal George Bailey moment re-reading all these diaries really put things in perspective. They almost made me mad at myself. (Again, positive person, I will pull it together in the end.) 

I feel like I said “no” to all the things I should have “yes” to…

I feel like I said “yes” to all the things I should have said “no” to…

So here I am, re-reading my life from the point I was literate. How did I become a comedian? Why am I still doing it? Am I trapped in the dream of my 18-year-old self?

These blogs I’m going to release are chapters I’ve been compiling for years now. If you know me, you’ve heard me say I’m “writing a book” for at least the past five years. (Sometimes I bail on comedy shows saying I have a “deadline.” LOLOLOLOLOL.)

Somehow my work ethic for the long term has been interrupted by the instant gratification of social media. A cute pic. A funny Tik Tok. A clever tweet. You convince yourself these sort of posts are a pretty good work day, then go back to doing nothing. But then you wake up the next morning and waste hours looking at other people’s posts until you feel like that avocado you bought when it wasn’t ripe yet, waited too long to actually use, finally cut it open and now it’s rotten. I hope this blog doesn’t make anyone feel like that. If it makes you feel any better, I’m 42. It’s taken me this long to figure shit out and I’m only half way through the pile.

There was part of me that was thinking,

“Don’t do another blog…. You’ve exposed your personal life online enough…” 

But then I thought:

“I also don’t want to forget anything when I finally publish a book. Might be good for all the people from my past to add their memories and/or fix mine. I’d like to save myself from a few law suits if possible, so feel free to tell me what you think I’ll get sued for.”

So in the spirit of my Tinder Tuesdays, I’m going to post blogs every Tuesday. Even though these stories are more about comedy than sex, I promise…

There’s a LOT of over lap. 

Move over Bridget Jones. I know more Hugh Grants than you do.