up in aspen

In the corner of this condo, by the couches, we have found wireless.

I do not recommend trying to carry a stack of wood and two bags of groceries five blocks, in the snow, in the dark, by yourself. What seemed like a good idea last night became one of the dumbest things I’ve ever attempted. It took twice as long to walk home, as I kept having to stop, put everything down, gain my breath again, and then try to carry all of those things — in gloves — while walking on an icy street. I am dumb. I’ve also never really experienced life with snow.

I don’t sleep so well in Aspen. This time I’m even more anxious, and as much as I’m trying to do all the rules of living at this altitude (drink an amazing amount of water, wear lots of sunscreen, reapply lip balm constantly, eat carbs, limit alcohol, get lots of rest, realize you can’t work out at the same level of intensity you usually do…) I still woke this morning with a dry mouth, puffy eyes, a twitchy stomach and…

this is the same feeling I had the morning of my wedding. Exactly. Minus the constant stream of tears. Although last night I did squeeze out a few tears of anxiety over a lost scarf, like I’m that kid in Parenthood who lost his retainer, because I’d had a very long day and a really good scotch —

One sip of wine or booze and you think, “Mmm.” Three sips: “Everybody in this room is a genius. And so good looking!” Five: “EERR-body in the club gettin’ TIPSY!” You finish it and go, “I don’t ever need to drink again. Also: I love Aspen. Also also: I love my friends.”

Then ten minutes later, when you realize the scarf you knitted for your husband last year was lost some time during your tech, you weep quietly and wail, “Why is everyone mad at me?”

Luckily Jessica and Liz were walking way ahead of us to avoid this display of me at my not-so-finest, and sweet stee was like, “You need sleep. And to calm down. And maybe not scotch on your one drink of the day next time. And the show is going to be good. You know the show. This isn’t the test; this is the reward.”

We watched half of the stand-ups here last night, and they were performing on the same stage we’ll be on. There was something immediately comforting about standing on that stage at our tech rehearsal. It looks almost exactly like the stage Liz and I first performed on together at Second City. Same carpeting. Same two view-blocking pillars, same black walls. It’s just bigger. A lot bigger. And we’ll be wearing microphones, which I haven’t done since the twelfth grade, when I was Rizzo in Grease. We didn’t have enough microphones for everyone who had to sing at one point, so I was the only one singing my ass off for “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee.” Loud as hell. Tangent…

Our stage manager was the first stage manager we had back when we did this show for the Comedy Central Workspace last year. Our assistant stage manager, who will also be running our video, is the man who was the lighting designer for the last run of Call Us Crazy. This is pure coincidence, but it’s also a relief. The rest of the crew is so nice and helpful that we’re bringing them lunch today. This is because they’re giving up their lunch to have an extra tech with us because we haven’t exactly finished teching the show. We ran out of time. They say “bad tech, good show,” and that is usually how it goes. And it’s not that what’s left to tech is difficult or possibly won’t work. It’s just hard to relax when you’ve never seen it come together before you go on that stage. I’ll feel much better tonight, when it’s all over. Hopefully. Unless my microphone falls off and the video is wrong on every cue and the music cues go wildly wrong and Liz and I just end up staring at each other like morons. I’m beating myself up a little about the tech, because I wasn’t on top of everything like I would normally do. I didn’t triple-check all of the tech stuff, because we’ve always had a technical director. I didn’t get involved in this part. And when I didn’t know the answer to some of their questions yesterday, I felt like an ass. I finally get to this place, and I don’t have six different ways to make the show work in any situation? Why the hell did I do three years of UIL One-Act play if I didn’t retain any of those skills? When they didn’t have a computer to run the show, I should have known how to immediately run it on DVD. I should have already anticipated we’d need a CD of just the music cues to pop into a CD player. I should have thought of that, and I hadn’t. I should have written a sheet of paper of just the light cues, one of just the sound cues, and one of the video cues. I should have made eight copies of the latest version of the script and handed them out fresh at the top of this rehearsal. I’m so grateful to Jessica and stee, who had run tech on this show so often, they knew where the lights were supposed to be pointed, and I was very happy to hear Shane answer his phone, so I could hand it over to the sound op so he could explain what all these CD’s are. I don’t know exactly when I’ll forgive myself for this. It’s really out of character for me, particularly in performance, and I learned last night that even murmuring the word “wedding” to two bridesmaids and a groom gets you absolutely no sympathy at all. “Oh, were you too busy honeymooning in Hawaii? I’m so sorry for you. Let me bust out my tiny violin.”

I really hope we find that scarf.

I also would like to sleep for more than a few hours a night.

In twelve hours, tonight’s show will all be over. And I won’t need to come here and brain dump my insecurities and frustrations. I know it’s going to be fine. We’ve done the show a billion times and the lights will come on and the sound cues were perfect at rehearsal and the video is seriously not a hard thing to do. Watching the stand-ups last night got me really excited to take that stage and do a show right next to that sign that says HBO and the other sign that says US Comedy Arts Festival, and hear the sound of 250 people exhaustedly laughing.

Oh, and it’s absolutely gorgeous up here. Pristine white snow everywhere and this wonderful sunshine. It snowed the night we got here, hard enough that I was this nervous this time yesterday, hoping stee and Jessica’s plane would land without being rerouted. They made it, but in the air they were told there was a good chance they were going to have to turn back. Luckily the snow cleared up for a little while, and they got here safely. stee has run into someone he went to high school with, a good friend of a friend and a good friend of an ex. It’s fun to see how small the world can be at a festival, how we’re the same people all trying to achieve the same things, here to entertain each other.

Okay, I’m going to drink another glass of water. We’re going to find the gym today because working out is supposed to make doing the show tonight easier on our lungs. How’s that for motivation? You want to not pass out during your monologue tonight? You might want to run a few miles this morning.

Brain dump over. I am so excited to be performing here I cannot even begin to explain. Nor can I sleep.

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