14 February 2008
Drunken Nights and My Bad Photo Karma
Me in a photograph of my choosing.
Last summer, I went through a very fat phase. It would have been bad enough if I had just left it there, but I also decided to dye my hair auburny-red (which does not work on me!), wear my glasses, and stop wearing makeup altogether. (Why? Why?) As a result of this ill-advised social experiment, I have discovered a few things: First; that my hairdresser is right and I should never be trusted with my own hair; secondly; that the man I married does, indeed, love me for my personality; and finally that I have some sort of weird Karma that says that when I'm at my worst, everyone will want to take my picture.
OK. Here's the thing: I've been doing comedy for 20 years. Yup, that's right. And in that time I've certainly had my ups and downs, but for the most part I made the effort to look as fabulous as possible. And you know who took my picture during those times? Nobody, that's who. I even used to spend hours putting on false eyelashes and teasing my hair into a bouffant, but apart from a few appreciative comments from Drag Queens in the audience, my efforts were largely unnoticed, and certainly un-photographed.
So last summer when I looked the worst that I have possibly for several lifetimes, what happens? EVERYONE wants to photograph me. Why? Why? Why?
I was blissfully unaware of all the big fat ugly images being posted of me on the internet, because I am not one of those people who googles myself. So this one day I was having coffee with my friend Anya when she says, "I saw a really funny interview of you on YouTube".
"Oh," I replied, "Was it an interview done in Luxembourg?" Because I remember that interview for some Luxembourgian station, and I looked particularly adorable that night, if I say so myself. Blonde hair, lots of makeup, a well coordinated outfit, the works.
"No," Anya said innocently, "It was at the Gentse Feesten last summer."
"What? What? WHAT???!!!" I'm sure I spit coffee everywhere. And it all came back to me, probably like people's lives flash right before they die; every gory detail of this interview I did during the Gentse Feesten came flooding back to me. I had actually let these people interview me with no thought whatsoever even to brushing my hair. I had sat there, fat, drunk, and un-adorned, comforting myself with the knowledge that since I'm not actually famous, no one would want to see this thing anyway. I don't know what I was thinking - maybe I thought they were just, I don't know, trying out their camera (and recording equipment) or that maybe they would show it somewhere without attaching my NAME to it so that people could google it and see my fat no-eyebrow face making jokes in Flemish. More to the point, I most likely didn't think at all. These evil, evil people caught me when I was at my most vulnerable, after a show where I had been given far too much free beer. Aaaaaaarrgh!
I ran out of the coffee shop for better phone reception and I called my manager (who also happens to be my husband), crying hysterically and pleading, "Do something! Do something!".
Poor Anya followed me outside, her eyes filling with tears half whispering "What did I do??" She knew she had sparked an incident of near global proportions and she felt responsible, the poor girl. Then, in a really bad attempt to comfort me, she said, "It's been on YouTube for a few months."
I don't think I even said anything. I think I just screamed and started running through the streets of Gent towards home. When I got home, I googled myself, and the damage was worse than I thought. The evil culprits had already removed the video (Perhaps because they'd been threatened with bodily harm. Not my problem.), but upon googling I found that there had also been evil people photographing me. There was one photograph, taken of me on a night when I looked exquisitely bad, mid-bad facial expression and all hunched over. I looked like Quasimoto in a mu-mu. Seriously. And then there were more photos on the site of my favorite comedy club in Antwerp where I looked like Mama Cass having an allergy attack. I sat down and wrote emails to EVERYONE concerned telling them to take all photos of me OFF the internet. I was typing so quickly my fingers were almost bleeding and I was hyperventilating like crazy. It was awful. Finally everyone took the pictures down, but it was a week of hell for me, believe me. Suffice it to say that I'm VERY glad I'm not a celebrity. Really. I don't think there's enough valium in the world.
So last night I had another gig at that club in Antwerp. I spent hours on my newly re-blondified hair. I put TONS of makeup on. My mascara was so thick it almost make a clicking sound when I blinked.........NO ONE took my picture. See what I mean about my Karma? NO ONE! Fookah (I know I'm spelling his name wrong, but that's how you pronounce it), the guy who runs the place said he wants to put my photo on the wall, but, well, no-one brought a camera, and um, well.......TRANSLATION: It's a conspiracy and the universe won't allow me to be photographed unless I am physically compromised in some way. Do I sound paranoid?.......Perhaps I am. Oh, for crying out loud.
The rest of the evening was fun, nonetheless. I drank lots of free beer missed my last train then rode through the streets of Antwerp drunkenly perched on the back of my friend (and fellow comedienne) Öznur's bicycle, and stayed the night in her guest room. This morning the weather was brisk and spookily overcast, just the way I like it, and my makeup still looked fabulous. Still does. God forbid anyone should take a picture of it.