Thursday November 21st, 2013 – St. Charles, IL
I don’t have a lot of power in the show business arena – or anywhere else – but that which I do possess I always try to use for good. Tonight I was able to facilitate a good deed that will remain in several dozen people’s memories for decades, and that’s a win/win every time. I’m glad I did.
One of my former comedy students Joseph Burke has a twelve year old son named Trevor who has been doing standup comedy for a while now. I’ve seen kids try standup comedy before, and I always approach it with caution. It’s not really for kids as a rule, but there are always exceptions.
Comedy can be a brutal experience when it goes poorly, and there are countless things that can go wrong on any given night. Putting a kid in the line of fire can be extremely dangerous, and I’d personally recommend against it far more often than I’d encourage it. It has to be the correct fit.
The situation with Joe and Trevor is far different than most, and I was able to help arrange for Trevor to appear for a ten minute guest spot opening for me at Zanies Comedy Club at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, IL. The Burke family lives about six blocks from the resort, and they were thrilled that I could arrange the appearance. Joe got the word out with friends and family.
Appearing on a Zanies stage for the first time is a big deal for any Chicago comedian, but for a twelve year old kid it’s unheard of. Not only that, but to do it in front of family and friends in the backyard is something they’ll all be talking about decades from now. It was a wonderful night.
I was truly pleased to see how everything unfolded, and Trevor went up and got some very big laughs – not only with his friends and family but with the regular audience as well. He’s a funny kid, and has been working with his dad for a while now. This was not a one time and done fluke.
There are a lot of performers that couldn’t stand that fact that a cute kid was getting the laughs and attention from an audience, but I am secure enough in myself and my ability and I absolutely loved it all. This was a huge night for Trevor, but also for Joe and all the friends that showed up.
Joe asked me to sit down with Trevor a few months ago and give him some pointers. The main thing I told Trevor was that I was in his corner and would always be his friend first before having anything to do with comedy. I will support him in whatever he chooses to do, and if he wants my help or advice I’ll gladly give it. If not, that’s fine too. It’s exactly what I would tell my own son.
Another thing I told him was to just relax and enjoy everything that goes with being a kid. He’s into video games and all the other things a twelve year old of today would like, and that’s what a kid should do. Standup comedy will always be there, and there should be no pressure to fight and claw into a business that can be very unforgiving when one isn’t a cute kid. Look at child actors.
Whatever the case, I was extremely proud of him as he went up there and got to experience the intoxicating thrill of getting laughs on stage. Was his set perfect? Nobody’s is including my own, but I wasn’t there to critique. He did great. That’s all any of those there to see him will remember forever. Who knows how far he’ll go? That isn’t important tonight. Trevor lived what most never get to experience at any age. I’m happy for him. After this, it’s all gravy. www.trevorburke.com
|Trevor Burke has done more at age 12 than most comedians do in a lifetime. I hope he lets me drive his limo someday. www.trevorburke.com|