I was talking about this with my comedian friend Jonathan the other day. Once, toward the End of My Comedy Days I had a small break on stage. All of a sudden, I found myself in the middle of a Moment. More specifically, an extended moment of silence. I was standing on a stage, every person in the audience was looking at me, expectantly, and I didn't know what to do next. One of two things had happened: I had either just told the set-up to one of my jokes, or I had a break from reality and everyone in the audience was in stunned silence and just staring at me not knowing the protocol of what to do when the person in front of you has suddenly lost touch. In my tiny little rote brain was this idea that if I just let out some words, either people were going to laugh or they would stare even harder. The moment stretched on. I decided to chance the words. I said something. Everyone's face erupted with laughter and time moved on again in real time. Existential crisis averted, at least for now.
What I didn't tell Jonathan was that I hadn't had any type of mental breakdown, what happened was that I was so freaking bored with my own act and my own demeanor that I lost interest - and my place - in mid-joke. Once there, I decided to explore this moment of potential emotional danger and perversely enjoyed standing in the eerie silence wondering whether or not the joke would work. I don't remember the specific, but any comic will tell you that if they have a joke on auto-pilot - it always works.
I loved doing stand-up. But I hated repeated. And I ran out of things to say. Had to stop.