So I went to bed at 2 am on Xmas morning this year feeling good and 2 hours later I was up throwing up my guts. So all Xmas, I stayed in bed, except for coming down to watch my kids open their presents. Then I hurried upstairs to vomit some more. All I could think while I was sick was I’m just glad it happened on Xmas instead of a day that I had to do comedy. Comedian is one of those jobs where there are no sick days. You only get paid if you show up. This is the reason I have never missed a gig in nearly 2 decades.
The only time I almost had to call it off I was headlining the Minnesota Comedy Club in the Twin Cities. I was miserable all Saturday before the gig, with a high fever and severe achy body. I almost told the booking agent, my friend Tom Hansen, he might want to have someone on call, but I knew I needed the money, so the show went on as planned. It was 2 shows, so by the second, I was so sweaty and high on cold medications that I couldn’t stand anymore, so I sat on the stool the last 20 minutes. It wasn’t as dramatic as a fighter who won’t go down, but I looked pretty miserable. I made some references to why I looked the way I did having to do with picking a bad week to go cold turkey off of heroin. I also dropped lines about Ratzo Rizzo and Trainspotting,. Weird thing was that both shows went well. I think my miserable state added another element to the show, as they wondered if I would tag-out at some point.
This is why when I hear about some athlete playing with the flu, I have sympathy, but I know that most people make much bigger sacrifices to provide for their families than some generally pampered prima donna jock. I admire the Mother who shows up to her waitress job with the stomach flu doing everything possible to keep from yakking at the Tuna Melt she’s serving. There is my holiday fable today. Hope your holidays went better than mine.