Last Week, This Week: Nov. 28 to Dec. 4

A possibly-weekly recap of the week before plus some things about this week too

As the subtitle says, I’m starting a new maybe-weekly series that recaps what I did the week before. I’m trying to hold myself accountable and just be honest about the ups and downs of funemployment. I also love discussing movies, TV shows, books, music, podcasts, pretty much anything entertainment-related. I figured this could be where I talk about those things too. 

So, consider all of the topics below conversation starters. Feel free to leave a comment below or reach out on social media if you want to chat about stuff. 

Last Week… 

We ate Thanksgiving leftovers for probably longer than you’re supposed to, and no one died. 

My 2017 MacBook Pro battery died a second time. It was $199 to fix and would’ve required being without a computer for at least five days. It had a $170 resale value and there was a $150 gift card promotion and applying for credit only required a soft-inquiry… 

So yes, I bought a new laptop when I wasn’t planning to. 

In my defense, my new MacBook Air is sooo pretty (it’s midnight). Also, any laptop would’ve been a significant upgrade. I’ll keep trying to convince myself this wasn’t an impulsive, emotional purchase.

For you personal finance nerds, I got 0% interest and way too high of a credit limit, so my credit utilization ratio is looking noice. 👌 There’s only a hard credit inquiry if you accept the credit offer. Plus, I have an inquiry falling off my credit in January so I felt ok about it.

Other than that, I had a phone interview for a job that’s got me feeling equally excited and terrified, a feeling I’m very much familiar with. I should find out sometime this week if I move on to the next round. 

I went to the bouldering gym for the first time since the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and ouch. It’s amazing how quickly you “lose the feel,” as Sylvester Stallone’s character Gabe so wisely says in “Cliffhanger,” one of the best action films ever made.

I definitely spent too much energy stressing about my set for my standup class showcase.

Preparing For the Standup Comedy Showcase

Part of our homework for the week was to go to an open mic to test our material before the showcase. But the whole reason I paid money to join a standup class was to perform my first-ever standup set in a safe and welcoming room…

In true Cristy fashion, I did not do my homework.

We were also supposed to record our open mic set and schedule time for feedback. But I also didn’t want to do that because I knew I would get in my head. 

Here’s what I did instead:

  1. I wrote down any joke or funny story I thought of in my notes and reviewed pretty much everything I’ve collected over the last few years to figure out my material. 
  2. I selected a handful of those ideas and trimmed them down. This helped me identify how much info was actually necessary for the bit. 
  3. I had my usual freak-out, minus my usual crying. Why did I sign up for this?! Yada yada yada.
  4. I watched videos and read articles on how to write and memorize a standup set. 
  5. I wrote a draft and recorded myself reading the jokes to get an idea of my set length, which turned out to be about 2 and ½ minutes. 
  6. I met with a friend who’s also in the class to go over our jokes and provide feedback. 
  7. I calmed down said-friend who was having her own usual freak-out. Then she calmed me down again. This back and forth went on all week right up until the show itself started.
  8. I broke up my bits into smaller chunks and then wrote it all down on notecards.
  9. Practiced the shit out of it. 

By Friday, I had pretty much finalized what I was going to do for the show. I recorded my set (audio only) and emailed it to the teacher, mostly to reassure him I did have something prepared and to give him an idea of where to put me in the show. I specifically said I didn’t want any feedback because I would get in my head. (I’m so bossy. 💁🏻‍♀️ 🤭)

I rehearsed with my notecards on Friday and Saturday pretty much all day long. Anytime my husband left the house, I grabbed the nearest “mic” and acted out my set. Among the products subbed for the mic: an upside-down lavender spray for spritzing pillows before bed, a thick yellow highlighter, my naked fist, various kitchen utensils, and a bottle of lotion. 

On Sunday I rehearsed all throughout the day, only referring to my notes if I got lost. I also made sure my set was in my Notes app and typed up an abbreviated setlist for quick reference. 

I was also very anxious and got a bunch of laundry and cleaning done. My home is always the cleanest before a big deadline. 

So… How Did It Go?

I walked on stage grateful I was finally getting it over with and walked off asking myself, When can I do this again?

IT WAS FUN! We all killed! I’m personally super proud of my set, which ended up being just under 5 minutes, and I received a lot of positive feedback too. I got laughs in all of the places I’d hoped I would. (I’m super appreciative of my previous experience in improv and sketch.) I even added a quick last-minute joke to my intro that did really well. The crowd responded to nearly everything. There were a couple of lines I thought might get some type of reaction that didn’t (e.g. a groan or woot!), but that’s ok because they weren’t the punchlines. The punchlines all got laughs. 😎

I didn’t ask anyone to record the set, so sorry, no video to share with you. It was a small room so I wanted/needed all the laughs I could get and didn’t want anyone to stay quiet for the video. But I did take my phone on stage with me and recorded the audio. I’m thinking of writing a separate post about how I wrote the set and may include some of the recording. I haven’t decided if it’s embarrassing or not yet. 

What Was It Like to Get Back on Stage?

I’ve never really thought of myself as a performer or actor or comedian. As a writer, I thought I was using improv to fill my time and be busy to avoid writing — a distraction and another excuse for procrastination. 

But it felt great. I’d forgotten what it felt like to make an audience laugh. I guess 1,030 days between performances can do that to you. 

Being on stage making people feel things is a different kind of high — temporarily satisfactory like a sugar rush. Maybe the torture leading up to a performance makes it feel much more gratifying in the moment. Then, the next day I experience the sugar crash which turns into a comedy hangover, reminding me the only way to feel that high again is to get back on stage. It’s a vicious cycle. 

Another reason performing is satisfying is it’s one of the few things that requires me to be mentally focused and present, something I have a really hard time doing day to day. I love that “flow” state. Climbing has that effect on me as well. 

Ok, the following section is kind of a mess since it’s the first time, and I want to talk about a lot of things. 

📺 What I’m Watching

No spoilers, please!

  • Desperate Housewives – Yes, I’m currently binging the ABC hit from the aughts. I never watched it then, and I have to support my fellow South Texan Eva Longoria. I’m just starting season 7. I don’t know what I’m going to do with my time when I’m done with all 180 episodes. 
  • White Lotus – I’ve never hit pause so much on a show that I love. There’s so much cringe but I can’t stop watching it. I believe I’m about two episodes in Season 2.
  • Yellowstone – We just watched the pilot. Is this like “Succession” but in a ranch?

📚What I’m Reading

I currently have a Scribd membership and have read a lot of nonfiction. I’m not sharing those recommendations yet but will at some point. 

We just upgraded our Kindles so I also have free trials of Kindle Unlimited and Audible. With my two Audible credits I got:

  • Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo* – written and narrated by Amy Schumer. I’ve only listened to a couple of chapters but so far so good.
  • Cómo Agua Para Chocolate* – “Like Water for Chocolate,” written by Laura Esquivel. This is one of my all-time favorite books. I’ve read it in English a couple of times and have seen the movie even more times. I’m excited to listen to my first audiobook in Spanish. I’m saving it for January.

Kindle Unlimited is a little overwhelming for me so I kind of froze when trying to choose just one book. Also, I’m so out of touch with fiction these days that I don’t know where to start. I read nonfiction most of the time which people seem to find weird. Anyway, let me know if you have any recommendations.

👂🏼What I’m Listening To

I listen to a lot of podcasts. Some of my go-tos are:

  • Scriptnotes with screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin
  • The Screenwriting Life with screenwriters Meg LeFauve and Lorien McKenna
  • Conan Needs a Friend with Conan O’Brien, his assistant Sona Movsesian, and producer Matt Gourley
  • The Always Sunny Podcast with the creators of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, and Rob McElhenney, plus screenwriter/producer Megan Ganz

I just recently started listening to “Las Culturistas” with Matt Rogers and Bowen Yang (one of my SNL faves). I’m not even that familiar with what’s happening in pop culture these days, and I still found these two delightful. 

This Week…

I’m tweaking the blog. Maybe I’ll finally pitch some sites and publications. I definitely would like to go back to working on non-standup comedy too.

This post was supposed to be a short recap. Oh well. “Brevity” is not a word I’d use to describe my style, though it’s feedback I’ve received from people whose opinions I don’t care about.

I can’t believe it’s already December! I’m still getting used to the idea that it’s 2022, and now we’re just a few weeks away from 2023? What is time?

* These are affiliate links which pay me money should you make a purchase within a certain timeframe. Learn more.

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