This article is from the Stand-up Comedy FAQ, by Steven Rosenthal and Steve Silberberg (email@example.com) with numerous contributions by others.
A. Everyone experiences pain, of course. But a comedian has the ability to
use their anger and intelligence to refocus and reconstruct their pain into
entertainment. It's so obvious that it almost goes without saying, but
comedians are generally more intelligent and sensitive than the average
person. It's our undeniably superior (almost god-like) intelligence that
made life difficult for us when we were children. We could see through the
hypocracy and illogic of our parents and teachers, but because of our age
and size we couldn't do anything about it. The more we pointed out the
foolishness of our "superiors," the more they kept us down. But just as
pressure and heat transform coal into diamonds, it's that frustration,
social pressure and the heat of anger that transforms us into comedians.