What causes a man to stand on a cold and sometimes unforgiving stage, telling jokes and looking for the approval of strangers? For Nathan, the answer lies in his upbringing: ten cities, ten schools, and ten sets of friends within the first decade of his life. Parents whose volatile marriage sparked more than one horrific memory, including his mother’s ride on the hood of the family car to keep her estranged husband from taking the kids. Stories like these usually end with damaged children doomed to become damaged adults. Fortunately, Nathan turned his inner mayhem into a profession. It would be years before he understood what drew him to stand-up comedy, but once Nathan found the spotlight, the pieces fell into place.
This memoir follows Nathan’s life through blissful childhood ignorance, self-loathing, overcompensation, and absolution. He takes the reader across the U.S. and into Iraq and Afghanistan, where he performed for American troops stationed far from home, had shows cancelled by incoming mortars, and heard applause punctuated by explosions. Funny, poignant and at times uplifting, Nathan’s story of personal downfall and redemption is at once universal, as well as a unique glimpse into someone still looking for the approval of strangers.