Hannah Gadsby’s “Nanette”

 

The other night I watched “Nanette” on Netflix. It’s billed as a stand-up special from Australian Comic Hannah Gadsby. I had heard she tied art history into her routine and I was intrigued. I like art. I like history. I like comedy. Win-win-win.

 

When I tell people to seek out “The Babadook” because it’s a deep, philosophical take on traditional horror films, I’m not wrong. But to suggest it is merely a deep, philosophical take is bullshit on my part. It’s scary. It’s supposed to be, granted, but my underselling that aspect is still bullshit. I’m telling you this because for anyone to tell you “Nanette” is merely a stand-up special is also bullshit. It’s funny, yes. But I’m not going to lie to you and tell you it’s only funny. Because it isn’t.

 

And I’m wrenched by that. I knew while I was watching “Nanette” that I was bearing witness to something daring. Something smart and moving. And yes, something funny. Gadsby’s humor is intelligent and biting. And I loved that part of this special. But I also loved how honest and real “Nanette” is. It broke me. It actually left me sobbing, friends. Gadsby somehow touched on all the colors of my soul, the lights and the darks. Honestly – I can’t remember any comic ever moving me the way Hannah Gadsby did with her “Nanette.”

 

When I finished watching, I turned to Mister and said, “That may have been the best TED talk I’ve seen in recent memory.” And it was. It is. I’m telling you this, not to discourage you from watching, but precisely because I think you should watch “Nanette.” I just want you to know that if you do, you’re in for so much more than comedy. Your funny bone will be tickled. But don’t be surprised if your heart cracks open a bit, too. That’s nothing to fear. It’s just the ache of making room for more love.

 

How I wish everyone could feel that ache.

I Just Couldn’t Wait!

 

 

Remember when I shared the above photo? When I went dot crazy? There was a very good reason for it…

 

It all started when my friend Nicole and I were at The Broad Museum in downtown L.A. While looking at the incredible collection of Lichtensteins, we came up with the idea to make our own Lichtenstein-like works. (For the record, Nicole swears this was my idea. I don’t remember that at all, but the girl is very truth-y, so I’m inclined to take her at her word. Besides, it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve forgotten something that came out of my own pie-hole.)

 

Anyhoo – we started tackling our respective paintings. And I absolutely love the fact that we took very different approaches. Whereas I used stickers to achieve my desired effect, Nicole has been using a stencil. (And I have got to tell you – her results are looking fab-o!) Because she’s a jet-setter and was unavailable for a while, I got in a bit more studio time than her and have finished my painting.

 

Let me repeat that, louder: I FINISHED MY PAINTING!

 

Now – before I share the result, I want you to know a few things… I’m sharing this painting before it’s sealed, which is something I rarely do. Sealing makes the colors pop, and I look forward to that, when it comes to pass, in a couple of months. Also – if you are lacking in the humor department, well, too bad for you. Because this painting is meant to be funny. Twisted, sure. But funny nonetheless. Ready? Here it is…

 

 

I had so much fun with this piece and may start another freakshow work. Maybe. For now, I’m just tickled over this one.

And on The Seventh Day…

 

 

The house is tidy. The food is prepped. We’re ready.

 

A high-school buddy is coming for dinner and Mister and I are looking forward to it. We’ve only crossed paths with him a few times since we were kids, and he’s a swell guy. So getting together for an evening is sure to be lovely.

 

It’s funny how we know people and then we don’t. It happens. Though I only moved to St. Louis when I was 16, Mister knew this dude throughout his early schoolin’. We all knew people like that. Hell – we liked a lot of them. And yet life twirls and swirls and we land where we land. It isn’t wrong or even bad. It’s just life.

 

We are looking forward to tonight. And we have been since the dinner was arranged. But yesterday made us even more happy to see this dude. You see, we had been emailing back and forth about what to serve for dinner. (I like to know if a guest has any food allergies or preferences before planning a menu.) When the dude asked what he could contribute to the meal (after flying into L.A.), we knew how difficult that would be, and so we made a joke about him bringing all kinds of foods only available in St. Louis. (We then made sure he knew he didn’t need to bring a thing.) Anyhoo – yesterday we received a delivery. From the dude. He had sent us a Gooey Butter Cake – one of the joke items we’d included in our funny email.

 

Our old high-school buddy made us laugh and laugh, and we really appreciated the joke. And the gift. Gooey Butter Cake am be good, y’all. Cheers to old friends.

The End of An Era

 

 

Tonight will mark the end of an era: David Letterman’s last show airs this evening.

 

I was a kid when Letterman took to the late-night airwaves. For the life of me, I don’t know how I knew about him. My parents weren’t fans. My friends weren’t staying up late enough to watch his show. Back in those days, Dave didn’t come on until 12:30 in the am. I’m talking school nights, people. I remember sneaking out of bed to watch, but I couldn’t tell you anything more. I just don’t recall. I certainly don’t remember standing around, talking about the previous night’s show with folks at school. But I was definitely affected. Terms like “stupid pet tricks” and “my brush with greatness” became part of my lexicon. Letterman was such a dork. Brilliant, to be sure, but a dork just the same. My adolescent sense of humor found a kindred spirit in Dave. Again – I don’t know how I knew to watch. But I did.

 

At best, I’ve been a fair-weather fan over the years. I’ve watched here and there, but not consistently. And that’s my loss. But whenever someone suggested to me that this host or that was the best, I never held back in professing my loyalty to Letterman. Even when I wasn’t watching regularly, I was a devoted fan. Always.

 

Mister and I have been watching every episode for the last few weeks, as we’ve known the end was nigh. And now it’s here. Because Letterman has been a constant in my little world, I am heart-broken over the end of his show. I understand, of course. The guy’s due. I get it. I suppose it’s just that, well, I’m losing a hero.

 

We all want to feel like someone gets us. We seek those sorts of simpatico relationships throughout our lives. And that desire extends beyond our real relationships to our reel relationships. I’ve never met David Letterman. In all likelihood, I’m not gonna. But I like to imagine that if I did know the guy, at least once – while hanging out and tooling around – we would have called a “how’s my driving” number on the back of a big-rig, just to mess with the operator. And we would have laughed. Boy-howdy, would we have laughed…

Visiting

 

 

Yesterday I spent a few hours visiting a friend who’s been side-lined by an ankle sprain. Her injury occurred without fanfare and for no good reason really. Like a lot of life, it just happened.

 

I am always grateful for my friends, but I often forget just how good they are to me. For me. They listen. They say nothing when quiet is called for. They say just the right thing when words are needed. And while they aren’t stingy with the truth, they are kind in their delivery.

 

Anyhoo, I about talked the ears off my laid-up friend yesterday. If I hadn’t had to meet a guy to discuss some termites (for reals), I’d probably be there still. Laughing and talking with my friend, listening to her sage wisdom wrapped in humor. Like I said, I am always grateful for my friends.

Dry Cleaner Wisdom

 

 

True dat, Troy. True dat.

Vanity

 

 

I’m a fan of creativity. I’m also a fan of humor. But I’m just not sure the auto vanity plate in the above photo qualifies as either. I want it to be clever. I want it to be funny. But is it? Really?

 

Or is it simply representative of someone with so much extra cash, she can dole out for a vanity plate that states the absurdly obvious? I remain undecided…

Aziz Ansari – Yes!

 

 

Last night, after a crazy-ass day, Mister and I watched “Aziz Ansari: Buried Alive.” We also split an amazing bottle of Barbera D’Asti and had some Italian Chicken Chili that had been cooking in the crock-pot for hours.

 

The thing about Ansari is he’s smart. He digs deep, and he knows how to circle back around. Honestly, I think I kept drinking because I was laughing so danged much.

 

We watched this show on Netflix, streaming, in case you’re interested. And for what it’s worth, I highly recommend it.

 

It felt so good to laugh. And laugh, we did. Sometimes it seems there’s not enough laughter in the world. I’m so happy we took a little time and allowed ourselves the giggle. It’s good for the soul, you know.

Melodrama at Whole Paycheck

 

 

I was at Whole Foods the other day, and while I patiently waited my turn at the meat counter, I witnessed one of the best grocery store scenes I’ve encountered in ages.

 

There was an elderly lady at the counter. Let’s call her Gladys, shall we? So Gladys was accompanied by her young, Latina caregiver. Let’s call her Juana, shall we? So Juana was just minding the shopping cart and not saying a word. Gladys was talking enough for both of them: “I said I don’t want you to wrap the chicken in that paper! I want it in a plastic bag, then wrap it in paper!”

 

The gentleman behind the counter nodded and said, “So sorry – I didn’t hear you say that.” He then proceeded to wrap her purchase per her instructions. While he did that, Gladys berated him for not listening to her in the first place. And then another butcher approached the counter, and Gladys asked him something about where a particular employee was, inquiring as to whether or not it was his lunch time. This new butcher dude, with a straight face, looked at Gladys and said, “Are you asking me out for lunch? Because I’m married! You’ve got to stop trying to go out with me! I’m not available!”

 

Y’all, Gladys was about to have a conniption fit, and she was just beside herself. “I am NOT asking you out! I have never! What is wrong with you? My goodness!”

 

At about that time, the original gentleman behind the counter returned with Gladys’ purchase. Gladys looked at him and desperately pleaded, “Tell him I didn’t ask him out!”

 

The original gentleman looked at Gladys sideways and said, “It sounded to me like you did ask him out.”

 

Gladys’s head almost exploded and she was screaming, “You’re loco! Loco, I tell you! You’re loco!”

 

Juana – remember Juana? Gladys’ caregiver? Clearly this wasn’t Juana’s first rodeo, as she stayed quiet the whole time, guarding the cart. When Gladys finally turned to Juana, she just pushed the cart down the aisle, awaiting instructions.

 

I had turned to pretend I was looking at something other than the spectacle beside me, and was trying with all my might to hide my laughter. Once Gladys had ambled away, the other butcher dude asked if he could help me and our little exchange began, sans humor.

 

I don’t know about that elderly lady’s inability to take a joke, and I did feel bad for her (a little), but I was also happy to see the employees entertaining themselves while at work.

 

Of course, the unsung hero in all this was Juana. I cannot imagine how much screaming she must hear while at her job. To her credit, she has managed to learn to tune out melodrama. Even if only while at the market. It all counts, you know.