Hi. I’m Maeve Marsden and you’re listening to Queerstories – the podcast for the LGBTQI+ storytelling night I host and programme. If you’re new to Queerstories, welcome. Please rate, review and subscribe to the podcast. Head out to your local bookseller to buy the Queerstories book, and enjoy listening to this incredible archive of stories by LGBTQI+ Australians.
DeAnne Smith has performed at too many festivals to count. She has been on TV all over the damn world. Her video Straight Men, Step Up Your Game, has over 46 million views. And you can watch her half-hour special, Gentleman Elf, on Netflix right now. Well, after you’ve listened to this podcast. DeAnne is an incredible comedian and I was stoked that she was able to perform at Queerstories in Melbourne, during the Melbourne Comedy Festival. We’ve also had a longterm plan for three years to put on a show called Super Lesbo Fun Time, which is just lesbian comedians causing fun. If anyone would like to commission this and pay for DeAnne to come out from Canada, so that we can make it happen, I would be delighted. Anyway, I absolutely loved this set from DeAnne. Enjoy.
Hi. Hi. Thank you. Hello, everyone. I get a little nervous when there are too many hot queers in a room, so good luck… “Good luck?”
“Congratulations” is what I’m trying to say… to you guys!
Here’s the thing: I just got my hair cut before I left and I’m not into it, but this is how my gay hairdresser tried to sell me on the cut: He goes, “You are so now. Tomorrow texted to say Yesterday wants to know what’s up?!”
I was just like, “I don’t know how your conception of time works, but okay. I’m getting on board. All right. Okay. Fine.” Getting closer. I brought my phone on stage. I bring so many things. That’s why I need this stool. I brought my phone to keep track of the time.
I worry that I’m too attached to my phone. I was scrolling through Instagram and I got this sponsored ad for Calm.com. I don’t know if you guys have seen that. It’s like a meditation app. Even my phone knows I need to get off of my phone. It said. “For the next 15 seconds, let go of any expectations you have for yourself.” And I was like, “That seems really dangerous. I am driving right now.”
I got pulled over for distracted driving. That’s a bad idea. I think I probably shouldn’t. It’s a horrible thing to say. But, it’s the way that I could tell you the story I’m about to tell you. I got pulled over in Canada for distracted driving. I’ve learned that here you call it texting and driving, and normally I would accommodate my language but, in this case, I’m not going to. I think we’re right when we call it Distracted Driving and I think we’re right when we call it Drunk Driving at home. We speak of it as if it has finished. Here you call it Drink Driving. Like it’s an active progress like you’re just skolling a few VBs on the way home.
So, I’m going to keep calling it Distracted Driving because I think it’s more accurate.
So, I got pulled over at home, which fair enough. And I was only just looking at my phone at a stoplight, which I did not know that we’re not allowed to do. Everyone else seems to know this, but I didn’t know it. And fair enough that they got me because I don’t need a phone to be distracted while I’m driving. I’m always distracted while I’m driving.
I have ADD and anxiety. If I am not distracted by a falling leaf it’ll be by the sudden memory of a weird way I left a party three weeks ago.
Has that ever happened to you guys? Do you ever just shudder at an involuntary memory and then blank out for the next five minutes?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yeah!
DEANNE: Just trying to pull back time and change the course of events?
This is how I said goodbye at a party with friends. I just panicked in the moment of leaving, and I was alone, and I didn’t know how to bust into the vibe and say goodbye. I just got very self-conscious. This is how I said goodbye: I didn’t know that I knew this phrase. I have never said this phrase. I have never heard this phrase spoken, and yet somehow, in the moment, it tumbled out of my mouth and I said, “Well, I shall take my leave.”
It was like a record scratched. Everybody stared at me and I just immediately understood, from their eyes, that this is not how friends say goodbye to friends. What year is this? The 1600s? “I shall take my leave, my ladies, my liege.” And then I crawled backwards and evaporated into a mist.
I saw the best goodbye I’ve ever seen at a party. I was in LA, there was an industry party, and I saw this incredible goodbye. Industry Party is code for… It’s un-fun and it’s kind of pretentious.
Everyone’s looking over their shoulder for someone better to talk to. I was chatting this person, I won’t say who. They just looked at me and super sincerely was like, “I really enjoyed spending time with you. I wish I had more time to talk but I’ve got to run.” And then they just turned around and stayed there.
It was incredible. They were there for maybe twenty minutes. I could feel the heat off… our butts were touching for twenty minutes, and I couldn’t even get mad. I was just like, “That was incredible. I’ve got to learn how to say goodbye to people like that.”
Where were we? I was pulled over for Distracted Driving. Is this all starting to make sense? The fine in Canada is $1,000.
Thank you. And three points on your license. The $1,000 I was feeling, for sure. The three points doesn’t mean as much. I don’t know how many points we get, you know? Like, a million? I don’t know. It doesn’t mean anything to me. Plus, I grew up in the US, so I have just kind of been instilled with a competitive American spirit. I hear points and I’m like, “I’m winning. Yes!” There’s a little bit of, “Three points! USA!”
Don’t be chanting that in 2019.
He pulled me over and I felt so stupid about it because I wasn’t doing anything. I was just looking at my email, and I don’t need to be looking at my email. Nothing urgent is… I already know what’s happening. It’s literally 8,000 unread messages. I’ve read them but then I immediately mark them unread because I don’t like making decisions or taking any course of action. I like to let things build up to a panic moment until people are calling me, like, “Are you still alive? Why won’t you send this contract?” I’m like, “I don’t know. It makes me feel itchy.”
If that’s resonant with you, you should know that my therapist told me that’s called avoidance coping, so that’s the gift that I’m giving to you. You have a name for it now. If that means anything to you, it’s called avoidance coping. You can do what I did. You can Google it. You could open seven tabs on your computer and then just leave them there forever. Never look back into it. There’s no reason you should grow or change as a person.
So, $1,000. Three points. He goes back to the car to work on the paperwork, and I’m just kind of stuck there coming to terms with everything. And I’m trying to put a positive spin on it. I’m like, you know what? I’m glad that they’re out there looking for people.”
When I see people on their phones when I’m driving I get upset. It’s really dangerous. And everything we’re doing on our phones is absurd. If we didn’t have that device we couldn’t explain any of it, right? I couldn’t get pulled over and be like, “Oh, don’t worry, Officer. It’s not a big deal. I was just sorting through my mail real quick but I’m… There’s nothing to worry about. I was just typing up a quick letter to a friend, but my eyes are on… There’s nothing… Yeah, don’t worry about it, Officer. I was just quickly looking around to see who is down to fuck in a 10-K radius, but I’m focused. My eyes are on the road.” So, okay, I will come to terms with it.
Then, he comes back and he goes, “Do you know what? I’m going to let you off with a warning.” I was like, “Yes!” But then, here comes the real punch in the gut, he goes, “… because you seem like a nice lady.” I was like, “Urgh! I don’t want to be a nice lady!” No one wants to be a nice lady. I realised in that moment I would rather pay one thousand dollars than be called a nice lady.
In his defence, I did kind of look like a nice lady. My chihuahua was in the passenger seat. She was there. Okay, she was there. Was she wearing a sweater? It was cold out. That’s all you need to know. Does she have a specially made car seat? She likes to be lifted up so she can look out the window, okay? I get it. That’s what nice ladies do: They put clothes on their dogs and then they just drive around, like, “I’m running errands with my little pal!” I get it.
I was telling this story in Canada and I had a pretty woke audience. At this point, someone shouted out, “White privilege!” Which is fair. That’s probably true, right? I don’t know for sure, but this guy was white, I’m transparent. That could’ve been white privilege for sure. Like, I’m not like, Let-me-talk-to-your-manager-White, but I’m definitely white, like, I have thought about DNA testing my dog.
For sure, I’m not going to spend the money on it but it has occurred to me, like, I would like to know, you know? But I’m not going to do it. I know where I stand.
I wish I felt more skilled as a comedian to talk about white privilege, it’s just it’s kind of tricky. The optics of it are kind of hard, I think. Whenever you have a white person talking to a lot of other white people in a darkened room about whiteness, these types of meetings tend to take a turn for our people. They do. We don’t have a lot of experience with constructive conversations around this stuff, right? It’s hard to figure out how to dismantle white supremacy in an eight-minute bit. It’s hard to even get that group going. You know what I mean? Because you’d only want to invite white people. But then how do you put up that? You know what I mean? “I’m having a meeting. Only white people are allowed.” It’s really hard.
We’ll get there, hopefully.
I was worried that things would get awkward here, I really was.
And it’s been an absolute pleasure talking to you guys. I wish that I could stay around and keep this conversation going but…
… but, ah, I’ve got to run.