Old Standby

I hate coming up with new material. I write and write but nothing ever seems funny anymore, not even when I read out loud in front of a mirror, posing and pulling faces.

Whatever I might have had is lost. I can’t expect to have my own HBO special now.

My manager landed me last night’s gig. He told me it would be easy, that this city was known for being soft on comics, willing to laugh at almost anything. He assured me that I’d have them in stitches inside of three minutes.

I walked out onto the stage and immediately felt ill. A fist of ice gripped at my heart, my skin oozed with oily sweat and my throat closed up, tight and try. I was going to fail. I knew it.

I was never meant for this. I know that now, after what happened.

I coughed into my hand to try to loosen up my rusty voice. I stepped forward to grip the mic and knocked it over, fumbling across the stage to pick it back up. The audience was silent, glaring. I shivered. Say something, I told myself.

“What’s up with those airline peanuts?”

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