The list of elements of daily living that ALS tenaciously takes away is never-ending. There’s the big stuff like walking or use of your arms, the deterioration of your voice and ultimately the ability to breathe. Let’s call that the big, ugly, hairy, nasty stuff.
But below that catastrophic category is all of this slivers of loss that never find their way into ALS brochures or discussions with doctors. One of my biggest casualties is my quick whit and sense of humor. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still funny as hell, I’m just playing to a much smaller room.
I’ve been funny my entire life. A trait that I don’t need ancestry.com to figure out came directly from my mom. I’m still able to talk, but most of words are difficult to understand. That’s what makes my humor being heavily locked up so frustrating.
Being funny is something you either have or are slightly pissed that you don’t have…As my voice started to weaken I lost the ability change my intonation, diction and imitation. For anyone who knows comedy these essential tools, the raw basics.
I never wanted to be an actor or stand up comedian, although I did try both for a very short period while living in NYC. I did however want to be a TV host. I thrived at Improv comedy, another NYC chapter and thought what a great way to make a living, get paid to be me!
You can see my demo roll below.
As the strength of my voice has weakened so has my comedic timing! Again, an essential element of the comedic handbook is timing and delivery. It’s brutal being a part of a conversation, and having a gold nugget that either comes out too late or too quietly. This the same reason I know refuse to watch Jeopardy with my family. I’m way too competitive, I can’t get the damn answers out loud or fast enough.
One of my favorite comedy escapes is Jerry Seinfeld’s online show, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. It’s this insanely honest look at funny people talking about being funny. I love quick wit, the stories of meager beginnings, and the craft. I guess just because I’m out of the game doesn’t mean I can’t watch the game.