stand-up comedians are a special breed of storyteller. i appreciate that this one goes deeper than the other books that read like scripts to the man’s act, and i don’t think that it’s an accident that he waited until the very end to reveal what happened in the gutters (thanks, comic book guy). the co-writer was instrumental in creating the moth. coincidence? never.
here’s what he said best about “the craft”:
“They had a common bond that didn’t include or interest me. A competitiveness that I was very uncomfortable with. I wasn’t a compulsive entertainer. I could always think on my feet, but I never was quick around the kind of people who dominate a table. I was a product of ideas, not ad-libs. Later I came to realize the curiousness of choosing to be, and feeling, apart from people at the same time dying to be accepted. Longing to be accepted, to be asked in. But on my terms.” (108)
this is exactly why i don’t “slam”.
“But when you’re in front of an audience and you make them laugh at a new idea, you’re guiding their whole being for the moment. No one is ever more herself or himself than when they really laugh. Their defenses are down. It’s very Zen-like, that moment. They are completely open, completely themselves when that message hits the brain and the laugh begins. That’s when new ideas can be implanted. If a new idea slips in at that moment, it has a chance to grow. So for that moment, that tiny moment, it has a chance to grow. So for that moment, that tiny moment, I own them. That’s one of the things-maybe the most important-I seek by following this path: to have that power. To be able to say: stop in your tracks and consider this!
At the same time, I’ve had to surrender myself to that moment, and it’s a communion. A genuine, momentary communion. Which they wouldn’t have experienced without me. And I wouldn’t have experienced without them.” (250)
this is exactly why i work. point final.