How It All Started

Teacher: Amy, you are talking too much. Go sit in the time out chair.

The teacher soon notices Amy has moved the little red plastic time out chair back to her friends.

Teacher: Amy, what are you doing? I told you to go sit in time out.

Amy: No, you told me to sit in the time out chair. You didn’t tell me where to sit in it.

That was kindergarten, and it was all down hill from there.

I was born in Syracuse, NY as Amy Marie Maestri. I have an older sister, Laurinda. Her name is a mix between my Aunts, Laura and Linda. So after coming up with that my parents were obviously exhausted and just said, screw it…Amy. Short and sweet. I grew up thinking I would someday be a professional soccer player. But then I realized how much I loved making people laugh. And also, it seemed like a bit of a long shot and I decided I needed something more dependable and solid. So I moved on from that dream and landed on comedian / actress. I figured that obviously I would have better chances with this because no one is trying to break into show business.

My first experience in show business was home made videos with my two best friends. We created such classic shows as Painting With Francis, Casino Night, and various news programs and commercials. It was like if SNL was made by 8 year olds who had ADD and a budget of $4 and whatever wigs and dress up clothes my mother had for us. I also wrote my first movie when I was 10. It was a “who done it” comedy that I was convinced would secure me a place in Hollywood as a celebrity. When in fact the only place it got me was after school cleaning chalkboards and erasers because I tried holding casting calls during classes.

After 14 years of torturing my teachers and parents for the sole reason of wanting to get a reaction and a laugh I decided it was time to put that skill to good use. I was watching Comedy Central and decided, yes I will do that. I started writing there and then and one week later I auditioned for the school talent show. The auditions were in a classroom in front of about 8 people. Even just doing it in that atmosphere, I was already hooked. The drama teacher told me it was refreshing to hear original material from a 14 year old and not something R rated copied from an HBO special. My reply, “That’s fuckin right.”

The night of the talent show I was nothing but excited. Everyone thought I would be nervous but I’ll be honest. I’m an attention whore so if you tell me you’re putting me in front of 300 people with a spotlight, I will definitely be excited, not nervous. I went up there and did 6 minutes of material about my big Italian family, cheerleaders, and looking forward to the day I would be able to drive. The 6 minutes felt like 6 seconds and I did not want to get off the stage. With every laugh I felt higher and higher. Once I was done they went nuts and I wanted that feeling forever.

The next day I told my parents what every parent just loves to hear. “I am going to be a famous comedian.” They knew I was good, but they also knew I fucked up a lot. So it was a 50 / 50 toss up for them but they ended up supporting me.

From there I started writing all the time. I carried a little blue note book with me that became notorious around school as “Amy’s little blue notebook”. That’s right; I went to school with a real clever bunch. Everyone would always try to sneak a peek at the note book and what I was writing but I never let anyone. Once one of my friends got it but they soon realized it was pointless. All I would write were a few little words that would remind me of what I wanted to write about that no one else ever understood. Things like “baby ski pots.” And “mouthwash roses stage”. Yeah, I was obviously either a genius or illiterate. I like to think genius but the jury is still out.

I had a birthday party at a karaoke place and everyone made me get up and do some stand up. Yes, I was my own entertainment at my birthday party. So I did about 10 minutes and immediately returned to my kick ass Genie in A Bottle rendition. After the party the owner of the joint came up and offered a full length show slot. So I refined my show, added a couple more jokes and I was ready to go. I went up there with my bright yellow YMCA kids t-shirt that I had stolen from the Thrifty Shopper and rocked that audience for 60 minutes. I could never ask for a better feeling. My drama teacher came and sat in the back in the shadows the whole time. Every time I saw her she was not laughing. I don’t know if this was planned or not but it kept me in check and also made me want to piss my pants a little.

I was at the homecoming football game was when I got some really big news. My parents came to the game and called me out of the crowd to come talk to them. I thought, ok I’m done. I don’t know what I did this time, but they came all the way here. I must have stolen something and forgotten. Turns out they had just gotten a call from the college where my sister went to school, SUNY New Paltz, telling me they got my demo and would like to invite me to be the opening, opening act for professional comedian Mark Curry. I was 16 and couldn’t believe I would be performing with “Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper”.

I picked out some of my best material to fill the 5 minutes they gave me and headed down to New Paltz with my family. It was a crowd of about 700 people and I couldn’t wait. I got some good laughs during my set and sat back down after and watched the show. Afterwards I got to meet Mark and he was amazing. Tall as shit, and amazing. He gave me the advice to never stop writing, to just write, write and write. So I followed his advice.

Next was a call to go down to NYC and perform at an invite only open mic night at Stand Up New York. I was 16 years old still, and I was sitting in a bar in NYC with a bunch of comedians that had been doing this since I was trading pudding cups for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in 3rd grade. I made friends with the next youngest comedian there, who was 25. As he drank his bottle of Bud Light and I drank my sippy cup of 1% milk we talked about where we had performed. I definitely felt out of my league. The first show ran way over until around 11pm so I was left sitting in the bar area with the other comedians. I was getting a little tired of watching all these older comedians drink beer while I couldn’t. So I decided to go for the stronger stuff. “Bartender, I’m done with this kid stuff…get me a glass of whole milk.” Once our show started and I got called up by the MC I went out there and immediately found a person right up front who was really digging my act and was really vocal and into it. So I fed off of her for my set and loved every second of it. I couldn’t have asked for a better first time experience in NYC. I didn’t kill, but I didn’t bomb. They got me. They got what I was about and they liked it. I was satisfied.

I was about to turn 18 and I wanted to do another full solo performance. I sent my demo and resume to a local coffee shop / bar / café downtown and they invited me to do a show there. In the last show I had done I introduced my guitar into my act and planned on bringing it back for this show. I had a parody of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin” ready to go that I turned into a song about cheerleaders. (When I see that on paper I see how ridiculous it sounds. I would say it makes more sense once you hear the song, but that would be a lie.) I really did have a lot of material that I liked, but I seemed to have lost focus half way through writing for that show. I was signed on to do an hour and somehow neglected to notice I only prepared about 35 minutes. It was the night before my birthday and the first half of the show was great, I was killing it. I took a 10 minute intermission and retreated to my dressing room which was in fact the basement of the coffee shop where they stored all the drinks. My friend who was introducing me that night came down and asked if I was ready. I looked down at my notes realizing I only had about 5 minutes left if I was lucky. I couldn’t tell you what in the hell I talked about for that 25 minutes. I went back and forth between using old material that I would change a little on the spot, using the 5 minutes of new material I did have left, and scanning the audience to get ideas of what I could talk about based off of anything that I saw. I got through it though, I made it 30 minutes. A few friends came down and said how much they loved the show. I asked how they liked the second half and it was apparent that no one had noticed anything and they said it was great. Whew. Ok, time to party. So I did what any self respecting, about-to-turn-18 year old comedian would do and stole a 6 pack of beer from the basement and went on my way to my party.

After that show I started writing much more. But I noticed a difference in my writing and how I looked at things. I had always had an interest in sketch comedy and improv and loved performing both. But I had never taken writing seriously in anything other than stand up until that point. It was exciting to be viewing things a little differently but a little frustrating at the same time that I couldn’t seem to write stand up as frequently as I once had. But now I know it doesn’t matter what form I write things in, I just do what Mark Curry told me to do…I just write.

I moved to San Diego the winter after graduating high school with an intent on working, saving money, and eventually moving up to LA. I did not concentrate on work and saving money for LA. Who would have thought, an 18 year old, 3000 miles from home, living alone for the first time didn’t save money? When I wasn’t working I was partying on the beach and crowning myself the self proclaimed “night surfing champion of the world and most of the universe.”

I moved back to Syracuse just before turning 20. Apparently the ‘night surfing champion of the world and most of the universe’ had spent all of her money. I unfortunately lost focus at that point and was not writing or performing for awhile. I started writing again though and got that itch back. I missed writing, I missed forming ideas, and I really missed being on stage. Like I said, I’m an attention whore.

So currently, I am writing more then I ever have and taking classes in LA. I’m older, wiser, and am already the night surfing champion of most of the universe so that won’t distract me this time around.

As much as I would love to keep writing right now I’m thirsty, so I’m going to grab my sippy cup of whole milk, toss a few back, and brush up on my ‘Painting With Francis’ impression. But keep an eye out for me…I’ll be the girl holding the little red plastic time out chair going wherever the hell I want to with it.

Your Porch…Is My Porch

“Officer, my friend Mollie is still at the bar. I am 77% sure of this. If you take me there I can probably find her if you let me go back into the bar.”

This is not how I planned on spending the end of my Friday night. But hey, when buy one get one drink specials are involved you never know. The night started at my before mentioned friend, Mollie’s house. Quietly enough we had a few beers with friends before going to a bar I had never heard of before. We were supposed to be doing a bar hop about an hour away but decided we wanted to be lazy alcoholics that night, not ambitious ones, so we stayed close by. The bar was only about a mile or so down the street from her house.

From the outside it looked like someplace I would go in a dream if I wanted to hang out with Roseanne Barr and a drunken fisherman who would take me out on his boat after for some PBR and sushi he bought at a gas station. On the inside it was surprisingly not bad. There were still plenty of women resembling Roseanne in certain lights. Which obviously only meant one thing; I would have a much better chance of leaving with a guy who’s not eating $1.99 sushi and offering me PBR because they were all already taken by the various Roseannes. Little did I know, that by the end of the night the only guy I would be with would be the officer putting me in the back of his cop car. Maybe I should have just hit on him. Maybe I did. Your guess is as good as mine. It turned out it was a decent spot inside with a pool table I could lose on, a dart board I could win on, and a dance floor I could make a fool of myself on. I fully intended to take advantage.

My drink of choice at that time was Captain and Coke. My drink of choice that specific night was double Captain and Coke. Along with every other drink anyone wanted to buy me. We all headed to the back to play darts.  Perhaps one or seven shots were mixed in there somewhere as well. As we were playing darts that feeling hit me. We have all experienced it. “I wonder if I am standing straight. I am pretty sure I’m swaying wildly right now. I should try to act normal. Wow, I’m fucked up. No, no I’m not. Come on, just act normal or everyone will know I’m already drunk.” Because of course at this point no one could tell I was drunk from the fact that I had already downed enough alcohol to make David Hasselhoff say “slow down”. But of course, we all still try at this point to blend in and be normal. This is when you start leaning on things to try and stabilize yourself, laugh when other people are laughing even though you’re not even involved in the conversation, start focusing way too hard on how you’re walking to the point that everyone can see the concentration on your face, (and you still don’t walk that good) and over enunciating everything to sound not drunk. Which of course all of these things do nothing other than make you look even more drunk than before.

I can’t tell you exactly what occurred after darts. I can tell you that once I get an idea in my head there is no stopping me. Once I get an idea in my head when I have been drinking, you might as well go home; there is definitely no stopping me. I can also tell you I like wandering from time to time. I will just get something into my head that makes me think, “Yeah, I should leave and go do that.” Whatever that is…I never know.

Mollie helped fill me in a little on her side of the story. Around midnight she started asking everyone if they had seen me; no one had. She looked around and couldn’t find me, and assumed I had left. As she started to really wonder what had happened to me someone came up and asked if she was Mollie. “Who’s asking?” was her response. They responded with the unfortunate, “Your friend Amy is in the back of a cop car out front.”

Soon before that, I had apparently decided it was about that time, that time for me to leave and conquer whatever it is that needed attending to immediately. I vaguely remember concentrating on walking in a straight line. I did this by focusing on the white line on the side of the road. It wasn’t going well. You know it’s bad when even you are laughing at yourself because of what a drunk asshole you look like. But then you quickly stop laughing because you realize what a drunk asshole you look like.

After that it’s a little blurry and the next glimmer of insight I had on the night was lying down on some sort of bench. It was extremely uncomfortable and I wasn’t quite sure where I was, how I had gotten there, or why I had gotten there. This bench just so happened to be on a porch…belonging to a person…that I did not know. I had left a bar that I was having a great time at, with people I know and like hanging out with, to walk away and find a bench that wasn’t comfortable and was on someone’s porch who I didn’t know. The next thing I remember is a cop waking me up. The people who own the house found me outside sleeping. I can only imagine some of the things going through their heads. I only regret one thing about this entire night, and it is that I didn’t get to see the look on their faces when they discovered me. Let’s fast forward to once I am in the back of the car.

“Where you coming from tonight?”

“That hick bar.”

“What bar is it?”

“I don’t know, I’ve never been there before. It’s right down the street.”

“Do you even know where you are right now?”

“Touché. We may not be down the street anymore. Wait, my friend lives on Lake road, or Lake something. I know we’re by a lake…right?” I said extremely proud of myself.

“Lakeshore Road?”

“Sure, that works.”

“Are your friends still there?”

“My friend Mollie is still at the bar. I am almost 77% sure of this. If you just take me there I can probably find her if you let me go back into the bar.”

“You are not going back in the bar.”

“But I have a tab open.”

He didn’t find this amusing. We figured out where the bar was and when we got to the bar he told me to sit there and wait. So I sat and waited and looked to my right to see Mollie standing there, arms in the air laughing and shaking her head in utter confusion. I flashed my pearly whites and gave her a “Hi Mom!! Look at what I’m doing!” smile and wave from the back of the cop car.

The officer let me out of the car and told Mollie to take me home. I then told him not so fast, I still have a tab and I am not letting Roseanne mooch off of my MasterCard.  No tickets, no handcuffs, just a good old ride back to the bar from the cop. I have to assume he just didn’t feel like filling out the paper work for “dumb drunk girl sleeping on bench on stranger’s porch”. I was obviously harmless. A hot mess, but harmless.

We went back into the bar to get my tab. I was greeted by a dozen people who I didn’t know, giving me high fives and offering to buy me drinks. This excited me because that cop totally ruined my buzz. Mollie convinced me it wasn’t the best idea to stay which I agree with now, but at the time I really couldn’t understand her logic. So I got a few more hugs and high fives from fellow drunken strangers and then we were off.

We got back to Mollie’s she shared with me that she was offered a job there as a bartender, which she took. I didn’t know how to take this. I wasn’t sure if it was good news or bad news after the night I just had. And then I came to my senses and said of course its good news.

The next morning Mollie came out to the couch where I was sleeping and could do nothing but smile, laugh a little, and shake her head as she sat down next to me. I only had one thing to say with a goofy hung over smile on my face with smeared make up and bench head.

“You’re working tonight….right?”

US Women’s National Soccer Team

Anyone who knows me, know I am an extreme soccer nut, always have been.  This year after the US beat France in the Women’s World Cup to move on to the final I went insane.  I was running and jumping around my apartment like a nut job.  Within 10 minutes of the final whistle I was online looking to book a flight to go home for the final.  I live in Los Angeles now and home is Syracuse, NY.  I decided I wanted to be at home with some of my old soccer friends and family to enjoy this final.  After all, I have been waiting literally half of my life to see them in the Women’s World Cup final again. So I called my friend, told her to pick me up at the airport the next morning at 10 and it was all set.  I would fly out that night.  Soccer possesses me to do crazy things.

We all know how the story ends though.  We know that their brilliant run came to an end against Japan and they brought us the silver.  When Alex Morgan scored our first goal I think everyone watching the game with me was actually genuinely concerned for my health.  I went bat shit crazy.  However, when Japan scored their final PK that clinched it for them, I think they were equally as concerned for me.  I couldn’t move.  I was paralyzed with my US soccer ball stuck to my head where I was holding it.  Literally didn’t move or speak for 5 minutes.  I am so extremely proud of this team and what they accomplished, and I will more then happily cheer for the fact that they brought home a silver.  But oh man did that one hurt.  It really did feel like they had it all game.  It was theirs. They played one hell of a game.  And to anyone who says they choked…I want to know who you are, so that I can then choke you.  The people saying that are obviously people who don’t understand the beautiful game, or sports in general, or possibly how to tie their shoes in the morning.

Now that it is back to business as usual and they are back with their WPS teams it drives me crazy not being able to watch all the games.  Fox Soccer Channel does a great job of airing games on Sunday, but that’s it.  We need some more support for these athletes and this league.

I have an idea I am working on getting to Ellen Degeneres.  Its fun, its funny, it promotes the sport, and would be perfect for her show. I will explain more in blogs to come, but I am here on out, making it my mission to not only made my voice heard in comedy but also help promote the sport of women’s soccer in this country. I know what a bold statement that must seem, especially since I am making it on a blog I just started 2 days ago that currently has 3 followers. (Yes, I know one of the 3 is me, but come on…saying 2 followers would just be pathetic)

I have said it once to a friend and I’ll say it again…I am pouring lots of time and effort into an idea to help myself succeed and to help women’s soccer in this country.  Lots and lots of time and energy.  I am even having dreams about it.  One of which ends with Alex Morgan and I eating In N Out Burgers on bouncy exercise balls.  Another where Ellen Degeneres is very concerned over the size of my couch telling me it is far too small and I must get a new one.  Its gotten out of hand.  But with all of this time and effort on one idea, I know one of two things will happen.  Very soon I will end up one of two ways.  I will either be famous and living my dream…or I will be a shut in with plastered walls of the US Women’s National Team and Ellen Degeneres while eating beans from the can telling everyone I am president of Whiskey Town.

Lets cross our fingers for the first option.

Neat-o

After signing up for this blog yesterday I thought about it a little more and can’t help but feel like…why are blogs still around? I remember them being popular a long time ago, but I just never had interest in getting one until now. Seems like they are still going strong though. Its interesting how some things come in and then disappear so quickly and other things just stick around. People have been saying things like “cool” and “awesome” forever it seems like and they don’t get old. Same with phrases like “keen” and “neat-o”…which both still play a major role in my every day vocabulary. And then you have those fads you remember from when you were younger. Things that come to mind are pogs, and snap bracelets, and Lisa Frank school supplies, and turquoise stirrup pants. Ok, maybe the turquoise stirrup pants were just me, but hey…I rocked them and I rocked them proud. This should give you a pretty good idea of what time frame I was a kid. If you have never heard of pogs or snap bracelets or Lisa Frank you are probably super old or super young. Bummer.

Being a kid was the best. Remember when gym class was actually fun? I have alwasy been athletic, but man did gym class become a drag once you got to like middle school / high school. Except for senior year. We got to pick our own activities which included canoeing and bowling. (Aka smoking pot on the scummy river behind our school in a canoe and eating cheese fries while watching the bowling nerds throw down strikes at the lanes while refusing to put those disgusting shoes on) Well, now that I say it like that it doesn’t sound so bad. I do remember one gym teach from when I was really young, probably 2nd or 3rd grade. He was your typical somewhat older disgruntled teacher who probably hadn’t been laid since the 80’s, had a perfectly imperfect comb over, drank scotch or possible rye whiskey in between classes and put the fear of god in you if you did not perform to his liking in dodge ball. I remember one time I stubbed my thumb really bad and it was bleeding under the nail so I asked him if I could go to the nurse. He then suggested instead, that he hit one of my other fingers with a hammer. That way I wouldn’t notice my bleeding thumb anymore. At first I thought he was joking, but then after holding an awkwardly long staring contest to decide, I decided he was not. He of course didn’t actually end up hitting me with a hammer. He did however end up getting fired after throwing an older student against the wall later that year. Public school is the best. Middle school didn’t get much better. Getting away from the gym class, on my first day I was in social studies goofing around with my friends as usual when the teacher told me to be quiet. I of course did not listen and continued to talk. She just didn’t understand…there were some major plot twists happening on Boy Meets World that I needed to speak to someone about. So we continued our conversation until the teacher rudely interrupted again. This time she seemed a little upset. I knew she was upset, you see, because she told me if I didn’t stop talking she was going to jump over the desks and stab me in the throat with my own pencil. That was what tipped me off that she was upset.

So, thanks to a slew of crazy ass teachers I assumed from a young age that people in roles of authority were all insane and trying to kill me. Excellent.

I’m getting ansy. Time to go see if I have any pogs around to play with, that’d be neat-o.

My First Blog

I am not sure how I got here. I was about to post something on my Twitter account and was engraged when I reached my 140 characters so quickly and next thing I know, I have a blog. And I don’t remember what I wanted to post so badly to Twitter. So now I am not sure I have anything to say.

Who am I kidding..I always have something to say. I have never had a blog before. I’m thinking I’ll enjoy it. I have a lot to say and don’t care if people listen or not. I also don’t like listening in return to other people so this is an excellent format. One way conversation.

So, today I went to Subway for lunch. I made the mistake of going to the subway on Vermont though, which is right in between a socially acceptable area and the ghetto. In LA that means you will have a solid mix of the following: Asian families with 5 screaming children who all want to go to McDonalds instead, a group of 13-16 year old Mexican kids who think they are in a gang which only seems to hang out outside of fast food establishments smoking their parents’ USA Gold menthols, and overly aggressive homeless people who don’t bother with the whole bum on the curb routine, they go right in and ask for money from you while you are ordering your Spicy Italian sub. This particular visit to Subway I was also graced by the stereotypical enormous man who is completely counterproductive in coming to Subway in the first place. Most people go to Subway because they want a healthier, less greasy option for fast food. He apparently is not one of those people. I don’t know what type of subs he got (yes, plural…he got two foot longs for himself) because I could not see anything underneath the 3 pounds of condiments he had them put on each one. “Lotsa mayo, lotsa mustard, lots and lotsa southwest, some ranch, wait, yea more ranch and lotsa lotsa sweet onion sauce.” Were his exact words. And let’s not forget his enraged last statement, “You don’t have tha barbeque sauce that I wants on them!” When he sat down to eat them it was a moment similar to watching a car crash. You know if you keep watching it could be pretty gruesome but your brain is not intelligent enough to look away. My brain was no exception.

I still can’t look at the condiment shelf in my fridge.