Last Saturday I had the pleasure of performing in front of almost 300 people at a private event which was an annual Spring Fling banquet for Alcoholics Anonymous. That means the entire audience was sober!
I have to admit I was very hesitant at first about doing it, but it was a paid gig and you never want to say no to that in comedy.
I was one of three comics performing. It ended up being a great show. And it was probably one of the best sets I ever had.
Afterwards, lots of people came up to us to say thanks and to tell us how much they enjoyed the show. One elderly man reached out to shake my hand and then he pulled me close and whispered in my ear that he had had a lover for thirty years until his partner passed away. He then told me that he was now with a woman. He said it was “interesting” but that they go places together and enjoy each other’s company.
I have to say this was an “interesting” conversation to be having with a stranger, but he felt the need to come and tell me so I wanted to respect that. I expressed my sympathies for his loss and told him that I was glad that he wasn’t alone and that he at least had a friend to share his life with.
His face lit up and he nodded and said, “That’s right.” I could tell that just by him being able to share this small bit of his story with someone new meant a lot to him, but given the circumstances he might have been afraid I would end up judging him in some way. I never would have done that though, but how brave of him. It made the night even more special for me, and I’m definitely glad I ended up doing the show.
For a moment at the end, I looked around the room at all the different people of all different ages and races and backgrounds and I thought of my father and the struggle he had with alcohol. It made me wish he had had a place like this to go to, to enjoy himself and be around other such loving and caring people that had one thing in common. They were all struggling, but they had a support system. And they weren’t alone.
It was a night I won’t soon forget.