What’s New With Mary and Paul


“Wicked” by Mary Kennedy

1 Comment Oh, Mary!

I was told from a very young age that I had a “wicked” sense of humor. I blame it on my irish upbringing. The Irish can see the humor in everything from funerals to foreclosures.

In my late twenties, I was coming up as a comic in New York and at my first gig, a producer guy came up to me and said, you have a “wicked” sense of humor and a career was born.

I was also dating. Two times before I thought I met the man I was going to marry, but alas no and now I was resigned to a life of dating, not expecting too much, maybe some conversation, free food and maybe some intimacy. I would have a glorious life in NYC, with an upper east side apartment and my only commitment was to comedy and maybe a pet.

Then I met that guy, that was good with this lifestyle, he was also a comic.

He was funny and dark. I liked the funny, the darkness scared me, but I didn’t listen to that. I ignored it. I heard myself say, this guy is good for you, he won’t commit and he is a comic, he understands you. Who else will understand you?

The chemistry was there, but that too was scary, overwhelming and slippery.

My gut cried out to me, watch out, this isn’t right, he isn’t right, get as far away as you can.

I didn’t listen. I instead carried on.

I didn’t want to sleep with this guy, I wanted to wait, not sure what I was waiting for, but I wanted to wait, I was clear about that. I even said to the guy, listen you know I don’t want to rush this, I don’t want to sleep with you just yet and he understood.

About 6 weeks in, this changed. We slept together. The problem is, I had no part of it. I was date raped.

The NYC sex crimes unit, said the date rape wasn’t violent enough for them to prosecute.

It wasn’t violent, it happened slyly, with a switch of a hand for his penis, no protection, no warning, when I said, I didn’t want to have sex then, he said, “You enjoyed it didn’t you?”

That is the thing for a minute it felt good, then I realized, I had no say. You want sex to be consensual, this was sex on his terms, his way, I had no voice.

The DA’s office was no help, they read a page from a book defining rape as a violent act. They said I asked for it, that I lured him into my apartment. We were dating for christ sakes. For their Law and Order drama they wanted me pushed against the wall, with him forcing his way into me. Beaten.

I was duped with his small slight of hand, that screwed with my head, made me distrust the world, hate sex, men and there was certainly nothing funny. I started to become suicidal. I remember standing at the walk way on the east river by 86th street, saying to myself, you could end it right here. I confessed this to my therapist and she said, “you have all the signs of a rape victim.”

I hate the word “victim”. It keeps you in the problem, not the solution. It makes you less than, the perpetrator still wins. Survivor is better. I started surviving by going back on stage. Actually doing comedy again, saved my life. Even when I ran into this asshole. I successfully did my set in front of him twice. He would pull me aside and ask if we could be friends. That I was overreacting. The second time, I said, “You are goddamn lucky you are still standing here. I am not the only girl, I know that.” I still wonder about those other girls. I got off easy, I know that. It could have been so much worse.

This happened almost 20 years ago. Today, would he be prosecuted? Who knows? Do I want him to pay for what he did? I did at first, but the more and more I got on stage I healed a little bit more.

Today, luckily I rarely think about it. I am married to a great guy, have two beautiful kids and still make people laugh. I chose to heal through hearing other people’s laughter. I am so honored that I am doing the AWBW benefit, because if someone can heal any trauma through art, comedy, music, dance, theatre etc. there is so much good in the world, that diminishes the darkness just for a minute, that turns into a day, a year and for a lifetime. As I healed, I became whole and my voice returned. Now no one can shut me up. Trust me.

****A Window Between Worlds, (AWBW.org) benefit, August 15, 2015, Laugh A Latte at Hot Java, 2101 East Broadway, Long Beach. 7pm Art Project, 8pm Show. $5 donation.

Princess Parenting; We are Doomed. By Mary Kennedy

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I have spent many a summer in Portland, Maine and applaud this diner owner at Marcy’s Diner. I am a parent too! Just yesterday, I had an incident where my kids tired from camp had a meltdown at the restaurant we were eating at and I nipped it in the bud. Even threatening to take them out if they didn’t behave.

This two year old in Portland, ME cried for 40 minutes, take the kid out, take the pancakes to go, don’t sit there and make it everyone’s problem. They tried to get them to leave and this owner had, had it! I posted an article awhile back about what I will call “princess parenting” where parents think their kids are princesses and princes, that can do no wrong.

The truth is, to parent this way, sets kids up for failure. I have taught for almost 20 years and I praise my students for jobs well done and where there is room for improvement I discuss that with the parents and students, always. I am not a perfect parent, none of us are, but we rely on technology (I am victim to this) to fill the time with our kids and I think that has affected being present to parent. I think disciplining has also gotten a bad wrap, to discipline is not to bully. It is there to set a structure for one to learn from.

When I coach our showbiz kids at Youth Acting Biz, discipline is key, to make it in this business. At a casting workshop last night, the casting director said we watch the behavior in the waiting room very closely. So behave! For kids to behave parents have to parent! What you do at home, affects what happens in the classroom, if your kid rules the roost, they will want to rule it in the classroom, at a kid’s party and in a diner.

This kid is two, I get it, two year olds yell and scream, so as parents, you have to step in and solve the problem. Or the Diner owner in her Maine accent is going to say enough is enough. End of story.

Portland Diner


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By Paul Jacek

VIDEO:  http://newyork.cbslocal.com/video/11468560-cbs2-exclusive-chelsea-restaurant-brawl-caught-on-camera/

Curious. Saddening. Not unusual.

As I begin to write this blog, I went back to do a bit of research. As I Googled, “gay basing in NYC”, I was horrified to find out….I had several choices. Some of the incidents ended in murder.

To watch the video of the beating in Chelsea’s Dallas BBQ, is stunning and shocking. The black, bearded gentleman, is clearing intending to maim and kill. Over a spilt drink?

Having had the experience of being gay bashed, in broad daylight, in Los Angeles, I can tell you, it’s very hard to watch this.

They are looking for the bearded guy. No amount of words, or actions, excuse his behavior, and the fact it has been videotaped, SOMEONE must know him.

He must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. If the situation were reversed, I believe we’d see a different outcome. Why?

Racial tension is high in the country. White man beating black man? Riots in the streets. Understandable. NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO EXPERIENCE THIS.

However, in the case of a gay man. It is a bit of news. Then, it’s not.

My best friend Bill and I were walking down Santa Monica Blvd from work on Valentine’s Day 1992. On our way to a fast food joint.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, 3 white guys, mid-20’s jumped us. Screaming…”FAGGOTS, KILL FAGGOTS” and I was slammed up against a parking meter, and was being punched in the face, and head.  I could see Bill, was pinned against a brick wall, and the kid was using him as a punching bag. Repeated blows to his abdomen.

The kid’s face was inches from mine as he grabbed my head, and slammed it into the parking meter. I remember thinking…”Why are you doing this? I don’t even know you…”

Suddenly, I felt him slump against me, and jump off.

An elderly, Armenian woman was swinging a broom, and had connected with my assailant’s head. She started poking the kid who was beating Bill like a champion jouster. The kid doubled over, and the 3 ran away.

She led us into her storefront. Her English wasn’t very good. My Armenian is worse. But, her care and concern, transcended language. Cool cloths, and many pats and Bill and I started to take stock of what had just happened.

We phoned work, from the lady’s phone. Next call was to the Police. The dispatcher said, “Oh, by the French Market, we got that.”

“NO, we are east on Santa Moncia Blvd, by Western Ave.”

“OK, we’ll get someone there.” A bored reply.

So, Bill and I waited. And waited. And waited.

The lady had to close shop. We were nervous to be outside. But we stayed in the alcove of her front door. And waited.

9pm. We decided to go home.

Bill called the Police, and we were told they would contact us.

I’m still waiting. Over 20 years later.

Bill actually had more cuts and bruises than I did. My back is still tender from the parking meter.

Bill died in 1993. It became a joke between us. “Oh, yeah…LAPD called….” And we would ruefully look at each other.

Hate crimes, in America are not uncommon. Being gay, in many parts of the world is illegal, and, in many places in the Middle East, punishable by death.

I hope they catch the guy. Selfishly, I want him to do jail time. I want him made an example.

Still, as I walk, I keep an eye out.

Could happen again. I hate it.

Whip Ass

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BALTIMORE MOM, WHIP ASSES HER SON: From “The Stuff” segment, Mary Kennedy and Paul Jacek, “Oh, Mary!” Show , Episode 20

Clip: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/baltimore-mother-toya-graham-on-why-she-smacked-son-i-dont-want-him-to-be-a-freddie-gray/

Paul’s Take:
The video of Toya Graham slapping her son at the Baltimore riots, has stirred the world.

I watched the video a few times. I found myself nodding my head. My mother, would have done the same thing.

Actually, I don’t know that she would have smacked me in public, but for sure, I would have been pulled to a quiet spot, and an intense discussion, with physical emphasis would have happened.

Amazed at a friend, who is a therapist, who offered, “ Can you imagine the physical abuse he must suffer at home?” Perhaps, but, what I saw in the video was a mother protecting her child. From his own stupid choices. Part of the job as I understand.

I am not a parent. This woman has 5 girls and one son. The tension and the situation called for a sudden decision.
Part of me says, naively, “Are we here, again?” I remember the conflicts of the 60’s and I was in the LA Riots. The anger that all feel is heavy in the air.

How do we move past this? Well, like this mother, perhaps “knock a bit of sense” into ourselves.
Why do we do things that are “wrong”? It’s a tough call. We all have that little voice, our conscience, that tells us right from wrong. Due to adulthood, and the agreements we make with ourselves, we hope to let some things slide.

I have no answers for the racial tensions. I get it. I am a longtime advocate for Equal Rights. For All Americans. Promised in the Constitution. All Americans.
Not complicated. But to put it in practice, seems very difficult.

Toya Graham loves her son. She is a national figure. (I’ve been in show business a long time. She needs representation, and a book deal….perhaps a new talk show centered on Mothering and how to stretch a dollar when you have 7 people to house and feed and have no job. ) I’d watch for sure.

She has my respect. And, I’ll guest on her show.

Mary’s Take:
I was raised by two very strong irish women, my grandma, Anne and my mom, Betty. Early on, I knew neither one of these women, was there to be my friend. For that I am grateful.
They loved us, absolutely, but in the irish tradition love is shown through a tap on the back “irish hug”, food and a pint of guiness. I have a very dark joke in my act, “My brother Jon and I never ever tried to commit suicide, because if we failed, our mother would kill us.” To this day, I walk with a little fear of my mother, which is healthy!

So I relate to Toya Graham of Baltimore. Now I have never given a “whip ass” as News Anchor, Gayle King on CBS This Morning called what Ms. Graham did her son, to my kids. But I have and will continue to protect my kids no matter what.

Honestly I can say, when my kids were in danger, ie, putting his/her hand in a hot flame, crossing the street without me or causing bodily harm to one another, a slap on the hand insued or a slap on the butt happened. Was I proud of these moments? No. But I was protecting my kids and acted in the moment.

Tough love, this term is thrown around like yesterday’s trash. I have seen tough love in the mommy privaleged cliques as “Parker, got his phone taken away for two days”.
I think as parents we use this way too much. Oh I will just take technology away, that will show them. But it doesn’t. I know. As parents we have been emasculated. I am not saying that we beat our kids, I know the difference between beating and a slap on the butt. I ask, was Toya Graham heavy handed in her punishment?

Yes on an ordinary day. But it was not an ORDINARY day when she slapped her son upside the head. In the wake of Freddie Gray’s death in Baltimore, this mother lost it, wanting to save her kids. Her kid had a rock in his hand about to throw it at police. She intercepted that and with all her might, protected her son, “I wanted to get my son and be safe.” She says. He could have been the next Freddie Gray.

So in my book, she was saving her kid from death, from the hands of the police, from himself, from the streets of Baltimore. She was saving her son.
The first year of parenting my daughter, I announced to a friend of mine, “My daughter just turned one.” She said, “Good job, you did your job, your kid is still alive, you are mother of the year.”
Sometimes it is just as simple as that. We don’t do this perfectly, ever and Paul reminds me that everyday, thanks…..(my eyes roll).

But my kids are alive and to Freddie Gray’s mom and father, I am so sorry for your loss. A joy ride, turned your joy to sorrow.

May we protect our kids by teaching them right from wrong and leading by example. Being the best we can be everyday and when we fall, be vunerable, be gracious and use it as a teaching tool to inspire our kids to do better and to love one another, always no matter what color, creed or sexual orientation.