“You always pass failure on the way to success.”

Micky Rooney, actor


Giggles Comedy Club – October 11, 1951

I’m there to celebrate my 30th birthday and test my skills as a stand-up comic.

Here is a sample of my act.

“Hi folks. I’m glad to be here. I was almost late, you see two and a half days ago I met a friend for lunch. We made the mistake of ordering turtle soup and we just finished eating ten minutes ago.

I’m afraid of heights which is why, except for special occasions, I never wear high heel shoes.

Yesterday, over at the Pentagon the air conditioning went out. It got so hot that some of the colonels started popping.

I saw two mimes get into an argument, now they’re speaking to each other.

My Uncle Fred was a waiter. He wasn’t very good at it. He didn’t make much money. One night, after working at the restaurant, he got the not so bright idea to shop lift some food. Still wearing his waiter’s jacket when he entered the grocery store, he started stuffing food inside his pockets. Then he tried to stuff a can of soup in the front of his pants. That’s when he got caught. As they were putting handcuffs on him, the policeman said to Uncle Fred, “Waiter, what’s that soup doing in your fly?”

*      *      *

I took a tiny tape recorder with me to the comedy club. My daughter was almost six at the time. After my performance, the first chance I got, I played it for her. There were a lot of gaps in the recording where there should have been laughter and applause. Clicking the off button, I waited for her review.

It was short and to the point, “You were lousy!”

From the viewpoint of the audience, she was right. But as a wise man said long ago, “If you laugh at your own jokes you’ve made at least one person happy.”

And now that I think about it, I’ve been lousy at a lot of things.

The story of the lost musician walking down the streets of New York City comes to mind.

He stops to ask someone for directions, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”

The answer he got, “Practice, practice, practice.”

Believing in yourself is the first ingredient of success. And part of believing in yourself is the willingness to be lousy for a while. Singer and songwriter Johnny Cash said,

“You build on failure.

You use it as a stepping stone.

Close the door on the past.

You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it.

You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.”

I intend to embrace lousiness in all my future adventures. You should too. Lousiness is your friend.

Be willing to fail on your road to greatness.

Visit me at











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