One Sunday, a few months ago, I was walking with another (female) comic, the mile or so that lay between the two shows we were doing that night. I mentioned something about my kids and her rather surprised response was “Wow, I didn’t know you had kids! You’re SO not a Momic”. ‘Momic’?? WTF? I can honestly say I’d never heard that expression before that moment. I actually found it pretty funny. But what she inferred was that being a Momic was bad, and good for me for not falling prey to what I can only assume is Momedy.
So here’s the deal. Yes, I’m a mom and yes, I’m a comic and have, in fact written enough jokes about my kids to embarrass them well into adulthood. And I’ll probably write many, many more. But I’m also an educated, well-travelled, former-TV-News-Producing, film-watching, book-reading, pub-crawling, concert-going, married, white, Catholic, Canadian, middle-class, middle-aged person with two x chromosomes. Writing about things other than my kids is not a problem. (Writing about these things well is another column, another day). I find it hard to believe that ANY comic is so one dimensional they can only find humour in such narrow confines. (Carrot Top aside, but perhaps he’s the exception that proves the rule?)
However, I am surprised at how many people seem to want to push me into that box. On two different occasions, I’ve had very successful and talented women comedians (one sketch, one stand up) say to me, “You’ve got kids, you should write more about them!” Really? Why? The thing about material, I’ve discovered, is it’s such a personal thing.
Believe me, I’m more than happy to accept advice, solicited or not. Especially from the people who have been doing this a lot longer than me and with a great deal more success. One pro told me I was playing with my hair too much. Another told me I said “um” too much. These are helpful observations which will ultimately improve my act. I’m open to any suggestions about my delivery, timing, stage presence etc. I even welcome comments about a particular joke – a new tag idea, a way to tighten up the flow, or even if the joke is crap and I should chuck it in the garbage (though usually I know that pretty quickly after it’s passed my lips and into the dark hole where it belongs).
But WHAT you write about is a totally different puppy. Even if I was so inclined, I would have a hard time writing about something that didn’t interest me, or strike me as good joke material. I can’t imagine telling a young, male comic that they should write about whacking off (though most don’t seem to need the suggestion, anyway), or a middle-aged guy that we should hear more about his prostrate. So please do me the same courtesy and leave the triumphs of my uterus out it.
But, if it makes you happy to call me a Momic, go ahead. Seriously. Just don’t be surprised if I throw a dirty diaper at you then hose you down with breast milk.