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BRIAN MCKIM has performed standup comedy in all 50 states. He earned a B.A. in Magazine Journalism from Temple University. Any resemblance to a living person is purely coincidental.


Brian McKim
Editor In Chief


I just went to my high school reunion. It was pleasant and everyone was cordial and calm. Everyone was poised and mature and seemed genuinely interested in what the other person was up to and what had transpired in the years since we had all gathered last. A far cry from how everyone behaved in high school. Not that we were nasty or brutish or engaging in knife fights or anything. We were just...high school students. Sure, some of us were pleasant and cordial and calm in high school, or at least we were able to fake it pretty good. But most of us were in over our heads. It was high school. It could be overwhelming at times.

Which is why these affairs are so unique and so often pleasant. The pain, the awkwardness, the general confusion of being a high school student subsides over the years (and is replaced by a whole different kind of pain and general confusion!) and folks just get together and get along!

When we formulated the idea for a grand blowout that would be somehow centered on the standup comedy business, we initially envisioned some sort of typical convention-type gathering, one that would bring together comics, agents, managers, fans in a swarm of networking and commerce. But we quickly dismissed this notion as too typical, too biz-centric.

We stripped the proposed pow-wow down to its bare essentials: A bunch of comics getting together and just wallowing in their comic-ness, but without any hint of performing or managers or agents or television executives. Kind of like a reunion.

Think about it: Who's missing at a high school reunion? The teachers, the administrators and the principal! We're big boys and girls now! Who needs those oppressive bastards? And no one at a reunion dusts off the trumpet or runs for a touchdown or recites the periodic chart! Hell, no! All the things that we did to impress our contemporaries or our parents are checked at the door! We're no longer interested in reliving those moments or recounting those achievements that separated us from the pack. Once we enter the ballroom, we're all just a bunch of adults who escaped high school with our diplomas and our dignity nearly intact.

Which is why we chose to call our wingding a "reunion."

We envision a convergence of all the men and women who have chosen at one time or another to try this crazy tightrope walk we all know as standup comedy. Oh, sure, we didn't graduate from anything, but that is way beside the point. We all share a common experience. We've all been through wildly varying experiences, but they are all startlingly similar. We've all been standup comics at one point in our lives--or still are. But for the last decade or so, we haven't seen enough of the people that we hung out with so frequently in our formative years. Or, if we started out in the last seven or eight years, the opportunity for bumping up against comics just hasn't been there in the quality and the numbers like it was in the old days.

There was a person or two at my high school reunion who exerted a fair amount of pressure on me to perform, to do few minutes, to say a few words. I was horrified at the prospect. I tried to explain, in four or five different ways, why it was a bad idea, why it wouldn't be pleasant for me or for the crowd, why I just didn't want to do it. It wasn't registering. Traci understood. She's a comic. Comics understand other comics.

When we unspool the idea for the comics-only reunion to other comics, they grasp the concept immediately. There's the occasional exception--the comic who asks if there'll be a showcase or a stage where we can get up and "just dick around," or the comic here or there who inquires about seminars or workshops. We have remained steadfast in our resolve to keep it simple, however. After being on the standup treadmill for 18 years, I think it'd be tremendously liberating to congregate with my fellow comics and just do...nothing. We've earned it. Let's just start behaving like we can afford to do nothing for three days. Maybe, after a while, we'll get the hang of it. HOME Back to the Top