December 11, 2015

She who laughs the loudest

Whenever you perform, it all blurs in your memory but there are certain moments where time slows down, like it's hooked on a nail or a splinter.

I keep remembering doing stand-up last week, setting up a joke, and hearing a woman laugh. She burst out in this high laugh, utterly uncontrolled, and she silenced it quickly - embarrassment. She didn't want to laugh at that. It, in of itself, was a not exactly a joke nor clever. It just surprised her. No-one else was laughing. So she clenched her own laughter.

That was like food to me, it keeps replaying in my head.

Later in the night I let such a laugh out at something a weird comedian said. No-one else laughed, and I clenched my laugh out of embarrassment. But I was in her thrall. Less than a minute later I was laughing so hard at the bizarre punchline that I started to cry, and I had to suppress my laughter because I was going to literally laugh over her entire set at that one bit. It felt like a betrayal - she earned that protracted laugh, my involuntary loss of bodily control was her payment. But so few people in the crowd laughed at the joke I could feel an energy of "Why does she think that's so funny??" squeezing in around me.

That performer wasn't for them. She was for me. She's one of those people I've been waiting my whole life to see.
I hope I see her again some day so I can give her the rest of the laugh she so truly deserved.

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