There I was. Right where I wanted. All eyes on me. Except for the guy in the back. Was he looking at his phone? Fucker. Whatever. Couldn’t blame him, my jokes weren’t landing. The pity laughs felt okay. Probably not something one should feel okay about. “You seem like a nice guy.” Those laughs said. Despite the fact that I was holding on by the courtesy of the crowd I felt good. Fluid. Present. Aware that the words I were saying weren’t resonating. The biggest laughs came from my acknowledgement of their general absence. I was in control in a sense that wasn’t visible to the audience. I didn’t have a grip on them but I had my own reigns tight. I wasn’t nervous, stuttering, or blanking––I just wasn’t funny. Baby steps.