The girl can't help it; quesadillas are delicious.
This week was a personal milestone for my comedy career, as my goal this year was to perform at the 40th annual Bumbershoot Festival. Each day leading up to the Monday showcase felt like a day leading up to my favorite holiday ever, Labor Day. Who knew that one day out of the year you could go crazy on furniture sales?! It's truly a magical time.
The girl can't help it; quesadillas are delicious.
The weekend started with five shows at the Comedy Underground hosting for the pound-explode master, Michael Kosta. Kosta is a former pro tennis player turned comedian who brings a hilariously cocky 'tude to the stage and a memorable hands-on experience full of fist pounds and hit-ons. I found myself very critical of each of my performances as I was counting down to Bumbershoot. If I had given into the fun of performing rather than nitpicking, my routine would have been stronger.
Bumping into Marc Maron, with Mary Numair and Jen Seaman
While at the Comedy Underground I decided to stay as close to my new Weight Watchers routine as possible, which meant no boneless buffalo wings or plates of jalapeno poppers to myself. Instead I ordered a black bean and cheese quesadilla which was 8 Weight Watchers points (I'm allotted 21 points a day). I felt like I was cheating every time I tore through the stringy melted cheese. How could comfort food be allowed on a diet? Through my first week of point-crunching I've found that I'm not splurging on so many unnecessary snacks and that I'm actually more accountable of what I eat now.
Sunday night was the second Comedy Bumbershoot after-party held at Chop Suey. This was my fifth opportunity to practice my set prior to the festival. I went up toward the beginning of the night, which meant I had the audience's attention versus the bar having it. With the bar so close to the stage and the party atmosphere progressing through the night it was hard to maintain the entire room's attention. My set went over well and I felt more confident in my approach by taking myself less seriously and just enjoying the stage.
Tig Notaro, Jen Seaman, Emmett Montgomery & Kevin Hyder backstage at Chop Suey
Through the evening some of the comedians from Los Angeles performed such as, Eddie Pepitone, Nick Thune and Tig Notaro. One of the highlights of the night was Notaro, who approached the stage at a point in the show where the audience was at its most rowdy. She pulled the mic away from her mouth and started to speak in a way that only a few words and phrases were actually picked up on the microphone; this drew the attention of the audience and forced them to listen. Notaro's brilliant approach created a silent room where she could tell her jokes to a captivated audience. Many local comics would have declined to perform yelled at the audience, telling them to shut up, but Notaro approached the stage calm and full of confidence. With half of the audience being comedians it was a moment where many of us were impressed and inspired.
Monday morning marked the last day of Bumbershoot and the New Kids showcase at the Vera Project. There were six up-and-coming comedians and one ukulele scheduled to perform. The backstage area was a craft service treat machine stoked with festival sponsor products and mini fridges of sugary beverages. Sadly, all the Cliff bars in the world couldn't pull the wings off the butterflies in my stomach. It's interesting to see how people react to the festival stage versus a comedy club, some comics pace, others recite and some hide until stage time. I tend to vanish into stair wells and corners reciting my set to a wall.
I took the stage confident and excited to finally be at Bumbershoot. I had one heckler in the form of a solo clapper. Otherwise, the audience was vibrant and generous with their laughs. I've attached my set below as you'll notice the solo clapper immediately.
Biringer Farm's strawberry shortcake, the ulitmate gold star!
I rewarded myself after the showcase with the full amount of Weight Watchers points to be used at Bumbershoot. My first stop was Biringer Farm's booth for strawberry shortcake. I wait all year to enjoy Biringer Farm's whip cream topped mound of strawberries and pastry. I would be satisfied with just strawberries and cream by the spoonful. Strawberry shortcake is not a sharing dessert. When I indulge I want all the calories, all the fat and all the early onset diabetes that comes with it!
Through the day my friends and I explored the ancient art of people watching, meaning we didn't want to walk anymore. With our amateur paparazzi skills we were able to meet and hang out with comedian Marc Maron. However our people watching was a little disappointing as we didn't spot a single juggalo , utilikilt, or the flamboyant scarf-man dancer.
After finally taking a tour of the grounds, I started to get hungry for something a little more filling and found a booth for my favorite pizzeria in Seattle, Piecora's. Unlike most pizzerias where you can only get a premade slice in the style that the restaurant wants, Piecora's allows you to build your own slice. My slice has always been breaded eggplant and jalapenos with hot sauce. While waiting in line to pick up a quick plain cheese slice (4 points) the cashier asked how I was enjoying Bumbershoot. I told him that I had finished a show earlier and I was excited by the audience's reaction. He struck a bargain with me a joke for a slice. I'm happy to say the following joke bought my lunch and made the other cashier scream, "Its true!":
A Tribute to Seattle Weekly's pizza eating pioneer.
"People come up to me after shows and say, 'Jen you're so cute, but a little creepy.' I say I know... I look like Daphne shagged Velma from Scooby Doo."
I have no problem cashing in on my adorably dorky demeanor if it means a free slice of pizza and a perfect Bumbershoot weekend.