Archive for September, 2009

Weight loss secret for the day: Do Stand-up.

weightlosssecretI recently attended a party where I was to socialize with people I hadn’t seen in many years.  Imagine my surprise when a few of the attendees commented on how thin I looked.  Who doesn’t like to hear that they look thin?  (Okay, minor note: not to make this a gender thing but what girl doesn’t like to hear that she looks thin?)  I have lost a few pounds in the last few years and the biggest factor that I can attribute to losing weight is performing stand-up comedy.  Based on the weigh-loss concept of calorie-output-must-be-greater-than-calorie-input, here are the top 5 reasons I can figure:

1) I can’t eat a meal before a show. I’m too nervous and my body is repulsed by food.  I can choke down enough protein and calories so I don’t pass out on the floor in a sweaty heap before I go on stage.  Notice I didn’t say “food” — I said protein and calories.  I don’t consider a Clif Bar to be actual food but it does the job.

2) I can’t eat a meal after the show. It’s too late.  If the show doesn’t start until 8 and it doesn’t end until 11, that’s too late to have a meal.  I’m not going to walk in the door at home at 11:30 and cook up a meal and then go to bed at midnight.  That’s crazy talk.  Again, I’ll have a handful of trailmix or a slice of cheese so I don’t faint on the floor, but that’s pretty much it.

Notice: 1 plus 2 = no real dinner.  Two snacks don’t equal dinner so right there, I’m cutting out many of the normal calories for a  typical day.

3) Fight or flight. Not to be too explicit but here goes…  Before I show I’m nervous.  Yes, I still get nervous.  (I don’t think I’d be doing it right if I wasn’t nervous.)  When my body gets nervous, it has a fight or flight response.  There are many symptoms of the physical/psychological stress response but the one that’s relevant here is “evacuation of colon” — or in layman’s terms — helps you poop.  Stand-up comedy is better than fiber.  I’m not sure what’s living in there but I know it weighs something.

4) Stand-up keeps me sober. Most of the time, that is.  I have a strict never-drink-before-a-show policy.  I want to be sharp on stage.  I’ve heard arguments for both methods and I don’t judge comics who need to mentally lubricate before going on but for me, I’ve found being sober works better.  If I have guests at the show and we’re planning to go out afterward, I might have a drink at the club after my set to catch up with their drink minimum but most of the time, I’m there alone and I’m planning to take the subway home alone after the show.  I do my best to not be the single female traveler drunk on the subway at 11:30 at night.  Remember, I haven’t eaten much so I’m a light weight.  Each vodka cran can be 200 calories so by not drinking, I cut down on those sneaky liquid calories.

5) I’m more active. I’m rushing from one job to the first club to the next.  I’m moving around more than I would be if I did whatever it was I did before I did stand-up.  I’m up and down subway stairs and walking to clubs often carrying bags of stuff.  Before I show, I’m standing around outside waiting for it to start.  After my set, I stand around outside to hang out with friends or other comics.  It just feels very active to me.  Even nervously shaking a foot burns more calories than not shaking a foot.

Those are the main factors I can see.  I also pound water on the day of the show to make up for the hydration loss of the constant trips to the bathroom.  Drinking water makes you lose weight.

So eat right, exercise and get on stage.  That’s my advice for the day.

September 27, 2009 at 10:20 pm 1 comment

Comedy by the numbers.

EdisonWhen I get excited about a new project, I give it my all.  I’m not afraid of hard work.  But when I don’t have a goal in mind, I’ve been known to bounce from creative project to creative project with no tangible results except awesome memories.  I’m like Auntie Mame that way.  I need specifics.  It’s the difference between saying “I want to be a writer,” and, “I want to write my first novel by the time I’m 40.”  See the difference?  When I started doing stand-up I knew I had to set a specific goal for myself.  I knew the comedy world was challenging and unforgiving and that if I wasn’t strong and disciplined, I might get frustrated and bow out.

That’s why I set myself a goal number of times I would get on stage.  Only after I performed that number of times could I decide if it was the life for me.  That number seemed astronomical when I set it years ago but now I’m only 2 shows away.  (Does that seem hokey?  I’ll live with being hokey.   After all, your mom is hokey and you turned out alright.)

Am I going to stick with comedy after the 2nd show?  You bet your sweet ass I am.  I love everything about doing stand-up.  My only regret is not starting sooner but there’s not much I can do about that without a functioning flux capacitor and haters keep telling me they are “fictional.”

I love that comedy is always a challenge.  It’s a beautiful and strange art form.  A comedian friend told me about a successful comic who knew he had to quit when he was 12 minutes into his 30 minute set and all he could think about was what he was going to eat for breakfast the next morning.  That’s when you know you have to quit.  When I’m on stage, I’m on stage.  Everything makes sense to me.  I know what I’m supposed to do.  Like any other craft, you have to work at it constantly to grow and make it better.  I’m better than I was when I started but I still have a long way to go.  If you’re not trying to improve, you should stop and I’m not ready to stop.

I like these two quotes by Thomas A. Edison:

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

So true.  And it goes hand in hand with this other quote:

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

Man, I hope I’m doing this right.  Focus really hard, work really hard, and always be learning.

Two more shows, though?  Damn.  What a ride.

September 3, 2009 at 8:38 pm 1 comment

Come see me!

Next shows:

Thursday, December 1st
Ed Sullivan On Acid Comedy Show
The Duplex
61 Christopher St
New York, NY

Sunday, December 11th
Jazz on the Park


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September 2009