My Television Debut, and Marfan Syndrome

I have a connective tissue disorder called Marfan Syndrome. I’ve had many surgeries including heart and back surgery and I wasn’t allowed to play sports as a kid among other limitations. I am super tall and lanky and I’ve never felt normal, because I’m not.

Tomorrow night, Wednesday July 29th, I’m going to be on NBC’s Last Comic standing and I would absolutely love it if you all watched and cheered me on. It has been my dream to be on Last Comic Standing ever since the show first aired in 2003 and tomorrow it becomes a reality.

My entire life I’ve struggled with my Marfan’s. I’ve hated my body and wished I could trade places with almost anyone else. Growing up I felt strange and alone and I thought nobody would ever love me. (Besides my family of course, who love me more than words can express.)

I started doing standup comedy as a way to make friends and I found that I not only made friends, but some people actually wanted to be me. It was exciting and new. I began to appreciate who I was and have grown immensely in the 8 years I’ve been a comedian. I even met an awesome guy named Alex Stein as a direct result. He saw me perform at ACME comedy club and he thought I was the coolest, and he’s now my amazing husband and the papa to my cat and hundreds of stuffed animals. Love you Alex!

I thought I became a comedian so people would like me. But it was really the other way around. Comedy helped me to find love for myself. In doing so, I began to really be me. I could be silly and weird and confident, because I didn’t need validation from “the popular kids.” I could make people laugh by telling jokes or while pretending to be a squirrel, or I could pretend to be a squirrel and make people ask their neighbor “what’s going on?” And either way I was having fun, enjoying being me.

I’m still terrified about the show airing. If you spend your entire life doubting yourself it’s a pretty hard habit to kick. I’m afraid people won’t like me, or they’ll make fun of the way I look. They’ll post on twitter and Facebook that I suck or that I should stop doing comedy. I completely understand that these people are stupid and their opinions don’t matter, and at this point it’s still completely hypothetical. But I’m human.

Is it possible to have confidence and be proud of who you are, and still care about what other people think? I hope so.

I was more nervous to do this show, then I was before my open heart surgery. And that’s completely true. To be fair, I had heart surgery in 4th grade and my mom told me there was nothing to worry about and that afterwords there would be candy and presents and I’d get time off school, so I was actually quite excited to have heart surgery… Completely unaware that my entire family was balling their eyes out in the waiting room knowing quite well that I might not make it. So I guess that puts things in perspective.

I can walk fine, thanks to a foot surgery. I’m not blind, even after an eye surgery. I’m not paralyzed or crippled, even after my back surgery. And I have a working heart. Oh! And I’m alive. Can’t forget about that one.

So thank you science and doctors! I literally wouldn’t be here with out you!

Also, thank you to all my friends and family for supporting me all these years. Thank you mom for coming to as many open mics as you possibly can. You go to Monday nights at ACME so much, I wouldn’t be surprised if Derek gave you 5 minutes. You’ve always told me I was beautiful and could do anything I wanted when I grow up. I love you. Nicole and Jesse, I love you both so much. Thank you Nicole for your silliness and also your sincerity I’ve always looked up to you. And Jesse, thank you for helping convince me to do comedy and for quoting Mike Birbiglia with me. You’re one of the funniest people I know!

And of course, my friends: Thank you Katie for helping me embrace life and showing me how to live each day to the fullest. You are a true inspiration. Trista, your laugh gave me the courage to try jokes on stage. We’ve been best friends since we were babies and we’ve gone on so many adventures together. And Sarah, you made going to open mics so fun and even started a comedy show just so your friends could perform on it and get free drinks! haha And without you I surely wouldn’t have graduated college, and for that I am forever grateful.

To my dad Joe, I miss you every day and wouldn’t be the person I am without you. Thank you for trying standup comedy just so you could spend more time with me, that was the absolute coolest. People still talk about when you performed as “Joe Rock” in the Comedy Corner Underground basement. You were an amazing dad and not a day goes by that I don’t think about you. And Grandma Audrey, I miss you too. Unfortunately people aren’t allowed to make fun of Wal-Mart on Network TV, otherwise I would have done my Wal-mart joke. Thank you for helping me use up my drink tickets and for coming to all my shows. I love you.

I’d also like to thank the wonderful people in the Marfan FB group. You all have the biggest hearts. Both literally and figuratively. I only wish I would have found you sooner! About this time last year I posted in the group that I was in the ER with chest pains. I was more scared than I’d ever been. It was really late so my family was asleep and far away, but you were there for me, with advice, hugs and prayers. I cannot thank you enough.

Terri and Jami, I consider you like sisters, and Jordan you are like my brother. You are all hilarious and loving and fun.

I’d start naming off comedians but I know I would forget someone and feel awful. But you know who you are. And I wanted to thank you all for befriending the tall weird girl that came out of nowhere barging into the comedy scene bringing candy and cookies and only talking about stuffed animals and always needing a ride. I cannot imagine this world without you. You’ve inspired and motivated me and welcomed me into a whole new weird family. Thank you.

You never know what the future will hold. You can only do your best on as many days as you can. Some days it’s okay to cry. And some days, it’s okay to laugh. It really all comes down to love. Surround yourself with people you love, and love what you do. And most importantly, love who you are. I’m excited for the show airing, and after writing this, I’m a little less afraid. I’ve had many ups and downs in life, and I’m excited for this next up.

Thank you all for reading. I love you.

For more information on Marfan Syndrome follow this link. Early diagnosis is key.

Tune in to Last Comic Standing, Wednesday at 10/9c

AND check out this sweet promo, with yours truly 🙂

Jul 28, 2015 | Posted by in Blog, featured | 59 comments

Comments (59 Responses)

  1. sheila settles says:

    Can’t wait to see the show. Good Luck!!

    • admin says:

      Thanks! So excited 🙂

      • Karen L. says:

        Hi Andy- I saw you tonight. I thought you were brave and funny. You did great! As a fellow Marfie, I recognized the traits, before even seeing this page. You remind me of myself many years ago. Only I could never be that brave, and yes I faced heart surgery any something like 8 eye surgeries. If this is what you love to do, I wish you all the happiness and thrill of success. Don’t get hung up on other peoples approval, or opinions. The world is cruel and half cocked most of the time, they would rather kick somoebody down than give them a hand. There is alot of room for improvement when it comes to human kindness. Make yourself happy, and that is it’s own reward.
        Enjoy the kindhearted when you encounter one. They give you hope for mankind. Blessing to you in what you do and how you live. I wish you the best ~ Karen

        • admin says:

          Thank you so much Karen, this had me tearing up. You are so right and this was so beautifully said. Thank you!

      • Cheryle says:

        Just saw you on Last Comic. LOVED the routine. Laughed. AND LAUGHED.
        You are an inspiration to us all, especially to HAM LOVERS throughout the world.

        Keep up the good work. BE YOURSELF.
        You are awesome.

        Blessings,
        Cheryle in Spokane
        old and cranky but cute

    • Stacy Ryals says:

      I freaking love you!!!I watched you on last comic standing and i laughed soooo hard!I love your trailer park opening line so much and i tell it to all of my 2 friends(ha). You have such a great personality, and i am glad to be a fan.

      Ps:
      Im racist! (lol not reallly)

      • admin says:

        Awe! You are adorable and so nice! Thank you! And I tell my jokes to all of my stuffed animals so you can try that too! 🙂
        And it’s so nice to meet another adorable racist! JK, i’m not racist either! haha well… maybe? It’s hard to tell these days!

    • Derrick says:

      Hello. I watched the finale a few hours ago. And only afterwards learned you have Marfan’s. Anyway, after everyone had done their last set, I told my fiancee that I would’ve picked you to win; I enjoyed yours that much. Good luck going forward and God bless! 🙂

      -Derrick
      “All will be well in the end; if it’s not well, it’s not the end.”

  2. Jon Wilson says:

    Congratulations, Andy! I was just saying to somebody the other night that nobody is easier to be happy for and not jealous of, than you.

  3. Tony Dodge says:

    I have Marfan Syndrome, heart surgery, eye surgery, +++. You are going to do great! Congratulations on your professional success and for pushing through the physical and emotional Marfan stuff.

  4. Christine says:

    Good luck tonight!

  5. Mary Nixon says:

    You will do great! Congrats

  6. Barbara Dever says:

    Hi Andy,
    I am the proud Grandma of a fantastic Grandson with Marfan Syndrome. He has also survived open heart surgery, eye problems and lots of fun factors like
    huge, flat feet, long fingers and tricky double joints. He experiences many migraine headaches which he seldom mentions and just handles without complaint. His “repaired” heart is so generous and kind. I would classify him as a “better than normal” wonderful teenager!

    • admin says:

      Marfan Syndrome is an interesting ride but it often makes us stronger and more loving people. I’m so glad to see he has the love and support of an awesome Grandma! Send my love 🙂

  7. John Erikson says:

    Hey You,
    An uncle could not be prouder. I miss your Dad too. He would be beside himself. This is the most exciting thing to happen to the Eriksons since the judge upheld my appeal :). Love you so much it hurts.
    UJ

  8. Ashley says:

    You were great! You made this Marf proud!

  9. April schmidt says:

    Enjoyed your set ! Very funny and cute .
    Marfan’s runs rampant in my family and you reminded me a little of my daughter . She felt awkward growing up to – never realizing what a beautiful person she is.

  10. Fred Copeland says:

    From a fellow Marf — great job tonight!!

  11. Sarah says:

    I just watched your set. I think you’re awesome! 😂😭 Funny stuff! You exude a zest & zeal that is contagious! Your hubby is one lucky man, and you are one beautiful, funny gal!!

  12. Emily Dobbins says:

    My husband just watched Last Comic Standing. You had us in tears, you were SO funny! The best act we have seen on the show. The trailer park bit is what got us. Seriously great stuff! So happy you are going through to the next round. You have our support! P.S. my little sister has an obsession with squirrels too!

    • admin says:

      Thank you!!! And I’m so glad to meet other squirrel enthusiasts. They’re just so cute! I want to catch them all and make them be my friends! But they are too fast.

  13. Lauren says:

    You were just wonderful tonight. I usually don’t feel like comedians are that relatable – I think, in my experience, they can sometimes be either trying to prove how cool they are or, real dicks. I like that you were unabashedly yourself and you didn’t need to pick on others or try to be someone you’re not. And why would you? The someone you are is hilarious and confident. Rooting for you!!

    • admin says:

      I am so glad that this is what shown through, and what you saw. I was so nervous but was honored and excited to have such a huge audience to share my jokes with! And what a sweet thing to say. Thank you so much!

  14. Phyllis Hitchcock says:

    We were so excited for you to perform last night. What an accomplishment and opportunity! You rocked! Phyllis

  15. Susan says:

    Just watched Last Comic Standing. Really enjoyed your set! Keep up the great work!

  16. Paula says:

    Watched you last night on LCS and loved it! You are so funny. Big laughs here

  17. Sherry says:

    Andy,

    Great job and Congrats on making it through to the next round!

    I’m the proud mom of a teenage daughter who is also coping with Marfan’s. As I’m sure you can relate, it takes a lot of courage to face the surgeries and challenges that arise with this syndrome. (Her most recent being spinal surgery to insert rods and screws).
    It also takes a lot of courage to follow your dreams – keep on being an inspiration to us all!
    <3 Marf Mom

    • admin says:

      Thank you so much! and it was right after my spinal surgery where I had rods put in that I decided to become a comedian! I found a lot of strength after that 🙂 I know your daughter’s future will be bright, she has a wonderful mama!

  18. Lana Austin says:

    You were absolutely wonderful on Last Comic Standing. You are beautiful and gifted!

    MANY blessings to you,
    Lana

    • admin says:

      That is so sweet of you to say and it brightened my day 🙂 Thank you! Andy many many many blessings to you as well! 🙂

  19. John McKeegan says:

    I saw you on LCS via Hulu before I saw your post. Can’t believe I didn’t pick up on the physical traits; guess I am not as observant as I thought I was and should probably quit going up to strangers and saying, “Hey, you look kinda like you might be good at standup.”
    I also found it interesting that you said you grew up in a trailer park. I also grew up in a trailer park (actually, several of them). I am kind of curious now about how many people with Marfan also grew up in trailer parks and whether or not Marfan was the cause of it.
    😉

    • admin says:

      Lol! You should be a comedian! For real! And we can prove that Marfan causes comedy 🙂

      • John McKeegan says:

        TY.
        I just watched Ep 3. I am sure you are under some kind of contractual obligation not to discuss any results until the winner is televised but I was thinking how cool it would be to have an Andy vs Andi showdown.
        Mainly for the word-play value.
        For actual comedic value, you would win. You are funnier and you have much better stage presence.

  20. Alexis says:

    I know I’m a little late on this. Like very late. The episode aired a week ago and I’m just posting this comment now but I saw you on the show (the day it aired) and you’re hilarious. I loved how you were able to take regular puns and make them the funniest things people would ever hear. Please Andy teach me your ways. Now I want to visit ham lake and before July 29th I didn’t know that it existed. I just want you to know that you’ve got my vote. You vote on last comic standing right? I’ve only just picked up on the show recently.
    P.s. I’m actually kinda jealous that I don’t have a cool place to put magnets.

  21. […] Erikson and I’m a standup comedian. Oh, and I have Marfan Syndrome. You can read all about it here in this post if you would like some more […]

  22. Alia says:

    $70 to fill your tank? Wow, I didn’t know you drove a tank??? My husband and I were laughing so hard we missed the second joke and had to rewind! Intelligent, hilarious and sweet. My knew favorite comic 🙂

  23. Travis says:

    Andy your crazy funNY hope you win it all!!!

  24. Samantha says:

    Huge fan!!! You are hilarious!!! Hope you win! “Squirrel”

  25. Jeff says:

    Andy! I have been a fan of yours for many years, having had the experience of watching you at ACME (and I even have a photo of you and me taken in the bar, but for the life of me, I cannot find it). You bring great joy to audiences because you are authentic and have a unique perspective on life. You always make my stomach hurt from laughing so hard. You are successful because you are so comfortable with yourself. Keep being YOU!!

    • admin says:

      Now I want to find that picture! We’ll just have to take another one 🙂 THANK YOU!

      • Jeff K says:

        Andy, I found the photo! I sent it to Lisa S. as that is the only email I could find on this website.

        Remember me when you are a big star. Oh, wait. You ARE a big star!!! OK, so remember me right now then!

        Also, I want to send you a copy of my book. It is not a comedy book, but I still hope you would enjoy it.

        • admin says:

          Thank you! My manager sent me the picture, SO COOL!
          Is your book an ebook? You should send that my way! So cool that you wrote a book!

  26. […] have any jokes about Marfan Syndrome in her act, she does write about her heart condition on her blog. It’s a connective tissue disorder. She’s had many surgeries including heart and back surgery. […]

  27. Jaime says:

    Andi, I found this blog post while I was watching your segment on Last Comic Standing! I have been telling my husband all season that you must have Marfans, and LO and behold, you DO! I have a connective tissue disorder too, Ehler Danlos Hypermobile type.

    I empathize so much with what you said with being made fun of and never feeling comfortable in your body! I myself suffer from horrible chronic pain, pots, and have had many surgeries too!

    I just love that you’ve created this wonderful fantasy world where you don’t even have to think about connective tissue issues!

    So proud of your season and for bringing awareness to EDS and marfans!

    • admin says:

      Awe thank you! it’s a wonderful fantasy world. My disorder has allowed me to view the world differently. I wouldn’t be who i am today without marfan’s. 🙂 Thank you!

  28. Johnny W. says:

    Dear Andy, I’ve been falling in love with you this whole season of L.C.Standing! You are a comedic force to be reckoned with! Keep up the great work and I hope you can make it to Colorado soon so myself and friends can see you in person. And if you ever in Denver and need a date and are into overweight, balding, biker trash. I’m your man! Thanks for making the world a better and brighter place!

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