Last September I made my standup comedy debut at an event, playing an enthusiastic but totally mixed up woman giving a children’s sermon at church. It was very well received, and I breathed that sigh of relief one breathes when one knows one never has to do something again. Bucket list item checked off, for good and all!
But over the ensuing months, I’ve been writing a lot of humor pieces, and began to entertain the thought that MAYBE I’d do another standup routine. Someday. Maybe. At any rate, about a month ago Ya-Jhu started putting together an Irish-themed evening, a fundraiser for her church to be held March 19th. She and Sher would play Celtic music, there would be Irish dancers, etc. I wondered, was Yaj hoping her mother-in-law, the not-so-marvelous Mrs. Maisel, would come up with a funny new performance for the occasion? At first I modestly said no, but then she actually asked me, and I said yes. Armed with only a decent Irish brogue and some whatever the Gaelic word for “chutzpah" is, I settled on an idea: I would play the part of Saint Patrick’s long-suffering mother.
As soon as the concept struck me, the writing was pretty simple. I have more than a passing familiarity with Patrick (heck, I named one of my sons after him!), I am Irish as the proverbial Paddy’s pig (get it?), and I was a longtime Catholic to boot. My vision of St. Pat’s ma’s presentation included her “settin’ the record straight” about the various legends surrounding the Patron of the Emerald Isle. Apparently he never drove the snakes out of Ireland at all (it’s an island, nobody can drive out of there, right?); the Holy Trinity shamrock story didn’t happen because of Paddy’s allergies (no fields of clover for him!); in fact, most of his amazing tale was invented by Patrick’s "eejit" pal Seamus Kelly, who always had wanted to be friends with a saint.
I had a blast, and was really pleased with the crowd’s response. Aiden and Peter were there, and when I later asked them what they thought, little Peter piped up, “Nana, it was so funny when you said, ‘Phooey!’” I rather think my five year old would have been delighted had my whole routine been nothing but saying “phooey” a hundred times.
While I certainly don’t aspire to be the next Joan Rivers, at this point I’d do standup again (if asked). The discipline of writing, and then memorizing, what was essentially a 10 minute monologue will serve me well (or at least reassure me that I’m not – yet—experiencing significant memory loss).
They say the happiest retirees are those who pursue new activities. Therefore, after May, I plan to pursue such new-to-me pastimes as regular flossing, more frequent dishwasher emptying (for some reason I have no issue loading it) and sewing my own clothes (not really). Idle hours watching TV commercials for AARP? Nope! It’s pure adventure (including stand up) from now on!