It’s not that we here at Laughspin need any convincing about the power and beauty of comedy. It’s just that it’s heartening to see the artform’s effects on its fans from time to time. Hence, we’re really excited about this open letter to Paul F. Tompkins, originally posted on Reddit. Usually, people employ the open letter format when they want to complain about something. But as you’ll see below, that wasn’t Nick Zacharczuk’s agenda at all. Enjoy!
To comedy’s one true gentleman:
Hello again. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting you earlier this week after your appearance at The Apple Sisters show. I was wearing the Powell’s Books shirt (you’re right, it’s out of hand there, they’ve gone too far… I mean, I love books and all but I’m no Burgess Meredith).
I work in sports television for a living and have dealt with superstar athletes for all of my adult life. Getting starstruck is a rare occurrence. But upon meeting you, I was left stammering and at a loss for words. It was the first time I was able to meet a personal hero of mine and I continue to be floored by how gracious and kind you were during our brief exchange. It meant more to me than words can express and still does.
In the few words I was able to intelligibly spit out, I’m glad I was able to impart to you how much you and your work has meant to me over the past few years. Your account of your relationship with your mother in “You Should Have Told Me” was truly inspiring.
But the most influential performance of yours was from one of your monthly shows at Largo in which you discussed the issues you had with being envious with the success of your peers and your difficulty dealing with that. I’ve experienced similar feelings throughout my career, but the commonality was not what struck a chord with me. It was sitting and watching you be so honest, so open and strongly confront something that was so troubling to you. After that show, there were things in my life that I found the strength to confront, reexamine and then change as a result of you sharing your struggle and (what I hope) subsequent triumph.
I was in a rush Monday evening so I deeply regret that I wasn’t able to linger and speak with you more. I anxiously await the opportunity to meet you again and, in the meantime, hope this message finds you well.
Again, thank you for being an inspiration, for being kind, gracious and for helping light the way.
Sincerely, Nick Zacharczuk
PS – Here is a picture of the show card you signed for me. Thanks again!
You can see the original post here, along with other Redditor’s comments.