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Below the waist, that was a low blow. Remember to punch up. These are things I hear all the time in comedy. What happens below the belt? When did that saying begin? They say it happened in boxing. But I think Latino families have been hitting below the belt since forever. My grandmother would say the cruelest things like: My daughter’s children are my grandchildren, But son’s children, I question. My siblings and I are the children of her son. What why was she saying this to us. I remember it well we were in the bathroom getting ready for a day of school at this time; we were only three kids. A large family already, but hey Catholics = no condoms. So looking in the mirror, my sister and I fighting for space. My grandmother approaches with a smile and almost in rhythm “Las Hijas de Mis Hijas en Duda Nunca Estan.” She did not need to finish the rest. Wow, I looked in awe at my mother as she took that low blow and ignored it.
At this time, I considered her weak for not saying anything. for playing the part of oh what I heard nothing. Now That I am in my forties and I saw my grandmother last year on a visit to Colombia. I recalled her low blows through life as she sprayed me with Lysol and said that I could never be clean enough to be saved. My grandmother is 99 – 103; we don’t really know her exact age as she has been shaving off years, even in her nineties.. Vanity does not have an age limit. She now lives with her eldest daughter; they are two widows. Looking at me, they inquired, where was my husband. I told them that it is a long story for another day. And then proceeded to remind me that I am nothing without a man. So I looked at these two widows and asked, what does that make you? The anger in the room could be felt for miles. They mocked my career as a comedian and actress and reminded me that my tattoos are the devil’s markings. At this moment, when I was getting hit below the belt, I recalled my mother’s distant stare when they used to visit in our youth a stare that I now controlled too.
I still love visiting my grandmother and making her laugh. The generational pull and strength she had to be a single mom in NYC. I am so grateful to be part of these women. Women that can throw shade and love at once. Now I keep my roasts for comics, but I will say the strongest roasters below the belt. The heavy hitters are usually the ones that know you best. In my case, it is the strong women in my family! The outspoken auntie, the religious grandmother, the successful control freak sister. Your best friend. And a few good men (that hopefully are not mansplaining) So go with the flow. Share the love and walk away from those low blows unless you are roasting Bruce Willis