A comedian takes the stage in a wheelchair. Some of the crowd knows him and others look confused. They’re not sure whether or not they can laugh at him, but after one joke, he’s won them over.
Lucas Waterfill is a 25-year-old comedian who performs two to three nights a week and is a staple at Crackers Comedy Club and Morty’s Comedy Joint. His jokes range from relationships and religion to his own disability.
Waterfill was born with cerebral palsy, a muscular disorder that caused him to need a wheelchair. This hasn’t stopped him from becoming one of the funniest comedians in Indianapolis.
Comedy is something that comes naturally to the Plainfield native. Waterfill found growing up in a suburb where no one is angry gave him an edge in his way of looking at the world and telling jokes.
“I write best when I’m angry,” he said. “I’m angry at something and think of something ridiculous to compare it to.”
He writes, edits, and stores all his jokes in his head. He has built a half hour worth of material that he feels is funny, and so do those at his shows. People look curiously at him when he takes the stage and seem to be unsure if they can laugh at his self-deprecating jokes. Waterfill breaks the ice by assuring everyone in the audience that they shouldn’t feel bad for him because he is better than they are.
“I don’t believe [that I’m better than everyone else], but I’m not here for pity laughs,” he said.
Living day to day, he has to deal with people looking down on him or being so afraid that they will offend him that they just avoid him altogether. Part of his routine is a story about someone coming up to him on the street and asking if they can pray for him. Some people want to pray for him because they assume that because he is disabled, his life is bad. He feels that he lives a great life.
“For every asshole that prays for you, there’s another person that buys you a drink, so it evens out,” Waterfill said. “If they pray for me while buying me a drink I’ll take it. I’m not above that.”
He has struggled about what jokes to take to the stage. At one point he thought about not making jokes about his disability, but decided to just keep doing what he does.
“I have jokes about everything; relationships, friendships, everything. Not just my disability,” he said.
His comedy career was started when he did an open mic at his church when he was 12. It didn’t go well.
“I got one joke out and froze up,” he said.
After that, he waited 11 years before taking the stage and performing again. During that time off he fronted a hard-core band and fought for rights of those left out by society.
Beyond comedy, Waterfill continues to spend his time volunteering and working as an activist. The 2014 IUPUI poli-sci graduate has worked with political campaigns in Indianapolis.
Part of his love of activism is to be in front of people and to be the center of attention.
“I want to be famous, I’ve always wanted to be famous,” he said. “I want people to listen.”
Waterfill performs at Morty’s every Wednesday and Crackers on Tuesday. He also performs with Rocketship Comedy and at the Hard Rock Café when he can. He will be starting an open mic at Thirsty Scholar on April 10. It will be an hour long comedy special (featuring two 15 minute acts and a half hour set) that will be two acts doing 15 minute sets and one half hour set.