So much has happened over the last year.
COVID-19 is still a thing. There were 4 lockdown periods in Ontario:
- March 2020 to July 2020
- October 10-26, 2020
- December 26, 2020 to February 2021
- March 2021 to July 2021
I’m fully vaccinated. Restrictions are still in place but slowly things are reopening.
While in lockdown, I was crazy busy. On top of working my regular day job, I performed on 7 to 10 zoom shows a week. I had my podcast “Shooting the Breeze” where I talked to other comics. I also produced and hosted my own online show called “Lockdown Laughs”. I joined a few workshops and writing groups too. They were so helpful. It was in these workshops that I wrote the jokes and built the sets that I am currently using. Every week a few times per week, I was able to bounce ideas off others and fine tune the set.
There were two messed up incidents in early 2021. The first was in February, After I had done a radio interview, a listener took it upon himself to contact me to tell me that he didn’t laugh once during the segment. Apparently, he does this often. You can listen to the exchange here: No One Asked You!!!! Unsolicited Advice – February 15, 2021
A little more than a month later, a more sinister event happened with another person. This guy had seen me perform live pre-Covid but according to him, he was too intimidated by me to speak to me. He then decided that he wanted to talk to me A YEAR LATER so he called me one night at 1am. I didn’t answer. He called 2 more times before sending a text. He told me that we had met on tinder (doubtful) then tried to engage me in sexting. Nope! I stopped responding and blocked the number. The next night, I was awoken by the phone ringing at 3am. Again, I didn’t answer but suspected that it was the same person from the night before. 2 more calls then a text. The text message read “fat nigger whore”.
I was furious and a little scared. This guy knew who I was, but I had no idea who he was. I filed a police report that morning and posted it online. This fool blew up my phone begging me to cancel the police report. No asshole…that’s what happens when you commit a hate crime! I’ve since removed my phone number from my website.
The support and love I got from everyone, specifically from the comedy community, after these two crazy incidents was overwhelming. Thank you for surrounding me.
I was fortunate enough that whenever places reopened, I was able to secure live spots. It felt so good to perform live again! I even started hosting live shows!
In May 2021, I auditioned to participate in an online comedy competition called The Breakout Room. A few weeks in, a competitor accused me of sabotaging her (which I did not) then she proceeded to harass, bully, and threaten me for months. She used Instagram stories to issue death threats. Despite filing a police report and issuing a cease & desist letter, she continued her campaign of harassment against me and others. She even bought sponsored posts on Instagram to increase her reach. At one point she said she was moving to Ottawa and publicly threatened me again. Until this blog post, I had never commented publicly on the incident. I also never responded to or contacted her. She’s a vile, horrible, and hideous person.
I made it to the finals of The Breakout Room. I drove to Toronto for the showcase final. I arrived in Toronto at 5pm on September 8, 2021 and was on my way back to Ottawa the next morning at 8:30am. I didn’t win on that Wednesday night…I didn’t even place. I was very upset but used the negative emotions and the frustration as fuel and motivation.
The 2021 Mike MacDonald Summer Comedy Competition at Yuk Yuk’s Ottawa began in June 2021 and ran all summer to September 9, 2021. I made it all the way to the finals. My goal, after the letdown of not making the finals in 2020, was to make it to the finals in 2021.
On September 9, 2021 I was nervous but I knew I was ready. I had worked hard and had earned that spot in the finals. I knew I had as good a chance as anyone to win. There were no “how did they make it to the finals” that night. Everyone was solid. It was anyone’s title to take.
I remember feeling so proud, happy, and excited. I was the second woman and the first woman of colour to win the competition in its 9-year history.
I also knew that more hate was coming my way.
In the last 2 years since the beginning of my comedy career, my integrity and work ethic has been bashed, challenged, and questioned at any given moment by some in the local comedy scene. “They” accuse me of not writing my own jokes or send me anonymous hate messages. “They” think I’m skipping steps. “They” say I don’t “know my place”. “They” call me a “stage whore”. “They” believe that the only reason I get booked is to fill a quota. “They” are in the shadows, hiding, not willing to say these things out loud or directly to me. To these few people, it is inconceivable and a travesty that I can be a good comic.
Every woman in the comedy community has been told, “oh you only got that opportunity because of <fill in the blank>” or had an accomplishment diminished at some point in her career. But, to my knowledge, no one else gets the kind of scrutiny and disrespect that I’ve experienced. It’s called “misogynoir”. Misogynoir is “the specific hatred, dislike, distrust, and prejudice directed toward Black women.” The voices of Black women are often muffled, stifled, and silenced. It’s got to stop. Read more about misogynoir here: 4 Tired Tropes That Perfectly Explain What Misogynoir Is – And How You Can Stop It – Everyday Feminism
Stand-up comedy can be cutthroat. There are more comics than there are opportunities to perform. Often, you have create your own opportunities. If someone asks me how I got on a particular show, I tell them what I did and who to contact. I have no issue sharing what I know. I look out for new comics because I know what it’s like to walk into a room and not know anyone while knowing that everyone is sizing you up. Despite how badly some people have treated me, I refuse to be mean or cruel in order to feel better about myself. That’s not me…I am not an asshole or a bully. We shouldn’t lose our humanity in the process.
I do have friends in the community who love and care for me. They are kind, supportive, decent, talented people. They have gotten me through some dark times. I want to acknowledge them and their friendship and support rather than only focusing on the few mean ones.
I am grateful that I am in a place in my life where I know who I am. I like who I am. I’m proud that I’m finally pursuing a dream I’ve had for almost 40 years. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished in 2 years. I know that the hate and criticism says way more about them than it ever will about me.
That being said, my mental health has really suffered from all of this. It’s exhausting and upsetting to know that a small group is wishing for me to fail.
Despite their best efforts, I’m not going anywhere. I won’t be silenced. There will be so much more to hate me for. Buckle up bitches.