When I was 10 years old, I saw Gilda Radner sing “Let’s Talk Dirty to the Animals!” on cable television. I didn’t understand the lyrics, but I didn’t need to. I understood that she was making the audience howl with laughter. At 12, I saw Joan Rivers on “Solid Gold.” I thought it was incredible that she got paid to insult celebrities.
It was at this point that my parents started revising rules about television.
By 14, I was doing stand-up comedy in places like the Comedy Works in Philadelphia. I eventually opened for Sandra Bernhard and Shawn Colvin. I was making people laugh like Gilda. I was getting paid for snarky jibes like Joan. And I loved it.
But after a while, I wanted more security, so I chose graduate school.
To be a successful comedian, you have to want the whole life—not just the potential laughs—but the constant travel, re-writing and financial insecurity. You have to be willing to depend on your sense of humor to pay your rent. You must fully commit and realize that you might be the next 20-year overnight success.
Delaware’s emerging comedy scene is helping three performers pave their way to recognition. They have what it takes to succeed in this business: a sense of humor and the chutzpah to stay in the game.