What’s The Worst You Ever Bombed?

Failure has become popular among the circles of writers and speakers I pay attention to, a trend I think is very healthy if not a little over-enthusiastically endorsed some of the time. So I love “The Worst I Ever Bombed,” the web exclusives posted by The Tonight Show where comedians share truly horrific stories of their worst performances (see Rob Riggle below).

Bombing isn’t always a performance. I’ve bombed at the supermarket as my kid’s toddler tantrum spilled all over the produce section. I’ve bombed in small talk (“So when are you due? What’s that? Oh you’re not pregnant? Awesome). I bomb in marriage all the time. One time I gave my wife a Christmas gift about which she had to seriously had to ask me–with a straight face–“Is this a joke?”

What’s the worst you ever bombed?

I did a Children’s Sermon about six years ago only minutes after my wife and I had sniped at each other on the church patio. With my lavaliere mic on. So things were already shaky. Then mere seconds into my story about Jesus feeding the 5,000, I made the rookie mistake of soliciting a response from the kids. They obliged. One girl in particular obliged more than her peers, launching into a story all her own.

I politely cut her off after several seconds and continued about Jesus, but every time I took a breath, this little girl picked up her story right where she’d left off. After about five of these interruptions, the congregation started to chuckle. By her eight or ninth intrusion there was open guffawing going on, so I stopped my story and implored the congregation, “What would you do?!”

A loud chorus of laughter followed, which had the immediate effect of shaming this poor little girl. As she buried her head in her hands I did my best to assure her that they were laughing at me and not her. Bomb.

I prematurely ended the story, leaving a hungry crowd and a humiliated kid.

What’s the worst you ever bombed?


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