I first saw Linda Lou in a coffee shop in Henderson, where she was making announcements at a meeting of the Henderson Writers Group. This chick really knows how to work a crowd, I thought at the time, and it’s a rare talent that can make mundane housekeeping announcements entertaining. Then I learned Linda was finishing up a manuscript called “Bastard Husband.” This struck me as harsh until I learned about the subtitle: “A Love Story.” Actually, I still thought it was harsh, but I also laughed.
Linda Lou, I soon discovered, was not only an unusual writers group volunteer, she was also an atypical technical writer, corporate trainer, divorcee, grandmother, and beer drinker. Oh, and standup comedian. No wonder she was good at adding punch lines to writers group announcements.
Fast forward awhile. Linda, after engaging in a lengthy but fruitless game of agent pursuit, decided to thumb her nose at the major publishers and release her book through her own fledgling house: Aging Nymphs Media. Bastard Husband: A Love Story, as dreaded by the bastard who inspired the title as it was eagerly anticipated by legions of Linda’s blog fans, burst onto the scene last October. To launch the book, Linda hosted a party at the perfect venue for a writer-funnywoman: the theater at the Alexis Park Resort where she had often performed. I wasn’t able to attend, but judging from the response on her blog and Facebook page, the party was rip-roaring excellent, and it wasn’t because everybody drank a lot of beer. It was because Linda read from her book.
Fast forward some more. I’d been keeping up with Linda via social media, but it was plain old-fashioned email that delivered the news that I could have another chance to get a taste of Bastard Husband’s kick-off party.
“One of my comic friends, Joe Lowers, let me use his showroom at the Alexis Park Resort for my book launch party,” Linda wrote, “during which I did a 45-minute reading sprinkled with bits from my stand-up act. Joe and the resort owners suggested I expand my reading to create a one-woman show, which Joe has offered to produce. As a result, ‘D Words: The Funny Side of Dating, Divorce and Other Delights,’ is about to become a reality.”
The show has indeed become a reality, and I took in one of Linda’s first performances. In an hour, she led us laughing through her transition from dumped, jobless, and pathetic to reinvented, confident, and kickass. The book, of course, is missing a final happy chapter, in which Linda successfully publishes her own book and gets her own Vegas show.
As a writer, I’m not only impressed but also delighted that it was her book that landed Linda a show. If that isn’t unique in Las Vegas, it’s certainly unusual. But then, Linda is unusual, as I noticed the first time I saw her. Not everyone can turn experiences as a hospice volunteer or growing up with an agoraphobic mother into comedy. Even fewer can broadcast their ex-spouses’ personal problems in print and stay on speaking terms. If it seems impossible, remember that subtitle: “A Love Story.” Love does shine through in Linda’s material, much of it directed not only at her former husband, friends and family, but also at those she seeks to inspire. As I watched Linda perform, I also watched her audience. Men and women alike responded to her insights. A few men seemed at first to be trying hard not to laugh. Maybe they felt sorry for Bastard Husband? I don’t know, but in the end, they laughed as hard as everybody else.
Most audience members bought a copy of Bastard Husband on their way out. I heard a young woman ahead of me say, “I never read—I hate to read—but I have to read this.”
The book sold the show, and the show sells the book. That’s about as full circle as it gets. But even though what went around has come around, I have a feeling this story is far from over. In fact, I can’t help thinking that Linda Lou has only just begun.
Catch “D Words” Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:00 pm at the Alexis Park Resort, 375 East Harmon Avenue (across from the Hard Rock). ***The show is currently on hiatus.***