Just A Wedding Comedian In Kansas City

Photograph provided by Nicole Bissey from Nicole Bissey Photography.

It’s been almost three months since I’ve written a new blog post. With the holidays, marketing Fasten Your Seat Belts And Eat Your Fucking Nuts, writing a second book, writing a television show, emceeing a wedding, starting a stand up career, being married, and having two extremely needy cats… I’m kinda shocked that I haven’t run away to go live in the mountains.

Holy shit! I forgot to add flying around in an airplane collecting stories for future books. I still do that. What a minute? That came out wrong. I meant to say, flying around in an airplane providing award winning service to thousands of airline passengers going from point A to point B.

That’s what I meant… in case anyone from my airline is reading this.

But even staying that busy and confident, my dear old friend fear found a way to sneak back into my life and cause me to question myself. Who am I kidding? Fear never leaves me, it just hangs around making me question myself every second of the day.

Should I wear that shirt? No. Your tits look like Anna Nicole Smith’s tits in that shirt.

Should I color my gray beard? Yes. You look like a walking corpse who’s brittle bones will snap if you push to hard on the car brake.

Will people like my book? Am I funny enough? Can I really pull all this off? Who the fuck am I kidding? No. No. No. Nobody.

And that’s before I even get out of bed in the morning.

In my book, Fasten Your Seat Belts And Eat Your Fucking NutsI stated this about fear:

“I employed fear as my personal assistant. It stunted my growth as a person, scheduled my life, and managed my experiences. Fear was a parasite, invading the deepest parts of my brain, through my bloodstream, and feeding off the horrors I kept sequestered from my friends, loved ones, and most often myself.”

I wrote those words believing I had kicked fear in the ass. I told fear to take a number and have a seat. No need to get up fear, you won’t be doing anymore damage around here.  I figured by writing about fear in my book, and sharing it with the world, I gave it the big middle finger. Why wouldn’t I think that?  The first thing you are supposed to do, when it comes to fear, is face it head on. Don’t look down. Don’t get distracted. Stare at fear straight in the eyes and tell it like it is, “Hey fear, FUCK YOU!”

But’s that easier said than done.

When my editor and friend Renee asked me to host her wedding, I agreed. I didn’t let fear into the discussion. The conversation went something like this:

Renee, “Will you host my wedding?”

Me, “What exactly does that involve?”

Renee, “You’ll have a microphone and everyone will pay attention to you all night.”

It didn’t take me long to sign up for that gig. Honestly, she had me at microphone.

I had the confidence of a President Trump supporter before they found out Obamacare was actually the Affordable Care Act (I’m talking to you Alabama.) until I walked into the wedding rehearsal and was handed a clipboard. A clipboard with more schedules on it than in my own Google calendar. I flipped through the pages and thought to myself — this is NOT a microphone. Where’s the microphone? I felt a tap at my shoulder. I turned around, but nobody was there. I knew exactly who had traveled with me from San Francisco to Kansas City. You guessed it — Fear.

That night, I went on with my duties. I quickly realized I was doing a twofer… wedding coordinator and entertainment. The first part set me up for the type of fear you get when you find out your pilots only had four hours of sleep the night before, but they think they’ll be fine to fly across the country. That’s not a fun fear.

I met a few people, introduced myself to the wedding party, and was asked multiple times, “Who are you?” Which I read as, “Why are you here?” And again — WHO ARE YOU? I didn’t let that get to me. At the rehearsal dinner, I went right to work. Shaking hands, cutting up with people, and making strangers laugh. There were a few babies there, but I didn’t kiss any… I’m not the Pope.

When I got back to my hotel room, I sat in bed wondering how I would pull everything off. The entertainment part, although frightening, was way more manageable than wedding coordinator. I had no idea what to do. I freaked out. My heart was racing. I was so stressed I couldn’t even masturbate. And let’s face it — that NEVER happens. I barely got any sleep as jokes ran through my head and the idea of running away and joining the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka raced through my mind.

You know it’s bad when standing outside with a sign that reads GOD HATES FAGS seems easier than managing a wedding ceremony.

Plain and simple, I broke my cardinal rule. A rule that I learned from listening to a podcast featuring Kristen Wiig. The rule is… never worry about something that hasn’t happened yet, because if you do, you may find yourself worrying twice. I love that rule. I implement it as much as possible and preach it to all my friends who I notice struggling with worry about things to come. Sadly, there was nobody there to preach it to me that night.

I felt better the next morning and met my assistant (She was fantastic) at the reception hall. We spent an hour setting up tables and then I raced to Union Station where the ceremony was to take place. I had a list of duties, and the first one was making sure there were enough chairs in the hall so no guests had to stand during the ceremony.

Guess what? There were not enough chairs. There were supposed to be 110 and when I arrived I had counted only 104. I counted it 10 times. After counting it 10 times, I pulled out my calculator and counted the chairs another 20 times. How the fuck can the first thing I’m responsible for already be messed up? I was frantic, and in my manic frenzy, I broke the clasp that extends the top button of my shirt which left my bow tie dangling out of my side pocket.

I immediately said, “Fuck that bow tie. It can suck a dick,” and moved on. I searched the entire train station and finally (after pacing around for 15 minutes) chased down some employee and threatened his children’s lives if he didn’t find me six more chairs and a table for the guest book.

It worked. I got my chairs and my table. I know what you are thinking and you are absolutely correct, I was acting like a lunatic. How do I know? Because members of the wedding party continued asking me, “Are you okay?” Just so you know, that is NEVER a good sign when you are the wedding coordinator. I can’t remember my responses, but I can guarantee you the word fuck was included.

After the chair fiasco was fixed, I realized I was also responsible for having the guest book, which — SURPRISE — I did not have. It was right there on my schedule, but I didn’t have it. Where the fuck was that book? I finally broke down and asked the groom if he could make a few calls. We found the book, it was with the bridal party. I never felt so relieved in my entire life. I’d like to go on record and state that I haven’t cared about another book, besides my own, as much as I cared about the whereabouts of that guest book.

Which I never signed. A wedding coordinator’s job is tough — I don’t know how Jennifer Lopez made it look so easy in The Wedding Planner.

When it came time for wedding pictures, rounding up 100 feral cats would have been easier. I have never seen so many different photo combinations written down on a piece of paper in my entire life. If there had been circus animals at the wedding, I think we’d still only be halfway through. There I was, with my clipboard in hand, yelling out names of people who I couldn’t match a face with. I just started yelling… and I was loud, “Alright, listen for you name and be fast. Renee, Matt. Joyce, Matthew, Nathan… up front.”

This went on for almost an hour.  The moment the photographer (she’s awesome – hire her now!) snapped the camera and said, “Ok. Got it,” I was yelling for the next group of people. Kids were crying. The band was setting up. I was crying. But I couldn’t let the bride and groom know, so I squeezed my fat neck together, buttoned the shirt collar, put that bow tie on, and smiled through the entire ceremony.

I forgot to add, I was also security and had to escort two people out who meandered into the closed wedding ceremony like we were handing out free train tickets. What’s wrong with you people? 

After the ceremony, I sped off to the reception. That’s not an exaggeration, I almost ran over one of the ushers, his wife (who was in the wedding and sister to the groom), and their small child. I was in such a hurry I couldn’t even roll down the window to apologize. I reminded myself to apologize for almost killing them once I got my hands on the microphone.

At the reception hall, I introduced myself to the DJ. His name was Glenn, but insisted I call him DJ Too Heavy, which I couldn’t have been happier to do. I mean, how often are you allowed to call a heavy black man DJ Too Heavy? I wrote a joke and it was the first thing I said after introducing the wedding party, “I’d like you all to meet DJ Too Heavy. And I’m MC Teeny Weeny. What a minute? That doesn’t sound right. It’s not because of what you think.”

It was as if fear had left the building, or at least left back in the hall where the ceremony was held. There was no more fear. There was no more questioning myself. Everything seemed right with the world… and I finally had that damn microphone.

Later that night, after all the handshakes and compliments for a job well done, I sat in the back seat during the ride to my hotel. I had time to think. I had time to recollect my thoughts. The roller coaster ride had finally come to end. It was at that moment I had one of those Oprah Winfrey “Aha” moments. I had spent half the day fearing the responsibility of coordinating the ceremony when I was doing it ALL ALONG.

How often do we do that? How often do we fear something while we are actually doing it? We do it all the time. Whether it’s paying our bills, working a difficult job, managing deadlines, or if you are lucky enough to be me, being an amazing Wedding Comedian.

The next time you question your abilities to get something done… take a moment to see if you are actually doing it. If you are, then stop being afraid and just enjoy the ride.

 

 

 

 

 

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