Took this photo of my husband’s dick. #oslo
Took this photo of my husband’s dick. #oslo
I’m really into sad old naked people #oslo
Sometimes a gal just needs to hang out with some handsome gay audience members after a show in #oslo.
Before the show @detandreteatret #oslo
I’m in Oslo for a couple of different shows. First one went well — I only had to do 15 minutes, and somehow I managed to make them laugh even though I talked about terrorism. Second show is tonight and I’m nervous. It’s comprised of different stories I’ve told onstage before in San Francisco, Austin, New York, and Los Angeles. It’s called “Love and Other Indoor Sports” and it’s about different kinds of love — familial, friendly, sexual, romantic, etc. Kind of like “Love, Actually” except with me instead of that guy from “The Walking Dead” being all obsessed with Keira Knightley and her excellent bone structure, or the dude with seizures from “Game of Thrones” being a little kid who plays drums and also his mom is dead.
I came to Oslo to work it out in a place far from industry eyes, which sounds so fucking pretentious but is actually true. It’s not that I don’t respect the audiences here; they are fucking fantastic. But I wanted to have the freedom to take some risks I might not take in front of some American audiences. I didn’t want to put it up in a place where Hollywood/NYC decision-maker types could watch it in its messy, crying, red-faced infant phase.
Here is the thing though: I have a few really cool friends in Oslo, and I realized I give a BIG shit about what THEY think. I also got paid to come here, and I don’t want the National Arts Council of Norway to be like, “Oh great, we wasted kroner on this stupid American bitch.” Plus I found out some Norwegian industry folks might be coming to the show tonight, so there goes my theory of “oh, no businessy types will be in the audience, I can just fuck around and play.”
I’m well aware that these are excellent “problems” to have. I just want to do a good job so they’ll bring me back here again. I’m always focused on “next time,” and now that I think of it, this is a good opportunity to just try and be in the moment here.
Speaking of here: I like it. I like it a lot. I came once before, via the largesse of the same arts group, back in 2010 for the Norwegian Storytelling Festival. I liked it then, too. Oslo reminds me of a lot of great international cities, in that it’s culturally diverse and full of art and there are impressive buildings and weird American influences (like a 7-11 on every fucking corner.) The public transportation system is excellent, though I’ve hardly had to navigate it on my own — my hosts have been great guides.
I’ve been posting photos over on Instagram because I’m a fucking narcissist (I even posted a photo of myself in the botanical garden with an ACTUAL NARCISSUS FLOWER, to create a meta statement about who we are in this modern world, man.) I’ve walked around the outside of the Opera House, hung out in the aforementioned Botanisk Hage, napped a bunch, ate in little coffee shops, and most importantly, had dinner in two warm, welcoming private homes. The first involved Iranian food (NOT necessarily Persian — I got a history lesson along with my pomegranate arils and mint salad, which was fascinating). The second involved an apartment that would make the magazine “Dwell” freak out — an IKEA-filled house IN SCANDINAVIA. I kept drinking red wine and shrieking about “clean lines” and claiming I was going to steal the red knobs on their white cabinets.
I got to hang out with little kids for a tiny bit, which was cool. A little boy knew a few key words in English — various colors, numbers, and the term “ass.” “Green ass!” “Red ass!” I obviously found this hilarious, as did he, so basically it all worked out. And a little girl showed me her impressive array of pink clothes as well as a Tinkerbell costume — I think they call Tinkerbell “Tinktinkli” or something similar here. Also, “cake” is pronounced the same as “cock,” which made me laugh because I am 13.
I’ll tell you a little more about the show. I’m hoping to work on it more with a director when I come back to the States, and eventually take it on the road to at least a few cities. My brother, a psychiatric nurse, is really the hero of this show, which is fitting — my mom was the heroine of “Agorafabulous!” so this means the next show will have to be about my dad, just to make sure everybody in my family gets the proper alternative theatre treatment.
I’d say this show is a bit less about me and more about people I’ve met and loved, or people I’ve seen love one another (not, like, literally — GROSS.) So while I think it’s still very funny in parts and very touching in others, it’s not quite the emotional excavation that “Agorafabulous!” was. That show was hard to do because it was so heavy at times. I think “Love and Other Indoor Sports,” at least in its current (read: infant) incarnation, is lighter, faster-paced, less of an emotional gut-punch.
In climate news, the sky began to lighten at about 3:30 a.m., and while it’s not quite bright and sunny yet (it’s 5:00 a.m.), it’s lighter than I’m used to. Last time I was here, it was summer and we had about two hours of darkness per night. I’d say now we get about five hours of darkness, which is still a bit strange to me.
I was up early the other day and went to the Botanisk Hage for about 8 a.m. (I walk a lot here, to offset the effects of all the bread I’m consuming). When I finally came out, at about 9:30 a.m., I walked along a line of cars parked beside the fence. Eventually I realized there were people sleeping in those cars. I later learned these were the gypsy people who come in the warm months from Bulgaria, Romania, and other places. They beg for money, live in their cars, and use the garden as a toilet. Then they send the money back home to their families.
It was a reminder that even Norway, with its vast oil wealth and extensive social safety net, has problems it hasn’t quite solved yet. How do you provide for people who aren’t interested in being assimilated into your society? Do you kick them out of one spot so that they pop up in another spot? Do you make their lifestyle more comfortable for them by setting up tents and outdoor toilets? Do you offer free or low-cost housing? Do you ignore them and hope that they go away?
I guess what I’m trying to say is that it is easy for me, a left-wing person, to idealize Norway as a paradise. But that’s a bit unrealistic.
However, Oslo is a great place and I’m honored and excited to be here. When I started performing 7 years ago, I didn’t know that comedy would help me to travel around my own country and visit other countries, as well.
Sorry this is so jumbly. I’m ready to eat breakfast and then crash until a lunch meeting with the director of the theater where I’m performing later. We’re eating at a Mexican restaurant, obviously.
I hope you have a good day, wherever you are in this big weird world. Thanks for reading.
Dude, GTFO. Get something new and better!
Well, if it’s on Facebook, block away. Same with Instagram and Twitter. As for Vine, Pinterest, and other sites, I’m not sure.
Partial view of my YA book cover for “Great.” Inspired by “Gatsby” but with teen girls! 4/8/14!
Botanisk Hage #oslo
Feel free to add anything you want to. Making fun of the term “brominist” is entirely acceptable. Or embracing it. Whatever floats your boat.
If you are interested and want to do this, it’d be great if you could get these answers back to me by Tuesday. If you’re not interested, pretend this never happened! Thanks, man!