Everyone likes to be complimented but comedians are ego-junkies, always wanted positive reinforcement. Although I tramped the stages by night, I worked in a large engineering firm by day. I was also the “Office Funny Man.” Whenever a witty comment was needed, I was there. An awkward silence during the farewell to an employee who didn't pass his probation? Hello! I enjoyed this status until that fateful day in 2008 when another comedian joined our firm. As in a proper comedian who earned money instead of free post-mix Coke. His name was Joel Bryant.
We, of course, hit it off from the moment we met. We were two peas in a pod and bounced ideas off each other in a constant stream of monkey-like babble. That was until Xmas 2009. Our company did the Secret Santa thing whereby employees were forced to buy a present, to the value of $10, and secretly give it to another random employee who would then open it in public. Joel received his present. It was a mug and on the side of the mug was a label saying “Office Joker.” I got a packet of highlighter pens some reprobate had pilfered from the stationary cabinet.
It was official. I had been relegated. I was no longer the office joker. Joel, seeing my despair, sometimes let me sip from the mug but I felt no funnier and there was always an aftertaste of shame. That could have just been the remnants of his drink. Still, I learned a valuable lesson. Life is full of ups and downs and you should never steal from the stationary cabinet.