We all need to laugh sometimes.
That is Scott Bennett's message onstage.
"You have to (laugh)," said Bennett in a phone interview in advance of his weekend shows at Wiseguys Comedy Cafe in Ogden. "Life is hard, especially if you have got something weighing you down. If you can make fun of it, it just makes things easier.
"I think laughter, not to sound clichA(c), but it is really the best medicine."
These are hard emotional times -- recession, unemployment, foreclosures. Bennett sees suffering people in his audiences -- and works to make their day better, if just for a little while.
A person who had recently lost his mother and was having a hard time moving past her death once thanked Bennett after a show. Bennett said the patron told him he needed a good laugh and the comic really helped him.
"You can change somebody's life, for the better or the worse," Bennett said. "Typically, hopefully, it's always for the better."
Bennett has had comedy on the brain since he was 8 years old and first watched Don Rickles hosting "The Tonight Show."
He moved from Utah to Las Vegas and decided to give comedy a shot in the entertainment mecca.
"It took a lot of courage. Oh, my gosh, I thought I was going to die," Bennett said about his first open-mic performance.
He didn't crash and burn onstage. Instead, he was asked to return.
Bennett had entered the Las Vegas comedy circle.
Still, he said, one good night doesn't mean you are immune to major bumps in the comedy road. He took his lumps early, including one particular show where he filled in for a comic on short notice.
What followed was a horrible and unforgettable set. Nothing went right and the laughs never came.
"I did so bad that one of my friends came up and whispered a joke in my ear so I could get off the stage," Bennett said, laughing about the experience.
"You learn that just because you have one good night, especially when you are starting out, doesn't mean you are going to have good nights the rest of the time."
The perseverance to keep going is what builds the stage persona, he said. Once the character is developed, the writing comes easier and the comedy gets better.
But it all starts with stage time.
"Stage time is gold to comedians when they are first starting out," Bennett said.
He found plenty of stage time when he moved back to Utah following a divorce. He now lives in Bountiful.
Avoid the PC
Bennett's stage material is based on political correctness -- actually, the lack of PC.
"I think it makes people more comfortable," Bennett said. "Being PC makes people hate each other because they are always walking on eggshells, looking over their shoulder at who is going to be offended."
It was a lesson he had to learn while headlining a Seattle club. He had recently written a joke that referenced Christopher Reeve. Bennett had gotten some great laughs from it. Just before the final show, he saw a patron in a wheelchair in the first row.
"I was too intimidated to do (the joke) with him in there," Bennett said. "I did my regular set. I omitted the joke."
After the show, Bennett was greeting the crowd and the man in the wheelchair said it was a good show, but he felt Bennett held back. Bennett admitted he had, and the man responded that the comic should never hold back, that it's better to approach the obvious.
"And that really made an impact on me. Now, I won't make fun of them. I will make sure they feel that they are a part of the show," Bennett said. "It works out a lot better."