This Friday Coleen and I finally went to The Lady Jam at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Chelsea.
The Lady Jam is an all female improv comedy jam where any woman who wants to perform can write their name down on a list to be called up on stage. I have been dying to go to this ever since we moved home from Los Angeles, but every time I have tried something else has come up. The show is only once a month (much like your dear Aunt Flo) so with school and other obligations the time just got away from me.
BUT! We finally got ourselves over to the Jam and it was AWESOME. The hosts are all UCB performers and they stay up two at a time to help the improvisers in their scenes and move everything along. I think The Lady Jam is the brainchild of Shannon O’Neill who is also the host. She introduced the night as a safe space for female improvisers of any level to perform with each other. Men cannot perform, but they are welcome to watch the ladies get down, so long as it’s not with that creepy gaze that one might lapse into while watching certain programs on late night HBO. Also, no genital play.
After much hemming and hawing, I forced myself from my seat and signed my name up to perform. Then immediately wished I had packed Pepto Bismol as I sat there intensely worried that I might actually be picked. As I watched the show, all of the woman who were called to go on stage were HILARIOUS. I was so intimidated. Yet I also knew that if I hadn’t signed up, I would have regretted that decision too. Soooooooo, I told myself they probably wouldn’t call me and if they did I would just pretend I didn’t hear my name.
One of the best parts of The Lady Jam was that it started off with a dance party. Everyone who’s there is welcome to jump up on stage and boogie. Then before each new group goes up, they dance too. I loved this because now that I’m older and too stodgy to go to bars ever, I miss dancing. And this is despite being the worst dancer ever. However, when I was younger, I realized that if I went dancing at goth bars, then I can dance really badly all I want, all night long. I can sway and be weird because everyone just figures I am doing some edgy new macabre dance moves. However, Lady Jam threw a lotta pop songs at me, but I managed to keep up by acting out the gif of Ron Swanson dancing. The only hard part was resetting myself every 4 seconds.
So anyways, group after group went up and killed it. I figured I was safe from being called up, but of course I got called to perform with the last group. Panic brain set in, where my head feels like lidocaine has been injected into my frontal lobe. After taking up to 401 level at UCB and starting a weekly practice group, I’m normally not that scared anymore to get out there, but I really froze this time for some reason. I think it was partly because my 401 teacher was there and I didn’t want to disappoint her, as well as, one of my UCB practice mates who was in the audience.
As a result I wound up hanging back and when I did get into a scene I definitely did not do my best work. BUT, ya know what? I figure, everyone has shit moments on stage and there one was for me and I survived it (it wasn’t my first and surely won’t be my last anyway). And more importantly, I’m never discouraged by it. I am just as excited to go back next month and try again! Next time though, I’ll make sure to drink a hot cuppa tea beforehand so my brain might work faster than a pile of dead sea slugs. I’ve come to realize that just like some musicians need a couple shots of whiskey to make it through a set, my performance vice is a Lipton tea with 2 sugars. I made the mistake of getting a decaf at the diner prior to the show like a crazy asshole.
Moral to the story? I love fully caffeinated tea and I love The Lady Jam!! Coleen and I were soooo glad we went. All the women who got up there and all the UCB vets, Shannon O’Neil, Morgan Jarrett, Tami Sagher, Lydia Hensler, and Silvija Ozols, had us dying laughing. If you can, do yourself a favor and make sure you check it out sometime!
You can find it on the UCB Theatre full schedule if you click on this shit: http://newyork.ucbtheatre.com/
[It’s usually at midnight on a Friday night].