Anna Phillips Comedy

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The Challenge

Posted by annadreambig on January 2, 2017 at 7:40 PM Comments comments (37)
I've challenged myself to write something, anything everyday while I am in Baltimore. It has not been going according to plan. I know what you're thinking. "A New Year's resolution, how original." You are almost correct in your cynicism. This is a resolution from 3 years ago. And I've been actively trying to get back to it the past 2 months. This is really a birthday gift to myself since I'm getting older and crustier in a few days. I can't help it if the New Year's holiday BS annually tries to steal my shine. This is a comedian's website though, and the stuff I'll probably write won't fit well here so I'll just put everything on an old blog I just discovered a couple days ago (Chris Columbus style). I actually had to delete or unpublish most of the posts there because they were from 2008- 2011 before and right after I started stand up comedy. It was too personal and too incriminating and I'm marginally smarter and substantially more defensive than I was years ago (I was in my 20s). Writing on the internet, especially before now, when you're essentially a nobody, is like hiding in plain sight. You know you exist, but no one else does. It gives you a false sense of freedom. Since I gave up most of my worldly possessions months ago, I have little more than my thoughts and memories. And most of those are more alarming than my credit score. The bright side is I can't afford therapy right now, but this will do.

Hercules

Posted by annadreambig on January 1, 2017 at 6:20 PM Comments comments (0)
I have no excuses for not keeping my own website updated. I have treated my baby like an unwanted stepchild, or more accurately like a forgotten Myspace page. Let me jump right into it and tell you the happenings. Last year, I took a 3 month leave of absence from my job in Syracuse and traveled around the country to perform and just live, except for the Confederate states (too scary) and the West coast (too far and I think there is a weight limit). I did it with very little money and I survived off the kindness of friends and strangers. Then I foolishly thought I could just go back to work and my regular life, but something in me had changed forever. There was no going back to the old me, even if I wanted to. I do not want to put all the blame on comedy. I had been working overnights almost my entire adult life and I literally saw the light at the end of the graveyard shift. I was finally amongst the day walkers and it was not half as bad as I thought it would be. Living like an out-of-shape vampire for more than a decade made me look and feel like an extra on The Walking Dead (not a main character, or special guest, or even a speaking role). So, after my leave of absence I decided I was going to leave my job permanently within the next year. I was leaning towards the Midwest because LA is too pretty and NYC is too dirty. You can take that to mean whatever you want it to mean; it's not fact-based at all. Really, Chicago seemed like an affordable and reasonable compromise. All I knew was that Syracuse was beginning to feel like a small pond. So, this past summer, I worked my last day at a job in Syracuse with a decent income, consistent booked comedy gigs, and low cost of living (a 3 bedroom for $700/month. Say What!?), and took the leap. No more small pond for me. Now I am a guppy in a contaminated sea. Maybe I should have waited, did more research, saved more money, etc. but it is too late now to go back. I traveled again this summer and fall and spent some time in the Midwest and East coast. My favorite time was spent in Chicago for a month. The people were nicer than I imagined they would be. Granted, half the comedians I knew had moved to the East or West coasts. One of my best friends lives in a fancy condo in downtown Chicago but she was in Europe the whole time while I 'Talented Mr. Ripley'd' her life. ("I always thought it would be better to be a fake somebody, than a real nobody.") Then I came back to Baltimore. I am not exactly sure why. I know the reason I told people. Personal and family stuff. But those issues could have resolved themselves without me moving back. No one begged me to save them. I think, especially before I visited Chicago-my intended destination, I wanted someone to need me. I had given up so much in Syracuse and I was afraid of failing in a city I barely knew anyone. In all honesty, Baltimore is my ground zero. The reason I left Baltimore and did not return to live here for several years is the same reason I don't date light-skinned dudes; it reminds me of oppression. Not you, Jesse Williams. You. Can. Get. It. A lot of traumatic events happened to me here and I'm supposed to focus on writing jokes? The cherry on top is although I may be slowly disintegrating into a pile of insanity, the rest of the country seems to be losing its mind too. And you know, misery LOVES company. So, I guess, we are in this... together? My favorite quote of all time, which I use far too often, is from Assata Shakur: "The strong go crazy. The weak just go along." That means I am Hercules. Hercules! HERCULES! Fabulous.

Ha Ha Hiatus

Posted by annadreambig on December 20, 2014 at 11:25 PM Comments comments (0)

50 days since I started my comedy hiatus and I've only broken it a few times. Twice at an open mic that I used to run because I just couldn't stand by idly while comics drowned in their own insecurities in front of a live audience. I had to drown with them. But I learned my lesson. The host took a picture of me and posted it on social media with the quote, "I'm on hiatus." Yes, I'm a hypocrite. But really I'm an addict. I stopped doing it though. I just have to get there after they start so I'm not tempted or just not go at all. I shouldn't be breaking my break for a freaking open mic. That's like sucking dick for a cigarette or a cup of coffee. You really should only compromise yourself for Crack or a Brazilian steakhouse buffet that costs $50 per person (shout out to Texas de Brazil). Not something you can probably get for free from every third person you ask. I broke my hiatus and all I got was humiliation, not even a t-shirt. Can I tell you a secret though? I kinda like being humiliated every now and then. It feels like validation of my self perception. I don't mean that in a pitiful way though; I mean that in a "I like to laugh... at myself" kinda way. That's not about humility for me. I think if you have to tell people you're humble you're probably not. You probably just made that your thing, your hook, your tagline so people would still pay attention, because being conceited didn't work for you. (Who really could do it better than Kanye right? )

This time away from comedy was supposed to be relaxing and productive but it was none of those things. I had a lot of anxiety. I was too busy to write or too distracted. And then I got really comfortable not doing comedy and it scared me a little. I don't think I will continue with this experiment. I mean comedy is addictive, but it's not illegal. It's not heroin. I should focus on quitting smoking or eating unhealthy before I try to get rid of the one thing that made me happy in the past decade. But I don't think I would have figured that out without taking a step back so all in all, it was worth it.


Best. Compliment. Ever.

Posted by annadreambig on August 19, 2013 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (0)

This isn't an opportunity to brag or anything like that. It's more like a statement of appreciation. I'm actually not that great of a comedian, especially because I will pass on opportunites that would probably get me further all the time. And a lot of times I care too much about the audience having a good time, and let that affect the decisions I make in my performance. But I'm years away from a professional career if I choose to go down that path, so I'm not so worried about the mistakes I'm making now.


I don't usually receive compliments well. They tend to make me uncomfortable, especially because 9 times out of 10 I feel like I could have done much better than I did. Sometimes the compliments just seem like someone being polite and I do appreciate it regardless. I just don't know how to react. But sometimes, the compliment is so thoroughly enthusiastic and sincere and heartwarming that even I, as cynical and self-deprecating as I am, have to recognize that something special happened. Another comic gave me some great advice, which I also read somewhere too, that the best response to compliments after performing is to just say thank you. Pretty simple. I'm going to try to do that from now on.


A lady said to me after I performed with Kyle Grooms, "I just really like your personality." It was the way she said it though that made me want to cry. It was just so sincere. I mean, I know I should want people to tell me how funny I am or how I am the best comedian ever, blah blah blah. But it almost felt like she was saying she liked who I am as a "real" person.  Being a good person is something I'd much rather be than just being a good comic. I would give up comedy if I had to choose between one or the other.  I did say thank you that time. But I had to walk away from her because she was making me feel emotions and I don't like emotions. 


Another example of one those compliments that makes me step back and just realize I can connect to people in a special way came to me via facebook message a day after I was eliminated from The Funniest Person in Rochester contest. I know this is sort of a violation of privacy but whenever I look at this message someone sent me I instantly feel better about everything. 


"My friends won't shut up about how funny your set was yesterday. Comparatively your humor was clean, well thought out and didn't seem over scripted. I don't know how you didn't place. Try not to feel down on yourself for how it worked out, because if nothing else your fan base has at least increased by two (I'm already a fan, so I don't count). I know it doesn't mean much coming from some tree hugger, but the bottom line is that 99% of us go and do our day to day bullshit moving information from one place to another without ever really creating anything, but you on the other hand have the ability to both tolerate the day to day stuff and still have the optimism to create something original at the end of the day. I think there's probably humor to be found in everything but it takes a special kind of person to be able to seek it out rather than be overcome by irrational and reactionary emotions that cause us run from or ignore the issues at hand. Anna, really keep doing what your doing and I know you'll get where you want to go with this. Five gold stars. Good luck."


Geez.

Thank you.


Women in Comedy Festival- Boston part one...

Posted by annadreambig on March 28, 2013 at 5:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Wait, how does the line go? "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times." Whatever, I don't like to read.

I went to the 5th annual Women in Comedy Festival in Boston. It was my second time attending the festival. It really kicked off out on the road, at a rest stop, with ketchup exploding in my face. That's when I knew. This time was going to be special. I guess I deserved it for falling far off the Weight Watchers' wagon. By the way, I spend a lot of time at rest stops going to shows, or "travel centers" if you're fancy, and I must say they are like little islands of misfit toys. I like it. When the Hunchback of Route 90 comes mopping as I walk out of the bathroom, or some of the eczema cream falls off the Dunkin Donuts cashier's arm into my coffee I really feel like screaming out, "I COULD BE YOUR QUEEN!" I effing love those people man! I want to break out into song and dance like we're in some weird musical adaptation of the Wizard of OZ. Now I know some of you are thinking, hey that's not nice. But I am being completely honest when I say I've never felt less judged and at ease than at those castles of chlamydia, calluses, and Corkys. I want to live amongst my people! The less glamorous, polished, and accepted side of society. And no one even batted an eye when the ketchup dispenser jizzed its contents all over my face like I was in some foodie porn movie. God Bless 'em, I say!

 

Anyway, continuing on my journey, I planned on getting there a night early to check out an open mic and hang out with a friend who moved to Boston not too long ago. Haha, plans. How foolish. You know that internet meme going around how organized and structured the streets of NYC are and how ridiculous and complicated the streets of Boston are? Yeah well... I figured I would save the battery and wait until about 30 miles outside of Boston to use GPS to get to the open mic in a place called Charlestown. So I turn it on. Um...I turn it ON! Uh ok...Annnnd ON! Still nothing. And....ON? No service. Ok well, there's always signs to guide me and I sort of remember some of the directions from reading it earlier. No biggie. 2.5 hours later I give up. I tap out. I end up at a Dunkin Donuts parking lot...which happens to be about 2 blocks from my friend's place where I'm staying. That was an accident, sent from heaven. I just could not believe that as I drove around the city, excuse me- cities, of Boston, Cambridge, Medford, Somerville, Charlestown, etc. NO ONE knew how to get to another place! It was ridiculous. I even spoke to my friend on the phone and he's still too new to the city to be helpful. He gave the phone to some other comic at the open mic to help me out. That guy really pissed me off. I hope that guy's jokes are funnier than his directions are helpful. "Go straight and then turn right at the light. Then keep following that all the way around blah blah blah." Yeah, thanks, shut up.

 

Some people acted like I was going to rob them when I approached for help. I had pulled over several times to check my phone, gather my thoughts, beat my head against the steering wheel. One of those times, two older white gentleman pulled up behind my car and blocked a driveway. So I figured, maybe I'm in their assigned parking spot, as the sign above me said "permit only." I get out to ask if they need me to move and "by the way do you know where I am right now?" At first the driver refused to talk to me, like I was a Jehovah's witness knocking on the door Saturday morning. And they must have thought I had magical powers if I was going to leave my car running and carjack them at the same time. Calm down fellas, your car's not that much nicer than mine. Eventually the driver cracked the window half an inch and gave me some very useful directions to help me on my way. Hahaha just kidding, it was as useless as a Bieber twitter follower. Another helpful citizen of the great city of Boston, and yes I was actually in Boston- right near Fenway Park, working at a gas station drew me a map on the back of blank receipt paper. Why, thank you kind sir. I surely would like some football plays to help me score a touchdown in Charlestown. Geez, this open mic at Tavern at the End of the World must really be at the end of the world! WTF!?  Ugh, at this point I'm getting so disgusted with this place. I was saying to myself, "Where is the racism, Boston!? I need a cop to profile me right now and pull me over so I can get some muthafocking directions!" I mean, I got pulled over by a cop in Syracuse and I wasn't even driving. I was parked, in broad daylight, in front of my house. Boston, step your game up!  Then I was afraid maybe I was a new cast member on a real life LOST! Then I became Zen. And that's when my spirit guide, Harriet Tubman, came to me in a vision and led me to that 24hrs Dunkin Donuts parking lot of freedom and espresso. Thank you Harriet!

 

 

 


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