Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Being Happy is Death to Comedy…?

I have a problem. A problem that I had never foreseen being an issue:


Up until now any comedy writing I had done had been linked to the fact I had been single for so long, yet now I am an in a happy relationship I have found I am stuck for material. No wonder the funniest comedians of the past tended to be depressed alcoholics, they had a wealth of tragedy to draw on for their humour; I am so blocked!!

Now I will say I wouldn’t change my boyfriend for the world, and I do love being in a relationship but I wish I could think of things to write about! My loser-in-love material doesn’t really work when I have been sat holding hands with a boy in the audience throughout the first half of the show.

I was feeling a bit down and artistically stifled until the other day when an interesting thing occurred to me after the third gig of the week: there had been a unusual amount of female acts at these gigs (normally comedy open mics are full of men, generally talking about their ‘members’ with pint in hand) and every single one of these ladies had her own take on being single and a looser – my take was that musicals had clouded my view on relationships. So we (lady comics in a sweeping judgement of the open mic circuit) are actually all doing the same material. This made me think:


Talking about why you’re a looser in life and love is just too easy and should be a given if you are a stand-up comic. So actually although I feel blocked and unable to do my old material, perhaps this is a chance to actually think outside the box a bit and come up with some reasonable material that may actually push me forward as a stand-up rather than just a comedienne trying to get boys laughing at them because they never had much luck with the opposite sex growing up. Which is totally what I was doing.

Any comediennes out there reading this and getting cross at me thinking, “well it’s okay for you Miss Happy, I really am a single loser” I am sorry if I offend, I was one of you for 7 years and it really was the fault of Judy Garland, Doris Day and Gene Kelly. I even spent 20K training in musical theatre and mixing with boys that also loved Judy Garland Doris Day and Gene Kelly but ironically they didn’t have any problem finding boyfriends. £450 and a comedy course later I have met someone very nice (who even won’t mind if I make him watch a musical or two, as long as he has time to get to Selhurst) so I clearly was just barking up the wrong trees for a long time. Yes, I made an analogy there in which I was a dog; maybe I haven’t lost all the self-deprecation after all.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Premature Love-Declaration.

When is the right time to say: ‘I Love You’? When do you know that you actually do? Are there different kinds of love at different points of a relationship?

Now I am not saying I am a Ted Mosby and declare: ‘I Love You’ on the first date, but I have been known to make drunken declarations to boyfriends that I perhaps haven’t been with long enough to justify such an outburst. I blame this, and most of my social problems, on musicals. In musicals you either have love at first sight like Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron in ‘American in Paris’ or indeed Michael seeing Stephanie for the first time in ‘Grease 2’ (don’t judge me on that second example). I used to call musicals ‘those marrying films’ when I was little, I had a love of MGM Golden Era musicals rather than heavy going plots. This fact has coloured my view of the speed of a relationship – you had to meet, fall in love, have a few hiccups (you know, like a crazy farm hand trying to set you on fire in, ‘Oklahoma’, or being incredibly underage in ‘Gigi’, or falling in love with a girl that is really hundreds of years old and living on a magical floating village in Scotland that only appears every 100 years) then reconcile and marry within 90mins. Of course I jest, it’s more like a week in the timeline of the plot (unless it’s ‘Showboat’ where everyone is screwed for decades). But needless to say I have always loved the idea of a whirlwind romance and I do get swept up in my own emotions.

I asked some friends how long they waited until they said they loved their partner and I had a range of answers, one said it took 3 months, another 6 and one was more like 8 or 9 months. I did have one friend say that their partner said it after about 6 weeks and he was surprised but not put off, but that he told them: “as long as you really mean it, say it all you like, although I’m sorry I can’t say it back yet” – it took him 3 weeks more.

What was also interesting in getting people to think about when they first said: ‘I love you’, they then thought about how their feelings had grown and developed since that point – that although the initial lust and excitement that makes you want to declare your love fades into comfortable coupledom, their feelings were now deeper and different to the first time they said, ‘I love you’. One even questioned if they had in fact ‘loved’ the person at the time they first said it because their feelings were so much deeper now.

My Mum used to upset me as a little girl by telling me she wasn't 'in love' with my Dad any more but she did love him. She equated being 'in love' to 'soppy, romantic feelings' that 'can't last' but it fades to a stronger love, a love of friendship and companionship for your partner in the truest sense of the word. In other cases when this first flush of love fades sometimes the rose-tinted glasses come off and you are left with something, sadly, not quite as beautiful.

I love you, maybe

So, how do you pin-point it; when do you know that you truly love that person? Do you love in different ways throughout your relationship? Is it when you realise you can’t stop thinking about them, or when you realise they are the ‘the one’, or only when you think you would die for the person?! My musicals background should make me think it is something you only realise and declare in dire circumstances, after overcoming great obstacles and always done with a huge romantic gesture. But upon hearing one friend tell me she declared her love for the first time quietly as a whisper to her half-sleeping boyfriend mid-cuddle, there are perhaps better ways to do it than as a result of a near-death experience covered in sweat and tears with an orchestra playing in the background.

It is hard to know when to tell the other person too, you may know them very well, but it is the one area that you are never 100% of how they will react and what impact that may have on the status quo of your relationship. I have sometimes found myself swallowing an ‘I love you’ to a partner, even when I have just meant ‘ahh you’re amazing, I love you!!’ as an exclamation of happiness that I may say to any friend. Is this perhaps going a bit far just to not rock the boat?

When I was a teenager I used to test the waters with boyfriends with the good old: 'I luv you' - 'Luv' didn't seem as intimidating as it's properly spelt cousin and they couldn't get weirded out by you saying 'love' as it would be them over-reacting as you didn't actually say it...?! Now wonderful smart phones give us the ability to use emoticons to express how we feel without committing to strong feelings. I have friends that test the waters with little pictures of hearts rather than saying 'I love you' or indeed '*picture of a heart* you' - this can be made even less threatening by turning the 'you' into a 'u'. Just never put an 'I' at the beginning, that is going too far obviously - that is the line clearly. PLUS, if they get weirded out you can just saying you were doing the Paris Hilton type thing where they literately say 'I heart' such and such. Stops them in their tracks. Starting to think that I over-think this stuff.

I don’t think I can form any answers to my musings but I know whenever I get a bit tiddly I will profess my love again to whoever is nearby; I just hope at some point I mean it and that the other person says it back. And that it isn’t a lamp post.

Why I Wish Life Was More Like Musicals Part 2

If life was more like musicals we would all look like this on our wedding day:

Why I Wish Life Was More Like Musicals Part 1

If Life Was Like Musicals: Cowboys would have colour coordinated shirts and long, silky scarves:
But alas they look like this:

Monday, 3 September 2012

The Book of Faces

So today I, against my better judgement, put my relationship status on Facebook. 'Why does this qualify for a blog post, especially considering you haven't blogged in so long Marinda?' I hear you cry. It just got me thinking about how social media has turned relationships into this weird status symbol - pun intended. For years I have refused to even show the relationship status bit on my profile feeling that, not only did it not sum up who I was, but also it is private information that shouldn't matter to my friend's mums and that person I worked with once on a promotion. There is also one big reason not to have your status on there though...what if it all goes wrong? Breaking up is a horrible thing let alone to have the added pain of changing your Facebook status so some person you worked with once can console you with a colon and an open bracket. Don't even get me started on the nasty people that break up with people by changing relationship status - this blog is not for them, stop reading if this is you. They probably can't read anyway. People do think it is odd if you don't update your status though, 'are you ashamed of him?', *knowing look* 'are you not sure about it?' *knowing look* or when indeed they find out you have a boyfriend, 'oh I didn't see it on Facebook?' *upward inflection and hurt tone*. I have noticed a trend for announcing engagements on social media, perhaps even with just a picture of a ring on a hand - I am not sure how I feel about his but I guess it is cheaper than 'save the date' cards. 'So why have you done it, Marinda?' Yes well...now that a huge picture of my face has appeared on his profile and vice versa with huge lettering announcing our coupledom with many people 'liking' his fact I am wondering what possessed me. I guess I just feel sure of our relationship after being together for a few months, and I did wonder if it bothered him that we hadn't put it up on Facebook as it does seem to be the done thing; maybe he was one of the people asking if I was ashamed of him although he would never say so. I am slightly flattered people have bothered to 'like' this happening, but I realise I am small fry considering the amount of engagements being announced every day by my friends. Despite this, I am happy with my little achievement. Even if every time I go on our 'timelines' it is there for all to see stretched across the page as breaking news. Ah well a couple more updated statuses and 'shared' memes and it will be yesterday's news, pushed down into the ether of 'Timeline'.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Branding your face...

...not with a hot poker or anything.

I am currently on a course that is covering everything you need to know about marketing yourself. This has resulted in my trying out every font imaginable to really see what encapsulates 'me' to the point where I have written my name out so many times it neither looks like my own name nor even recognisable words anymore.

This is one of the things I hate about being an actor: how incredibly self involved and pretentious is this whole process?! I have been staring at my CV and headshot all week looking at layouts and I keep thinking of all the writing I could have done during this time - I have a whole host of sketches eating away at my frontal lobes giving me a comedy lobotomy at the moment.

It's all so expensive too. I have been out of work for a while, so I need to focus my career and in turn perhaps make money, but I need to spend money on marketing material to hook perhaps a new agent and definitely show myself to casting directors - I refer to this as the Vicious, Impossible Cycle of the Entertainer - or VICE - which is what I'm gonna have to turn to soon just to pay for fricken business cards and headed paper...

Friday, 7 October 2011


Last week I played an impro game called 'Yes Let's' with a group of 5-7 year olds. The game is quite simple as you shout out somewhere exciting to go, for instance, "Let's go to the moon!", everyone shouts "Yes Let's!" and we mime going off to the moon etc. After a few goes I started taking ideas from the audience as it were:

"Johnny, were do you think we should go next?!"
Johnny's 6 year old face turned from pleasure to surprise to constipation; "...er...." "never mind Johnny I will come back to you. Hannah, where are we going next?"
"Let's go to the land of sweets!"
"Yes Let's!" everybody chants and off we go on our mime to eat some sweets.
"Johnny got any ideas yet?"
"....oh...ummm..." the pain of his brain trying to think of something exciting coming across his face.
"It's okay Johnny I will come back to you! Brandon where shall we go?"
"Let's go swimming!"
"Yes Let's!" And off we all go swimming around the room.
"Right Johnny do you have an idea now?"
"...ummmm....Let's all....get in a box?"
"...yes...let's..." the class utter, confused but compliant.

Now you could argue that considering the imaginative premise of the game that Johnny was actually thinking "outside the box" metaphorically speaking; but from the look on his face I could see that the pressure of being creative on the spot was enough to reduce him to wanting to get into a mimed box and rock there.
And that is what he did.

I wonder if politicians were like Johnny at 6...