A Comedian’s Motive

Why do I put myself through it? That’s a good question. I mean, why venture out on that stage? Just to tell jokes? I don’t think so. Yeah, there are all the standard reasons–and I’ve even told myself a few–about how laughter is healing, and people need me, and I help them, and a chuckle is worth a thousand tears, and on and on. But that’s just posturing. Let me tell you the real reason why I go out on that stage, and under those stage lights, and make an idiot of myself, just to get a few laughs.

It all starts with the spotlight. You go out there and you see that spotlight shining in your eyes, and it changes you. Even before you go out on the stage, and you have butterflies in your stomach, and your hand is shaking just a little bit, and you think about that spotlight, and you think your voice is going to crack– Of course, with a voice as scratchy as mine, no one can tell the difference.

But you go out there, and that pit in your gut turns into a fire. And it’s you out on that stage and them out in the audience, and then you get to face your biggest fear. You’re not afraid that they’ll love you or hate you. You’re afraid that they won’t. I don’t care whether they laugh at my jokes or throw me out because of ’em. I don’t care whether they smile or give me catcalls or throw tomatoes or whatever, as long as they don’t ignore me.

I have this bit I perform in just about every show. It ends with me jacking off my microphone stand as if it were a five-foot-long dick. You have to be there to see the humor– It’s a visual joke. Just about everyone in the whole place always laughs, but half of the audience cringes, too. And I’m bound to get a few people saying, “Eww,” or “Gross!” You know? But that’s okay. I don’t mind that, because I’d rather see shock and hate on their faces rather than nothing at all.

Because, you know, the real reason I go out there on that stage is for people to pay attention to me. When you’re in that spotlight, it’s all about you. It’s not about the jokes. It’s not about the laughs. A whole room full of people, and they’re all hanging on your every word. And that’s a feeling you can’t get anywhere else.

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