Laughter has always been the way my family healed and I imagine it’s the way many other families do as well. I will say this- my parents sense of humor couldn’t be more different and I am baffled at how they’ve spent 30 years together being on two very different sides proverbial comic coin.
Our humor is generally shaped by nature vs nurture; mine was shaped almost exclusively by nurture, as I really didn’t have many friends other than family members (“that’s sad” yeah, I know, I was there). It took me until I was about 11 years old before I really found my voice and when I did I realized I could use it for something other than asking and answering questions.
It’s egotistical to say “I’m funny” but I think there has to be a certain level of self awareness* in order to survive and grow. I may be a wee more aware than others due to my almost constant navel-gazing, but I don’t see too much of a problem with it- I CAN STOP WHEN I WANT TO.
I think out of the myriad of dreams I’ve had, this overarching feeling that I should be sharing my humor with people has persisted. I wanted to be a writer, then an actor, then a comedian, then- but none of those things have happened. So far the farthest audience I’ve managed to reach are the same ones that shaped my humor in the first place, so feedback is almost always positive.
My fear of branching out almost certainly came from being a “gifted kid”, (despite a string of 2nd place and runner up awards) everything always came easy to me. But like almost every single other “gifted kid” at some point things got hard and because we stopped trying? We forgot what it was like to actually try and suddenly: failure. Lots and lots and lots of failure.
I failed at things I was good at, I failed at things I knew. I failed all through college and through every job I’ve had since then and honestly I’ve been failing at the job I’m currently at.
So you’re thinking, what’s one more failure? That’s the thing, jobs and school and that nonsense (stay in school kids) isn’t something I’ve ever been passionate about- comedy is; if one can be passionate about poop jokes.
School was easy until it wasn’t, what happens if Comedy is easy, until it isn’t? When you take that next step in to actually fulfilling the goal, that’s when it gets hard, that’s when it gets scary and I haven’t taken a leap in so long that I- I just don’t know.
Of course the real question is: am I actually funny? Because, like I said, my audience is fairly insular and my customers aren’t always uh, receptive to jokes. My cats tell me I’m very funny and that I should stop being so self conscious and I tell them to be quiet because I’m hallucinating them talking, so they’re no help.
I always say “Phyllis Diller didn’t start comedy until she was 37 so I’ve got some time!” But the truth is 37 is only 5 years from now and I have still yet to do anything with it.
(I originally wrote “awareness of self” because I couldn’t for the life of me remember “self awareness” so you can see what I’m working with here.)