“If light is thrown on the audience, they don’t laugh…”
Reading a book is a solitary exercise. Sometimes we don’t want others to know what we’re reading or the reasons we’re reading something. Writing is also a solitary exercise for the inverse of those reasons. Like writing, comedy is a profession that puts its practitioners through great and terrifying rigors. Standing up in front of strangers seeking their approval and approbation seems to me to be a herculean task. And yet the result is laughter and joy in the darkness. Comedy as a solitary craft involves seemingly endless hours of preparation with no guaranteed payoff, much like writing. Steve Martin’s book Born Standing Up exposes that craft through poignant writing, revealing the emotional bumps and bruises necessary to make a career out of being silly onstage.