Love is funny
Liz Merry and Aaron Standish
A great story about us would be the one about the first time our eyes locked across a crowded floor during a Spark ‘n’ Cinder gig at The Ping Pong Palace, Aaron asking Liz to dance and her replying, “I am dancing,” and twirling away—but the truth is we don’t know exactly when or how we met. It was in the mid-'80s, a time that didn’t seem cool until it was so long ago. Liz was working at Ruby’s (the legendary and still-crumbling Mexican restaurant across Second Street from Ray’s) and singing in the John LaPado Band. Aaron was working at the old Sierra Nevada Brewery on Gilman and had already been writing and performing comedy for years.
Aaron ate at Ruby’s and came to see JLB a lot, and Liz attended Aaron’s comedy shows and drank beer, so we knew each other in that uniquely Chico way where you move in overlapping circles of friends. Not to be confused with our years in the porno industry, where we also had overlapping circles of friends. OK, we didn’t actually work in porno. Aaron handled props (until he got caught) and Liz did voice-over work. But we are wistful about what could have been. (Our advice to young married couples—tape your homemade porno NOW!)
Liz joined the comedy troupe in 1990, and we were married seven months later. To say we didn’t know each other well enough to be married after that short amount of time was … well, that was all anyone said, really. Oh, there were a few believers here and there, but we have since learned the over-under on the divorce action was six months. If we’d have known, we could have bet on ourselves and retired by now.
Who knew comedy, kinky sex, and a shared hatred of children would supply the foundation for a good marriage? Aaron still occasionally suggests we adopt a 19-year-old girl, ostensibly to help Liz out around the house, but we hear kids keep you awake all night. We need our rest.
In 1994, we moved from Chico to Manton and opened a fake hippie store in Red Bluff called Wild Oak. We sold the store this past July to a nicer, younger couple who aren’t always making fun of their customers on stage.
For the first time in 16 years, we are attempting to live on love and comedy alone. Which should at least be good for losing a few pounds. We release a monthly podcast/CD called the Merry Standish Comedy Hour (info at merrystandish.com) and have already done as many live shows this year as we did in 2006.
We spend more time together than most other couples we know. Which isn’t easy, because Aaron can be a real a**hole. Especially since Liz started going through the change. So, we fight like everyone else. Well, maybe not like everyone else. We’re pretty sure nobody else but Brut Max couples and fake lesbians fight over wigs and dresses.
One thing we don’t fight about much is the actual comedy. We trust each other’s instincts. If we both don’t think something is funny, it’s officially not funny. We’ll usually cut that bit (or song or joke), but sometimes we’ll leave it in just so one of us can say “I told you so.”
Taking turns feeling superior is essential to a good marriage. Admittedly, egos are sometimes bruised, but we do try to act like adults—child-free adults who live in a house filled with toys and comic books, who play dress-up onstage and call people funny names while singing silly songs and making fart noises. Plus, we’re both well-armed and trippin’ balls.