Colin Winnette

The Monster Mask

I was a stand-up comedian for sixteen years, and that is a lonely life.  Before I agreed to do it, I forgot that the reason I liked to make people laugh was because it meant, for that moment, no one was looking at me.  For that moment, no one was thinking about what I was doing or why.  So then, for sixteen years, I was doing this stand-up act, and no one was looking at me.  I started wearing a monster mask and people laughed even harder.  I stopped telling jokes and started growling all the time, into the microphone.  One guy was laughing his ass off.  At my last show, a man stood up and said if he’s not going to get started I’m going to take you home.  He put his hand to a slender young creature all in white - which is a very trusting color to wear out - and I’m going to sleep with you.  Then I’m going to cook something for you.  Then I’m going to sleep with you again.   The woman stood up and left with him and I got to thinking, what the fuck am I doing with this monster mask on and with all this growling?  So I took the mask off.  I sat down by the footlights.  Nobody look at me, I said.  Nobody.  But that laughing guy - his eyes rolled back and up to watch the ceiling - was laughing off his ass.  You should have taken that mask off, he erupted, a long time ago.  He was on his back in the aisle, tipping side to side like a canoe.  You are my favorite person in the whole great big entire world of comedy!
Colin Winnette's writing has or will appear in American Short Fiction (January 2011), Necessary Fiction, The Ampersand Review, The North Texas Review, the Tex Gallery Review, The Denton Scramble, and Unsure If I Will Allow My Beard to Grow For Much Longer.  He blogs at and his website is at
     He is a MFAW candidate at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a curator/coordinator of Tex Gallery, a collective art space in Denton, TX (
     Part of him is still in Vermont.

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