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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

Who Books It?

There are times when I fear I'm obsessed with standup comedy. This became frighteningly clear a few weeks back when I was watching Dateline Tuesday (Or was it Dateline Thursday? Maybe it was Dateline Sunday...I get them all confused!) Anyway, Stone, Jane and the crew were reporting on the tragic death of Matthew Shepard, the gay Wyoming man who had the misfortune of trying to pick up two miscreants in a local bar and was subsequently beaten to death.

In typical Dateline fashion, reporters trained their cameras on the actual drinking establishment where Matthew met his eventual killers. An exterior shot of the bar filled the screen as the voiceover detailed Matthew's last moments. It was then that I saw it, as big as life, on what passes as a marquee in Wyoming. My eyes fixated on the familiar words, "Comedy Night." "Wow, look," I yelped, "they have comedy! I wonder who books it?"

In a split second I changed from Traci Skene, caring individual who feels the world's pain to Traci Skene, underemployed and underappreciated standup comic who just wants to return to the Cowboy State.

Suddenly, I didn't care that Matthew was a victim of homophobic rage. I didn't care that his family was trying to cope with their tragic loss while in the glare of the media spotlight. No, I wanted to work that room...especially, since my summer schedule is so pathetic.

I quickly realized that two other big stories of the century, O.J. and Monicagate were also trivialized due to my obsession with standup.

I am no fan of Monica's. She's self-absorbed, immature and utterly lacking morality or shame. And during the pre-Barbara Walters Interview hype, I was somewhat annoyed at the parade of idiots who appeared on my screen and declared that Monica is a bright and charming woman.

As a fellow female, I was insulted. As a comic, however, I was enraged when "super agent to the stars" Jay Bernstein suggested that Monica should consider a career as a standup comic. A standup comic?! Monica?!

I hadn't been so angry since...since Entertainment Tonight showed Kato Kaelin bombing onstage at the Improv. A standup comic?! Kato Kaelin?!

Another example of my comic's perspective/obsession kicking in. I no longer cared if Kato's lies helped free a murderer. I no longer cared that two small children lost their mother. Kato thought he could do comedy! Now I was really mad!

It made me wonder: Why do people equate stupidity and buffoonery with standup comedy? Do we make it look so easy that most folks think making an ass of yourself in public is the only prerequisite for a career as a comedian (Gallagher excluded)?

Or perhaps, I'm just being way too sensitive. Perhaps the lack of respect we receive has made me just a tad defensive. Perhaps I'm being way to hard on O.J.'s pal and Willy's gal.

Monica might make a fine comic. Her opening line could be, "Take his wife, please." Maybe she and Kato could become a comedy team. Kato and Monica...Kaelin and Lewinsky. They could be the Nichols and May for the new millenium. Kind of like Stiller and Meara with subpoenas!

You know, I should manage them! I should plan a cross-country comedy tour. I've heard there's this great gig at a bar in Wyoming...

Traci Skene, standup comic, 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. HOME Back to the Top