I have one week left in Baltimore. I have signed my lease, and will officially be living in Brooklyn in October. This month has been far from smooth. Actually, it has been the most stressed out, unpleasant, and unsettling month I have had in a while. Being a chronic worrier and over thinker, I was convinced that this was a bad omen. I am really working on not complaining and venting 24/7 because it makes me inadvertently toxic, so I just will tell you that the lease process was a nightmare, I had close friends lose their family members, I had some issues with friends come afoot, each member of my immediate family is having a huge problem that they are projecting their extreme stress onto me, I have had to spend way more money than I anticipated on the move and it seems like the bills just keep pilling up, I’m being kind of a lousy friend, and the worst part, I don’t feel bad about it….and I got sick. What the hell, world!? I am very overwhelmed. The world isn’t going to end, but it’s easy to be overcome by life and its endless bs.
Something was telling me that I should stay home, that I should maybe wait until 2016 to make a move. While yes, I could save some more money and have more of a cushion to fall back on during my move, waiting a few more months won’t do anything for me. I will still be complacent, comfortable, and taking it easy in Maryland. I would have to deal with my parents (whom I love dearly) and the boredom of life in a suburb. I would have to keep waiting tables and working odd jobs, and only taking solace in shopping and over spending, which just off-sets all the work I just did to save money in the first place.
All of these obstacles that have gotten in my way this month actually confirms that I need to move to Brooklyn. It’s time.
I’ve been going to mics more frequently and I have been having a blast. I’m finally connecting with comics (not because they weren’t friendly, but because I was too shy to talk to them) and it has made each open mic something I’m looking forward to instead of freaking out and dreading it. I worry that sometimes I take the mic for granted and I don’t do that well, but I keep getting good feedback from my peers, so I guess I’m doing something right? I’ve been starting to feel like some of my older jokes are getting stale, so luckily this past month has been such a nightmare, it has helped my material be fresh and it has been fun to talk about it on stage. I even got the host to ask the audience to give me another round of applause for my set. That was pretty cool. I know that if I keep the momentum going things will only get better but it just is bittersweet knowing that I’ve connected with these comics and now I’m leaving them to start all over in NYC. Like I said, it’s meant to be, and I have to do it.
I have a show that I’m headlining before I move, October 2. It’s at Zissimos in Hampden, MD, starting at 8 pm. I am incredibly excited but I am still suffering some heartache over leaving. I know I’ll be back soon for the holidays but it just is tough knowing I have to start it all over again in a new city with a ton more expenses.
But if it was easy, everyone would do it. That’s what dreams are all about. I could easily go back to Marketing and get a job that drains me and pays well, have a 401k and be that cookie cutter person that society demands us all to be, but I wouldn’t be happy. Sure, money is incredibly important and I would love a pay increase, but at what cost? I’ll take struggling with money and doing what I love than having money and no joy in what I’m doing. When you don’t love what you’re spending most of your day doing, it affects every aspect of your life. You become toxic and unpleasant. I’ve seen it first hand and have experienced it myself. I used to let my professional friends make me feel bad or insecure about my path, and then I realized that they are just as lost as I feel at times. Ok, they have a job that pays, but all they do is complain about it, they’re single and have no energy to go out and meet people, and they’re lonely. I’ve never felt lonely since I started doing what I love. So if putting my path down makes them feel better about their lives, so be it. I won’t allow them make me feel bad because they’re noticing shortcomings in their lives.
Don’t let society, parents, friends, anyone tell you how to live your life. The reason they are telling you what you should do is to make them feel better about their choices that clearly aren’t making them happy. They aren’t out to get you, but they don’t know what’s best for you. The second I stopped seeking people’s suggestions on what to do, the better I have felt. I have my apprehensions because I’m nervous and scared and it’s a huge financial commitment, but I know that the cost of staying home is far worse than the $$$ that NYC costs. I’ll make it work because I have to make it work. I will work whatever jobs I need to work and hustle because that’s what you’re supposed to do to make your dreams come true.
I can settle for a corporate job any time. Maybe I’ll be there in a few years, maybe I won’t. Right now, all I want is to do what makes me feel alive and happy, and comedy is the most honest relationship I have ever had. I don’t pity my friends who have marriages, kids, or a corporate job–that’s great and I sincerely hope that works for them–but I wouldn’t trade my life for anyone’s, ever. I love being independent and not having to answer to anyone, I love meeting new people everyday, I love being immersed in the comedy scene and hearing jokes, I love scraping up money through interesting ways, I love not having to go to work at 8 am to commute, I love making ends meet (and then some) through my own hard passionate work. I love sleeping when I can. I love knowing I can stay up ’till 3 am and not have to worry about being tired the next day. There are absolutely corporate jobs that are great and make people very happy, and I am sure someday I will have to temp again and work in that environment. For now, I’m going to revel in being a renegade and just relax.
It will be ok, because it has to be ok.
I got this.
August has been one heck of a month. It’s been great, actually, but so much has went on that it’s hard to keep track. The first week of August I wrapped up the biggest sale of the year at my retail job, had my first tinder date, and then performed at the Comedy Extravaganza. I saw friends I haven’t seen in 7 years, and I met a lot of really interesting and supportive people. I got back into a stand-up routine and started making friends with comics. One of my best friends since middle school was in town from LA, and we had a blast like we always did. I lost 6 pounds. I put in the final two weeks at my retail job, and was really saddened to leave such great friends behind. It’s now September. My 25th birthday came and I went to Chicago. It was a great birthday. There were some really unfortunate events that happened that day, my dear friend’s Dad lost his battle to ALS, and a few days later, another dear friend’s sister passed away unexpectedly to a brain aneurysm.
Forgive me for being trite here, but life is so short, and it is so scary.
It should remind us all how fragile life is, and how blessed we are to be where we are right now. I know I can get wrapped up in my own world and problems, but when you see your friends lose their family members, you realize that there’s no point in worrying, because we could be dead tomorrow. There’s just no point in worrying so much. Freaking out over where you are in your career or who you are dating or not dating is so pointless. Live! Go outside. Volunteer. Get your head out of your ass and focus on someone other than yourself. We are all vulnerable and a little a lost, and all fighting a battle.
My heart goes out to my friends and their families, and words can’t express how sorry and sad I am for them. Everyone’s heart is heavy right now. Just know that you are loved, and I am always a text away.
I’m not sure how to segue this into stand-up, but I am just gonna jump right into it. Forgive me for changing gears here.
I’ve gotten back into the open mic swing of things now that I have one less job to juggle, and it has been fantastic. I have been meeting more people, and have been more outgoing. Everyone is cool and really, really funny. They aren’t all out to get me. They want me to be funny, and they laugh when it’s funny, and they smile when they don’t find me funny. That’s kind of wonderful. I’m really glad I’ve started to connect with more comics and building friendships, even if I’m leaving relatively soon. I’m officially moving to New York (GULP) in October, ideally Oct 1, to pursue my writing and comedy, all the while working my butt off at any job any time anywhere so I can continue to live comfortably. I would ideally work in Copywriting or freelance events/production, but I am not closed-minded. I will do anything if it keeps me away from Chevy’s in Times Square (no disrespect to my wonderful employer that I’ve been with for my 1 year anniversary this month!). I am beyond anxious about it, and I know I have a ton of work ahead of me. But if I don’t do it now, when would I do it? I could die tomorrow. That’s a scary fact to face. I want to pursue my dreams, even if I’m not totally ready experience or portfolio wise. I know I have a lot of work to do on my act, and I can always improve my writing. I just love New York, always have, always will, and I need to be there while I’m 25 and will just hustle until something comes about. If it does not work out, don’t you worry, I literally have 4 back-up plans, and they’re all good. One involves moving to Canton, MD…so maybe I will be around again.
For now, I am looking forward to this new chapter, no matter how scary it seems. I will always be a bus ride away, and I will definitely hit open mics in MD when I’m in town. I’m really thankful for the people I’ve met and connected with over the past year and several months. I had no idea I would love people so much, and the thought of leaving really hurts my heart. I’m so bad with goodbyes; I rarely do them. I usually just get up and leave and hope no one notices (they always do). I just want to say bye for now, and thank you for everything. You have made this really difficult time in my life an amazing journey that I will be forever thankful for for years to come.
Oh, right…stand-up…um, at the risk of being vague, last week was good! I was at Wits End again I just did a lot of old jokes just to tweak them a little. Some worked, some need more work. This week was all right, I was in at Venice Tavern in Canton with a comic friend of mine and I tried out some new material that actually worked better than all of the material that usually works at other mics. It was interesting to see how it just kind of flopped when I was always used to jokes landing. It was definitely my delivery that was different, because I was trying to be more ‘chill’, I guess…but I think that came off as apathetic, and people didn’t grasp it. Just trial and error, of course. I recorded this set and it was criiiiiinge-worthy at some parts (I’m my own worst critic, but it just wasn’t all that good), but I could tell I kind of was trying to talk slowly and that messed up my delivery. I’m glad I got up and did it, and I got some “good jobs” after the set. That’s all I can really ask for anyway.
Thanks, Baltimore. You’ve been so good to me.
Last night was so much fun! A huge thank you to everyone who made it out!! I had such a great time getting to see old friends and meet new ones. Missed out? Don’t worry, I recorded it. The phone fell off the chair, but luckily I was loud enough for it to pick up everything from the show, to me freaking out backstage. I hope you enjoy it!
MET’s ‘Comedy Pigs Comedy Extravaganza’ Set for August
The Comedy Pigs, who have been making audiences laugh for over 22 years, are thrilled to invite some of their friends and bitter rivals from the DMV to Frederick for a weekend of hilarity. Writer, comedian, and personal shopper Suzanne Lassise will stumble into town as she has stumbled through adulthood, one over-priced (but worth it!) shoe at a time. Ladies Night Out explore what it means to be women, in more ways than one. Prettier Than You, a DC-based long-form improv troupe with a focus on character work, thinks that they are, um, prettier than you. Local comic, Isabel Duarte is a member of the Comedy Pigs, a MET company member, and a regular contributor to the weekly comedy show and podcast, “The Last Hurrah.” Tributes is an improv comedy act from Baltimore that specializes in friendship, mind-reading, and a lack of boundaries. While exploring the periphery of relationships, they fulfill wild dreams and realize impossible scenarios right before your eyes! Additional performers will include Topher Bellavia, The Last Hurrah, Porkchop Volcano, Trampus, Send in the Clowns, Tramped, Washington College Improv, Drop Three Improv, Devin Greene, Girlfight, Topher and You, Going to the Movies Alone, and of course, The Comedy Pigs!
In addition to the “Comedy Pigs Comedy Extravaganza” performances, The Comedy Pigs will be hosting improv workshops led by Topher Bellavia. Topher Bellavia is an actor, director, designer, and writer who lives and performs in DC. He has performed with the Washington Improv Theater and has won two 48 Hour Film Project Awards. He was the Managing Director for the Washington Improv Theater for four years and has continued to offer training in Corporate Improv and Creativity. He has worked with The Comedy Pigs over the years and is currently hosting the “Maryland Wednesday Drop-in” in Silver Spring to work with local groups on their improvisation skills. The first workshop will focus on “The Power of Positivity” and the second workshop will work on “Interacting with Locations and Objects.” The workshops will take place on August 8 at 12pm and 3:30pm.
“Comedy Pigs’ Comedy Extravaganza” will run Friday and Saturday, August 7 and 8 at 8 p.m. at Maryland Ensemble Theatre (31 W Patrick St. Frederick) located in the historic FSK Hotel. These shows are intended for mature audiences only and tickets are $17 (all fees included). The Comedy Pigs Improv Workshops will cost $25 and are intended for individuals of all ages who are interested in learning more about improvisation. Reservations for the workshops should be done in advance because there is limited space available for each class. For more information visit marylandensemble.org or call (301) 694-4744.
A week has passed since I last performed. After getting back on the saddle with stand up, at first, I felt a little disheartened. Not that I expected to kill, but I was just kind of jarred by how hard it is, how delusional I must be to think I can actually *do* comedy, and what my life will entail doing open mics more and more frequently. It was scary, and I didn’t feel ready.
Then as I got more support and wrote about it more, I felt more at ease about the situation. It’s miraculous how a week of just preparing and getting kind of excited will do to you. I wanted to do some more open mics but my work schedule just won’t budge right now. Tuesdays are typically good for me, so I do open mics then. I was back at Wits End Saloon and saw some familiar faces when I came in promptly for sign up. I was the first to sign up, Suzanne Lacease. I sat alone with my moleskine and waited. and waited. and waited.
The MC told me I was up first, and I was actually kind of relieved. I just wanted to get it over with, because my jitters were kicking in and I was starting to get nervous. He called me up, and it was like I was a completely different person than from what I was last week. I just sat on the stool, remembered my moleskine this time, and just chatted with the audience.
Now, there were maybe 8 people in the audience, but I got constant laughter and participation from the audience. It felt great. I was just talking to them like they were my friends, and we all felt much more comfortable. I wasn’t trying to hard to be witty or funny, I just said what was on my mind and it worked so much better. I forgot some one liners I wanted to say, which I’m still kicking myself about, but I am overall really pleased by how it turned out! I also ended too early and was at a complete loss as to what to say when I was done with my two bits. I wanted to tune them up for my big show so I forgot to make it long enough to fit into a set. I talked about dating again with this set, and have come to terms with the fact that I am just gonna do dating jokes as I start out because they are easy for me and it’s something I know, at least. I don’t know relationships, but I definitely know dating. I just got to suck it up and realize I’m not Chappelle or Carlin…yet. :)
I got up, did my thing, got some laughs, and PROMPTLY got out the door. I just did not want to hear dick jokes or any jokes, really. I just was not in the mood and I have an early morning tomorrow. I was home in bed by 10:40 PM. Now that is a great open mic to me.
My big show released its flyer today and I can’t be more excited. With this solid open mic under my belt and more to come, I am feeling more and more confident that I will put on a good show. I’m trying my best to not beat myself up or be hard on myself because I’m just doing it for once and not getting in my own way. It’s nice to look out on the horizon and not see me standing there blocking myself from my dreams.
I am tucking myself into bed and getting some sleep. Until next time!
Come join me and Maryland’s best comedy acts for the show that keeps on giving! I am so excited and nervous to do this big show and I would love for you to come see it! The show is at the Maryland Ensemble Theater in Frederick, Maryland. Tickets are available here!
I’d like to share with you my open mic life, as it helps me get better at my, dare I say it, “craft”. I started writing about open mics years ago (I can’t believe it’s been YEARS…yikes), then got a new job and a whole bunch of excuses to get in the way of my life. Now, I am getting back into it, and as an incentive, I want to write about every performance I do. The good, the bad, the ugly.
I have a big show August 8 (Marylanders, buy your tickets!! It’s a great line up of comedy Improv troupes and stand-ups) and I realized something: I should probably practice and get a tight 10 minutes of material ready. You know, prepare? Maybe? I am someone who rarely studied and got A’s (B’s…C’s…and D’s…but mostly B’s!) a pretty good athlete that always groaned during practice but always delivered at game time, and an improviser at heart, but I know I have to cut that habit out if I ever want to get that A. I can coast all I want but at the end of the day, you just won’t get good if you don’t practice. I’m learning that the hard way.
My girlfriend’s boyfriend, Devin, is a comic in Maryland who was kind enough to let me in on his open mic plans. There was a small show at Wit’s End Saloon next to Magooby’s Joke House in Timonium, and I’ve been to the bar before to eat some food, but never knew there was a stand up show there. I have been coasting a lot recently and haven’t performed in months. It’s my own fault, but I work every day just about, and when I don’t, I’m traveling. I don’t abuse adderall anymore so I just don’t have the energy I used to “have” back in the day when I worked 15 hours a day. I know I need to reel in my work schedule, but that’s another story for another meeting with my therapist. I just never think I’m doing enough, and honestly, I am doing way too much. Way. Too. Much. Comedy took a back seat because it didn’t make me money, and I thought I was hot shit and funny because my friends think so. I don’t know many newbie comics who don’t think that way; we’re all delusional to think we can become real comedians. That’s how all of the greats start–completely, utterly delusional, but performing every single night.
It’s about time I did the same.
We got to the show and like clock work, I pulled up next to Devin in the parking lot. It was cosmic, or it was just the closest spot by the bar. You decide. I met the other comics on the line up, and met the MC. He was very friendly. I was very nervous. I was wearing my lucky Nike kicks and my favorite red lipstick, and I still felt nervous. I signed my name on the line-up sheet “Suzanne Lacease” just to avoid the dreadful Lassie pronunciation. It was in ink. Boom. Done. Now it’s time to sit and wait.
Am I even going on? Did the MC forget me? I don’t blame him, but I can’t hear one more dick joke…
I went outside to take a deep breath and chat with some drunk guys who told me they’d laugh at my jokes ‘no matter what’. I was so nervous I believed them. The MC came out and told me I was coming on after a guy with a vest adorned with buttons a la Girl Scouts. This is it!
I was called to the stage, and I decided to record being called up and screamed “LET’S TELL SOME DICK JOOOOOKEEEEESSS” on video for Instagram. It was greeted with 0 response, I pressed ‘done’ and posted it on to Instagram. At least the people on IG can hear the clapping and not the ‘what?’ I felt like as the only woman on the line up I should call out the very obvious theme of masturbation and dick jokes that was throughout the hour and a half I was patiently waiting.
I decided that they didn’t really hear me (false) or that they really thought I was going to tell dick jokes (another false), and I made a joke about how I don’t have that kind of business to banter about. I got the giggle. Ok, phew, let’s go.
Then I look to the stool to open my Moleskine of jokes I wrote, or a set list I had scribbled, and I realize it’s on the table by Devin and I was a deer in headlights. I joked about being unprepared (everyone’s favorite…sigh) and Devin tossed me the Moleskine that I dropped on the floor. Welp, I thought, I’m gonna just wing it.
I started off talking about being from Baltimore, but I couldn’t quite remember how I set up the joke in my Moleskine and it fell flat. Wasn’t awful, but just wasn’t funny. Luckily I had a lot of guys in the audience who were from Baltimore so they at least were on my side. Kind of like a “ok, white girl, bring it home to Baltimore”. I slabbed on my accent and kept going.
On to the next!
Then I joked about my job in retail, and I got some tepid laughter. It wasn’t hysterical, and it was a little too long-winded to get to the punchline. Luckily, once I got to the punchline, it got the laugh, and I felt all right. I’m not killing, but this room is about 10 half-drunk comics who have heard it all. You just aren’t going to kill, and that’s ok! Tepid laughter from a comic means I should hold on to it for another open mic.
Then I kind of forgot what else to say. SMASH CUT: DATING JOKES!
I hate dating jokes. I don’t know, I just have heard them all from way funnier women, and they just are always the same. Amy Schumer and Whitney Cummings are the go-to dating joke gurus, and even then sometimes the jokes are like “uuugghhhhh we get it”. But I didn’t know what to say, and I felt like talking about something I know will get a laugh because it is fucking funny. Shout out to my newest Instagram follower “Orgasm.Giverr”. He saved my set. I can improve on it but I have a good set up and I built my confidence back up. The guy in the front was smiling. Devin was laughing because he’s a good guy, but when someone is a stranger and laughs, you feel good.
Then I had some joke about charmers that I honestly know was so good when I had it written, but completely forgot the punchline. I forgot the set up, and a huge chunk of the story. It got a giggle but it fell flat, but I know it can get better with some practice.
I stayed and listened to one last comic, then decided I had to get home for work in the morning. I got some smiles from the other comics, and nods. It felt good to be back. I chatted with a guy from LA outside and we chatted about LA and open mics. He was aloof, like a lot of comics, but he seemed like good company. As I was talking, the MC came outside and asked me how long have I been doing stand up. I just passively said “not very long”, because honestly, either answer isn’t going to make me look good. I was expecting a “oh, I can tell” or something like that, but he nicely said “oh, wow. Well that OkCupid joke was great. It was a great set up, and it was so obvious, yet I never heard anyone say anything about it before. It was really funny.”
That’s all I needed to hear.
So all in all, my “first” open mic (let’s just call it that) was a pretty good time. I was used to “killing” in front of my friends and it made me a bit delusional. I’m so glad I got out there in front of strangers in a room of dudes and just did it. I didn’t do amazing, but I did just fine. That’s how you should be when you start out. You don’t kill every time. If you’re killing when you’re starting, you’re in the wrong room. I learned that tonight, and I’m so glad I did. I texted Devin and want to set up an open mic on Thursday.
a la George Costanza, I’M BACK IN BUSINESS, BABY!
Here’s another feature of #totalhonestytuesday in The Financial Diet! I have always been self-conscious of my thighs, as I’m sure many women can relate, and I decided to show them off to the world. The feedback has been overwhelming and awesome (from women, of course!). Love yourself and love your thunder thighs, ladies! Skinny, curvy, flat, voluptuous: you’re all beautiful. Stop rolling your eyes, it’s true!
I participated in #totalhonestytuesday and was selected to be featured in The Financial Diet! It’s a website about financial literacy for millennials and is co-founded by one of my Maryland writer heroes, Chelsea Fagan. I fangirled out when I saw that she selected and enjoyed my piece about how I’ve been feeling since I hit my one year sobriety mark. I loved this concept and was moved by what people shared. What would you like to be totally honest about next week?
Check out the first installation of #TotalHonestyTuesday!
Here’s the caption I wrote for my contribution