“Welcome to the Sunshine Club where every drink is a step closer to a better day, at least for the people who own this dump. I’m the Offensive Comic in case you couldn’t read the marquee. Could the gentleman in the back row move to the right? The house lights are hitting your toupee. Go easy on the oil next time!”
After the show the comic sat by himself at the bar. It was nearly 1 a.m. The bartender handed him $75 and a shot of whiskey.
“You were on tonight,” said the bartender.
“Gosh, you made my day.”
Les Reed had been mocking people around the clock for a decade. While his routines drew a steady crowd, he made more money writing jokes for big name comics. Still, Reed thirsted for the opportunity to insult a live audience.
A woman sat next to him. “I enjoyed your show,” she said.
“You must be Lucy from Kansas.”
“Do you ever stop?”
“I get it, you’re a therapist in search of a client.”
“Actually I’m a comic—this is my first year and I wanted to get some tips from a pro.”
Her name was Lena and she was able to fend off Reed’s initial round of insults to a point where they fell in love after a few weeks.
Three months later Reed walked with a skip. Gone were the slumped shoulders. He quit smoking. The audiences stopped laughing.
One night the bartender told Reed the boss didn’t want him back.
Reed smiled. “I’d rather be happy than a prick on stage.”