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Steve Mazan Laughs At Death On David Letterman

Steve_mazan OK. You wake up in the middle of the night in terrible pain. What's wrong? Well. You've got a rare form of intestinal cancer that spread to your liver.

What do you do?

Your doctors tell you the tumors are slow growing and you could have 10-15 years. Worst case scenario. 5 years.

What do you do?

I can tell you what I'd do. I'd get a bunch of root beer and licorice and feel sorry for myself. I'd manipulate my loved ones into pampering me by inspiring guilt via my excessive self-pity.

And then hopefully, with any luck, I'd remember the soul-inspiring story of Steve Mazan, get off my ass, and stake my claim in magic.

Steve Mazan was a stand-up comedian for 6 years, working the clubs, when he got smacked in the face with the cancer I described above. But he skipped all the root beer, licorice, and self-pity. He just made a decision. He was going to perform comedy on the Late Show With David Letterman.

There's no report of the process by which he made this decision. We're left to imagine it. And I imagine the idea emerging calmly and surely in a mind strangely quieted by the acceptance of his own certain death. It presents itself flatly, not open to negotiation: I'm going to be on David Letterman.

Have you ever been subject to the emergence of such a certain goal? It doesn't matter what it is. That's not the point. The point is the human being's ability to engage in wholehearted pursuit, to be at point A and devote one's self to point B. To give one's self to point B. Let's shelf the idea of nobility for a moment. It doesn't have to be ending war or feeding the homeless. I don't care if it's robbing banks. The crux of this story lies in devotion. To be devoured by devout devotion. There's a lesson in there. It eludes being talked about. But it's in there.

So he starts up dyingtodoletterman.com to catch Letterman's eye and people are noticing. Fans and friends petition Letterman to let him perform. C'mon! The dude has cancer! Mazan bombards Letterman's booking agent, Eddie Brill, with 20 audition DVDs. But guess what he says."Letterman is not a fairy-godfather. He does not grant wishes." Brill sends him a cease-and-desist letter and tells him to earn it.

So what does he do? Drink root beer and eat licorice? Nope. He just keeps doing sets. Doing shows in dives nationwide and overseas, climbing the headlining ladder. He did 7 gigs for US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. He hit it hard for more than 4 years, for a total now of 10 years in comedy, now only a year away from being dead in the worst case scenario. And the laughs kept getting louder and louder until last Friday, September 4.

That was no make a wish gift. That was a funny guy on David Letterman. And I'm sorry, Steve. It was a funny bit. It really was. But I was crying.

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Wow so inspiring. Thanks for posting the video.


...and not a single reference to any of that backstory from Dave or in his bit. Great.


This makes me teary and for once I have nothing snarky to say.Thank You for posting such a wonderful story and for making the end of a shitty day seem so trite,I have nothing to bitch about,I am healthy and feel like a whinyass complaining about nothing.I must take leave now and go put on my suckitup big girl panties now

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