CHICAGO (CBS) — When 35-year-old stand-up comedian Steve Mazan learned he was dying of cancer, he decided to dedicate the rest of his life to living his dream – performing on The Late Show with David Letterman.

“For comedians, it’s the pinnacle. It’s like Johnny Carson used to be. It’s the best show to be on for comedians,” said Mazan, who lives in Los Angeles but grew up in Chicago.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Lisa Fielding Reports

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Lisa Fielding reports, Mazan, a full time comedian, says he always aspired to do Letterman but knew he was running out of time.

“I gave myself a year. I ended up taking me almost five years,” he said. “I knew it would happen someday but the diagnosis made me realize I can’t wait for someday, I needed to make it happen.”

The documentary, “Dying To Do Letterman” chronicles his journey and his eventual appearance in 2009.

“There were two endings to the show, either me dying or me appearing on the show. So it’s a happy ending, and I’m doing the interview…so,” he laughed. “This isn’t a documentary about cancer, it’s about living your dreams which we should all be doing.”

“Dying To Do Letterman” is premiering at the Just for Laughs film festival at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St., on Friday. It will also play there on June 30.

The documentary won the jury and the audience award in the Cleveland International Film Festival and best documentary at the Cinequest Film Festival.

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