It's a rainy Sunday night in Colorado Springs, and comedians Jimmy Burns, Kris Shaw (pictured) and Marc Shuter have just wrapped their final stand-up performances at Loonee's Comedy Club for the weekend.
Lounging under fluorescent lights, the trio jokes with exiting patrons. Although they'd never met before this gig as is common on the aggressively paced national comedy circuit the three seem like the best of pals.
Burns, a veteran, is excited to have incorporated "Web cookies" into his routine. The bit was inspired earlier in the day by the 25-year-old Shuter, a rookie, who'd helped the former teacher clean out more than 1,000 cookies that were slowing his laptop.
The Indianapolis-based Shaw says he travels nearly 50 weeks of the year to make a living, always missing time with his wife and six children. On the road, he, like most comedians, shares venue-sponsored apartments, occasional rental cars and, of course, humorous material and friendly criticism with other comedians.
"I learn something from everyone I perform with," Shaw says. "I'm always studying."
During marathon cross-country drives and international flights, Shaw says he constantly scripts and polishes his routine. Then it's a stop in the next city, where he makes more spontaneous friendships that may or may not rekindle in coming months or years.
Some people think professional athletes have it rough on the road. But they're not the only ones; these guys prove that, indeed, "it ain't easy bein' funny."