On Saturday, June 8th, I received the 2019 Humanist Arts Award at the American Humanist Association’s 78th Annual Conference at Medgar Evers College “for advancing humanism through comedic portrayal and strong advocacy.” My acceptance speech was live-streamed and well received. Here’s an excerpt:
“Full disclosure: While I thank you so much for this award, I am not an activist.”
I’m not arguing.
I’m not fighting.
I’m not marching.
I’m from the George Carlin school of comedy. I process and share my life through my art. I do my best to offer enlightenment through laughter. And some people dig it.
I guess I don’t think of myself as an activist because my focus isn’t always on the big picture. It’s on the day-to-day, in the moment interactions we have with each other.
I used to get stressed out in traffic. Now, instead of getting angry, I imagine the person who cut me off has Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
We all know that feeling: When you gotta go, you gotta go.
And now we – me and that other driver, that other human being – have something in common: we’re both dealing with an irritating asshole.
The other day, a gentleman said to me, “You have a beautiful smile.” I said, “Thank you. I try to smile as often as I can because there are times when I can’t.” He said, “When you can’t smile, just think of him.” and he pointed upwards. And I said, “Thor?”
The man laughed. Bonus. And with humor I planted a seed. Double Bonus. Now, let’s see what grows.