I don’t know if it’s the start of a midlife crisis or the fact that within a couple years I’ll be an empty nester — but I am now a comedienne.
Like, a write-jokes-and-perform-said-jokes-on-stage-in-front-of-people comedienne.
If someone predicted that after the pandemic, I’d be spending one to three nights a week at open mics, producing paid comedy gigs or trying out material in front of a new set of comedy friends, I would have told them that they were crazy, but nicely. You’re so crazy — and we should totally hang out!
But here I am. A 40-something wife and mother of two kids discussing funny aspects of marriage, parenting and my aging boobs.
On a stage.
And I frigging love it. Like, I love this new hobby/randomness/creative endeavor that is stand-up comedy.
Stand-up comedy is fulfilling something in me that I didn’t even know I was missing. For years, I’ve seen myself as a totally fulfilled wife/mom/career woman.
Or, so I thought.
For me, looking back at myself as a young mom, the first few years were spent in a fog — random sleep, new baby food and nap routines, and endless questioning if I did something wrong or right. I was in such a fog that I seriously considered eating cold mac and cheese — from a dried out stove pot — a proper meal. It’s OK, I’m sitting down. I have a paper towel square as a napkin. It’s just like Alinea, right?!
Those first few years of parenting I orbited my children’s needs, not mine.
Then when the kids went to elementary school full-time, it ‘felt’ easier. But, in reality, it was just a different kind of fog. There were still after-school and weekend activities, homework and projects … and the kids still needed me to DO things for them. Again, orbiting my children’s needs, not mine.
When my kids became teenagers, the needing-mom part stopped practically overnight.
These newly independent beings developed a social circle that they controlled — Mom, if you call it a playdate again I’m canceling you. They relished the fact that they could feed themselves and cook (so much better than me). They took more responsibility for their schoolwork, their attire and their own needs. They went from saying “Mom, how did scientists make an atom bomb?” to “Mom, you don’t know anything.” WHAT? You used to think I was atom-bomb-making smart!? What happened?
No one told me that mommying would take a drastic turn one day and you would be left saying ‘OK… I do something for myself now? How do I do that? Is that even allowed?’
So, here I was. It’s August 2021. I’m out with adult friends, our kids out with their non-adult ones, and I came across a flyer for a stand-up comedy class at the Chicago Lincoln Lodge.
I thought, sure, I’ll spend four-weeks honing jokes, perform them and be done with it. But instead, I found a brand-new outlet to express myself in a way that really made me happy. ME. HAPPY. Not my kids. Or my clients. Or my husband. ME. I feel so naughty! I spoke words and people listened (teenagers, BTW, don’t really listen, so I get very very excited when I’m listened to).
My husband thinks this comedy endeavor is great and my kids think I’m a little nuts. But I do think each appreciates that I can be me without always having to be ‘mom.’
Navigating the comedy world is an adventure in itself, and I’m grateful that I’ve found a group of seriously hilarious Chicago comedy moms. Together, these mommas and I are touring the city and suburbs — offering our Bad Momz of Comedy group for all-female community events and all-mom PTA nights. And, as they say in the comedy biz, we’re killing it!
My kids may be leaving the home nest soon, but comedy is here to stay.
Orly K.G. is a Chicago-dwelling mom, wife and founder of Bad Momz of Comedy. To book an all-female or all-mom comedy night for your all-women’s or PTA group, email her at email@example.com.
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