Like many people, I was glued to my television Friday morning with the live coverage of the manhunt for the remaining Boston Marathon bomber. I don’t normally watch TV in the morning, but it was riveting, alarming, and downright scary.
About the time the CNN reporter said, “We’re going to delay coverage, so what you’re watching isn’t happening live, it’s on a delay.” I realized that the S.W.A.T team on a roof looked poised to kill someone (which did not happen). I sat there drinking my coffee mystified and scared that they were going to show someone being killed on live television.
My phone rang and I muted the TV and remembered that a fourth-grader was supposed to call to interview me about being a stand-up comic. His librarian shops at our store and suggested he call me to learn more about stand up for his research paper. I answered the phone and a clear, piping voice said, “This is Jeff. May I ask you some questions about comedy?” I was immediately struck by several things: this ten-year-old was poised and he loved comedy.
For the next 20 minutes he asked me great questions. Where does the funny come from? That was harder to answer than I would have thought and I fear I rambled a bit, but he was a pro and just followed along with me. We talked about comedians we liked. He asked how I got started: Elizabeth made me promise the first New Year’s we were friends, in 1993, that I would stand up once, anywhere. And that’s all it took. Jeff was riveted. I think he couldn’t imagine someone doing stand up for twice as long as he’s been alive.
His enthusiasm was infectious. I turned the muted TV off halfway through our call. It just seemed wrong to have the possible carnage on in the background while having such a lovely, innocent call. Jeff likes to sing and he is a fan of Weird Al Yankovic and we talked about the skill needed to craft parodies of songs. I ended the call by telling him that he might want to take a stand up class over the summer because he should pursue his passion.
I could feel him beaming through the phone, and that helped me all day as my return to the adult world was full of news of lockdowns and shootings.