Diary of a sad clown: 3rd
The friend that came with me to my first show in Vegas was very vague, he was never a man of many words. When I asked him how my stand up set was he said it was unrelatable; telling pussy jokes to a crowd of men. But at this point in my life the only thing I really had to live for was this thrill and the thought of making enough money to obtain a one way trip to anywhere. Stand up, ironically, was the better of those two, to this day it is most exhilarating and humiliating thing I have ever done, it feels right.
Somehow the worse my mental state got, the better my stand up shows; maybe it was uncorrelated, maybe being better only came with practice. But I felt like when I was up there I was out of my body, watching myself, and I was happy. But before I got up, I beat myself to a pulp, asking myself why I thought I was good enough to be here and punishing every positive image I had of myself. When I got off stage I basked in the glory of my performance, the friend I brought always loved it, I made friends with all the other comics, and I would go home drunk and write next weeks set in the shower. Looking back they weren’t my best shows, but even till this day I can’t write that much material in that short of time, to have a new five minutes every week, like I could when I was self distructing in Las Vegas.
In the beginning, I loved telling people I was a comic, but as time went on I got tired of telling people to look in the mirror when they asked me to tell them a joke. These days I feel like I moonlight as a clown, secretly taking off my blazer and putting on a wig when I get home. I feel that until I have at least a solid hour or some sort of credential, I don’t deserve the title. A funny friend once told me after a show that the difference between him and I is that he doesn’t need the attention, I snapped at him and said, “make no mistake, thinking that I was doing it for attention held me back for years.”
But my time in Las Vegas taught me that every time you grab the mic and step into the light, you learn something about yourself. One of my last performances I blacked out completely. I saw things that weren’t there, then I put my hand over my eyes to block the light to see clearer, but the next thing I knew my friend was handing me a beer and patting me on the back, saying that he loved it,
“What happened,” I asked. He laughed and I just looked forward to watch the rest of the show.
I have experienced psychotic hallucinations before, I am never sure where they come from. I will admit I have taken an uncomfortable amount of hallucinogenic drugs, I have meditated to reach a state most people can’t describe, and I have done what I would call organically loosing my mind. But this was unlike any hallucination I have ever had, each member of the audience became an old friend, most of whom are dead. When you have a spot light on you, you cannot see the faces in the crowd, maybe make out a few smiles but you can’t really recognize a face. So the first face I recognized I didn’t think about, but then one I hadn’t seen sense his viewing was laughing at me, and I knew something was wrong. I gripped the mic tight and kept going, then they kept popping up, and laughing. I don’t even know if anyone that was actually in the crowd was cracking a smile, but I do know what I saw, and then I saw nothing. After the show I was still, unsure of what just happened or if I was ready to talk about it, no other comic would give a shit, and telling them while we were sneaking a bowl behind a pillar at a dive bar would make me sound crazy. But I sat alone and thought to myself, where do I go when I’m gone?