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 🙂