Tuesday, August 12, 2014
The comedian's desire to make people laugh is a compulsion.
When you know you can, you feed it, and it feeds you.
But it cannot be found when the comedian is alone.
It thrives on you, on others being there. Your presence gives permission for the comedian to escape into you. Your presence is the ignition of the flame. You can really feel it when the fire is out, and it takes a lot to feel good while extinguished.
And that's part of why it's hard to be alone as a comedian.
But it's so very possible.
If you can accept and embrace your life's circumstance.
Without having to lie to yourself about it.
While knowing you're trying your best because you are.
And that's certainly universally true.
People often say comedy and standup comedy is hard.
But when you are born with that compulsion, the difficulty of it feels irrelevant. It doesn't feel entirely like a choice, it feels partly like an obligation. Ambitions are often admired but one quality of ambition is that it's just there - you don't know how it got there. You were born with it. You don't know why or how other people don't have it but you know it's ok that they don't because people are different and that's good.
There's a million manifestations of ambition and talent, and those born with those things know that they have this extra hunger. This extra obligation to something they can't explain.
Why did Robin Williams need to make us laugh and act so silly while he was suffering inside?
Because he couldn't help it. He was born with that hunger. With his natural impulses.
And when he was alone, he had to face his pain. His best medicine could not be found.
He loved you as much as you loved him. He didn't do this because he wanted to hurt you. I don't know him, but I know this.