A soft, safe place to laugh

by Al Rae | 1 September 2014

And it’s the crack of showbiz, comedy is.

“It must be the hardest thing in the world,” they say. And I lie and say: “It is.” This thing I love. Exposing yourself in front of all those strangers? So hard. “It is,” I say, as if I do.

I have, of course, we mostly all have. Told strangers stuff. Or told all, in mood appropriate sotto voce to those hopefully discrete white coats and white hats who exist in our easy world and are paid to lend an ear when those nearby have tired of the gig. After a few practiced jabs, a guidance councillor hits the solar plexus long before the parents.

But I don’t do that at work. Expose myself on stage as a stand-up comic. They worry, those that think me in a hard line, that I am vulnerable. That exhausted word. They worry I could say something and get in trouble. As if I have loose lips. As if I am not working like any actor, from a tight script. So that even when the expected unexpected happens, I can go on.

The hecklers are out there every time, every grenade has a pin that can be pulled, and some terrains are rougher than others. But if you have rank, you don’t get sent to the front often. And the further from the battle zone the less chance you have of getting something lobbed at you by mouth or mitt. To be plain, if you pay a hundred bucks to see Jerry Seinfeld and he does what you expect and you still yell at him, you’re bizarre.

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