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That Time Melissa Etheridge Gave Me 5 Minutes

That Time Melissa Etheridge Gave Me 5 Minutes
Did I tell you about the time I met Melissa Etheridge and asked her if I could do a 5-minute comedy set before her show? Yeah–I did. So it’s Summer 1985 and I am in Los Angeles with my friend Vivian who is trying to convince me that I should move from San Francisco to LA so I can expand my comedy career. She’s showing me all around queer LA and on this day, Vivian takes me to this dyke bar in Pasadena called Vermies. It’s a Saturday, it’s happy hour, there’s 15 people there and to our surprise at the microphone singing her heart out, jamming on her guitar is Melissa Etheridge. This is way before Melissa becomes a household name. Melissa finishes her song and tells the audience she’s taking a break. Immediately I am zapped with courage and I walk up to Melissa who is now leaning against the bar. I say: “Hi Melissa. I’m a lesbian comedian and I performed at the same womyn festival: w-o-m-y-n—that you performed at 2 months ago in Santa Barbara and I was wondering if I could do 5 minutes of comedy before your next set?”

Melissa says in her scratchy voice: “Yeah, sure, go ahead.”

Breaks over, Melissa gets to the mic and says: “And now comedy by Monica!”
I jump on the fake stage and I do an excellent job of making the 15 people laugh.
Melissa, comes back to the mic: “Monica, everybody. Pretty funny stuff.”
And then she started singing. We left the bar but I really wanted to tell her: Don’t worry, kiddo, next week there will be 30 people here.


Monica Palacios creates performance and written work featuring the Latinx LGBTQ experience. Monica was selected for the Nancy Dean Lesbian Playwriting Award 2021 sponsored by Open Meadows Foundation. Palacios is featured in the new queer documentary: STAND UP STAND OUT: The Making Of A Comedy Movement, (winner of Best Documentary Santa Fe Film Festival 2021) about the Valencia Rose Cabaret, the first gay comedy club in the nation in San Francisco during the1980s, director David Pavlosky. Monica is featured in the series, Shades of Us, by CUNY TV (2021). Palacios was chosen as the Lucille Geier Lakes Writer-in-Residence at Smith College Spring 2019. Palacios has received numerous awards, most recently from the City of Los Angeles as a Latinx LGBTQ Trailblazer 2017. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa declared October 12, 2012 “Monica Palacios Day” honoring Monica’s 30 year career as a pioneering Chicana lesbian writer/performer. Monica received a Postdoctoral Rockefeller Fellowship from UC Santa Barbara where she wrote, directed, produced her play Sweet Peace. Monica has taught at: Smith College, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, UC Riverside, Holyoke Community College, Loyola Marymount University, California State University Long Beach, California State University Los Angeles, Claremont College, Pomona College and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Find out more about Monica at MonicaPalacios.com

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