I did stand-up comedy in the Chicago area from 1991 to 1996. When I mention that to people, the most frequent response is:

“Why did you quit?”

My response is always: “It got to be too much of a job.”


I first got onstage at an open mic mainly to see if I could do it. It went pretty well, so I kept coming back.

Within a few months, the phone kept ringing and I was booked every weekend.

After a few years, I was driving my beat-up Toyota Tercel all over hell for a few extra bucks. I was away from my spouse every weekend, and I had a day job. Why keep this up?


To put it on a more relatable level:

Let’s say one day you think to yourself, “I bet I could make a kick-ass birdhouse.” So you go to your garage and make a birdhouse that’s pretty kick-ass.

A friend sees it and freaks out. “Dude, I know people who would totally buy this.”

So you make some more birdhouses and make a few bucks. Then word of mouth spreads.

Next thing you know, you’re in your garage every spare moment. Your weekends are ruined. You’re either making birdhouses or desperately trying to come up with cool new birdhouse designs.

Would you keep it up?




I tip my hat to all the successful stand-ups who stuck it out and made themselves good careers. I think it was more of a fleeting fancy for me. I much prefer writing (no pants required) to performing (pants generally preferred.)