‘Performing comedy and making people laugh has allowed me to better handle the demands of a challenging day job.’
“I had gotten divorced, celebrated my 50th birthday, and was faced with the question, ‘What do I now?’ I decided to get my bachelor’s degree and take the Nassau County civil service caseworker exam. It’s a challenging position, akin to CPS for adults: dealing with financial exploitation, neglect and abuse of the elderly.
“After two years in this position, I realized I needed to tap into my creative side. A few years prior, I had dabbled in stand-up comedy and always hoped I would be able to return to it.
“After exploring options on the web, I decided to get my comedic feet wet at a Tuesday night open mic hosted by Coasters Tavern in East Meadow. I was very nervous. Here I was, in my 50s in a bar by myself, surrounded by young comics.
We joke about events and situations that have made us sad or are tragic, but with time, we make light of those experiences and can often find the humor in very dark circumstances.
“While pondering all of this, I noticed three women around my age talking animatedly a few feet away. They approached me, explaining they had decided to embark on a stand-up career despite of their half-century age. I was buoyed by their encouragement and realized the only obstacle to my pursuit of a career in comedy was my own stigma about age that I was holding on to.
“For the past three years, I have performed at open mics around the Island, balancing my comedic career with my day job. I’ve come to realize it is never too late to pursue your dreams. Performing comedy and making people laugh has allowed me to better handle the demands of a challenging day job. I once heard a quote that really spoke to me: ‘Tragedy plus time equals comedy.’
“We joke about events and situations that have made us sad or are tragic, but with time, we make light of those experiences and can often find the humor in very dark circumstances. I draw inspiration from my life experiences: divorce, middle-aged womanhood, dating, sex. Much to my mom’s chagrin, I frequently reference my Catholic upbringing in my routine and touch on everyday experiences we all can relate to.
“I believe we have to find humor in everything. It makes life bearable. ‘G-O-T-T-A L-A-F-F’ is my license plate, and I selected the phrase because my philosophy is, ‘If you don’t laugh, you cry,’ and I prefer the sound of laughter.”