Suicide by Laughter?
For three years, I've been trying to die as quietly as possible, and trying to not bother anyone or anybody. Now, for some unimaginable reason, I haven't died and I can't be quiet and I seem to be bothering almost everybody! Those damn doctors lied to me. This is all very confusing. I've been watching Tiger Woods fall from professional golf's highest perch. It's been quite sad for his real fans, and that definitely includes me. But, seeing him valiantly struggle to regain control of himself has been just as inspiring. Maybe, one has to fall that far, and then struggle to get back up, to understand what I'm saying. Thank you Tiger! (Fist pump!) You've inspired me to fight my way back, just one more time.
For forty-one years, as a professional stand-up comic, I've travelled America and the world, struggling to find a way to make my crowds laugh on command. It's been my only goal, and an honor and privilege. In my funny world, the laughs we comics get are the "coin of the realm." My audiences have made me quite rich in that regard... (Thank you Lord!) A crushed knee and several cardiac problems forced me to slow down a couple of years ago, and I've missed it achingly ever since. (I'm really trying hard not to whine here!) So, I snuck onstage a number of times at The World famous Comedy Store in L.A. (twice, using fake names like Sid Harda and the "too old" guy) to recapture the fun and my former perch. Each try, I got really good laughs, and wanted to do it again. But on top of the rush, each time, the desire and mega-stress left me with shattering chest pains and gasping for breath. Now, don't cry for me, Argentina. (Did I really say that?) And don't cry for me, anybody else, please. I'm the lucky one. So, I retire. It was harder to stop doing stand-up, than to start. As my pal Michele Beaudry (A fine stand-up, now retired, became a hypnotist) in Seattle, warned me several times: "applause is addicting!"
As I turn sixty-four later this year, I've realized that I'm (professionally) 4000 shows old. Or to be truthful and more accurate, I'm just thirty-three shows short of 4000. Going for those last thirty-three shows may give me a missive heart attack, or failing to make my audiences laugh just might break my heart. But, what's a poor boy from Georgia to do? I can handle the fear, I can handle the crowds, but I don't know if I can handle the shameful cowardice I'd feel, if I don't take up the struggle, and at least, give it my very best shot. The way Mr. Tiger Woods has fought back has jacked up my courage. (Fist pump!) (Oww that hurt!) I'm pretty sure that I can win in several shows, and maybe even contend in one last major. Wow, suddenly my life is worth living again! I've had a fantastic life and stupidly long stand-up career. If it's time for me to muffle off this shortal coil, then so "To be, or not to be?" it. No one I know has been as happy as I have been. No one I know of, and no one I've ever known, has gotten to do what I've been lucky enough to do. The impossible, I can manage to pull off every other tour, it's the managing to appear calm and normal and quiet Öthat's what I have the most trouble with. But, turns out: everybody has their own crutch to bear. We all knew that I'm not right in my poor punkin' head!
I prefer to leave my chosen profession, as I came in: I aspire to be a gentleman! On Wednesday, May 11th, 2016, I will do my last show. Again, my fantastic lucky streak holds, as my last show will be at The Comedy Store's Belly Room in L.A. which is exactly the place where I started. There is an age-old Improv technique called: "First line-last line!" where you improvise a scene using the first line you said, as the last line of the piece. The object is to expose how many things in life can come full circle, and one ends up in the same place one started. My stand-up career has somehow managed to do exactly that. How lucky could a guy get? So, before I ride off into the sunset, (I live in California, so if I ride west towards that sunset, I'll drown my horse!) I have one last goal. It is to give thanks to those who helped me do what's impossible. I wouldn't have made it this far, without that special help. So, it will be like the old movie: "High Noon" One last tense gunfight for me and my trademark red shoes. They can handle it. So can I! If I didn't have the most incredible, kind hearted woman to share what's left of my life, I would not leave my comedy life this happy! She is the last miracle of my unbelievable career!
But I just want to say thank you before I go. Thank you to Mitzi Shore, Thank you to Argus Hamilton, Thank you Ollie Joe Prater, Thank you Ms. Sara Tonin, Thank you Tom Sobel, Thank you Jordan at Net Radio Live for the prestigious Peabody Award nomination, Thank you Doctor Bob and the World of Illusion for taking my act international with The Dept. of Defense, Thank you Vicki Roussman, Thank you to the world's wisest Estonian: my editor and pal, Siim Einfeldt and TheCheers.org, Thank you to my comedy duo partner, Jimmy Heck! Thank you to my audiences all these years for all the killer laughs you gave me! Thanks!
I have retired from being a stand-up comic for 41 yearsÖ.so I am a humanÖonce again! Everybody say: "Bye Lue!"
That's a thousand words, get the picture?