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Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Characters and Cast of Ten Years a Comedian

I've just added a page listing the cast and characters for the 10 Years a Comedian show to the website. Obviously Julia, Tessa & Nicola are the cast while DEATH is a character and it was easy to list all four. Then there were three interesting cases.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

DEATH's Literary origins

This is a follow-on to my previous posting about DEATH the character.

Basically Terry Pratchett's Death and DEATH are both parodies of other personifications of death and we've both used pop-culture references as a starting point but ended up in different places.

I drew on similar sources to Pratchett, especially Bergman's The Seventh Seal and was aware of Death Takes A Holiday (Although possibly not the same remake as Pratchett used as a basis for Reaper Man) & obviously have read Pratchett. I was definitely influenced by psychopomps like Tarakeshwara & Charon.

Friday, November 30, 2018

DEATH returns

I'm having fun posting on Facebook as DEATH. Since I decided to revive the character for my 2019 Auckland Fringe show 10 Years A Comedian, 3 In A Skirt and created a page for it, it's taken on a life of its own. (Sorry about the puns). My rules are fairly simple:

  • Anything I publish as DEATH is in character
  • DEATH is not cruel and does not kill, just shows up at the time of death and so has a detached attitude to death considering even disasters as more-or-less equivalent to attending a rock concert. Fortunately I've yet to go to a concert that bad. Other than that DEATH has a pretty human set of emotions, especially when discussing its relationship with the other three horsemen
  • DEATH has a love-hate relationship with human technology. In many ways it is a geek. 
  • DEATH is self aware to an extent. The original 2008 script contained "I AM AN ANTRO-MOR-PHIC PER-SON-IFIC-ATION I AM A  MET-A-PHOR AND NOT AN IN-TRO-SPEC-TIVE ONE EITHER" and I have no intention of retconning that away.
  • DEATH doesn't draw the obvious conclusion that it is a fictional character and is incapable of noticing anything saying that it is one or that I portray it on stage.
  • DEATH is aware that I exist and am doing a show in which DEATH appears, but, as mentioned above, can not be aware that I am portraying DEATH in that show
  • I'm not intending to have DEATH break the 4th wall.


These rules mean that it can interact with my posts and even comment on me outside the forbidden knowledge but I don't want to go down the path of metafiction to places like Spike Milligan arguing with the fictional Dan Milligan in Puckoon or being like the characters in Illuminatus! who wonder if they are characters in a novel after encountering the Leviathan. 

Thinking about it, I'm finding it interesting that my first outing onto the comedic stage was as a conscientious but slightly geeky grim reaper and my second was as a hygiene nut who started off talking about wanting to kill 100% of germs before revealing the ultimate futility of it all. I wonder if these were MET-A-PHORs for the way I was holding on to the cisgender myth I had constructed for myself.

I have to admit that I have become fond of DEATH and am seriously considering recycling the character with new scripts for my 2020 show.

Friday, October 05, 2018

Needed code optimization

My introduction to SQL was circa 1995 when a large data warehousing project had managed to build a month-end data analysis routine that they discovered was going to take more than 31 days to run. They read somewhere that embedded SQL was faster & I was asked to rewrite it in C with embedded SQL. I worked with an SQL "specialist" & I did the C part, except he occasionally modified the C when I wasn't available.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Not losing uniqueness but gaining an ally

I am the only M2F transgender stand-up comedian I know of in New Zealand and on Tuesday coming I will have been that for 3 years. It looks like that's coming to an end.

From the archives: Rats in toilets


This is another one from 1992 in alt.folklore.urban. Someone had asked about the possibility of the urban legend about rats swimming around the S bend and biting people where it hurts. My reply:

Saturday, September 22, 2018

From the archives. Snuff movies

I just stumbled across this reply I made in 1992 on UseNet to the question "What's a snuff film?":
  1. Snuff is powered tobacco often with added aromatic substances. A snuff film is
    a government announcement which shows how using snuff slowly addles the
    brain & causes the habitue to fall into a degenerate state.

    A prime example of the gendre is "Snuff, devil's powder from hell" (193?) which tells the
    story of a couple of typical teenagers who fall in with a bad crowd. At first it is fun, then
    the cravings, immorality, and Jazz sap their wills & ...
  2. Snuff is a transitive verb. It is something you do to candles to make them stop burning.

    Snuff films are training films from the candle industry demonstrating safe ways of
    extinguishing candles. Distributing these films prevent the candle makers from
    encountering multi-million product liability suits: "They made no attempt to warn me
    not to eat the cake before blowing out the candles"
  3. Snuff is a dog my neighbour used to own. He has some "good" home movies of
    his kids playing flying disk games with Snuff.
Obviously I was having fun that day.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Souvenirs de blagues du passé

Looking back at old stuff can be interesting, and sometimes scary. My comedy career really started in mid 2015, but there were precursors. In 2008 I decided I would like to try doing stand-up just once, I did it, I got laughs & I walked away happy ticking stand-up off my bucket list.

5 years later I thought I'd like to try something different so I went back, did it, got laughs and was happy. To get stage time when I wanted to I needed to enter the national raw comedy contest, much to my surprise I got through to the semi-finals but no more. I happily walked away for 2 years.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

After the show: 50 Years Before The Frock

Publicity Shot Cornwall Park 10 days before opening.
It shows the staging I used for the show recreated outdoors.

I did my laundry this morning and as I hung the three red tops & three pairs of black trousers I wore on stage (one pair each night) I decided it was time to record my feelings and discoveries about the initial run of my one woman show 50 Years Before The Frock. Initially I called it "50 Years Before The Dress" but Frock worked better for me.

The show is about the 53 years between my first questioning of my gender identity and the first time I publicly performed comedy as myself, Julia.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Memories of the AIDS plague

Written on World AIDS day 2017

I was most involved with the NZ male gay scene during the late 1970s and 1980s. I wasn't gay and didn't have much sex, but it was a safe place for me to be so I chose to be there.

In those days when men came out after years or decades of repressing their sexuality many (most) of them understandably went wild and spent 2 or 3 years having as much sex as possible before they calmed down and formed stable relationships. Back then even casual sex was normally unprotected and it was common for these men to go for a holiday to San Francisco for 2 weeks of casual sex with random men in the bath houses.

"So many men, so little time" was their mantra.

Then AIDS happened.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Good and Bad Influences In Comedy

You'd have to have been living in  a white house to be unaware of the recent fuss over sexual harassment in the entertainment industry.  Recently American comedian Louis CK has been shown to be a despicable person, and people are lining up to say that they always knew his work was unacceptable.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

No Longer Just Kidding

My comedy material has evolved over time. Although much of my early comedy was firmly based in science and reality, I was after jokes that made people laugh. When I first transitioned my material was a mix of psychologically or emotionally true jokes and cheap attempts at comedy. Last night there was one joke in my set that wasn't closely based on a real experience of mine. Today I decided to retire that joke.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Transformation day 89

I've been having a rough time of it today. I feel totally sapped of energy and motivation.

There's any number of possible causes, some of the recent discussions in social media have increased the stress I mentioned in my last update and further depressed me.

Alternately It could well be my medication. Today is day ten of a two week course of doxycycline. I developed boils in several different parts of my body & the doctor gave me them in an attempt to knock out whatever it was.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Remembering Jokes When On Stage

I'm a member of a secret Facebook group where comedians run draft jokes past each other and sometimes ask for other tips. Recently a person asked how we remember the running order for our intended set.

It's a truism that the art of comedy is concealing the art, so I hope I'm not giving away too many secrets here.

For me confidence is the key.