Found this screenshot I had saved from momma a few years ago. Means a lot to me because it was the first time I got invited to do the Annual Holiday Benefit Shows in Columbus at the Funnybone where I started doing Stand Up. I remember how nervous I was. The show is packed every year with touring headliners from all over the country. Guys I literally grew up watching on TV and in comedy clubs and theaters. I would go and sit in the back and just watch every year when I was coming up thru the ranks.
I finally got my shot, and I will never forget the hug that Dino Tripodis (the host/Bad Santa) gave me afterwards. We had met in passing a few times but I didn't know him beyond that. I had a great set that night and he wrapped his arms around me and leaned in and said "You did it kid, you absolutely destroyed...Stay up here for a minute with me." I stood on stage as he told the crowd it was my first time doing the show with them and how proud he was of me, and how happy he was that I was there. A fresh face. New blood to carry laughter on to the next generation of comedy fans.
I've done those benefit shows every year since that first night. I still get jitters when I go back home to do them, it would be disrespectful if I didn't. Being surrounded by that much talent should make you feel nervous, and scared and not good enough. It should terrify you to a point where the only choice you have is to rise and show them why you deserve to be sharing the stage with them. A boy among titans. Sink or swim.
It was an honor then, and always will be. I am truly grateful to be apart of that family.