Posted by: nancykenny | August 22, 2011

Bet You Think This Play Is About You

I always chuckle whenever someone, probably a reviewer, calls Roller Derby Saved My Soul “autobiographical”. Personally, I’ve never seen it that way. For one thing, I don’t play Roller Derby, neither does my sister. But, I guess there is always a grain of truth, a little part of me in there.

Watching a stand-up comic rib on about an ex-girlfriend when I was younger, I remember telling myself that I would never, ever be caught dead dating a comedian or a writer or even a musician, because screw that!* I would not end up as the brunt of any public mockery.

*This conviction tragically did not last very long…

Anyway, I had told a gentleman friend I had a past relationship with that there was one (and only one!) line influenced by him in the show before he came out to see it. However, after the show, I received a congratulatory text message saying he really liked my play and could see lots of parallels in it.

Excuse me? I’m not quite following. Other than the one (ONE!) line, there was absolutely nothing in there about him. I asked him to elaborate and he told me how the Roxanne Drinking Game was his favourite, how he often wore vests, ect…

Uh, sorry dude. I played the Roxanne Drinking Game in University with some friends in the bar that used to stand atop the Agora Bookstore. And when we started playing, I immediately thought it was going to be a piece of cake, just like the character in my show. Unfortunately, I have no recollection of if it was or not, but I did write it down as a possible scene idea for future use. As for the vests? I have just always really really loved vests. I think they look sexy on people. And one time, while at a concert, I saw a guy wearing a Green Lantern T-Shirt under a vest. I thought he was so hot. He even held the door for me on the way out. But I was too shy to talk to him, so instead I made up a story about him working in a coffee shop.

This got me thinking. Almost every section of the play, sometimes even individual lines, can be attributed to something or someone who has affected my life in someway. Heck, one of the sister’s best insults is a modification on one I heard a real-life Roller Derby player say. And others, I just pulled out of my ass because I am a funny person and that is where my funny comes from. Apparently. See, that line right there? That was funny and all me. Which means, if you’re even still following me right now, that maybe I shouldn’t chuckle so much when someone calls it autobiographical. Because that word means “of or concerned with one’s own life” and that’s what writing’s been for me.

And frankly each audience member is going to be affected by it however they please. But honestly, it’s not you, it’s me.

Maybe this means I should give writers and musicians another chance… But not comics, because fuck those guys.



  1. You know what, though? A lot of comics aren’t being autobiographical, either. They talk about how they can’t get a date, when they’re actually engaged. Or they talk about ex-girlfriends that don’t exist, or they say things about their girlfriends or wives that just aren’t true… I was shocked, I tell you, SHOCKED.

    • SHUT. UP. You mean someone manipulated the truth for the purposes of entertainment and story?!? That just doesn’t seem right – she says tongue firmly planted in cheek.

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