By Taylor Dooley
I love attention; always have and always will. I love Dad’s Garage. I love being pregnant. And I love to overshare. So imagine my joy and gratitude when the stars aligned a couple of years ago and I got to experience it all — I grew a little lady in my belly and acted a fool in front of hundreds. It was unsettling at first because before being pregnant, I was “Fun Taylor,” footloose and fancy-free. Now I was entering mom zone, which is quite different from dad zone. For the few guys at Dad’s with kids, their image SEEMED relatively unchanged. My image was turned on its head almost immediately, and my improv changed as a result. Okay, it mainly changed because of pregnancy brain which led to nonsensical garbage, but also because every scene partner would anoint me as pregnant. Bo-ring. I did take great pride in knowing that I was the first pregnant performer in Dad’s history (never confirmed) to hit the stage. I fantasized about getting bigger and bigger and then one day splooshing during a Tag Team Monologue (water breaking). It didn’t go that way, of course…damnit. Better luck next time!
There are two things I observed while pregnant: 1. The audience is at first confused by your shape and wonders if you’re making a lame joke; and 2. Once you’re deemed legit, your improv becomes comedy gold. Now granted, it might have been a series of pity chuckles, but I truly felt unstoppable. I had a laugh track anytime I was on stage, and it was glorious, I tell you. Maybe it wasn’t a pity chuckle… but astonishment. There seems to be a lack of expectations concerning a pregnant woman’s ability to land a fart joke. Pregnancy is serious! The fetus will hear! It’s like when you would see your teacher driving a car. It’s just not on the radar. I get it. A pregnant woman strolling by and smiling is just lovely and seemingly innocent. But her hemorrhoids and the feeling of having her taint fist bumped from the inside are ripe for comedy. A woman with child is a riot!! And conception? Come On… Huh-larious. My husband and I huffed and puffed and afterwards I did a naked handstand while he held my ankles. Birds and bees talk. You’re welcome.
My daughter Veda was born on December 7, 2013, and I’ve only recently been able to find a way for motherhood and Dad’s Garage to co-exist. I’ve nursed for almost 2 years, which became difficult during scripted shows. I once had to bring Veda to a 6 hour rehearsal. I nursed her in the sound booth a couple of times and set up a pack-and-play downstage right. Kevin was directing and played the role of babysitter that day. Hey- it takes a village/improv company. Another balancing act comes with those blasted 10:30 pm shows. Nope. Not a fan. My daughter didn’t sleep through the night until she was 14 months old, and she now wakes up at 6:30. It was brutal at first and still remains a struggle. Gone are the days when I hang out after shows at bars until last call. Oh well. I need the money for Veda’s butt cream. But it does feel lonely. I do feel left out sometimes. While everyone talks about the new Bob and David sketch show, I just want to talk about how the ugly kid on Mother Goose Club can’t sing and was there really no one else? What I do find bizarre is that my improv buddies almost never see me in the role I play everyday. That’s where Facebook isn’t a waste. It’s there that the Dad’s folks whom I trust more than most and make me laugh more than most get a glimpse of how I spend my days and what gives me the greatest joy of my lifetime. I look forward to exposing Veda to these whackos as she gets older, sooner if Dad’s starts doing matinee improv (pipe dream). I will say the late shows do allow me to tuck Veda in at night. I hold her until she falls asleep, and then I sneak off into the night to make the dick and fart jokes. Ha. Well when I put it like that…how cool is that? I love Veda. I love Dad’s Garage. And I’ve somehow managed to have them both. What a fabulously fulfilling life. Speaking of which- gotta go do another handstand…