Looping Through Life
A Comedian’s Observations – Part 2
–By Jan McInnis, Comedian and Keynote Speaker
People ask me what the hardest part of leaving my “day job” was . . . was it the unsteady paychecks, the weird hours, the occasional really slimy entertainment person I’d have to deal with, or the fact that I’d be totally, 100% responsible for generating my income? Nope, about the only thing that I was worried about in my new career was the different “accommodations” when I toured. I’d always had jobs where I stayed in nice hotels when I traveled . . . some with mini bars in the room and plush towels that covered your whole body. Many of the sleeping arrangements when you’re starting out in entertainment are a bit different. So right before I quit my day job, I had one last business trip to San Jose where I stayed at the Fairmont. I spent most of that last night luxuriating in their whirlpool tub while sipping on chardonnay – I knew the fall from the Fairmont was going to be rough! And the comedy accommodations did not disappointment. It never ceased to amaze me the places that they found to stick the comics. I don’t mind budget hotels (they saved me when I had to pay on my own!), and in fact a hotel chain would be welcome, but what I’m talking about are places were boarding on illegal. I once spent the weekend sleeping a room in the rafters of the club, with the doors locked from the outside! An there’s the time I had to stay with the club owner in her daughter’s bedroom while her daughter slept on the couch. Weird, weird, weird. And some hotel rooms were just plain run down. These were the ones that we comics used to joke that they had “just moved the body an hour before I arrived.” I’ve slept in my socks to avoid touching some carpets! This was a loop that I wasn’t sure would ever close.
The funniest loop closing was between my brother Dan and my younger sister Brenda. Dan was the only boy with 3 sisters, which meant he had to make up for no brothers by doing extra teasing of us (or being a pest – you decide). . .and he did. During one of our cross-country family trips, he actually spent the entire 6 weeks ordering the exact same thing that my sister Debbie ordered at the restaurant. That will drive you insane! We still laugh about it as one of his “master” accomplishments in pestering. And as a young teen he continued bugging us. He once bought these red, white and blue mirrored sunglasses that were 70’s cool, and then he proceeded to taunt Brenda by putting his face in her face, showing her how cool he looked and making sure she knew that she would never be able to afford glasses that were this hip. And then one day, his glasses disappeared. He complained to mom that he knew Brenda had taken them. He didn’t have proof, and there was no forensics back then, so he had to go by what my mom said; and her verdict was to leave Brenda alone because it wasn’t her fault. End of discussion. 30 years later Dan and Brenda were cleaning out boxes in my parent’s attic when Brenda opened up her jewelry box and found Dan’s sun glasses. As she tossed them over to him, she said “oh, yeah, here’s your glasses, I did take them!” The loop was closed!
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