This week my name was painted on the Comedy Store, signifying becoming a paid regular. I suppose I could’ve been bummed that I didn’t have someone to share this momentous occasion with but actually I felt it was completely appropriate that I would be there alone.
Comedy is a lonely pursuit. As a runner, I liken it to running long distances. While I respect other people in the race and on the sidelines, my job is to keep my eye on the finish line and pace my energy and focus accordingly. It’s a career built on solitude, introspection, and sacrifice. It seems to run in my family. My brother Neil, a marathon runner and an actuary, didn’t tell anyone about most of his major milestones, including graduating from his masters program.
Another comedian who had his name painted on the wall this week was Angelo Bowers, who at age 26, was tragically killed earlier this year by a drunk driver. A large group of his friends and family attended the ceremony to celebrate his accomplishment, give a speech, and photograph his name. Comics talked about his work ethic, his discipline and commitment to writing new jokes every day and performing constantly, and the way he treated others with respect and kindness. I didn’t know him well but when they described how he’d skip doing something fun to go write jokes I knew exactly who he was. He was one of us. As I looked through his photo album I realized what an honor this truly is, not only to be acknowledged for our work but just to be able to have another day to do that work.
Ten years ago I started stand up and ten years is longer than any (romantic) relationship I’ve had. Some girls have cute husbands, I have my name painted on the wall of The Comedy Store.