1. I like to do things that are publicly embarrassing, to feel the embarrassment touch me and sink into me and then be gone. I like getting on elevators and singing too loudly in that small space. The feeling you feel is almost like a vapor. The discomfort and the wishing that it would end that comes around you. I would do things like that and just breathe it in. Nope, can’t kill me. This thing can’t kill me.
2. If you love friends, you will serve your friends. If you love community, you will serve your community. If you love money, you will serve your money. And if you love only yourself, you will serve only yourself. And you will have only yourself.
3. The interesting thing about grief, I think, is that it is its own size. It is not the size of you. It is its own size. And grief comes to you.
4. You gotta learn to love when you’re failing.… The embracing of that, the discomfort of failing in front of an audience, leads you to penetrate through the fear that blinds you. Fear is the mind killer.
5. I suppose fear is like a drug. A little bit isn’t that bad, but you can get addicted to the consumption and distribution of it. What’s evil is the purposeful distribution of fear.
6. When you laugh, you’re not afraid. And sometimes you laugh because you’re afraid, but when you laugh, the fear goes away. And it’s not just whistling past the graveyard. It actually just goes away when you’re laughing. That’s why I don’t think I could ever stop doing what I’m doing because I laugh all day long and if I didn’t I would just cry all day long.
7. [After his father and two brothers died in a plane crash when he was 10] I was left alone a lot after Dad and the boys died…. And it was just me and Mom for a long time. And by her example am I not bitter. By her example. She was not. Broken, yes. Bitter, no.”
8. Realize that the things that people say about you don’t really matter. It’s who you are, and the older you get, the more you’ll understand that.
9. A sure sign that things are going well is when no one can really remember whose idea was whose, or who should get credit for what jokes.
10. Acceptance is not defeat. Acceptance is just awareness.
11. I love being onstage. I love the relationship with the audience. I love the letting go, the sense of discovery, the improvising.
12. If I had free time to go to Los Angeles to shoot a movie, I would rather spend it with my kids.
13. All I can do is today and tomorrow and have some idea of what we’re doing next week. That’s all I can worry about.
14. If you must find your own path, and you are left with no easy path, then decide to take the hard path that leads you to the life and the world that you want.
15. If you don’t give power to the words people throw at you to hurt you, they don’t hurt you anymore. And you actually have power over those people.
16. I love what I do. I want to do comedy. Long ago I realized this is what I’m good at, I hope. I want to do it until I’m not having fun anymore or rather the audience isn’t having any fun at my fun.
17. Young people who pretend to be wise to the ways of the world are mostly just cynics. Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us. Cynics always say no. But saying “yes” begins things. Saying “yes” is how things grow. Saying “yes” leads to knowledge. ‘Yes’ is for young people. So for as long as you have the strength to, say ‘yes.’