When I started doing stand-up many years ago, I went to lots of open-mic nights. You didn’t get paid (unless you emceed, then you got $2 and a drink), but you got a little exposure, and once in a while there was an interested agent in the crowd.

You got about 5 minutes stage time, and each week I’d try 5 new minutes, then keep things that worked, and so on.

But there were some guys/gals who did the same five minutes WEEK AFTER WEEK. And they might get one pity laugh the whole time. This would go on for months.

The first time I got onstage, I didn’t have my guitar. I just did stupid rookie jokes, but I got a decent response. The next time, I took the acoustic onstage, did a couple of songs, and saw my true purpose in life.

But why would you come back, week after week, to hardly any response at all? Especially when you’ve seen the other comics get a good response?

I think there may be some deep emotional scars there that even Dr. Phil can’t fix.