Evolution of an Indie-Mom of Comedy:The Incubation
The bodacious, unapologetic Art that is; Stand- Up Comedy, has led me to places that I could’ve never imagined, as the youngest daughter of an unwed Baltimore inner-city teen mom. At-a-glance; the ebb and flow has been obtuse; from sharing a panel with the former past president of the NAACP (Benjamin Todd Jealous) and the late great Ossie Davis; in the syndicated documentary; Walk a Mile in My Shoes: A 90 year Look at the NAACP (1999) to the becoming a Social Justice Fellow of the Open Society Institute, (2010-2012). From Baltimore’s, Center Stage (Stoop Story Telling: Across The Great Divide; and Open Society Institute’s BIG CHANGE 15 year Anniversary) to the cast of an inaugural musical based on a nationally syndicated comic strip (Zippy the Pinhead; Baltimore Theatre Project). In the traditional stand up comedy sensibility, while surfing channels; I may pop up on current premium and network shows such as Nickleodeon, BET( Black Entertainment Television), STARz and CBS. And as if this weren’t amusing enough, it’s afforded me the title of Goddess/Comic Momma by the Founder, Rebecca Hoffberger; of the American Visionary Arts Museum. Yet, when I consider the extent of the journey thus far, it seems farfetched that stand up would introduce me to stages and performance spaces with the likes of the legendary, Dr. Maya Angelou, BB King, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kathy Kinney and Stevie Wonder to name a few. Most surprisingly, an unlikely invitation to THE OVAL Office for face-time with President Barack Obama (2009) only to be serendipitously thrilled nearly a year later (2010) to receive an invitation to a women’s only intimate gathering in Washington, DC; where I performed and met the FIRST LADY, Michelle Obama.
There was no way to ever imagine that an art form as pure and unadulterated as, stand up comedy; could provoke, kidnap and incite me, after 3 years of matriculation in a doctoral program (Temple University, Department of School Psychology), to take an extended leave-of-absence, to immerse myself in a quest to study, perform and someday carve a niche in the world of Stand Up Comedy; and yet it most certainly did! The road from 1999-2007 was extremely uncertain, with no true precedent. It took 8 years of standing on stages, in between, the beautiful surprise of marriage and motherhood (3 times) before I discovered and proclaimed to be, the Indie-Mom of Comedy. This is a glimpse of my Artistic hajj thus far!
The INCUBATION: This content, shares the rough, rocky, road, to finding my voice as a Stand Up Comedienne. While its brutally honest and pure, at best; its humbling, cringe-worthy at times and simultaneously enlightening and refreshing to see my beginnings. I unapologetically share them to place the inaugural blots on the canvas.