Dear SOLOSLUT Forum:
I never thought this would happen to me.
She walked in the door like the beginning of a music video: emerging from the California smog, in a pink bodysuit and giant faux fur coat. I remember thinking, Who is THAT?
Because she looked like she was walking into a hip hop song and not a clown class. And then she slaughtered the whole workshop, just crazy funny and fearless and smart, and barely five feet tall, and everyone was like, Who is THIS? I’ll tell you. It was Brooke Sciacca.
And it still is Brooke Sciacca. Brooke is my new comedy partner.
Brooke and I started working together student/ teacher style in March 2019—that’s when she took an Oakland workshop of mine, then School for Comedy Beasts, then we hosted the 2019 Sh’Bang Fest Water show together (she was the scientist, I was the sea creature), then she took my pandemic Zoom classes, then I started directing her future solo show, then she performed in my Sh’Bang Melodrama Gang 2022 and we hosted that Sh’bang Burlesque show, so you know—it all felt pretty organic and gradual. We had a great rapport from the get-go, but we also became friends and started to just amuse the fucking shit out of each other all the time. Getting ready for the Burlesque show at midnight, in the woods, by the light of the trunk of my car, losing makeup compacts, dripping frosting, laughing so hard our faces wet with tears. I just think Brooke is the funniest person. She makes me feel like I’m at a preteen sleepover, all the time.
So since the fall 2022 we’ve been working on a duo show, which is debuting at Edmonton Fringe 2023 at the Grindstone Comedy TheatRE. “RE” for “REAL CANADIAN FRINGE y’ALL.” I’m coming back, baby.
How do you do it.
How do you lump along down there
A tiny little lightning bolt
(said five-one-and-three-quarters to five-flat)
Sweet when I’m salty, up when I’m down—
Your “everything happens for a reason” to my “everything dies in agony”
And yet, under the San Juan Island stars at night, after killing a show together…
Lying on our backs on the patio,
Eating the remains of a sticky bun
Complete, at peace, perfect—
Oh, shit, it all sounds so romantic—when I put it like that…
But it is! In the least sexual way you can imagine—I mean, uh, the most sexual way. Get Ready Edmonton, because you’re going to see some HOT SEXUAL CHEMISTRY right up under your face! I didn’t say “least sexual” up there! I said most! Moist!
Anyway, Brooke and I can be very sexual and ridiculous and risk-free with each other because there’s no actual romance between us. Unless you count finding a comedy partner as a romantic thing. Which I do! So what are we talking about.
I think my point here is that I found it very satisfying to be a solo interactive performer for ten years, but it was also isolated. More on that here. And it feels really nice to feel totally unambiguous about who you’re with. I mean, that’s just true in all relationships. But I wondered if I’d be a solo diva for life, and I’m just thrilled to feel right in a duo.
I know a lot of solo artists. I think that’s because it’s the best financial model—really, the only financial model if you need to make a living and aren’t famous or from the moneyed classes. And personally, just between us, it was lonely for me. It was unsustainably lonely. I had to settle down and get a wife and kid. I love performing, but I love stability and routine more.
But being in the right duo is amazing. It’s definitely more relaxed. It’s definitely more fun. Do you know what it’s like to go on an international airplane flight with your comedy partner and you’re both in drag and shooting footage on the plane all jet lagged and slap happy? The pasta dinner? Surprisingly delicious! Those sideways escalators? Super fun! That weird half-asleep swollen ankle feeling? Badge of courage, baby! Everything’s a gas!
And I am freaking out way less than I would be, because I trust her. I know how funny she is, I know how the crowd eats her up, I’m safe. I can feel all my feelings, and so long as I stay with the audience with my feelings and breathe into them, it’s all going to go great! And that’s a chillness that is unusual for me. Usually I have recurring failure dreams in which everyone hates my shows and workshops. But my dreams about our new show are usually like, “hmm, we’re totally unprepared, but the show is sold out somehow.” I’ve never had more optimistic dreams. Don’t worry, in the dreams, it’s still not actually a good show. I could never be that optimistic.
Making a show with someone who likes the same flavors and styles and fantasies is de rigeur. Brooke and I are old-timey diva kings who vibe vintage and icon and classique. We like cardigans and slicked back hair on our off days, we like pennies in our loafers. That is to say, oof, hard to describe, but the same fantasies tickle us, the same details delight us. We both drool quite a bit, when it’s going well.
Clown is wet, Giovanni Fusetti says.
Working with Brooke helps me to clarify what my vibe is when I get to just live in my own fantasy. Broaches, velvet, ruffle sleeve, glam rock, Mid-Atlantic. Dapper as fuck. This is what it’s like to be in a band.
Yes, we’re making music videos.
It’s not the same now that I’ve got a family. Now I can’t just throw myself into my new show with Brooke and tour the Anglo-speaking world. I have to move slowly. But how delicious, divas, to be able to be moving forward with my performing practice! I love the fuck out of teaching and directing, it’s the absolute tits for me, but I know my teaching benefits from a continuous return to the stage to see how it is to practice what I preach.
Brooke is patient and has enough else going on to take it at my speed. Talk about gentlemanly.
I thought I was an old dog, Brookie. I thought I was going to be doing the same Butt Kapinski trick til I died. I didn’t think that was so bad; I still love doing Butt of course, but I didn’t know if I had anything else to offer enough to charge admission and make a big stink on the socials etc. You gave me a reason to make a big stink all over the socials, girl. I’ve never been so proud to make a stinky, and it’s all because of you.
Also, toddlers make you think and talk about poop a lot. So if you actually weren’t thinking about poop in the above paragraph, and you are now, you’re welcome.
No, no, back to you Brooke. Seriously.
You make me feel young again.
Full of breath, possibility.
That moment when we almost kissed on stage
And the audience screamed.
All my love for our friendship
In that space between our faces
Plus You always let me finish
The sticky bun