I was recently contacted through my website by a pregnant black woman who inquired about hiring me to perform standup at her baby shower. She and her husband were diehard comedy fans, and thought it would be fun to have a comic perform for their guests.
“How did you find me?” I asked. “I Googled ‘Fat Black Female Comics’ and you were one of the women that popped up!” she answered. “Everyone knows that fat black women are the funniest comics alive!”
After I hung up the phone, I sat there for a moment trying to figure out if I should be offended or not. While I understand that she was trying to be complimentary, I’m not sure if I am flattered by someone thinking that I am automatically funny just because I am plus-sized and black. Then I thought about the $1,500 she offered to pay me to stand in the middle of her living room and crack jokes for 30 minutes, and I instantly felt better. Throughout my career, I’ve been paid much less to do far worse. There was plenty of time for me to be offended later, but for now it was time to get paid!
Comedy is hard work, no matter what you look like. The perception that fat black women have an edge up, purely because of the size of their bodies, diminishes the amount of hard work, discipline and creativity that it takes for us to create this art form known as comedy. Furthermore, I think it’s crazy that someone would assume that all fat black women are funny.
On the other hand, I get it. Keep reading »
It’s not easy to make offensive jokes about ignorance. One person’s ignorant joke can be another person’s joke about ignorance and even if your comedy has the best of intentions, it’s frequently misunderstood. Offensive humor is tricky to balance, but smart humorists can do it well.
I believe Mindy Kaling from “The Office” is extremely smart and that she deserves all the success she’s garnered from her book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and her upcoming sitcom “The Mindy Project.” But after watching the pilot for “The Mindy Project,” which is airing on Hulu Plus, I have to say I was disappointed about several squicky jokes made about race. Keep reading »
“I so didn’t, and I so don’t care about you asking about it.”
– That is Chelsea Handler‘s response to a journalist for Marie Claire @Work asking her about the rumor — legend? slur? — that she only got her show “Chelsea Lately” because she was dating the former head of E! Want to see me become irrationally angry and start breathing fire out of my nose? Suggest Handler only got her show because she slept her way to the top. I have a torn a new asshole on many a buffoon who has dared suggest that luck, talent, hard work and savvy had nothing to do with it. Her bestselling books? Her (since-cancelled) sitcom? Her comedy tours? Her roundtable of comics — like Whitney Cummings — getting their own shows? Her ex-boyfriend’s penis must have been pretty damn magical to make all that happen. Keep reading »
Nevermind easing off the Fancy Feast. Just get your kitty a pair of cat Spanx! That shouldn’t be hard to put on her at all. Cats just love wearing clothes. [BuzzFeed]
Wouldn’t it be funny if the boys that photographed themselves assaulting Savannah Dietrich got raped right now? Also, that priest, Monsignor Lynn, who is going to serve three to six years for failing to investigate sex abuse claims against priests — wouldn’t it be hilarious if he were raped in prison? And Jerry Sandusky? Just picture him in the showers with a bunch of bigger guys! Are you laughing? No? Well, that’s because imagining someone getting raped is about as humorous as imagining someone stepping on a landmine or getting car-jacked. It’s terrifying and no one deserves it.
But using rape in a joke is another story. A couple of years ago, I taught a writing course at The New School called Humor and Controversy. The premise was that humor artists like Margaret Cho, Chris Rock, and Sarah Silverman speak with more insight and honesty about race, sexuality, reproductive rights, gender, religion, and class than most politicians, which is why comedy is important. Students were encouraged to use wit and self-deprecation to shed light on thorny issues. One prompt was to write an essay entitled “My Rape Fantasy.” Keep reading »
I will never for the life of me understand why men whip their dick out in front of strange women. Especially when it is flaccid. What woman in the world has ever said, “Oh my god, you know what I need right now?! Your penis! Your flaccid penis! Thank God you are here!” Comedian Sasheer Zamata did a skit for the web series Storytime about this very occurence. She’s just better able to laugh about it than most of us. [Clutch Magazine]
Two weeks have passed since Daniel Tosh joked that it would be funny if five guys raped a woman in his audience and the shit hit the fan. But did no one learn anything about how to handle a heckler?
Seemingly not. Comic Eddie Griffin
is going to may be sued — and he took a thrown drink to the face! — for taunting a female audience member about being a lesbian.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, Fiona Walsh, 39, of San Jose, went with her partner Leslie Champlin to go see Griffin perform at Tommy T’s Comedy Club. During the show, they sat in front of the stage. As the set wore on, Walsh thought the comedian was drunk and not very funny. Onstage, Griffin noticed Walsh wasn’t laughing and (drunkenly perhaps) told her she looked “rigid” and like a “librarian.” At some point during all this, he noticed Champlin’s hand on Walsh’s shoulder and started yelling at the couple about their sexuality; he offered to have sex with them, saying he would “show them a good time,” and pumped his hips in Walsh’s face from the stage. She then threw a drink at him and he threw water bottles right back. The couple was “escorted out” of the club while other audience members hollered.
Again we have a case of a comedian 1) acting like a major dick to his audience and 2) not being funny while doing so. But this situation is different than the recent one with Daniel Tosh. Keep reading »
Okay, JGL, we forgive you for “misspeaking” and saying that pretty girls are rarely funny. Now come over here and give me a kiss. [Yahoo]
Louis C.K. just got 100 percent lamer, in my opinion. I just watched this rape joke reel put together by the feminist org, the Women’s Media Center, to show that Daniel Tosh’s not-funny rape joke last week was not an abheration to comedy. (You can read the whole backstory here.) Tosh has made plenty of other not-funny rape jokes in the past and both Dave Chapelle and Louis C.K. — who came to Tosh’s defense on Twitter — have wasted some precious comedy capital as well. As the WMC puts it, these are all rape jokes that comedians make for cheap laughs. They do nothing to make a statement about our culture. I hope that one day Louis’ daughters grow up and ask him, “Daddy, why were you making jokes about rape?” (Daniel Tosh, you can kindly not procreate, kthx.) [Women's Media Center] (Put your headphones on at work, because the audio is NSFW.)
[Personally, I think most of these jokes are being presented out of context. Some of them -- having seen them in full context -- are actually "good" rape jokes in my opinion, while others are cheap. Kind of hard to judge their quality when taken out of context though. Or, as George Carlin's voice references at the end, out of their full construct. -- Editor]