Without a doubt, this has been the most horrid week of my life. January has sucked for the most part, but this week has really been hard. I won’t go into the details, but it involves my family, serious illness and an emotional rollercoaster from hell. I was going to write to Andrew and beg off this week’s column, but decided not to in the end. And not because I’m “such a pro”, but more because I realized that this must happen in comedy all the time.
I think most people would agree that comedy is a complicated thing. Even those who aren’t involved in the creation of comedy can probably appreciate the skill, commitment and talent required to pull it off. But what this week has taught me is that beyond those things, sheer resolve is also key. No one is forcing me to perform comedy. In fact, many people wonder what would possess me to do it. Why would any of us do it? Frankly, I haven’t a clue. But I think that all comics share some intangible quality that propels us to write, to perform, to participate.
Although it must be commonplace, it never occurred to me that most comics must find themselves in the difficult position of having to entertain and be funny when things in their private lives are in the shitter. I’ve been very lucky, until now, the worst I’ve faced in my life are the day to day difficulties we all have; an argument with my husband, financial stress, the ups and downs of parenting and friendship etc. So getting on stage and doing my thing has never been hard. But I now wonder at the people before me who have carried on in the face of genuine stress.
Most days, performing is a joy and a privilege; but I think it can also be a salve. At least I hope so. I’m middling tonight (Friday) at Club 54. My plan right now is to carry on and try to put my stuff away and hopefully have a good set. Scratch that, I’m going to have a great set, get off stage, and then probably collapse in a heap. But I think that may be just what I need right now.