What I Learned When Writing A Book
So it’s the dawn of my book release and I am feeling many things. Nerves. Excitement. A stomachache because I decided to get a Dunkin Donuts breakfast wrap this morning. An ungodly Monday decision. Note: Wanna buy a book early? Links are on the side of the page. Read the post below and learn how to be involved in a pre-order giveaway, which ends tonight!
I was going to write a post, something along the lines of “ten things I learned when writing a book,” because I learned a lot of things. The short list: don’t let Red Bull get warm, nobody is entitled to success, wash your pajamas. The longer list: the worst part of writing and life are the times you have to delete/let go of a part you really love, but oftentimes this process makes you stronger and better. And seriously, just because they are pajamas doesn’t mean you should let them get SO DIRTY.
However, on the dawn of my book release, I realize that I’m feeling VERY On Golden Pond nostalgic, so I decided the thing I really wanted to say.
I came to the Frenemy three years ago without any real mission. Correction. Three years ago, I had no real mission or purpose or cause in general/in life. I was the kind of floating algae at the top of the pond, slapping down margaritas and trying to become obsessed with a new television show and working so I could buy new shoes I could scuff in like a week. So I sort of bought into a lot of things. I believed my self-worth was in my stomach abs. I believed that beautiful women were the ones who looked strong but “were broken inside,” whatever the fuck that means. I believed that I was one of the guys. And when I started The Frenemy, that was generally how I felt.
Three fucking years later, and I have my mission. Maybe I am calling it a mission because I am reading The Hunger Games right now and it makes real life seem pretty banal. But if I had one thing that I wanted to teach one person before I die, it is this:
Mad love to this girl.
This is my post about Suck My Dick
These thoughts are my own and not necessarily a reflection of Suck My Dick II players, or female improvisers, as a whole.
I know I need to write something, but, like, don’t know how to start.
Playing with these girls feels like dancing, you just move your body in a way that feels fun and somehow it looks good.
Sometimes being a girl in improv is hard. Sometimes it’s wonderful, but sometimes it’s hard. And even I, Carly Ann Fucking Filbin, have felt intimidated by the men in my classes. They’re taller then me, their voices are low, they don’t like me. They bond with the teacher, there are more of them, they won’t look me in the eye. (These are generalizations, of course there are sweet guys who have made me feel welcome.) Why aren’t they talking to me during breaks? Why aren’t they talking to me at the bar? Why aren’t they asking me to be on their indie team? AND A LOT OF THOUGHTS LIKE: Is everyone just staring at my body? Are their compliments genuine or are they hitting on me? Can I be myself around this teacher without having him think I’m interested in him? Am I acting too flirty? I am, so I’ll just avoid them so I won’t get a bad reputation. And these thoughts got crept into my brain and it was hard. And it held me back. I’m not saying men held me back, I held myself back because I was in my head so much about it.
And sure, it’s not fair to blame all my improv set backs on men. Alot of it was me, not doing good work, worried about the game move, not feeling comfortable in my own skin, wanting so desperately to be funny so people would ask me on their stupid indie teams that at the time I thought were worth a damn. And no one ever did. And now I’m a star so suck my dick you assholes. A little part of me always felt like I was constantly seeking validation from my peers and classmates, more so then my teacher, which is stupid because a little part of them was seeking validation as well. We all wanna be liked!
And we’ve all been in classes where, for whatever reason, people just don’t bond or they all have other improv things going on and the class just doesn’t amount to anything special. Even on 26th St Wolverines, my Will Hines class that supposedly bonded quickly, I still felt their were people that could have cared less about me as a community member and an improviser. And maybe that’s ok, because it’s just an improv class, right?
And then this class, oh my god, this class. The very first day we all got there early and had a little meet and greet, then Shannon came in and we all went crazy and I’m tearing up because what a wonderful start to this journey. And everyone made it a point to raise this class up. To make this thing an example. And we had everyone’s backs. And we listened to each other on and off stage. And we celebrated everyone’s individual style. And we made each other feel comfortable. And we cared for one another. And we wanted to make this special. And we weren’t searching for validation because we already got it from each other. And there was a little bit of an “us against the world” mentality. It was so so cool.
And these shows, oh my god, these shows. You guys, to be honest, I felt a little pressure before our first show. I mean, we had really built us up. Our name is Suck My Dick. If you have a name like that you better be fucking unbelievable. And did you see the first Suck My Dick. Pretty big shoes to fill. And even though I felt a huge part of the community was rallying behind us, waiting to support us, there was a little part of me that thought “fuck, if we are a sloppy mess tonight we are gonna give every woman in this community a bad name.” And that was my honest thought, even though I knew the players I was improvising with were bad ass and I TRUSTED THEM, even though our Harold night bits were STUPID GOOD, it’s hard not to have thoughts like that. So don’t take that thought as a sign of me not totally believing in every improviser on that stage.
The first show I stepped onto the stage at UCB Chelsea and IT WAS A DIFFERENT STAGE. I felt different. I played different. I WASN’T EVEN THINKING. I was hanging out with my friends on stage. It felt like we were playing sleepover games. Do you know what I mean, like that murder one or light as a feather or whatever. We were just fooling around! And without anyone saying anything, we found our style together. When I think back to that first show I can still feel the way my bones felt that night. It felt like flying. Hand to God, it felt like flying.
And then I got to do 3 more shows with these incredible people who wanted to play with me. And yes, we were probably too hyper. And sure, sprinkled amongst the bold improv and strong game moves were jokes and sloppiness and breaking. But guess what, suck my dick, I don’t care. I used to be scared at UCB and I’m not scared anymore and when you shed that skin you feel giddy. When you send a mental note to the audience saying “thank you for coming but I’m about to play by my own rules and I could give 2 shits if you’re on board or not and btw I love myself” YOU FEEL FUCKING GIDDY. Sometimes when you dance you trip, or you’re off rhythm and you just keep on fucking dancing because you’re dancing with someone it feels good to dance with. And guess what, after 3 minutes a new song comes on and who cares about what you just did?
And this crowd, oh my god, this crowd. How supportive and unbelievable. How lucky are we to have had you guys at our shows. Many people came to multiple shows. On a Tuesday. At 11 p.m. They were our fans and don’t for a second think we aren’t so grateful for your support and enthusiasm. Thank you to the entire community for coming out and being excited. It’s hard to believe that this was only really a class show with a run, not a movement to show the world what we can do. And do you guys remember how the last show was SOLD THE FUCK OUT? How often does that happen at 11 p.m on a Tuesday?
And these compliments, oh my god, these compliments. The UCB Love tumblr posted about how we make people feel like they’re on stage with us, and is that, like, the best compliment ever to be received? I mean, who else can you really say that about? And I’ve heard the word “joy” thrown around. I mean, come on, to hear that people think our improvising is joyous. Could there be anything better? And people talk about how they can’t get over how much we love playing together. AND IT’S TRUE, I FUCKING LOVE PLAYING WITH THESE ASSHOLES. It’s evident. We’re having a blast and people like watching people have a blast. Joy breeds joy.
And these girls, oh my god, these girl. What. Can. I. Say? I love them? Too general. They are talented as fuck? Duh. I wan’t to keep doing improv with them? Obviously. My heart is full. They are so stupid funny. They have such confidence and style. Throughout the class people would ask me how Suck My Dick is going and I always responded “It is so easy to do good improv because everyone is so talented.” Each one of these ladies has served as a puzzle piece to this class/show/experience. It would take forever to talk about them individually, but if you are reading this, get to know them. Have them in your life. They are such warm, welcoming, opinionated, risky, genuine people and I cannot believe they belong to me. They are mine. And I will seriously kick your ass if you fuck with any of them for the rest of their lives.
And this teacher, oh my god, this teacher. SHANNON FUCKING O’NEIL. So tough and fearless, so kind and understanding. Recognizing that women needed this little slice of the comedy world without ever getting angry or political about it. Harboring a safe place and encouraging a bonded environment. Believing that these 16 women can set an example. I will always be thankful she picked me for this.
And the memories, oh my god, the memories. Hosting the Lady Jam will be one of the highlights of my year. When we sat in a circle and got real with each other. When Emma pretended to be a little person in a pig suit. When we told everyone to rise for the National Anthem and then danced to Girls Just Want to Have Fun. When we bounced dead Chet around above our heads. When Aileen played Crazy Pete. When we did a whole scene about horse puns. When Morgan and I ran around on stage during the Snapple Scene. When we chanted SUCK MY DICK at McManus. When for a whole 3 months almost everyday people asked how Suck My Dick was going. When Rebekah threw that temper tantrum at camp. When Lily kept saying “you go girl” during the jam. When Mariola said “ouch your cactus”. When I couldn’t remember the word “knock” so I said “just knuckle it.” When Morgan Hill yelled at the audience to shut up. When I realized how underrated Sarah Wharton is. When that eagle flew out of Glenn’s pants. Claire’s coloring podcast after our last class. When Ashely told that story about horse camp. When Ali mumbled something during our 3rd show and didn’t clarify what she said. When Katey introduced the character of Richard Scary. Morgan Miller’s cool girl dancing. Megan getting pimped into talking like some kind of foreign exchange student. Emma saying that someone appears in your fireplace and fists you. When Becca told us her spirit animal was a unicorn. God damn, the memories.
I guess the major thing I’m taking away from this is I FEEL COMFORTABLE IN MY OWN STYLE. I finally feel like I have a voice. I know what I think is funny. I know how I want to express myself onstage. I don’t think anyone can ever be completely fearless, but I am the closest to fearless I have ever been. I have found a way to play in which I THINK IS FUN. Without searching for it, I have found validation.
I’M A REALLY FUNNY PERSON AND I LOVE SUCK MY DICK.
I was that little 101 student that went to all the first SMD’s shows by myself. I was inspired. And I hope we have opened the eyes to some girls who saw us. I hope we made them feel like they could play however the fuck they wanted. I hope they stand their ground in the lower levels and believe in themselves and build up enough confidence to tell everyone to suck their dicks.
And one more thing, THANK YOU to the interns who dealt with our crowds and cleaned up after us. You don’t get recognized enough.
WHEN GIRLS PERFORM WEARING SHORT DRESSES
SUCK MY DICK.
DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO HAVE YOUR EVERYDAY WORK CLOTHES TRANSITION INTO YOUR IMPROV CLOTHES!?
The person who wrote this has never been laid.
I have not felt SO ENRAGED by something in such a long time.
Yes, you need to be able to move in improv. And sometimes dresses HELP you move! As long as you have shorts on WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
IMPROV IS SELF EXPRESSION AND I AM GOING TO WEAR WHATEVER THE FUCK I WANT.
“Shannon O’Neill has made the ladies at UCB feel confident in every sector of comedy - improv, sketch, standup, production, you name it. Her Lady Jams are also so awesome. Her skill, commitment, and “I don’t give a fuck” attitude as an improvisor inspire me and make me want to continue UCB even when I doubt myself. And I don’t think I need to say this, but she’s hilarious.”