Friday, March 16, 2012

Alysia Wood's "Princess"


Once upon a time, there was a comedian named Whitney Cummings. Despite the fact she was very funny and edgy, she gave up trying to make people laugh and instead went away to star in a sitcom. 

And lo, a new voice was heard in the darkness. A voice that also had a bit of inspired reminiscence of the likes of Cheri Oteri and Paula Poundstone. And it came to pass the voice belonged to Alysia Wood, and she was more than willing to fill the void in the comedy arena, on that comedy throne. 

Just don't call her Princess.

OK, I admit I kind of exaggerated things there for effect but the basic gist still rings true. There's a new girl in town and although this project didn't exactly blow me out of the water with non-stop LOL moments, it did rock my boat a bit. And if you understand that metaphor, please get in touch and explain it to me, as I'm not quite sure I do.

Wood is a smart comedian who admits she drinks too much, smokes too much, and attends court-ordered anger management classes more often than she'd like. She's working through her issues straight-forwardly despite the fact she was recently self-diagnosed with A.D.D. As proof of the latter she hops from topic to topic without warning. You can't really tell someone their transitions need work of they don't have any transitions of which to speak, but this disjointed approach works for her and helps paint a broader picture of the off-kilter lens through which Wood views life.

At the core of Wood's dysfunction is the volatile relationship she has with her mother and her sister. As much as she hates it when her mom calls her "princess" (and Wood gives some great examples of why she's not a princess: "Princesses have self-esteem and ... things), she lives a life that has a bit of a Cinderella ring to it. She stays behind to scrub the floors as a stand up comic living out of her car while Mother and the beloved sister "Stabitha" enjoy their charmed life at the ball. They're dancing the night away at the palace while Wood is back in the real world trying to explain to a police officer why she brought a "Get Out of Jail Free" Monopoly card to her incarcerated brother.

One shouldn't pity or feel bad for Wood (she'd probably kick your ass if you did) because she's found a way to fight back and her weapon of choice is biting comedy. True, some of her material gets her "kicked out of Thanksgiving" but that's the risk one takes when there's nothing to lose. And considering her parents predicted she'd be dead or in jail before the age of 18, I'd say she's doing pretty well for herself.

The comparisons to Cummings shouldn't come as a surprise. Both comedians are brutally honest and proudly flawed. They say what's on their minds with little to no regard of whom they may offend and both do so with a twisted - yet enjoyable - sense of humor. And if Wood continues clicking along at this pace, our beloved, frowned-upon, not-married-to-a-doctor princess just might end up as queen.

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