Did you know that in the early 1960s, more than 20,000 Americans a year named their baby girl Lori? The name had a second wind in the early 1970s, a resurgence in which 13,000 more Loris came into existence for each of two consecutive years. I need to ask my Canadian contemporary Loribeth if the trend was true in her country, as well.
Anyway! Through #MicroblogMondays, I met another of the laurel-crowned. Lori Shandle-Fox is a card-carrying, comedienne, blogger, essayist, and author, AND she spells her name the right way. She interviewed me awhile back, and I’m interviewing her here today.
Lori H: If you found yourself in the elevator at Rockefeller Center with Lorne Michaels of Saturday Night Live, what would you say?
Lori S-F: I don’t know whether to be insulted that you picked a building with 70 floors or flattered that you know me so well. I’d probably be too preoccupied thinking about getting downstairs in a hurry so I could go ice skating at the rink to notice him. But if I did, and I could get myself beyond Wow, you’re still alive? You look amazing! and I remember when I first heard of you — when I was 10….I’d want to say this:
“Do you remember me? I auditioned for Saturday Night Live 30 years ago. You were right not to pick me. I sucked.”
Then I’d squirm self-consciously for the next 69 floors.
How did you get involved in comedy, and what was it like the first time you performed a stand-up comedy routine in front of an audience?
I had no intention of ever being a stand-up comic. I had never even been inside a club. I started having these weird experiences in college (I know a lot of people do but…). In that twilight zone when I was falling asleep at night, I used to see myself standing up on a stage telling jokes. It was always different jokes and I was always wearing different clothes and I couldn’t fall asleep unless I got up and wrote stuff down. (It was either divine intervention or the LSD… kidding!)
I was scared to death to go onstage but finally did months later. I went on at 2:45 am at Catch-a-Rising Star in NYC… right after Joe Piscopo (and he was already “Joe Piscopo”). I had waited since 10 am to get in on the auditioners’ lottery and then all night to go on and then Joe Piscopo walks in the door & goes on in front of me. He was great, I’ll have to admit. I was part scared to death and part too exhausted to care.
I did lousy in front of the few people still there but I was hooked.
How did you get involved in the ALI (adoption/loss/infertility) blogosphere?
Honestly, I started blogging to help myself, to sell my book and to keep myself writing so that mold and resentment wouldn’t take root in my brain while I was working day jobs. But in doing it, I’ve realized: When you go through infertility, like a lot of the suckier seasons of our lives, you really question if you’ll ever survive it and if it will ever end.
I’m hoping that my weekly ridiculousnesses about my life are funny and relatable and will get people to laugh and feel better for at least the time it takes them to read it… maybe sometimes even longer.
I began blogging only about infertility-related things, but since that isn’t what’s happening in my life currently, it’s hard to still write about only that. But whatever I write about, I always try to be sensitive to that community by not discussing certain subjects. I may be done with fertility treatments but once you’ve been through them, they become a permanent part of who you are.
Tell us about your book, Laughing IS Conceivable. How did you conceive of it?
I started jotting stuff down while I was in the midst of fertility treatments to try to get a handle on it myself.
There was so much about infertility and IVF that seemed weird and absurd to me: “Subcutaneous… What?” “Upper outer quadrant… What?” “Hysterosalpingahoopahekagram…. What?” I’ve noticed over the years that when I’m in a difficult moment in my life and I start making bad, gallows humor jokes about it, that means I’m getting through it. When the jokes get better, usually it’s a sign that I’m starting to put it into perspective. By putting together a decent book, I think I helped pull myself out of my own infertility mire.
What else should we know about you?
There’s probably a lot I’d be willing to tell you that nobody would ever want to know. I’m a huge professional sports fan. I don’t see why cooking is necessary. I still love everything I loved when I was 6 including cartoons, coloring, stuffed animals, and roller coasters.
As for my grown-up self (how did I not put that in quotations? Wait, let me go back) As for my “grown-up” self (better)… Laughing IS Conceivable is going to be a series. While it started as being a literal title in the first book (obviously “conceivable” tied in with “infertility”), I’m working on a lot of funny little books to de-stress people from all of those things in life, big and small, that many of us, (sometimes all of us) go through sooner or later
I plan to cover big rough times like deaths, illnesses, relocating, raising multiples, living below the poverty line, dead-end jobs (I write and vent simultaneously) but also those little minor stupidities that stress us out like traffic and annoying relatives and holidays…. I aim to mock ALL of it.
Thanks, Lori. It’s a pleasure to share a name with you. Are you sure you’ve never been a hairdresser?