There have so far been two defining moments of my comedy career.
The first came in 1996 with an opening night curtain call when, a week before my retirement from the Second City resident company, the Toronto and Chicago casts swapped stages. Chicago companies have often treated their Toronto peers as second class Second Citizens, but on that particular night an appreciative windy city audience let us know they shared none of the same derision. It was also a personal victory for me; I had begun my comedy studies in Los Angeles at the start of the decade with alumns from Chicago; I had come full circle, and was now good enough for the same stage.
The second was another audience, the one that greeted Al Howell and I for the taping of our first episode of Improv Heaven & Hell. On that night this self-absorbed devil felt like he had truly “made it”, and that his fans, family and friends were proud that he had.
Today I’m adding our Hong Kong curtain call to the list. A enthusiastic crowd of Yanks, Brits, Canucks, even some Asians joined together to applaud our opening night. As they did, I heard a disbelieving voice in my head: “I am in China… I am a successful comedian in China!” I couldn’t stop smiling…