Rhetorical Formats

Posted on 6 Sep 2013

I went to a birthday last November and my friend said he didn’t want gifts. Instead he asked for us to help him live out a dream of performing a few songs, singer-songwriter-concert-style; we would be his audience. It was a gift for him, it was a gift for us. There was Pearl Jam, there was a medley into “Same Love”, which marked the beginning of my love for The Heist. It was a sweet evening. Afterward, I asked him what was next and he said stand-up comedy, the most daunting of rhetorical formats. It is also a longtime desire of my own if I ever mustered the foolhardy courage.

We all know the cliche about humor—everyone claims to have a good sense of it, but certainly a few are misguided. So yes I think I am funny, but should I subject myself to an open mic set in the dungeon of the Comedy Underground. Thinking up a few witty aphorisms is one matter, standing on a stage alone, amplified, under lights, mere feet from heckler venom, is another. I am just past 51% certainty. I do have one ace bit about serving hot dogs at Dick’s Drive-In. Provincial genital jokes are dime-a-dozen.

So, that birthday evening, my friend Ben and I agreed to attempt one set of stand-up comedy at a proper club that coming year. Just last week I went; all three minutes. Ben and my wife sat in the audience and laughed at me. Others laughed at me. I didn’t die. More to come.

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