Tuesday, September 06, 2005

This one is just for me.

All my life, for as long as I can remember, all I've wanted to do is make people laugh.

Other kids wanted to be firemen, policemen, cowboys, Indians and construction workers.

In short, they wanted to be The Village People.

Not me. I wanted to be a comedian.

I never once said I wanted to be a bank president or own a boxing gym. Hell, I still don't say that, fate works in weird ways.

I cannot fully express the feeling you get when you are on stage making people laugh. There is something almost magical about the sound of laughter. I'll bet if scientists ever test it they'll find out that performing standup is more addictive than Internet porn...or smoking.

Even on the nights when I don't do well I can't wait to get back up again. Maybe it's a need to redeem myself, or maybe it's because the feeling of success or failure is almost the same.

There's a fine line between pain and pleasure in comedy.

I used to think that the tough part about being a comedian is that after a while people expect you to be funny, to be "on", all the time.

"So, you're a comedian, tell me a joke."

But I was wrong.

The tough part is that I expect me to be "on" all the time and I haven't felt like performing or writing for the past week.

I performed in four shows last week and I felt like a talking head.

I wrote three new bits.

They're not funny.

I think I lost my funny.

It just feels wrong to be doing comedy right now.

This past week I've sat mesmerized in front of the television watching the images of devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. What these poor people are going through I can't even begin to imagine.

I know I'm not alone here when I say that sometimes I find myself bitching and moaning about life's little inconveniences. You all know what I'm talking about. Stuff that in the big picture just doesn't matter. I feel like an asshole complaining about gas prices when some people have lost everything.

Am I a jerk for feeling this way now?

There are horrible things happening all over the world all the time, war, terrorism, famine, it took Hurricane Katrina to make me feel this way?

I don't know. I don't have a good answer for that. Maybe it did.

Why am I writing this?

Because on Saturday I received an e-mail from someone I don't even know that said,

"I hope you are okay. You haven't posted anything in the past week. My whole office reads your blog. We look forward to every post. With all the bad news in the world we need people like you to make us laugh. It's the only thing that keeps us sane."

If my writing is the only thing that's keeping you sane then the world truly is in deep "doo doo". On the other hand it might be nice to be called Dr. Calabrese.

I guess laughter truly is the best medicine.

We all have unique talents and abilities that we can share to help people less fortunate than ourselves. Some can help financially, some with material goods, some are able to help in person, but we all can do something.

Each of us can do something.

On Thursday, September 15th, I am doing a comedy show at the Comedy Store in La Jolla to benefit the people affected by Hurricane Katrina. The funds donated that night will go to The American Red Cross. Comedians like Dat Phan, Kurt Swan, Scott Bowman, others and myself will be performing that night. The show is almost sold out and we just announced it on Sunday.

I needed to find my funny.

Maybe I just needed a purpose.