I Just Signed with the Great Brian Regan!

A good name goes a long way in show biz. My name is Sammy Obeid (pronounced ‘Oh-bade’), and…

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Not sure if I ever shared this but it was the sweetest thing (is that how an employee should talk about his boss?)

I was at Lake Tahoe in the late ’60s. I already had the mindset that when people wanted to interrupt to say things, the first thing is to understand what they are saying, and then respond as if you were really interested in what a person was saying. When you listen to that, many times if you stay linear with it, you can get rid of ‘em post haste. So I walked out onstage, had on a brown leather suit, and the shoes I had on were high-tops and had sort of like a dark brown mustard color. It was a midnight show, so the people have a chance to medicate themselves with alcohol. The room holds 750—Harrahs, Lake Tahoe, one of the most beautiful rooms in the world. And a woman’s voice shouted out, “I hate those shoes!” And because of the way I think—which is not to challenge, not to beat up the person but to understand what the person has just said and to remain linear—I said, “Madame, you are very, very fortunate, because these shoes will not be performing.” And, man, I never heard from her again.

Joan Acocella: A New Translation of Boccaccio’s Decameron

The Decameron is hilarious (accidental necrophilia), bizarre (deliberate necrophilia), and, above all, varied (there’s more than just necrophilia). It’s a book of 100 stories displaying thematic arcs and including a group of narrators (with a story of their own), written three centuries before Shakespeare hit the scene. If you want to talk to me about pre-Renaissance comedy (even though this book may very well have kicked off the Renaissance), you’re gonna hear about this or Lysistrata. Both use comedy to explore the relationship between sex and power, and both are done so boldly as to be endearing— there’s nothing coy or squeamish in either —that I suspect Bocaccio and Aristophanes would have been shocked at how little our sexual politic has progressed, standing arm-in-arm with feminists, kinksters and swingers.

At least read the article as far as the tale of Peronella. It’s practically a scene out of Workaholics.

(Oh man and even further down Acocella refers to the book as a precursor to Much Ado About Nothing, my fave Shakespeare. Goddamn y’all it is scarily gratifying to see someone trace the literary lineage of these qualities, because it’s those same qualities in those same books that I followed in my thesis. If other [real] critics see the same evidence as I do, my predictions for the future of comedy hold a little more water for myself.)

Joan Acocella: A New Translation of Boccaccio’s Decameron

savetheworldlikekeanu said: obviously I have to recommend Bill Burr too. Patrice O’Neal never hurts either.

This may be a great time to make it clear to anyone, because I think I’ve talked him up enough on my other social meltdown platforms but not Tumblr: Patrice O’ Neal is now one of my favorite comedians of all time. Him and Doug Stanhope are my exciting comedy discoveries from this year. Patrice was honest, deeply honest, he didn’t care at all about what people thought of his act, and it comes through in content (some of the dirtiest sex jokes I’ve heard, all told with depravity maneuvered into the eye of the beholder and not inherent to himself) and behavior (listen in the link to those throaty gasping grunts he looses at some cleavage as he walks onstage). I draw a lot of inspiration from this great these days, and I came across him far too late.

in which i attack someone who wasn’t addressing me


You don’t fuckin know me. I enjoy a wide variety of wonderful foreign entertainment that I would recommend to anyone like La jetee, grave of the firefly, old boy, turtles can fly, spirited away, let the right one in, Howl’s Moving Castle etc. so

[macro from the dawn of the internet reading: “how about a nice cup of shut the fuck up”]

You pretentious, self righteous little snob.

So we agree that there is plenty of art out there, regardless of creator, that succeeds and moves you without reminding folks of their own oppressed status in a destructive way. If that’s the case, then if we were to cut all the hurtful shit out, you would still have these things that you like, right? (And I agree, pretty much all those movies kill it.) Because this isn’t about “oh dumb white boy can’t appreciate other cultures,” it’s about the laughable and pitiful fear that once the hateful shit is deleted we’ll only have unenjoyable dregs left.

If you’ve already got “a wide variety” of things you like, why defend the things you like that hurt people? It ends up looking like you choose to not compromise your own entertainment for the sake of others’ feelings. You would choose to laugh at a TV show rather than… Help people feel good. You would like to feel good at other peoples’ expense. And that’s truly your choice to make, but distilled to such a point— it doesn’t seem like a good way to conduct yourself, right?

And that’s not even bringing up the insults you’ve tossed my way (which, let me jump the gun here since I’m almost certain you’ll say I insulted you first, is so far removed from the inference I made about you through your writing. Calling me a “pretentious, self-righteous little snob” is only warranted if I called you a “hateful selfish ruiner” or something along those lines. But I didn’t and I still don’t. I just gave my thoughts on yours).

But it totally is Harpys screeching “you cannot do this, this can’t be allowed”.  It ALWAYS comes down to feminists telling writers what they should or should not produce based off some frail sense of moral idealism.

(Before I launch into what you’re getting at, please note that I said “feminist critique,” as in the concept, rather than feminists themselves. I did this because I don’t want anyone drawing up a strawman radfem in this conversation.)

(Also how could a sense of moral idealism ever be “frail” if it’s self-reinforcing? erk, careful)

Progressives find it futile, same as you do, to tell the creators what they can and cannot do. That’s why people don’t write letters to Fox Studios and Shady Enterprises, they write on tumblr. Even if a progressive rant is structured as “the writers of Let’s Murder Blacks should not make a show about killing black people” instead of “I don’t like Let’s Murder Blacks,” that show’s writers ain’t ever gonna see that tumblr post. You know it, I know it, and so we can assume the poster knows it. Both those hypothetical posts have the same meaning.

It will instead be read by that tumblr’s followers, who’ll think “oh, my friend was upset by the killing of black people. Even though she addressed her feelings to the writers of the TV show, I am able to examine the context and realize that it’s a writing device meant to share my friend’s feelings with me. If my friend feels upset about something, maybe I should check it out and see where I can show solidarity with my friend and be aware of my friend’s issues in the future.”

But if you don’t read between the lines, you think that this is some sort of advance and mount a defense: “that tumblr poster is telling writers to stop writing.” No, bru. She’s saying “in a perfect world I could say this and people would listen to me and respect my voice, but all I’ve got is the yawning void of the internet and my immediate social circle so I’ll do what I can to feel good about myself and let my friends know what makes me feel good.”

If it was just feminists saying ” i’m just not going to give you money” then they would just not give them money to produce that work and leave it at that. It’s that easy! no one is forcing you to pay money for the media you watch! No one!

I find it telling that you latched on to the financial part of the line rather than the emotional. You have it backwards. It’s not about the act of withholding money (though that is crucial) but sharing why one is withholding that money. And I’m pretty sure you’re against stifling speech/thought.

Is modern entertainment vulgar, violent, obscene and offensive? God yes! And my opinion of it? GOOD! I hope entertainment remains offensive! I hope it remains hurtful and obscene and moronic and absurd! I hope it constantly challenges our personal senses of morality and normality. As Louis CK  put it

“Offending people is a necessary and healthy act. Every time you say something that’s offensive to another person. You just caused a discussion. You just forced them to have to think”

Dudebro, I love Louis C.K.! Which is why I have this much more recent quote of his on hand and ready to counter yours:

     If somebody has the opposite feeling from me, I want to hear it so I can add to mine. I don’t want to obliterate their point… for me, any joke about anything bad is great. Any joke about rape, the Holocaust, the Mets… But I’ve read some blogs during this whole thing that have made me enlightened to things I didn’t know. This woman said how rape is something that polices women’s lives. They have a narrow corridor. They can’t go out late, they can’t go to certain neighborhoods, they can’t get a certain way, because they might get- That’s part of me now that wasn’t before.

That’s right: Louis C.K. wants to hear when people are offended by him because he might learn something.

Demand to be offended! Demand to have your emotional and moral tolerances tested and pushed to their limits so you can grow some god damn skin and learn to laugh at the inherent absurdity of this world!

Us white dudes, Morgan, we have a weird approach to the idea of “offense” because of our birthright. Here’s something I wrote back when Daniel Tosh told a woman it would be comedy gold should she be gangraped:

Lately I have come to a distinction between jokes that offend and jokes that hurt. Many people conflate the two, believing that the audience’s reaction to comedy is a simple choice made by the audience in that moment; for nearly all subject matter, this IS true! Swearing a lot or sick morbid cringe-worthy humor can dredge up “MY WORD!” responses from those who might be offended, but that offense comes from a cultural holdover, a relic of a simpler time. The offended thinks to himself “this is indicative of a degrading society” and gets angry about that.

Hurtful jokes are a little different. When an audience member is hurt by a joke, he is reminded that there are some things in his own life that aren’t funny, and those things are not a choice. Then, as if that’s not enough, the hurtful joke pushes that member outside the rest of the audience (“Oh, you were raped and so you don’t find this funny? Well, we all do, we all find this joke super normal and not painful at all cause we haven’t been raped, weirdo.”)

This exists because white men drive comedy, both in terms of consumption and production. White men are the least empathetic people in the world. We can afford to make fun of others’ race, gender or history of rape because we are so far removed from it. We simply cannot fathom being upset about these things because there’s no frame of reference. (Even though it’s presumably rife with edgy material, not many people joke about the horrors of war because even white dudes suffer in war.)

“That’s not to say that comedians cannot approach the subject of rape etc. It’s just that the [assholes] of the world don’t give a shit about comedy’s effect on society so long as they hit their quota of gang-rape mentions, so they defend “free speech” and that’s the extent of their argument. I found that the best comedians always ask “why” about their topics, and, in turn, shape their message. Tosh, after responding to his heckler, had the opportunity to ask the audience why they, as a body of people, are somehow able to laugh at the idea of a woman SITTING IN THE SAME ROOM AS THEM being gangraped— but rather than approach a real question, a dangerous question that may have turned the audience against him, a question that would take some real comedic chops to work with… He took the easy way out.

I don’t ever want to get onstage and remind someone that they are suffering. Especially if dickfucks would defend my material by saying that rape victims are “oversensitive.” jesus christ

Can it hurt people? Alienate them? Hell yeah it can. But it`s still better than the alternative. A dry, grey, child proof, overly politically correct spoon fed pile of easily digested shit!

I’d remind you of all those wonderful movies you listed above that are anything but bland & sterile and still somehow manage to hurt way way way less people than so much of pop culture. It’s almost like attempting to be sensitive correlates little to the success of art. whoa.

By the way, even if you don’t agree with that, you’re still objectively making a slippery slope argument. Poor form.

Instead of sifting through every fucking piece of entertainment with a fine toothed comb to point out every single remotely low brow or offensive joke or reference that could ever be uttered by the human mind just to politely inform people that

I am not going to give you money if you keep hurting people because this does not fit with my outlook.”

how about you just stop giving them money, change the fucking channel, watch what ever the hell you want and stop trying to tell artists what they should or should not produce. 


Or, how about I stop giving them money, change the fucking channel, watch whatever the hell I want and go ahead and share my thoughts on anything with anyone because (and, as mentioned before, I’m certain you would agree) there is NOTHING wrong with speaking freely. tho you did start your post telling me to “shut the fuck up” so maybe you believe there are some people who aren’t allowed to speak idk

I’m glad you’re willing to engage with me on this because I was disappointed when you didn’t reply to me after this post. I’m looking forward to your reply to either!

“Racists React To [thing]” posts are just passive white supremacy

To sum up a very well-written and thought out piece: public shaming both a.) puts focus on the racists rather than the oppressed deserving appreciation and b.) still positions minorities as the Other, associating their accomplishments with a “struggle.”

And while I agree that these type of shaming posts are largely shared in order to circlejerk, it can’t be dismissed that shaming is a powerful and contemporary tool for equality. It shows one person and, by extension, everyone else in his/her life, that certain behaviors are going to rain down as much disapproval as yelling slurs does. Pretty much everyone featured on Public Shaming deletes their twitter accounts soon after. The problematic part isn’t the concept behind the lists, it’s how people consume the lists.

That said, now that Buzzfeed realized that there’s an audience for them, we will likely see many more easy-to-pass-along social media invocations of our own purity that offer little commentary on the actual content. I personally don’t share them on Facebook, and the only time I’ve reblogged Public Shaming was to vent about Steubenville. My reasoning is that my friends are great people who likely will not glean anything new while I only page through them because I think keeping these sorts of issues at the front of my mind helps me conduct myself with empathy (which I think is another way that shaming can positively influence the individual).

so basically i’m not complicit and the best person lol

But this article showed up on my tumblr dashboard at a good time. Mere minutes before finding it, I laughed at someone’s observation that “being a mermaid would be great because you have no period, no legs to shave, and you can lure men to their deaths.” It bubbled up a frequent self-evaluation of mine, the worry that I enjoy this sort of humor and progressive topics in general more because I like the feeling of being smarter/better than others instead of real desire to help.

Thankfully, framing the question in comedy (and reading this article) helped me arrive at a (gloriously self-serving) conclusion.

When I laugh at some variation of the phrase “kill all men,” it is not out of a place of male (or white, or cis, or swag) guilt or separation from the plebes or even hoping some feminist will appreciate my rhetoric enough to whip them thangs out. It comes from the surprise of hearing a fresh joke, a joke that could not be made until very recently.

I like to read jokes. My thesis traced a particular genre of humor from the Roman Empire to Louis C.K. I’m realizing now that maybeI dig this stuff so much because I’m a little bored with the jokes straight white dudes have been making for the past few millennia, and, up until the internet, there was no platform or audience for comedy attacking straight white dudes. (Please note, I don’t consider “black guys do this but white guys do this” as an attack. It’s a subversive observation, but it ain’t biting.)

I haven’t read every joke in the world; I know there have been feminist humorists throughout history. (I’ve even studied some!) It’s not about whether the jokes were told, but whether they were successful, processed, understood or accepted.

It so happens that they finally are (as evidenced by my own reaction to “kill all men” and the sudden arrival of its prevalence as a punchline [which also may get boring real soon, who knows?]) which I hope indicates a major change: the genre of humor I followed in my thesis is “utopian” (self-coined, source me if you refer to it in an academic paper dawg). Comedy that attempts to elevate humanity and asks us to consider other points of view. Lenny Bruce. Richard Pryor. Bill Hicks. George Carlin. Louis C.K. Bizarro World Daniel Tosh.

My conclusion then and now is that the direction comedy is heading, the value that will soon be at heart for the highest-regarded comedians, is a call for unity. That humanity is so connected these days that we’re finally kinda able to put ourselves in others’ shoes. The jokes shouldn’t be touchy-feely and kind-hearted, they need to shake us. They require the daring required to break from thousands of years of tradition. They’re jokes that, despite everything you’ve been told about jokes, actually matter.

Damnit, y’all. I’m choking up.

“Racists React To [thing]” posts are just passive white supremacy