So last night, I performed in Charlestown, MD. For those who have no clue where that is [read: everyone reading this, except the folks I gave postcards to at the show], it’s where the KKK still hold town meetings. I’m not exaggerating. In case you didn’t realize from my HUGE header picture, I am brown. I was quite nervous about this show because I am brown. I actually took my car to the mechanic that day to ensure all was well and I wouldn’t be on the side of the road hoping AAA showed up before the KKK. I also filled my tank to avoid having to stop for gas. Disclaimer: I am not fabricating any of these precautions.
I was nervous about last night – not usual pre-show nerves, but “I’m brown in an extremely racist town” nerves. Have I mentioned enough times in this post, I am brown? Luckily for me, I am funny and the folks at the show were extremely receptive to my material. Apparently, butt sex is universal.
This is not the first time I’ve performed in this type of setting. I’ve been to West Virginia (Morgantown, WVU, and Paw Paw), Marietta, OH, and Cumberland, MD, just to give you my resume of racist towns. The only time I’ve ever experienced anything outwardly racist in my comedic career was on my way to Paw Paw, to perform at a nudist colony. I promise in a later post, I will tell that story.
Anywhos, Rob Maher (my comic husband/partner in crime/amazing headliner) and I stopped off at Sheetz (no pun intended – it’s really the name of a gas station/mini mart chain) to fill up the tank (he’s white and clearly doesn’t realize when you’re brown, and traveling to these parts, you TOP OFF your tank BEFORE leaving civilization) and get some provisions aka gummy bears. As I was walking into the mini market, I excused myself to 2 “gentlemen,” wearing cowboy hats straddling the door. I was interrupting their conversation, and my mother told me whenever you have to walk between 2 people talking, you say “excuse me.” Here’s how this scene went:
Me: Excuse me gentlemen.
“Gentleman” #1: You best be hurrying up. You ain’t welcomed ‘roun deez parts.
Ayanna quickly enters Sheetz and grabs gummy bears.
As a [seasoned] female, road comic, there are so many dangers. First of all, ANYONE traveling to an unknown town, at night (because comedy shows happen at night), by themselves can find themselves in a predicament. Now, factor in being a woman and being brown. I try not to think about these things to the point where I am paralyzed with fear, but still think about them enough so I am prepared and aware. Thus far, other than the Sheetz Paw Paw experience, all has been well. I’ve been invited to after-parties and threesomes (the answer is no), and overall, most folks are just excited to hang out with the “entertainment.”
Last night was fun. The staff at The Wellworth treated me like a rockstar and I got home safely. I sold a whopping TWO t-shirts. It was a successful night. I was invited out on someone’s boat, but, decided it wouldn’t be the safest thing to “hang around.” [Get it? Hang…nevermind]