The Bee’s Knees

comedy st pete
From left to right: Christine Sneeringer, Justin Fennell, Leslie Norris Townsend, Joby Saad as Aunt Jolene, me, and Michelle Krajecki

I recently spent a week in Tampa Florida, doing a Clean Comedy Show at Coconuts Club on St Pete Beech with friends. We had a four day run and after that, Joby, Michelle and I performed at the Ale and the Witch at St Pete Mall. Oh what an incredible week.

I have great memories of St Pete. My in-laws used to live there so we visited quite a bit. That and my youngest was conceived there years ago.

It turns out those “cute name” little drinks they serve on the Tiki Hut bars become verbs instead of nouns if you have enough of them.

Yes my mother in law did that math, giving her second reason for hating me.

Do you know her first reason?


I married her son.

Oh well.

Back to my story.


Someone told me recently that they wish God had given them a gift that allowed them to travel. I didn’t know what to say so I just smiled and hugged her. She’s in the middle of young child season and i miss those days. I could try and explain that, or tell her how i woke up one day, my kids we’re grown and the career i had before I became a stay home mom no longer exists and cutting my husbands meat really isnt an option, but she wouldn’t understand.

I could tell her don’t rush this season, it’ll end soon enough, cherish those days. I could tell her that all I really know how to do is be a wife (its all I’ve done for 25 years)and while that isn’t a bad thing really, I’m in a new season with no clue how this is going to turn out. Not better or worse, just new. And that’s okay.

Besides, it’s not like God said to me, “Go! Though shalt now be a comic.” It’s was more like a whispered, “follow me.”

So I follow the whisper.

How did I get here? This place where I can travel with friends and tell jokes. I still think it’s a dream some days.

Truth is though, I can sum it up in one word: FAILURE.

That and of course GRACE.

So I guess that makes two words really. I never was good at math.Which really messes with my name it claim it friends who want blessings in return for right behavior.

Yes, hard work, faith, and other things come into play here. But there is really more than that going on in my life right now.
I can still remember my lowest point ever in my life. My dream of working in a church fell to pieces around me due to spiritual warfare. And the Non Profit I worked for closed it’s doors. I stood on the precipice of “now what” and shook in my boots.I also went on meds and spent three years in therapy, so you know. I wasn’t firing on all cylinders for a while. My hobbies back then included wrapping myself in a blanket, chain smoking and staring out into the abyss that is my back yard.

I LOVED that life. I didn’t want to let it go.

The pre therapy one I mean not the abyss. That would just be weird. And sad.

As much as I hated that time, and as painful as it was – the most amazing blessings have unfolded as a result. A stranger came along, grabbed my hand and put me to work for her promoting her events. I took one small step after the other until I learned how to breathe again. I went from there working larger events and helping plant a church. Each step, each choice to say yes beget more things and more opportunities. And so, I pulled up my bootstraps, leaned into God with everything I had, put one quivering foot in front of the other, and with the help of a delightful mentor I learned to say yes to the Holy Spirit.

Didn’t realize I was saying no until she pointed that out. Note: Never use the words “I could never do what you do, I’m just happy to be here” to a Spirit Filled woman – she will start praying over you and well — you’re toast.

She suggested an experiment – she wanted me to spend one year only saying yes to where I am invited. Don’t knock on a single door and then watch God work. Let’s see what He thinks about these so called limitations you think you have.Now I don’t always recommend that because we can get too complacent sitting around waiting for God to move. I still moved – I said yes to things I never would have said yes to before because I was so busy. And I learned to say no to the things and places I didn’t belong.

I started writing again and I remember wanting to write a series about life after kids and pondered her advice to say yes to everything I was invited to even if it made me throw up from fear. The result? I made amazing new friends, learned that I can too stand up for myself after all, that fame means nothing to me (Hey my husband AKA “Guitar man” opened for Mitch McVicker remember? Cool yes, but Mitch isn’t a rock star and never wants to be – best lesson ever), worked production for some amazing christian artists who aren’t rock stars either. I’ve even invited a few of them to come to my church and perform. I also rode a horse through the jungles of Belize, swam with sharks, and started doing stand-up (which is a huge stretch for a story teller like myself.)

Every single thing a blessing. I’m not a name it claim it girl. I don’t throw God’s promises back in his face, rather I thank him for today and go on. Now some people are really good at reminding God his promises. It’s just not my way. it’s not our relationship. It’s not a theology I understand even though it is a popular one.I wouldn’t go around demanding my parents, family, or friends do really spectacular things for me just because I’m so awesome. They’d call me an entitled brat if I did that. So, I don’t treat God that way either.

The only way I can describe the past few years is it feels like I’m in the middle of this passionate love affair with a God who’s yes trumps every no I’ve ever been told in my life.

No you can’t join this church, you’re just a kid.

No you can’t be on the this board, it’s already full with charter members.

No you can’t be a deaconess (I don’t care if you took the classes already) you weren’t raised Lutheran.

No. No. No. No.

Here bring cookies to the funeral.

No thanks.

Jesus didn’t die for me – or you – to be relegated to sitting in a pew on Sundays and being told that’s all you deserve because you are an adult convert. Which is a common occurrence in some older churches. I know this: Jesus lives so that you can have abundant life.

God’s YES will ALWAYS triumph a world full of nos.

That is pretty cool.And if someone is telling you otherwise – they are lying. So when somebody asked what I did to deserve this or that event, (and they usually do) I honestly answer “Nothing.” I tell the truth about who I am and what my accomplishments are – and my goals. I don’t embellish (because getting found out is easier than people realize) and I trust God with the journey. I could run around and “work” my connections and strive to arrive more quickly, but that’s exhausting. I’d rather take my time, make friends and learn. I’m enjoying the journey.It doesn’t matter what any of us do for a living really. No one is “more called” than some one else. No job is more important than the other. The hand is just as important as the foot.

Remember Mitch? – That man travels to small churches, cut up blue jeans, shirt, bare feet (much like Rich) and plays his heart out for God – not stadiums. I LOVE that. And even so – his job isn’t any more important that the janitor who takes time to talk to troubled teens, or the gal at the check out counter who smiles every day – or the corporate executive — They all matter to God. We’re all called to live life by a God who adores us not for our “here is how I’m going to bless you today Lord” lists quickly followed by an open hand wanting something back as if he were a vending machine – but because He created us and he’s mad about us. Oh that we could love him back not because he’s Santa handing out wishes and accolades based on our own perceptions of righteousness and entitlement, but because he’s God. Would that not just be the bees knees right there?

NOTE: No clue why my formatting is messed up. But thank you for reading. Have a great day peeps.

Let me guess, you’re a housewife.

tumblr_m71urbHAfe1qbhkvgo1_1280I do not take vacations without my family and grown men do not ask me for my phone number.

Well, except for that one time and that was a fluke. I swear.

The airport staff at DFW forgot about me and left me sitting at the terminal in a wheelchair with a broken ankle. Not that I knew yet that it was broken, but still.  I am certain that if a stranger had not taken pity on me, I’d still be waiting at gate 32 C.

All I want at this point is to find my seat, order an adult beverage and pretend I am still on my cruise with my girlfriends.

 The window seat is open, I take it and the cabin steward takes my crutches.

So what if I’m supposed to be in the middle, I want the window. Surely whomever has the window seat will see my plight, take pity on me and not make me move.

Turns out he too is tired, wants to find his seat, and order his own adult beverage and we recognize each other immediately.

I, the stubborn redhead sitting in his seat and he, the tall stranger standing in the aisle announcing confidently, “I know you are going to move over, right?”

He is right. I move. Broken ankle and all.  Granted not without a sassy “Oh sure, make the cripple move.” We like each other instantly right up until 22C arrives.

He spends most of the flight talking to her. Over me I might add leaving me to feel like odd woman out. Yes that bugged me. Don’t judge. I was tired, and feeling well… middle aged.

I don’t blame him. She is young, cute, probably single and in town for a short business trip. Watching him work is very entertaining to say the least.

I’ll be honest, it takes everything I have not to pop off with a “Shoulda let me keep the window seat.” but my drink arrives and I have bigger things to figure out like explaining my broken ankle to my husband.

As we get ready to make our descent to Tulsa, Mr. window-seat remembers that I am in the row and says to me, “So let me guess, you’re a housewife.”


He strikes out with 22C and that’s the best he’s got for me?

I know, I know. I’m married. I shouldn’t care but crimony the dude could at least TRY!



I already know – because it’s hard not to eaves drop when you are stuck in the middle – that Mr. window-seat’s name is Tim*, he is a physician’s assistant / surgeon who is just returning from taking care of his old sick mother in Atlanta and he had two brother’s who have died leaving her alone with just him to care for her…

blah blah blah gag me.

I mean she got the “I’m a rich doctor who loves his mother.” pickup, and I get “housewife.” like I’m some kind of consolation prize or something.

At 40 something years old, this cuts me to the quick. He’s not exactly a Spring chicken himself mind you. I have zero interest in this man and yet there is no way I’m letting housewife go unchallenged. Even if it is true.

“As a matter of fact, I’m a stand up comic.”

So there Mr Bigshot!

What happens next is a blur.

Within three minutes okay maybe 60 seconds, he is wanting to know where I do comedy in Tulsa and asks for my phone number so that I can let him know when my next gig is.


I give him my number.

He even sends me a text when we land so that he doesn’t lose it. Oh boy. I am so in trouble.

It has been at least 20 years since a man has asked for my phone number. I can’t remember how to make one up. This is going to take some serious “splaining” as Ricky Ricardo would say.

I’ve taken two vacations ever in my entire life with my girlfriends and I come home from the second one with a broken ankle and now some guy I just met on the plane has my phone number.

This should be interesting.

I do quick introductions in luggage. Mr window-seat waits with my wheelchair while my husband gets the car and we never see each other again.

Who says life after kids is boring?

*Name changed to protect his identity, not that I believe he gave me his real name in the first place. I’m not even sure that he’s a surgeon.  I did get the text he sent me on the plane asking for my next gig and I sent him the link to the Comedy Parlor where I hope to be performing soon and left it at that. I had surgery shortly after my trip and I’m still in a boot. It’s going to be a long time before I get to do comedy again.

I am also fairly certain that it is going to be a LOOONG time before I get a weekend pass to go on a vacay with my girlfriends again as well.

Easy? No. Worth it? Yes!

580247_584414024963641_254854110_nSane women do not cut 14 inches off their hair, purchase $600 worth of MAC makeup, pack a car and drive 15 hours in one day for a three-day comedy contest. Especially if they’ve got less than 50 hours of stage time as a stand up comic and one book of jokes under their belt. Fortunately for me, I’ve never been accused of being sane. Something tells me, I’d make Sally Field proud. (Think Punchline)

Upside: I’m so new to the comic stage that I didn’t know enough to be afraid of the headliners from Letterman or the Tonight Show (among other notable comics) who were judging this competition.

Downside: I’m so new to the stage that I freaked out when I saw the wall of light instead of an audience and totally crashed and burned the first night. I did so poorly in fact that one of the judges said “I see you more as an actress than a comic, maybe you should do that instead.” Thank you Simon Cowell. That would have crushed me three years ago. Not today.

The great thing about being a 47-year-old menopausal red-head — tell me I can’t do something and I hunker down, dig my heels deep into the soil and prove you wrong. It’s how I roll. Said judge also sat down with me at lunch after my second set and offered very productive feedback. I made a new friend and I’m thankful.

I also did better the second night and nailed it the third.

Courage gave me a gift I can never repay.

I received lessons and insights into who I am,

opportunities to grow and let go of the past,

and a chance to lay down lies and false perceptions and find truth.

Four other things I learned about myself last week:

1. I’m funny
2. I’m courageous
3. I can learn how to trust again.
4. I’m stinkin’ adorable in short hair.

Friday Funny: Give A Little, Laugh A Lot – Woody’s Corner Bar


This Monday, May 27, 2013 the Local Comedy Community will come together for a MARATHON COMEDY EVENT like you’ve never seen!


We will be taking items all night, and your donation could earn you some great tokens of our appreciation.


For anyone donating more than $100, you will be allowed to choose any comic from our lineup and they will perform a private 10-Minutes of comedy for you in our PBR room (our version of the Champagne Room).


Our comedians will also ROAST anyone in the crowd you want for your donation of $10 per minute!


There will be lots of laughs and many surprises! Come enjoy a fun night to give to those who have lost so much. We’ll see you Monday!

Woody’s Corner Bar, 325 East Second Street, Tulsa Oklahoma


What a ride!

Last night’s interview on Slay N Savage was a blast. — If you missed it you can CLICK HERE for the archive.  One of the questions they asked was how did I become a stand up comic. That’s not an easy question to answer off the top of my head. It’s been a crazy journey full of twists, turns, starts, stops, long periods of self-doubt with bursts of WOW THAT ROCKED!

It’s been a wonderful journey so far. If someone had told me back when I started that I would be playing in bars and clubs, be cast as an extra in local movies and get interviewed on Blog Talk Radio, I would not have believed you. So a quick thank you to my son Charlie, and the always affable Yakov Smirnoff who accidentally gave me my start, without even realizing it. — oh and sorry about the stalking dude.

I found this story today while I was going through my old notes looking for material. I’d forgotten I’d written it. Hope you like it.

How I became a stand up comic.

Written: November 4, 2009 – Just four months after deciding to go pro.

The roads I travel in life are rarely smooth. Maybe it’s because I live in Oklahoma and we don’t believe in repairing concrete, or maybe it’s the wanderlust redhead in me, either way I start down one path and I inevitably wind up on some motocross race track doing loops, turns, tricks and stops, pausing from time to time to eat mud pies.

This is a mud pie kind of day. I’m editing what I used to think are funny stories into something more compatible with a stand up format. As I sit at my computer picking gravel out of my knees and my stories, I’m struck by the thought of “Who can I blame for this mess?”

Being a humor writer and loaning out stories and jokes is a smooth road. Stand up comedy? Not so much. I don’t know this road and yet here I am, forsaking one for the other. I’m taking my shot and running with the big dogs. Why? Only my therapist can answer that. It just feels right. That’s all there is to it. I have this insatiable need to make people laugh and to do it well. “Hi, I’m Deana and I’m a stand up comic.” My 12 step group meets in clubs throughout the United States.

I didn’t start my comedy career doing stand up. I’m a humorist. I write and tell funny stories. Have for years. Then it happened. My oldest son gets straight A’s in 6th grade and he wants to see Yakov Smirnoff in Branson. Simple enough really. Branson is only three hours away so off we go. I should have just bought him a car. It would have been cheaper.

Yakov has this part in his show where members of the audience are allowed to tell him jokes. The person with the funniest story gets to go on stage and interview him. Neat little piece. At least it was before my son looked up at me and said “Mom! You’re funny, why don’t you tell him one of your stories?”

” How hard can it be.” I thought to myself.

I’m convinced those words will be on my tombstone. In short, I died a horrible, humiliating, miserable death-by-choking in front of Yakov, my son, and 1,400 people. All of it on film. Nice.

I can only blame myself for what happened next. I spent the next two years striving to save my pride and convince this dear sweet long on patience man that I am indeed funny. I went to no less than six of his shows hoping for another shot. We communicated via telephone, email, snail mail and in person. I even bought roughly ten of his paintings. Hey, it’s not stalking until you see the whites of the restraining order, okay? It turns out that I cannot get within a hundred yards of Yakov without turning into a walking lobotomy. Go figure.

In short I made an idiot out of myself. I convinced him that I was something alright. I’m not so sure about the funny part though. Suffice to say, I have not set foot in Branson in about five years. Just driving through Missouri gives me hives.

undeterred by my egostically driven set back, I continue on as a humor writer and story-teller. Joining writing groups and comedic message boards to better hone my craft, I learn that Christian comics have their own club of sorts. They have a message board, Facebook, fan pages and conferences. Figuring that four years is enough time to hide from comics and that the stigma has to have worn off by now, I drive with a friend to their most recent conference in Nashville Tennessee.

I am at home with these funny people. No longer a slave to my comedic lust, I find other kindred spirits and I find peace. My friend talks me into participating in their Open Mic for newbies and I gladly participate.

In all fairness, I erroneously assumed that the men and women would be separated. Women would critique women and men would critique men kind of thing. I assumed incorrectly. Imagine my surprise to learn that my panel of advisors would consist of men named Bone, Nazareth and Thor. There was also Kenn and LeLand, the oddballs with normal names, but I digress. Bottom line, I’m a female humorist/story-teller about to face an entire audience of comics and male critiquers with a story about the time my husband’s doctor guilted me into being present during his vasectomy.

I’m an intelligent woman. It did not take me long to assess three things.

1.) This story was probably not appropriate for this particular venue.
2.) I don’t have the energy to stalk these five men for two years to convince them I really am funny so I better think of something quick.
3.) I had consumed so much sweet tea that evening that the stability of my bladder is now questionable.

I took three of my funniest bits and tried to turn them into stand up material on the fly. Thankfully they laughed while I tried not to hyperventilate or pee.

As for my bladder issues, I just moved around a lot hoping it would stabilize. If that failed, I’m over weight so I was just going to tell the guys that I’m pregnant and my water broke. They are men. They would have dropped me off at the nearest hospital and gone on their merry way and I would have hidden out in my hotel room until the conference was over and my room-mate was ready to drive home.

And that, my friends is how I became a stand up comic.

It’s My Faith, Not my Comedy, That Helps me “Cope”

“How do you separate the hyperbole from reality when you are with other comics?”

It depends entirely on the location and the relationship. If we’re friends we’re real. But we’re not always really friends, sometimes we’re just peers.

I can’t believe you know so-and-so! That is so cool!

No, I don’t know them.

But they are on your Facebook and you have pictures with them!


Being peers with someone, running into each other once or twice a year and photo ops, does not equal “Knowing” them. I get to meet a lot of cool people as a writer and as a comic, but that doesn’t mean we are friends. I am at best an acquaintance with some of them and just a fan for most others.  A good example of that is somewhere in this vast world are photos of me with Johnny Cole and Huey Lewis, but it doesn’t mean we are friends or even know each other. The back story to those photos is the questionably legal introduction and being sent home by Mr. Lewis because he rightly assessed that while I might be of legal age, I really wasn’t that bright (defined as I was too naive for my own good)  and my cute self and barely there black dress definitely did not belong in front of their hotel in downtown Detroit back in 1987.  My enthusiasm for meeting Mr. Cole surpassed all common sense, not to mention several city ordinances. Mr Lewis was a much-needed voice of reason and protected me from knowing more than I had bargained for. So, I have photos that prove we met, but that doesn’t mean we know each other. Thank God.

The false belief of knowing someone happens a lot today. We read news stories, books, Tweets, Facebook statuses, blogs and we gain this false sense of personal intimacy. We come to believe that we really know said person, when in actuality we don’t. Not really anyway. I’ll admit that I’ve been guilty of that myself. True intimacy requires more than just internet snippets. True intimacy requires face time, honesty, humility, and mutual transparency. True intimacy is a commitment.

The word intimacy can really be broken down into three words: Into Me See.

Even though I’ve lived in 12 step rooms since I was 12 and been telling my story from a podium since I was 14, it’s my inner most circle that knows the really real me. They know the whiny sometimes feeling put upon raised an only child who says yes as quickly as she says no for all of the wrong reasons. The sometimes kind to a fault, wishes she had more of a spine when it counted me.  They are the committed, tried, true, trusted, and wholly loved individuals that trudge this road of happy destiny. True to life for all of us, other people just get glimpses behind the curtain from time to time.

A behind the curtain glimpse for you guys – I don’t use comedy to cope, I don’t tell jokes about actual people I know (unless I have their permission), and it’s my faith (messy and crayola scribbled that it is) that gets me through life. 

While I have been guilty of perhaps “over sharing” some of my recent health issues on my private Facebook page at the request of several long distance friends who are going through the same thing, I do tend to keep the private out of the personal. Most of my stories and jokes are actually a conglomerate of events and people. The theme and overall message are the same, I’ve just changed it up enough that the guilty are protected.

I’m the same way with my comedy, I never tell jokes about individual people per se’, I do however write and tell jokes about circumstances and events that crack me up. Unless I have someone’s permission up front to include them in my jokes, I don’t. Even my doctor jokes are a conglomerate of several people and focus on the awkwardness of the situations caused by aging, than the physician himself. For those of us old enough to remember Phyllis Diller, her husband “fang” wasn’t real either. She made up a persona that skyrocketed her to stardom.

There are a few things that have been said to me recently that I would really like to speak to today if you don’t mind.

1. If I lived your life, I’d smoke too. — Said by my cardiologist last year based on a 5 minute conversation.   No, you wouldn’t. I smoke today (on and off) because I’ve been smoking since I was 17. I’m addicted. Smoking because of life circumstances is a cop out, call it what it is. I’m an addict prone to selfishness on occasion and tend to self destruct when feeling overwhelmed, it really is that simple.

2. I suppose being a stand up comic is a great coping mechanism — Not really. I don’t use comedy to cope. I use it to entertain, to show people the underbelly of life sometimes thereby making people think and to help bring levity to life circumstances. I find that when I use comedy as a coping mechanism or even a shield (as I’m sometimes prone to do) my humor becomes barbed and has a toxic bite. I don’t want that. I want people to feel good when leaving my show instead of feeling dirty. You know?

3. It’s my faith in something bigger than me, that helps me cope — While it was my mother who taught me how to say bedtime prayers, I really learned how to pray reading Judith Blume’s “Are You There God, it’s Me Margaret?” For those of you who are unfamiliar with that book, let me just say it’s a book about a young girl who wasn’t changing quickly enough to suit herself and she talked to God about it, daily, as if he were her friend. If that isn’t the story of my life.

The older I get the less willing I am to put God in some kind of black and white box. The more research I do on religion and spirituality, the more I realize that the debates out there aren’t about proving God is real or the facts surrounding history, so much as they are proving who is the smartest. I used to listen in on the modern debates between pastors and I get frustrated at the direction things go. There are too many egos out there for me today.  If even the greatest scholars of today (and yesterday) can’t nail down the facts, I’m not about to try.

I just know today when it comes to knowing me — the really real me, I have this power greater than myself that I choose to call God. It’s that relationship that trumps all others. The one that sees through all my stuff and meets me exactly where I am no matter how messy, how confused, scared, sometimes lost, angry or happy I really am. Sometimes I lose faith and hope and ask to borrow a friend’s for a few days. That’s okay as well. It doesn’t matter to me if this relationship doesn’t make sense to others. It’s wholly mine. And I like it. It’s a relationship that is as real to me as the end of my nose, covered in Grace and Love, and Peace. It’s a relationship where instead of my pulling back the curtain for a glimpse, he tore it for a full view.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am wholly loved and fully known by the God of the universe – that’s all I need to know. That is how I cope.

Wishing all of my American readers a very happy Thanksgiving.

Tim Hawkins and John Branyan are Coming to Broken Arrow

The screaming you heard on Saturday afternoon was my 18-year-old son finding out that I have purchased tickets to see his all time favorite comic, Tim Hawkins. I totally rock as a mom sometimes.

When: Sunday, April 1, 2012 7:00 pm

Where: Grace Fellowship on Garnet and 91st Street in Broken Arrow


If you’ve never heard of Tim, check out his video clip. After that go thee to HERE and order your tickets today before they sell out. I pretty much guarantee these guys will having you laughing so hard you’ll have tears running down your legs.

John Branyan on Adam and Eve

And guys and dolls, as always no goods or services were given to me in exchange for this endorsement. I’m just taking my kid someplace cool and wanted to share it with you before time runs out.

Have a great Monday and remember – There is no kill switch for awesome!

Love ya!

Breaking the rules.

“Let’s face it, I’m at that age where the only way I can lose weight is to either cut my hair or shave my legs.” — Deana O’Hara

If you are looking for a what not to say to an audience of mostly men, I can give you a list.

There are three things men cannot easily recover from.




The rules for this particular night were simple, keep it PG. I played by the rules and stumbled upon an unwritten understanding that women shall not tell the truth in front of men. Out of 7 comic only 2 of us were female and neither of us made the finals.

There is a difference between killing on stage and dying.

I died Saturday and I’m okay with that.

My set isn’t for men, it’s for women. The judges were male and they did not like me.

While a more experienced speaker will look at their audience and adjust accordingly, I chose to  stay the course and be myself. Was that the right call? Not if I wanted to win. Fortunately, I didn’t go there to win a contest. I went there to defeat fear. In staying the course I beat the voice in my head that insists that if I continue being myself, I’ll be alone. Misplaced safety nets are detrimental to my well-being.

Just as a child cannot receive self-esteem by being given A’s for effort alone, neither can I. Confidence comes only as an after effect of facing down my fears and doing the unthinkable.

Being fully me sometimes comes with a price, like losing a contest. And yet the joy my inner woman shows every time I allow her to be heard is priceless.