Thank God we got penitentiaries.
I asked a [convict], ‘why did you kill everybody in the house?’ The guy said ‘They was home.’

Richard Pryor, Live on the Sunset Strip

It’s not just the words. His inflection for the murderer sounds so light-hearted, almost like if you had a pet hippopotamus that spoke English and it only wanted your approval and also casually spoke about murder. “Sank a boat. Killed two people.” “Why?” “They were in the river.”

Bill Burr, “Ordering A Sandwich”

For someone attempting to build his future with a joke scaffolding, I’m stupid ignorant when it comes to stand-up comedy. (And also people are more shocked by the movies that I haven’t seen than interested in the ones I have, but that’s another captioned Youtube clip for another day [The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, Paul Blart, there].) Over the past three-or-so years a lot of my good buddies have independently called me a “fucking idiot” for not trying stand-up. Also, I’ve recently realized that I can write myself silly (or sad, as it were) and even get paid for it… But in order to meet people, I have to perform. (yeah friends, suck on that, i claim all responsibility for my decision and your kind words meant nothing nyaanya)

So I’m doing that soon! And you won’t hear shit about it because I’m not inviting anyone to see me for quite some time as my friends will not be privy to my onstage collapses and nerve-farts (more than they already are)! But I do need to educate myself in the meantime, and so I’ve watched a good amount of Bill Burr tonight— a name I know but could not place to any material I’ve heard. I don’t dislike his comedy, but I also don’t enjoy it, and I feel like this very short clip encapsulates why.

He’s pissed off because he goes to a sandwich shop and the employee directs him to the free-standing mayo where Burr can apply it himself. His argument is “This dumbass working at the Subway won’t do the full job that I’m paying him to do.” But the mayo was separated from the sandwich counter because it’s cost-effective for the company, not cause people are lazy. So my reaction (in my voice in my head) is “maybe Burr should try actual restaurants, where you pay more so that people will put the mayo or, hey, anything they have available in the kitchen, aka infinitely more options, on your sandwich for you.” Because what he’s doing is finding the fault in the system and blaming the little guy for it, and it honestly makes me a tiddle squeamish, same as with other comics that employ rage and never temper it with love.

I know I have angry thoughts like that, but I try to catch myself in those moments, as it calms me and, of course, attacking myself is what’s funniest to me; “seriously Brian? you’re pissed off because this guy won’t put mayo on your sandwich? well with all the fuckin mayo you love to guzzle i guess you can’t lean those mayo-tubes you call legs on the gas pedal and motor your Rascal across the Subway, hammering into the wall until the mayo bottle wobbles off the counter and tumbles into your mouth, half-sticking out like you’re a first-time bong user.”

I’m not gonna pretend that’s funny but need I remind you that the whole point is that I can’t even make a joke out of tiny hate like Burr does because I don’t know how. And it’s not like he’s terrible for it, I’m simply exploring what comedy means to me and why his anger bothers me and how i will use it in my own stan *i float away on some rainbows and clouds still rambling to myself*

edit: I’m glad I didn’t suppose too much that he’s not self-aware

Anonymous Leaks Horrifying Video of Steubenville High Schoolers Joking About Raping a Teenager ‘Deader than Trayvon Martin’

A friend shared this with another on Facebook. Since I treat Facebook like a combined comedy playground + laboratory, I tried to make a joke. Someone replied, and I got the chance to question what I’m doing even more than my anxiety over being hated usually forces me to. I imagine that my point of view is very similar to what my friends expect from me, but I feel like I came up with a couple of thoughts new to me.

Since I do all my best writing in Facebook comments, here we go:

  • Brian J K Regan oh so now we have to ruin these young men’s promising comedy careers??? when does it end
     
  • M. Q. what part of that is comedy? or are you being facetious? either way, no.
     
  • Brian J K Regan I dunno I wouldn’t be surprised to hear Leno rip “She’s raped deader than Trayvon Martin” later this week

    (M.Q.: there are people commenting on the Jezebel article that defend this video, writing that “people make objectionable jokes in close company all the time.” My point is that the monologue captured in this video isn’t even jokes, it’s just topical comparisons meant to shock, and that anyone who believes this is “shock comedy” is really overestimating the amount of thought these boys put into their words. This is, in effect, an illustration of the divide in comedy about rape jokes: unacceptable ones use rape, “acceptable” ones discuss rape. Since I like to contribute to positive discourse, in writing my comments I want to draw a connection between anyone who defends these boys’ sense of humor to the fucking rape apologists who bemoan the rapists’ futures— hopefully anyone who would read it would see that.

    But you didn’t. So I’ve failed, not you. And maybe this apologetic analysis/follow-up joke can make up for it or clarify for anyone else. I would hope that Olivia isn’t FB friends with anyone who would be illuminated by my joke in the first place; either way, I approach serious topics this way because it’s good practice for my future, more fun/less sad for me than rehashing all the real articles I read on these topics, and a way to reach people whose eyes would gloss over at any two paragraph long comment like this one.

    If anything about my approach still makes you uncomfortable, _please_ continue the discussion.)

Anonymous Leaks Horrifying Video of Steubenville High Schoolers Joking About Raping a Teenager ‘Deader than Trayvon Martin’

My Late Thoughts on Seth Macfarlane and The Onion’s Jokes About The Oscars, As Originally Composed on a Facebook Wall, My Preferred Medium These Days

Since I’m OUT ON THE ROAD and SLEEPING LITTLE, and everyone else seems to have tackled the discussion from nearly all angles, I’m going to try to be concise and unique with mine.

These jokes could have contributed positively to discourse: you just have to look at all the people attempting to defend their satirical component to see that. But discourse is not just the words and the ideas behind them, it’s the context/execution as well. (I know you know this but this is a term paper so bear with me).

MacFarlane’s song was built upon a very real lens that men take to film. I have a running gag with Mike where every once in awhile, a movie or an actress will come up in conversation and I’ll just rattle off a statistic: “Ah, yes, of course, ‘Prozac Nation,’ directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg, based on the memoirs of Elizabeth Wurtzel, and featuring Cristina Ricci mostly full-frontal for approximately ten seconds.” That’s not a fact that I searched out for the sake of performance, it’s information about the world that I picked up in the process of living (the patriarchy affects us all in different ways!), and I bet Seth found the inspiration for the song in a very similar headspace.

The difference is that I’m staging my bit for Mike in our home, alone, the same exact place where I ramble on at him about progressive topics on a regular basis. I’m not taking this out to bars to try and make new friends, I’m not even busting it out for people who know me well, and I’m certainly not saying it on a stage at the opening of an international celebration. I’m also going out of my way to create a character who is objectionable and creepy (which would be my same approach if I took the idea to an open mic), rather than MacFarlane’s swaggering, glistening-in-charisma everyman. Satire needs to be angry at heart, but he reveled in this shit without any sort of suggestion at what he _really_ thinks, if anything. It kinda pisses me off because he found a well of content and then poisoned it with the easiest take possible. (waaah now i cant do my dum joeks)

And I think that does a good job of framing the next topic: The Onion. If they had written an article in typical Onion format about the exact same joke, featuring fake quotes with producers, agents, citizens on the street, then it would have been commentary on the how much we expect from our celebrities and how violent the language and relationships of show business are; even this precocious adorable girl is not spared from being treated the same way as, well, every other human being in showbiz who deserves decency.

But it was a one-liner, likely thought up in a writers’ room full of drunk folks who are a little bit miserable that they’re stuck live-tweeting the Oscars rather than making their way down the red carpet. (fuckin writers, man) After someone suggested it, the whole round table may have hashed it out, loved the idea, knew that it did have a point— but that point couldn’t be made in 140 characters, and writers have to remember that we’re not inside their heads, extracting the other 6000 characters necessary to go “ohhhhh, I get it.”

In both cases, there are the intellectuals who will defend the jokes by pointing out the nuance that “was there for anyone who looked hard enough!” But c’mon. I can barely even look at MacFarlane in the first place, so I don’t have high hopes for everyone else.

Context is everything. A comedian must be crystal clear about his point, but not so analytical that he bores the audience. Oh, and funny too. wait that’s really hard

Dear Coquette: On taking a joke.

dearcoquette:

I can take a joke on the nose. Really, I can. So why am I slightly slighted at Louis CK jumping to the defense of this Tosh asshole? (let’s be honest, Tosh is about as funny as Carrot Top) Yuck.

So, why am I a little peeved that the one comedian I have a shred of respect for is jumping to the…

Louis C.K. does not try to marginalize rape when he defends Daniel Tosh, but he does; Daniel Tosh’s continuing success shows people that you can yell about rape at an individual and still make millions of dollars a year and have a TV show and famous friends. Louis C.K. contributes to that image. The circle of life.

My disagreement with his decision does not mean I am boycotting Louis C.K. In fact, I’ll probably forget his involvement by next month. I can’t get too worked up about him, because I recognize what his role is in all this. (Not to mention that I probably contribute to the patriarchy by 8am what he does in a week lol)

I would bet that Louis doesn’t like that the public opinion of a damn famous comedian has been struck so hard by a somewhat unverified account written by a unknown blogger. Lenny Bruce was put out of work and, well… killed by his obscenity trials. It worries me a little too, and even with the tone of my last piece, I want to make it known that I’m not calling for Daniel Tosh’s head. I’m calling for our society’s head. (And then remaining on the futon in my basement, so far from galvanized)

Dear Coquette: On taking a joke.

A friend actually wrote to ask my opinion on Daniel Tosh

And I have been trying to write something for fun all night but felt no inspiration then realized I wrote a tome in response to her and that felt good and took energy so I might as well post it:

There are a lot of fine lines drawn in my head around this topic because I think about it so much and can’t find a simple resolution. Even in this discussion quoted above, I can find like 5 different points that I want to speak on, so I’ll start with one and see if I can hit them all.

Lately I have come to a distinction between jokes that offend and jokes that hurt. Many people (see: Ian Hundley) 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.”)

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.) Daniel Tosh cracks wise about rape, a million Ian Hundleys buy his album, and the people who might be hurt go unheard. That’s the patriarchy/supremacy/rape culture/whatever you want to use to describe our state of affairs.

That’s not to say that comedians cannot approach the subject of rape etc. It’s just that the Ian Hundleys 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 like Ian Hundley would defend my material by saying that rape victims are “oversensitive.” jesus christ

Note: I’ve never met Ian Hundley, but my friend, in prompting this, quoted a Facebook comment of his which read “Then dont go to a damn comedy show! especially with daniel tosh! If you are offended by a JOKE, Then im offended by your sensitive nature. So we are even.”

thedailywhat:

Lights Out: A chronology of comedians, remixed.

Not Safe For Work — salty language.

[mashable]

While Bill Hicks had plenty of sound effects they could have sampled, I loved the Chris Rock “Get Low” breakdown.

(Dude for some reason whenever I type “Chris Rock” it comes out as “Christ Rock.” This is not a problem for other people named Chris.)

I [google my name], it’s hard not to. Everyone I know, they google their names, see what people write.. And it’s so funny to read it because people always think that “oh man there’s no way he’d have time to ever read this.” Haha, yeah I do. I don’t do anything. I take naps all day!

“Using My Blackberry While Driving,” Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening by Aziz Ansari