When I was considering leaving my job, the girlfriend and I had a pow-wow to discuss my options. Surprisingly, one of the options that was whipped off the table with alarming speed was me lounging at home in my underwear watching the Disney Channel and eating Cool Ranch Doritos, while thumbing through back issues of the L.L. Bean catalog. The girlfriend demanded that I do something with my days, or at least my evenings, and since I couldn’t find any elderly Chinese ladies with whom to play Mah-Jong, we settled on me enrolling in a stand-up comedy class.
Now, I have to admit that this was somewhat of a terrifying prospect for me. In taking a class like that, you are saying loudly and clearly that you think you are funny. Or at least that people have told you you’re funny. Or perhaps, upon further reflection, it means that you’d like to learn how to be funny, which is never going to happen, so you best quit now. Anyway, there’s something so strange in saying “I’m funny.” It sounds conceited, if for no other reason than comedy is SO subjective. If you’re good at baseball, there are stats to prove it. If you’re good at engineering, there are bridges you built that are not falling into the river below. If you’re good at high-end prostitution, there are droves of married politicians who keep coming back for your services. But with comedy, the funny is in the eye of the beholder. Or the behearer. Whatever.
So with that crazy-making mindset, I arrived at my first class. With the exception of two giddy co-eds and a moderately sullen woman about my age, I was the youngest person by 20 years. That’s probably uncharitable. We’ll say 17. There were three men and a dozen women. I’m pretty sure everyone was more than a skotch nervous.