The good news: We closed yesterday! The bad news: I have an appointment with a landlord-tenant attorney this afternoon to begin eviction proceedings against our former tenant, also known as the new owner’s current squatter.
In the midst of this tense situation, I’m loving Permission Slips, Every Woman’s Guide to Giving Herself a Break, by Sherri Shepherd. She’s making me laugh all over the place. And just as I suspected, she has something to say about large breasts. This is from the chapter “Chesticles”:
I started writing heckler lines ahead of time to prepare for the black crowds. One problem I had was actually two. My breasts. They are large, and people feel like they can comment on them as soon as I take the stage. Like me being a comedian gives them some kind of diplomatic immunity and they can be rude.
If I didn’t acknowledge my chest immediately, the audience would get restless. Does she know how big her breasts are? Invariably, someone would shout, “Damn! Look at those titties!”
I’d catch men in the act of staring at them all the time. At the law firm, I couldn’t really say anything [(I can relate–see here)]. But onstage, I could call them out.
“Don’t look down there, the jokes ain’t coming from my boobs, they coming out of my mouth, look up.”
I’d disarm the women: “You got a little appetizer, but mine is like a whole buffet. You can put mine in a refrigerator and warm them up in the microwave and they’d still be good.”
Still, the black audiences were much more vocal about my breasts, and they did not let go of the topic just because I’d told a few jokes. One night, I cooked up a great heckler line. All I had to do was deliver it with complete, tough-girl confidence and the audience would be mine.
My plan was, no matter what a guy said about my chest, to say, “You so broke, you couldn’t even afford my breasts. You have to put my breasts on layaway.” (Now this was back in the 1990s before Visa started giving credit to everyone. If you wanted something that was too expensive, you put it on layaway.)
So there I was, onstage at the Townhouse in Inglewood. And this is the night that the pimps brought their hoes to the show. This is a demanding audience. This is their equivalent of a lunch break; they go right back to work after the show. I had to bring it.
Someone heckled me. I summoned my inner ho and said, “You couldn’t. You. Uh. My titties got . . . to be on layaway!”
I’d fumbled the ball at the Super Bowl. The audience stood up, the pimps and their hoes, and started doing that Apollo thing.
“BOO! BOO!” Their hands pointing to the part of the stage where they would like me to go–off. I couldn’t talk over their boos. I still wince thinking of that walk of shame to the bathroom.
D.L. Hughley was the host. He found me afterward, crying. “Sherri,” he said, “you have to get back up on that stage. Come back next week and get up on that stage.”
I didn’t want to hear it. The audience had won. I had been crushed, and I wanted to surrender forever.
But I took D.L.’s advice and I came back the next week. And I killed.