Divorcee Dottie Ingels (Julie Kavner) works in retail, but she really wants to make it as a comedienne. After receiving an inheritance, Dottie decides it's now or never, and moves to New York City with her children, Erica (Samantha Mathis) and Opal (Gaby Hoffmann). Before long, Dottie finds success on the stand-up circuit. Unfortunately, this leaves little time to care for her daughters. When Dottie begins to date her manager, Arnold Moss (Dan Aykroyd), it's the last straw for Erica and Opal.