I saw my first ever set of live standup comedy the other night. Oh man.
Look, I have the utmost respect for anyone who has the balls to get up on a stage and do anything in front of people, and especially something like comedy. I can’t think of anything more socially panful than telling a joke and having it fall flat. It’s one of the most awkward and painful things I can think of. So yeah, it takes genuine courage. But there’s a point when it stops being courage and instead becomes delusional self-regard. And these dudes (and one lady) had the latter in spades.
God, it was so awful. Besides the obvious nervousness and lack of stage skills, the jokes were so bad. Like, stuff that wouldn’t even be funny if you were standing around talking to the person socially. They all went for that thing where, if you go “dark” or “edgy” it’s going to be funny. And lots of racial stuff, which doesn’t really bother me as long as it’s funny. But it was stuff like: “I just moved into a new place. It’s real nice, the kitchen’s been redone. The stove is black, the sink is black, the fridge is black, the dishwasher is Mexican…” And “I saw this homeless guy. He had a sign that said ‘Home is where the heart is.’ And I said ‘you heartless bastard.’” And “You ever wonder what a fish’s vagina smells like? It would be weird if it smelled like people, right?” There was a girl telling jokes, and she might have been the worst. That last one was hers, as was this: “This girl said to me ‘don’t you have to be funny to be a comedian?’ and I said to her ‘Well, you work at Hooter’s and you don’t have a pretty face or nice tits.’” It was so bad, guys. So bad. You can’t even begin to understand. Oh! One more: “This is my impression of Mel Gibson: (sings, to the tune of “Wonderwall”) ‘There are many things that I would like to say to Jews, but I’m not allowed.”
Oh what a world this is.
oh boy. this made me feel a lot of things. bad comedy is bad, absolutely - the amount of crap i’ve encountered at various open mics over the last 3 years is staggering. well, it was staggering; i’ve developed a comedy callus of sorts that makes me able to sit through many rape & race jokes. so many rape & race jokes, guys. all of the rape & race jokes. i do comedy but i’m also a comedy fan and comedy can stink sometimes.
but it makes me sad to think that my man hyenabutter might write off live comedy altogether because he caught a lousy open mic. when you see great comedy, with jokes both hilarious and insightful, it’s wonderful. i’ll admit it might seem rare at an open mic, but it happens.
he’s right about the “edgy” thing and the delusion. there are comics i see getting up regularly and they are the WORST. that’s not just me talking shit - i’m talking about never seeing anyone laugh at them once. and they keep going. i often wonder what they think comedy is.
it also makes me sad that the “worst” one was the girl, but that’s a topic for another day.