I quit comedy today. I quit because I love it and I felt like it wasn’t loving me back. I quit because it’s hard, and sometimes I just want things to be easy. I quit because I was depressed, and when I’m depressed I can’t imagine ever being funny again. I quit because I’m tired. I mean really, existentially tired.
I quit comedy today because I can’t afford it. I’ve got a mortgage to pay, a car loan, the electric bill, payments on my kid’s braces. I quit because I’m putting too many miles on my car. I quit because I’m not getting enough sleep. I quit because I need to spend more time with my wife and kid.
I quit comedy today because my jokes are too smart, or too dumb, or too long, or not long enough. I quit because I’m no good at networking, no good at small talk, no good at eye contact, no good at fitting in. I quit because when it’s fight-or-flight time, I grow a magnificent set of wings.
But then I wrote this joke. Man, this joke. If I don’t tell this joke to a room full of people, it might kill me. If I don’t get the validation of their laughter, I won’t feel whole. If I don’t get on stage and make that connection with the audience, with the other comics in the room, with the part of myself that’s hidden away until I pick up a microphone, I’ll feel that much lonelier.
I quit comedy today, but not for long. Tomorrow night: another open mic. Maybe it will go well. Maybe it won’t. Maybe something great will happen, and the first thing I’ll want to do when I get home is wake my wife up and tell her about it. Maybe I’ll bomb and then I’ll quit again the next day, like I’ve already quit more times than I can count. It won’t last, though. It never does.