Gary Conkling Life Notes

Mostly whimsical reflections on life

Looking for My Funny Bone

What would you do if given a choice between your day job and being a stand-up comic?


Vincent August Sicari chose stand-up comedy over being a New Jersey judge. I wished I had his punchlines.

The closest I’ve gotten to a stand-up comedy gig is when I ran for political office.

My wife says when I go to the home, maybe I could try sit-down, where my audience may die yawning.

People laugh at me all the time, but I’m not sure it’s because of my jokes.

A career in comedy has been a dream of mine for a long time. My first comic idol was Howdy Doody, which explains my problem with punchlines.

Later I was fascinated by Johnny Carson who could “die” onstage after a joke fell flat better than anyone else. It was clear this was a technique I needed to master.

Carson also had a crazy cast of characters, from Carnac the Magnificent to Floyd Turbo and his iconic, if not ridiculous, plaid hunting hat with ear flaps.

I practiced my knock-off characters in front of the mirror, with the bathroom door locked. It just wasn’t the same without a human laugh track like Ed McMahon.

Involvement in politics has provided its share of laughs and guffaws. But testifying at a legislative committee on a land-use bill isn’t the same as ricocheting one-liners at a live audience that has been drinking daiquiris for a couple of hours.

Sicari’s decision to sacrifice honor for humor is inspiring. He said his decision wasn’t about money. It was about pride.

Personally, I have no pride. I would do stand-up for nothing. Good thing, I may only be able to get paid for sitting down and shutting up.


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