Dear Hollywood, You’re Still Not Getting It
Between the lavish hotel stays, expensive cars, and endless red carpets; luxurious vacations and mansions with bathrooms the size of my house in Indiana. From the glitz, the glam, the flashing lights and the cameras… You’re still not getting it.
Last October, I told my husband that I would like to try stand-up comedy. I told him I want to make people laugh, even if it’s just for an hour. I want to make them forget about their everyday worries. I want to make people feel good. I want people to leave my show with a smile on their face. I want them to talk about the funny things I said all the way home. I want to utilize my vulgarity and wit and turn it into a service to help people who don’t know how to laugh anymore. I want to inspire people to be themselves and to find humor in their typical day to day bullshit.
My husband heard me loud and clear. He surprised me with second-row tickets to see my favorite comedian, Amy Schumer, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I was ecstatic. She always made me laugh and I felt like we were a lot alike, so this was the perfect opportunity for me to get the courage and inspiration to do what I love…
Entertain and make people laugh.
We made the two-hour drive only to be backed up into traffic a half mile from the stadium, making us late. I was beyond frustrated because I had been looking forward to this day for so long. Luckily, though, the traffic was due to everyone trying to get into the show, so the show was going to start late. We parked in a church parking lot a half mile away and hurried to our seats. Forty-five minutes later and the opening act began.
Even though the opening act was funny, I couldn’t wait for him to get off the stage and for Amy Schumer to grace me with her humor. I couldn’t wait to laugh and feel inspired. I wanted to feel how I wanted to make other people feel if I ever made it in stand-up comedy. But most of all, I couldn’t wait for her to make me forget about politics that flooded social media, the television, and the magazines. With the presidential election just one month away and the constant arguing, leaks, scandals, I needed her that night. The stress had just become overwhelming.
The show began with a video intro of Schumer promoting her new book. She then came out looking like a hot mess with her right hand grasping a bottle of wine. I was smiling from ear to ear. “That’s my girl!” I said to my husband.
The night got even better when she asked the crowd a very sexual question and I shouted out an answer. “Stomach!” I yelled. Why wouldn’t I? I specialize in vulgarity and sex talk was one of my favorite comedic topics, so that word came out of my mouth before I even knew I had an answer.
She looked at me,”Oh my god Amy Schumer is looking at me,” I thought. Then, like I wasn’t already in heaven, she responded to me. “Stomach?” she asked, tilting her head, looking as if she was contemplating my answer. “Okay, yeah, you’re young! I’ll take stomach as an answer, anyone else?”
I grabbed my husband’s arm in excitement, squealing “I just talked to Amy Schumer! She just looked her new best friend right in the eyes and talked to me, David! This is the best surprise ever, thank you for doing this for me!”
My excitement was quickly diminished and the real world was back, but the show wasn’t over. Schumer began to talk about politics. I knew that Amy Schumer was a democrat and I respected her views but my husband didn’t do all of this for me to hear a lecture. I closed my eyes and prayed “Please don’t start talking about politics, please don’t start talking about politics, please don’t do this right now.” My prayers went unanswered.
“I know the Presidential Election is coming up so I just want to talk a little bit about how important it is to vote.”
“Okay,” I thought, “please just stress the importance of how everyone’s vote matters. Please do not choose sides and just go back to making us laugh and feel good.”
“Who in their right mind would vote for a rich orange-faced reality star sporting a toupee?” She continued.
The mood in the stadium shifted as guests started mumbling amongst each other. Laughter was being heard by those who shared the same political views as her, but the rest of us sat in our paid seats, suddenly becoming overwhelmed with a rush of emotions, knowing the direction this was going to go.
With a hillbilly draw,”Look, I know ya’ll don’t want anyone to take your guns from ya, but how about we both agree that we can have stricter laws ensuring that, oh, I don’t know, mentally unstable people couldn’t get their hands on one?”
She continued, “I performed for Hillary Clinton at a birthday party and I tried to get her to take a shot…”
Followed by a long story that was clearly being told in hopes to influence the crowd and shed some positive light on Hillary Clinton. It was a questionable move on her part, using her fame and likability to promote her preferred candidate to an audience of different backgrounds and beliefs, but she ran with it.
“Donald Trump is this…”
“Donald Trump is that…”
“How could you vote for him…”
This went on for what seemed like forever, taking up a large portion of her show. She began to argue with audience members and the mood shifted. It was no longer light and laughter was turning into frustration. Before heading in, I knew Amy Schumer and I had different political beliefs but I thought she wanted me to be in her audience, despite my political views. I granted her that respect because of who she is as a person, so I guess I expected the respect to be returned.
Why wouldn’t I expect that? I was sitting in a paid seat. I supported her career with movie rentals, ticket purchases and praise on social media. I supported her career because she inspired me to begin mine. I guess I just assumed that she appreciated all members of the audience. I thought she would appreciate that people like me, the working middle class, helped her achieve her dream.
I left the show feeling worse than I did walking in. Though I felt extremely disrespected and unappreciated, I didn’t feel sorry for myself. I felt sorry for my husband.
I felt sorry for my husband, who works hard to support me and my daughter every single day. I felt bad for my husband because the cost of our insurance increased but no one seemed to care about the silent working man. I felt bad for my husband because he had started working a second job to save up money for our uncertain future. I felt sorry for my husband because he spent his hard earned money on spoiling me. He bought these tickets as a way to tell me that he supported me, believed in me and hoped the show would encourage me to chase my dream.
My husband paid $200 for tickets, drove five hours round trip and arranged a babysitter for our daughter. We picked up our daughter and got home at midnight on a Wednesday night. For my husband, midnight on a weekday means he will get three hours of sleep before his alarm will go off at three in the morning, for him to go to work and bust his ass at an RV factory.
He woke up exhausted Thursday morning. I packed his lunch, brewed his coffee and sent him off with a kiss. When he got home, I wanted to cry for this man. His work shirt stained. His work pants torn. His hands calloused. His socks wet from the rain that broke the barrier of his worn out Adidas.
His hard earned money went into the pockets of a celebrity who used her two-hour time slot drinking a bottle of wine while degrading the average American, which Hollywood is completely out of touch with. That is bullshit.
So Hollywood, please listen to me when I tell you that you are not rich and famous because of your political views. You are rich and famous because of people just like my husband, who support your career and admire the talents you possess. Your talent is supposed to make the average people temporarily forget about life’s worries, such as bills, which you don’t have to worry about.
To showcase your political views on a platform built on your gift, when you are supposed to be showcasing your talent is ruining the entertainment industry for people like me. Preaching your beliefs is only insinuating that you feel the average American citizen is incapable of drawing their own conclusions. I guess you believe that because you have a nice fancy house and some screen time, your opinion matters more.
Hollywood, I hope you are hearing me.
Imagine working your ass off in a factory and saving up enough money to support a complete strangers career because you love, adore, and strive to be like them, only to be belittled and mocked?
I am hopeful and optimistic that Amy Schumer will return to her roots. But I have to admit that Amy’s show wasn’t a complete heartbreak because I figured out exactly what I wanted to do with my gift.
I will use my gift to make people laugh regardless of their race, religion, political views and gender. I refuse to use my gift as a vehicle to discriminate. I refuse to disrespect and mock people who have encouraged me, supported me and believed in me.
I refuse to make people feel how Amy Schumer made me feel the day I was seeking inspiration.