The Journey to TAZmania
I credit my interest and exploration into the stand-up comedy world to many people. I’ve been encouraged, guided, supported and appeased by family, friends, mentors, coaches and fellow comedians.
Growing up I was the class clown.
I think I did it to hide my insecurities as
the “new kid” because we moved around every few years. We weren’t in the witness protection program or military brats - my dad worked for the phone company.
I was the flat-chested girl, with
the “mother’s hair” who dressed like a tomboy. My hair was so out of control my cousin Kathy used to greet me by saying “go brush your mop!” We still laugh about it!
I needed to be social and wanted to have friends, so making people laugh was a thrill! But, being the class clown often got me sent to the principal's office, routinely held after school in detention, and filled many comments sections on school report cards.
I didn’t act on my interest in comedy until much later. I decided to attend an open mic I read about in the local newspaper. I also just wanted to get out of the house! The open mic was in a little coffee shop with about 30 people (maybe it was more like 20 - I was never very good in math! I am really good at remembering phone numbers though!) Anyway, I had 5 minutes to get up in front of a room full of strangers. Oddly, I loved it! My heart was pounding, I was a nervous wreck, but…people laughed! I don’t even remember what I said. I had no training or anything; I had no idea what I was doing, but I did it! One woman in the audience complimented me and said I was pretty good. Validation! It made me feel great, it was a bonus she was the wife of one of the other comedians.
Many years later I was in a networking group and everyone was asked to talk about what they were passionate about - what made them happy. I shared some lame half-truths with this room full of strangers. As the facilitator preceded to chat with others in the room, one of my colleagues stopped and said, “Wait Terry-Ann, you didn't tell him what you were passionate about!” I froze staring at him thinking to myself, had something happened between us that I conveniently forgot, or had I divulged my deepest darkest secret to him over lunch at the diner months before? He broke my trance and said “You want to do stand-up comedy” and I said, “Oh, yeah right!” So, thanks Matt K. - you started this crazy comedy ride for me!! And, I truly mean that!
From that meeting, George R. called and mentioned he had a friend who also does stand-up comedy, and he would put me in touch with him. A few days later I was talking to George’s friend, Bill R. - the comedian. Bill suggested I take classes. So, I found a comedy workshop - Humor in the Midst (no, not Maid of the Mist- that's a boat ride in Niagara Falls!) run by Kate Lyn Reiter – comedian, actor, writer, playwright, director, and professor. I took classes for a few years and participated in the showcase at the end of each season, in June, at the Chester Theater. It was a blast! I was hooked very quickly.
Every Saturday I wrote, did improv, fine-tuned my persona with Phil, Peggy, Julie, Karen, Fred, Susan, Colleen, and Vincent. We laughed.... all the time, and had loads of fun!
Eventually I ventured out of the safety of the workshop and tried an open mic and a couple bringer shows at the Comedy Cove. I always managed to get a few friends from work, the neighborhood or family to come out on a week-night and lend support. Thank you to Amy, Claire & Roman, Richard, Staci, Mary Alice & Gary, Lisa (sorry, I forgot your beau’s name), Amy (not the same Amy as above - a different one), Sera, Sarah & Pim, Steve, Randy, Anna, Karyn, Jill, Susan, Kathy & Lorrie. If I forgot anyone, I’m sorry. I know some of you came out more than once. Oh, the torture!
Thanks to all the TAZmaniacs* that show the LOVE and plopped down big money to attend fundraisers and shows at venues all over NJ including: Kristi, Mindy & Brad, Kelly & John, Lisa, Kim & Shawn, Sonal, Sharon, Roxann & Allan, Lena, Pat & David, Lisa & Mark, Sage, Michelle & John, Greg & Jen, Kathy & Lorrie, Ashley, Steve, Vincent & LeAnn, Ray, Jazmin, Erin & Dirk, Keith & Phyllis, Gina, Elaine, Allan & Laura, Mike & Tirza, Jill & Larry, Tina & David, Diane, Steve, Kathleen & John, Khadeeja, Paula, Melissa & Jair, Steve & Lisa, Ryan, Kyle, Nick & Wendy, Dee, Katie, Tim, Mable & family, Wendy & Lori, Judy & Heather, Beth & Jeff, and cousin Kathy! It was always wonderful to see your smiling laughing faces in the audience, but it was also hard to look at you at work on Monday morning because I sometimes crossed the line and shared too much! C’est la vie!
Since then, I’ve taken more classes, attended workshops and writer’s groups in NYC and Long Island. I’ve had the opportunity to work with over 100 comedians from the NYC tri-state area in clubs, restaurants, theatres, fire houses and more recently virtually, and it's been a blast! I look forward to taking it out on the road again soon. Hopefully, later this month.
In the meantime, thanks to my long-time friend, and producer extraordinaire,
Terri Walters of Moonfish Production and Diane Rickards, we now have the
Some Kind of Comedian podcast. This is Terri’s brainchild; she has done all the heavy lifting. I just get to sit back and talk to my comedy friends about the biz.
A very special thanks goes out to my family – the people who, without fail, provide me with new material every day for the last 23 years – My husband and sons. XOXO. I also want to thank the inspiration of my earlier comedy - Mom and Dad, brother John and sister Laura. We still have a lot of laughs, although my Mom is watching from box seats on cloud 9.
Subscribe and follow Some Kind of Comedian. It's cheaper than coming out to see live comedy AND you can be naked!
*TAZmaniacs- Name given to individuals unofficially enrolled in Terry-Ann Zander’s Comedy Fan Club!