I wasn't breathing when I was born. "You were a little blue, you were fine. You just needed a little help getting started, I wasn't worried," my mom said.
I grew up in San Jose, California. We had palm trees in our front yard and an orange tree in our backyard. Most of my time was spent at my best friend Nicole's house. We put on puppet shows, game shows, talk shows, cooking shows in her backyard.
I was very interested in female entertainers from a young age: Barbara Mandrell, Bette Midler, Dolly Parton and Joan Rivers.
Our family moved to Crystal Lake, Illinois when I was eleven, which turned my world upside down. The palm trees and orange trees were traded for mean Illinois winters and even meaner Illinois boys. I don't think Midwestern sixth grade boys know what to do with a chubby California boy that sings Dolly Parton songs on the playground. I did discover that if I sang the dirty songs and jokes I learned from my Joan Rivers and Bette Midler records, that I earned more respect or at least saved myself from being beat up. Towards the end of sixth grade, I became best friends with a girl named Kara. She was different from everyone else, talked back to teachers, and we shared an interest in Barbara Walters.
I began working at McDonalds when I was fourteen. McDonalds was the closest I ever came to playing a sport. As cheesy as it sounds, it really gave me a sense of a team and I was good at it, which made me feel good about myself. I have only recently taken it off my resume, as it doesn't impress people as much as you might think. I worked there on and off, but mostly on, until I was 24. I quit on September 11th and haven't gone back. It seemed like a good day to quit.
By the age of sixteen, I had a severe overbite. My dad had the same problem too, and because of this he developed some breathing problems and very crooked teeth. My orthodontist decided that I would need corrective jaw surgery. I did not really grasp what this meant until I woke up from surgery with a massive swollen head, a chin implant and my mouth wired shut for six weeks. Having my mouth wired shut was a turning point in my life. Internally and externally, I changed in many ways.
I came out of the proverbial closet in my junior year of high school and was elected prom king (or queen, whichever you prefer) my senior year. I never really had plans for college until it was too late. I took a few stabs at my community college in town, but it never really stuck. Instead there were lots of suburban nights riding around with friends, smoking cigarettes, listening to bad pop music. This continued for a long time until people started to get married, move away, go to school, morph into adults. I was a gay 24 year old prom king living with his parents, working at McDonalds.
My grandfather was a television critic. When he died, I inherited some money and decided to move to Chicago and live with Kara. We wrote and starred in two plays. The Chicago Reader called me "an awkward, freaky gay boy...and hilarious." I took some more improv comedy classes and kept writing. After a brief internship working on a television show, I decided that I wanted to go back to college and study television writing.
I've always been a bit behind. A little blue, just needing a little help to get started. I'm curious where I will end up.