I am 30. I’m in Los Angeles, in the back of a comic book store, watching hopeful comedians say three minutes worth of material. My name is called and I walk onto the stage. I say this:

Keep it going for that person. Actually, never mind, don’t. Stay in the present for minute. I need to tell you something. I have cancer. Yeah, I know Tig already did a bit like this, but I didn’t get cancer on purpose just for this open mic, it just kinda happened.

Well, technically, we all kinda have cancer. There are cancer cells in all of us, tiny pockets, and our body can usually fight them off before it turns into anything major. So, I have cancer, same as everyone. Also, I have real cancer, in this generally area, and next week I’m having surgery to hopefully get rid of it.

Do you notice how bad stuff like this always happens to the best people?

My doctor said to me at one point, “Do you ever worry about if we can’t get rid of all the cancer?” You mean if I die? Yeah, now that you mention it, I guess I do kinda worry about that.

At one point when he could see how much pain I was in, he goes, “Have you thought about suicide?” Wait a second, is that an option? Now that you mention it, that might be the best way out of this mess.

The surgeon got me to sign a consent form saying they’re allowed to remove my entire stomach, and “whatever else we need to take when we get in there.” So at this point, they can legally harvest my organs and I don’t think I can actually do anything about it.

Everyone wants to talk about it, but nobody knows how bring it up. “So… I heard you were feeling a little under the weather.” “Uh, yeah, it’s raining friggin’ tumours.”

Fuck cancer! That’s what people say. They say, “Fuck cancer!” Thanks people, you’re doing the lord’s work here!

Everybody wants to tell you the current state of a person they know who has or had cancer. “My aunt had cancer, and she’s fine now.” Well I might as well not even continue treatment, I should be fine if she was.”

I figured people would complain less around me, but that never really happened. I’ll be talking to one of my friends, and they’re like, “My flight was delayed. It was literally the worst thing that could ever happen.” Yeah, that sounds way worse than CANCER.

Everyone who isn’t a doctor has their own cure somehow. “You should just smoke pot. That will definitely help.” Trust me, if weed could get rid of this tumour, I don’t think it ever would have shown up in the first place.

At least the chemo didn’t make me lose my hair! I think turning 17 did.

My whole life I ran away from fights, and now suddenly everyone tells me I’m brave, by basically doing nothing except having a tumour grow inside me. And now strangers shave their head for me I’m so brave, it’s crazy.

There are some positive parts about getting sick like this. It’s not all bad. I get to play the cancer card sometimes. I’ll want a beer or something, and I’ll be like, “Oh, can you get that for me? My tumour is acting up again.” And if someone is boring me with a story, I get to say that I’m tired and need to leave the conversation, you know, because of all the cancer. That usually shuts them up.

I’m off work on disability right now, but every now and then I’m feeling alright and decide to test out their theory, so I get paid to get high on prescription drugs, eat my face off, and watch movies. So maybe it does kind of work.

As you can see, I get to use this sweet cane. It makes me distinguished, doesn’t it? People take advice from a guy with a cane for some reason. I get to talk to old or disabled people about the latest cane styles. And I can make people on bus feel bad when they’re in a seat and I’m standing. Then when they finally do stand I can trip them up and pretend I’m blind so it had to be an accident. But I’m not really blind, thank god. I only have cancer.

This was my first time doing this, but I figured if I didn’t do it now there’s a decent chance that, well, I’d never get to.

August 30 – Lisa Ling gets a stand up meltdown
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