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Not a Bit

Not a Bit

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Not a Bit

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80 Seiten
1 Stunde
Dec 15, 2020


What could be more essentially rom-com than two stand-up comedians falling for each other (not to mention tripping up along the way)?

Macy is finally putting her comedic life center stage with a move across the country after a serious breakup. At her first show she encounters Mark, a handsome fellow comic with a riveting onstage presence. Offstage, though, he doesn't want anything to do with Macy, or anyone else, as far as she can tell. A moment of vulnerability on April Fool's Day leaves her wondering what is and isn't part of an act, and for a while it seems like they might be heading toward something real.

Then, just as Macy gets offered a comedy job back on the East Coast, a love-fueled revelation from an unexpected third party throws everything into doubt. If comedy = tragedy + time, Macy's probably got enough material for her whole comedic career. But will love ever find her again?

Dec 15, 2020

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Not a Bit - Autumn Palen


Single life is really freeing. Now, my days are so much more open for things like lying around in sweatpants and crying. I’m truly thriving.

—from Macy’s stand-up act

I stepped offstage, the tremble in my ankles betraying the laid-back demeanor I had attempted to project. Usually, I truly was laid-back, but tonight was out of the ordinary. It was my first time performing at the Hoot and Holler, a cavernous and dingy dive bar in an overlooked corner of downtown, nestled between a nail salon and another nail salon. Oddly enough, the place had earned a reputation for itself as the locale to perform in this city. By the good graces of friends of friends, I had been scouted and given a spot on the lineup. Granted, that spot had been just a hair before sunrise, but I was grateful for what I got.

It had been my first time even performing on this side of the country, which only served to add to the uneasy lightness in my legs.

Mere hours prior, I had wrapped up the large and lofty task of emptying the contents of my U-Haul into my studio apartment. I’d dug up my usual attire — a decade-old flannel and the jeans that made my ass look the most alright — and hopped across town to bare my soul to a wall of strangers’ blank faces.

Scraggly-bearded Kyle, the host for the evening as well as the bartender who had invited me to perform here after spotting a clip of my act online, was the first to greet me in the wings.

Great job, Macy! You crushed it.

All I could do was smile and nod graciously, unable to absorb his kind words.

This was a big move for me, both geographically and professionally. Comedy had been what an outside observer would clock as a hobby for me up until this point, hardly occupying more time than something like juggling or crocheting. Changing both my city and my job was an unabashed and likely foolish dive into uncharted waters. I was not usually the diving type, and it was hard to quell the waves of anxiety that lapped up over my shoulders and chest, beating upon my mind with a pitter-patter of pessimistic thoughts.

During the past few years, when stand-up was nothing more than a crochet-level pastime for me, I still would wonder — occasionally, fleetingly, and with a pang of despair — why I sought approval from dozens of strangers each night in increasingly run-down sports bars and black box theaters for little financial or emotional payoff. I floated on just enough of a cognitive-clouding cocoon of craft beer (my payment, most nights) to weather the storm brewing between my ears.

As I was the newest newbie on the roster and had thus paid the least amount of dues, I capped off the show at two in the morning, the last spot that was temporally feasible. The stragglers in the crowd, a half-dozen nocturnal beings who had flatteringly remained to the very end of my act and even more flatteringly chuckled throughout, stumbled out onto the sidewalk like water droplets from a rusty spigot, smoking cigarettes and ordering ride shares before the flickering marquee with the cough perennially in their chests and a malaise behind their eyes.

Meanwhile, inside, I took a visual appraisal of the bar staff and the steadfast rotation of stand-ups. I found no similarly nervous newcomer in the bunch at whom I could grin with tight lips and receive the same expression in return. I felt an intense bodily flashback to junior prom: fairly lonely, faintly pimply, vaguely horny, and tragically underdressed. Had there been a balloon arch and a chaperone with a wispy mustache present, it would have been a nearly identical evening.

I scanned the faces of those remaining, hoping I’d see the man I’d been watching all night. A magnetic performer, he’d taken the stage and owned it in an instant. Quips glided from him with the same ease as the meditative breathing my self-help audiobooks guided me through on a daily basis. A perfect storm of snide, snarky, and authentically candid. He made it look so easy, I’d had the impression that he could do this in his sleep.

Through my lightly beer-battered brain, I managed to churn out the memory of his first name from the emcee’s introduction: Mark.

Mark had sported a gelled Clark Gable–esque coif, the type of style that denoted that one had their life together at least enough to invest in the regular, consistent, and elegant use of high-quality hair products.

His devastatingly angular face and the words that emerged from it had been tools wielded skillfully and without remorse to, depending on the case, strike fear into the hearts of men or illicit light bursts of laughter from a rotating cast of out-of-towners.

I wondered how someone so confident and attractive would even find a reason to go into the comedy world. I’d seen him display the ability to socially vanish offstage, but when it was called for, Mark commanded the room with the mere virtue of his presence. I, meanwhile, saw myself in injured birds. I identified with crushed cans of soda on city streets, with deflated balloons, with thrift store mugs that were clearly once given as Christmas gifts, only to eventually make their way into the recipients’ To Donate piles. I’d always felt this way, even as a small child. That I was something pitiful, something pitiable. A delicate and inherently helpless being. Every aspect of me appeared to be perfectly opposite him, hence the instant, inherent attraction.

After springing to life under the spotlight, Mark had spent most of the rest of the night standing against

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