All I need.

The crumpled pieces of paper. The hours spent writing and rewriting. The run-throughs in the shower each morning. The self-doubt that lingers throughout the entire process, and right up until the moment you get that first laugh.

It’s in that moment when everything makes sense — when the room reacts to a line you created, discarded, and brought back to life, again. When the routine feels practiced and polished, but natural. When your timing is finely tuned and effortless. As a lover of rum & Coke, the greatest high I will ever know came from being on stage; and I have never felt that invincible elsewhere. And I am finally ready to say “goodbye.”

36 years after the Summer of ‘83 changed my life, and stand-up suddenly feels… different. When I first heard the words “post-comedy comedy,” I knew things were, for lack of a better word, fucked. Suddenly, the familiar targets of humor (minorities, women, homosexuals, etc.) were removed from set lists, and replaced with TED Talk-styled rants about equality, and human rights, and why it’s wrong to rape, and shit like that.

Comedy didn’t die — it’s just that a lot of us got old and obsolete… and the art of stand-up comedy moved forward. If you still haven’t picked up on the joke yet, I’m letting you know that moving forward is a good thing.

Last night, I watched Nick Di Paolo’s new, free-on-YouTube answer to ‘Woke Culture’ — and the sadness hiding within his angry act was overwhelming. 75 seconds into his intro, and Di Paolo is complaining that “there’s no respect for white European males anymore” — right before venturing down a path that insults minorities, women, and supposedly-“faggy” liberal men over the course of an hour. Some jokes are decent, many are racist and hacky, but, most importantly, Di Paolo comes across as tired and uninspired. His energy level is surprisingly low throughout the entire special, and the stuttered command of his own material is shaky, at best.

However, he does have a brilliant bit about how all of those ugly girls who can’t get dates should just use Uber in order to get raped by the Haitian driver. And, then, about how you can’t blame Cosby for drugging his victims because ‘women talk too much’. And he does nail a great impression of Popeye raping people.

So, maybe, I’m the one who’s wrong here.

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