It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the epoch of treats, it was the epoch of tricks, it was the hope of superhero costumes, it was the despair of being Robin.
I’m often asked in interviews how I became a comedian, and I can trace it to Halloween when I was just a tender, young 3-year-old. My brother and I were big Batman fans and my mom announced that she would be making us Batman costumes to wear while trick-or-treating.
I could hardly contain myself. Batman costumes, I chanted in my head over and over. This was going to be the best Halloween ever. Surely, there is no greater display of maternal love than for a woman to sew a Batman costume for her son, I reasoned!
Alas, when the costumes were handed out, they weren’t Batman costumes. They were a Batman costume and a Robin costume. And as the younger of the two brothers, you can probably guess which costume I had to wear. Ugh, Robin. To be fair, it was an awesome Robin costume that my mom had made, complete with yellow cape. But still, Robin.
She might as well have just lofted my brother above her head a la The Lion King and anointed him the favorite, while making me wear a dunce cap that read “Adopted.” No one wants to be Robin. Hell, not even Robin wants to be Robin. Not Dick Grayson, who quit being Robin to become Nightwing, and not Jason Todd who actually died so that he could stop being Robin. Nobody. Wants. To be. Robin.
For several years after that fateful Halloween, I would sneak into the hallway closet and pull on the Batman cowl that my brother had carelessly tossed aside, snapping it into place over my head. Even when I had clearly outgrown the costume a couple of years later, I would still cram myself into the Batsuit, causing it to rip and tear with the fat body I had developed after turning to snacks to drown my feeling of abandonment.
Witness the kids in the picture at the top of this post. I have no idea who they are, but take a look at how the older, ungrateful kid doesn’t even wear the Batman costume properly. He just slaps it on sloppily, not caring that he’s permanently damaging his younger brother.
When it is demonstrated to you at such an early age that nobody loves you, one embarks on a lifetime journey of wandering the Earth to seek out the warming caress of strangers’ laughter. That sweet, comforting laughter that fills the hole in your soul, telling you that at least in that moment, you are somebody’s Batman.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is, fuck Halloween.