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TRACI SKENE has appeared on VH-1's Standup Spotlight, A&E's Comedy On The Road and Lifetime's Girls Night Out, all of which has done her absolutely no good.

Traci Skene


Traci Skene

SHECKYmagazine Chief

Traci Skene's Diary

What you are about to read is a true story. The following exchange took place between shows at a comedy club in upstate New York. For completely arbitrary reasons, I have chosen not to reveal the identity of this mean, mean comic. The next time I see you in person, however, I will be more than happy to tell you his name.*


"Hey, Traci, remember? You used to be hot."

"Bite me," I said without a hint of subtlety or cleverness.

"Hey, Traci, remember? You used to be hot."

Ok, so he didn't say it twice, but can you believe that he would actually say it at all? I'm a woman. You don't say such things to a woman. Granted, men are completely comfortable saying such things to other men: "Hey, fat ass." "Hey, pencil dick." "Hey, Shirley, how's the new vagina workin' out?" But to a woman?! An almost 37-year-old woman?! An almost 37-year-old woman who will turn 40 in a mere three years! Did he have any idea how many weeks it would take for my husband to undo the damage?

Did I mention that he said this in front of other people?

"Hey, Traci, remember? You used to be hot."

Have you ever felt the air being sucked out of a room? Have you ever felt time stand still? Have you ever been hit with a wave of silence so powerful that you thought for a minute you were at a taping of According To Jim? Within a fraction of a second, I realized that "bite me" just wasn't a good enough response.

Between clenched teeth I managed to reply, "Hey, (comic from the eighties whom I haven't seen in 15 years), remember? You used to be tall. Oh, wait, no you weren't."

Still hurt and embarrassed (but feeling slightly better after hurting and embarrassing him), I watched as fellow comedian Paul Bond joined in the not-so-fun.

"Hey!" Paul Bond said to the mean, mean comic, "Remember? Uou used to have an act! Oh, wait, no you didn't!"

My husband just leaned against the wall helplessly, knowing that it would take him weeks to undo the damage.


Damage mostly undone.


Husband running out of compliments.


Realize am turning into Bridget Jones, minus cig addiction. Lost half pound. Consumed liter Chardonnay. Missed deadline due to soccer on telly.


Ironically, when I started doing standup way back in 1985, being "hot" was a detriment. Crowds who were accustomed to Phyllis Diller, Joan Rivers and Totie Fields did not adjust easily to the new breed of hot female comics. Pretty girls didn't need to be funny, it was thought. After all, they were pretty! What did they have to complain about?

But, pretty girls don't stay pretty forever and I like that you can be old or unattractive and still do standup. Actresses don't have that luxury. Try to imagine a 73-year-old Pam Anderson starring in V.I.P.;... an obese Halle Barry on the cover of Cosmo... a 73-year-old, obese Jennifer Aniston in... well, in anything. I, on the other hand, plan to tell dick jokes until I'm in my eighties. And, yes, they will be the same exact dick jokes I'm telling now. If you think I'm writing new material, you're crazy.


However painful it might be, I have to acknowledge that the mean, mean comic did have a point. I used to be hot. Admittedly, I still have moments of hotness but I'm slowly reaching a point in my life where I look "good for my age" rather than just look good. But, jeez, can't you just say it behind my back like a decent human being?


On Friday night I was talking to two male comics before the show when one of them, somewhat embarrassingly, pointed out that the button on my shirt had popped open. In order to relieve the tension I said, "Oh, this is just something I do for the other comics on the bill. Right before the show starts, I'll hike my skirt and show you my ass."

Sadly, I can imagine a scenario fifteen years from now when I'm working with one of these comics and, in front of a group of people, he says, "Hey, Traci, Remember? In 2002, you used to be hot."

*The first person who emails me with correct identity of the mean, mean comic will win a T-shirt. Please don't ask Paul Bond for help. That would be cheating. HOME Back to the Top