Tonight my Uber driver was a comedian. He didn’t volunteer this information. It came up organically through our conversation. It was friendly and not intrusive. I liked the guy and enjoyed talking to him.
When I asked his name, I totally knew him. He’s done “The Late Show,” The Late Late Show,” “The Tonight Show,” “Star Search.” In fact, he’s been working pretty steady for over 30 years. Bit parts on sitcoms, an HBO young comedians special — he’s a working guy. He didn’t list off his credits to me, I googled him when I got home. This was a good guy, at least from the brief 25 minute ride we spent together!
He was driving an Uber tonight to make some extra money. His son is in the hospital and it costs about $1500 a day for him to be there. I didn’t press him for details, but his son is 17 years-old and on the spectrum. Mental health treatment isn’t cheap.
Over the summer, this guy was writing for one of the biggest shows on television. Today, he was driving an Uber. He’s on hiatus and it’s a good way to make extra money. It was NOT Andy Kaufman working at Jerry’s Deli. It was a guy who needs to help his kid and just had no ego about it.
If you’re a big success, don’t be a big shot about it. If you’re chasing success, don’t think it’s going to solve all your problems. It reminded me of Alex Reiger’s great speech to Elaine in the very first episode of “Taxi.”
“Oh yeah, I know. We’re all part-time here. You see that guy over there? Now, he’s an actor. The guy on the phone, he’s a prize fighter. This lady over here, she’s a beautician. The man behind her, he’s a writer. Me? I’m a cab driver. I’m the only cab driver in this place!”