The success of less
Sabrina: "Do you want a view from the house?"Linus Larrabee: "Uh, sure."Sabrina: "Which one?"Linus Larrabee: "Uh, all of them."Sabrina: "More isn't always better Linus. Sometimes it's just more."
The story goes that Steven Wright started in stand-up like everyone starts in stand-up - screaming. Comedy clubs are notoriously loud. Hello, the laughing. To get attention, to be heard, you had to get loud.
Steven thought, "....nah." And changed tactics.
He spoke softly, lethargically, slowly, even a smidge mumbly. No one could hear him. Not in all the chaos. Not until the chaos hushed.
Instead of talking louder than everyone else, he made everyone else quiet down. Instead of competing with the noise, he got rid of the noise. Instead of being more, he was less.
And it worked. If you want to hear Steven Wright deliver a joke, you can't unless you shut up and listen.
That's the story. I have no idea where I heard it or when. My brother and I grew up as Steven Wright fans, listening to his infamous deadpan delivery on a cassette tape we wore out in spots. Then someone stole it.
"When I was a little kid we had a sand box. It was a quicksand box. I was an only child...eventually." Steven WrightMaybe my brother told me the story. Maybe he made it up.
Steven, if you're out there, just go with it.