My eyesight has always been just poor—I'm blind in my left eye and have very limited vision in my right. In 2009, I was backed into a corner: I could have two surgeries that might repair some of the damage in my right eye or I could go completely blind. Fortunately, the surgeries worked. When I got off the operating table, I looked down and saw my shoelaces. I'd never seen my shoelaces before without glasses or contact lenses. It was amazing—I felt like I'd won a war with the weakest thing about me. It made me expose and talk about my vulnerabilities. I started talking about these procedures onstage, and it was like a lightbulb went off. People really related to it.
You got your start in Seattle—tell me about it.
I was raised in Las Vegas with my mom and four sisters, but I always wanted a relationship with my old man. I'd never met him—just had a picture of him lying in bed with an Afro and huge sideburns. He was a pimp. So I traced him to Beacon Hill when I was 18 and ended up living in Seattle for seven years.
Darryl Lenox performs tonight and tomorrow at Seattle Comedy Underground. More info here.