Mike Irwin had gotten a Saturday spot opening at the eye. He was the first of us – of the original, core group of comics – to break through that wall. I knew he’d be first. No one deserved to open more than Mike, and I was thrilled for him. We’d become good friends, traded albums, worked on each other’s acts, paced each other. Mike going up was a confirmation for the rest of us. We’d put in the hours. Now, more than ever, I knew it was possible.
“Not ready,” said Roger.
“I am. Really. I really am!”
“Soon. Keep working.”
Day of the Corral Show. At home, in the kitchen.
I was working on a script and Mom was making homemade soup. She had recently discovered the Cusinart food processor – a new cooking tool with rapidly spinning blades – and I thought Mom + Cusinart = blood + hospital visits = new material.
I watched her cook. It had occurred to me – several days into rehearsing – that my parents had still never seen me perform. I was exposing myself to all of Wyoming, but this would be their first time seeing me, too. And I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. Clearly, there was no honorable way of preventing them from coming to the show. After the gift of the typewriter, the constant borrowing of their car, and the overall support they’d given, how could I not to let them come along with their neighbors?
“You don’t have to go, y’know,” I said. “I mean if you’ve got something else to do.”
“Are you kidding?! I’m so excited I can’t even tell you! We wouldn’t miss it for the world!”
“This’ll be the first time you’ve seen me. I mean, besides wandering around the house, rehearsing.”
“Do you not want us to go?” she asked, bittersweetly.
“No – ”
“Will we throw you off? Make you nervous?”
“You can’t make me any more nervous than everyone else who’s gonna be there,” I lied.
“So, we can go?”
“Of course you can go.”
And the thought came to me: would my father recognize the New York jokes? Would he remember? Would he notice that I’d lifted them straight from the clubs, verbatim? Well, there was nothing to do about it, now. I’d already cut out all the blue material and cursing. I wasn’t going to cut the New York jokes just because he’d be there. Putting them into my act might have been unethical, but I wasn’t going to start lying to my folks about it.