Ever want to know who the rapists in your town are? Just go to an amateur comedy night. They’ll be the ones onstage, proudly telling you about it.
I guess I’m exaggerating. Only half of them had stories about rape. Only half. While I’m sure most if not all were hyperbolizing or making stuff up, sorry, I don’t have the time to play Schrödinger’s rapist over here. You just said into a microphone that you raped somebody. I’m not giving you any credit.
While I was pretty pissed about the face value of the awfulness of rape jokes, which goes without saying is awful, I was mainly just annoyed and bored. BORED. B-O-R-E-D. I know the bar is set pretty low with amateur standup, but these guys managed to dig a pit halfway to China. Listen, guys, better comedians than you have tried to tackle these same jokes and fallen flat. Your rape jokes make you as edgy as a sphere. It’s been done before. It’s pretty much the lazy comedian’s go-to set of jokes. I can always tell a bad comedian by how quickly they bring out the rape jokes.
The point of comedy is to be funny. The thing about successful offensive jokes is that they’re always funnier than they are offensive. The more offensive they are, the funnier they have to be, and sorry, but we are one step above open mic night, and you are not there yet.
When not talking about rape, there was a veritable buffet of racism, homophobia, misogyny, fat bashing and trans bashing, enough to give Daniel Tosh a year long boner. All just as tired and lazy as the rape jokes. There’s nothing new. What are we doing here and why are you wasting my time?
Maybe it’s because I’m too much embedded in “other” culture to be able to laugh at this stuff. I’m a woman, (the only woman on stage, I might add) I’m gay, I have so many friends who are trans or fat or not white. They’re people to me, not punchlines. Or punching bags may be more appropriate for the type of humor here. If your punchline is just “And she was fat!” I’m going to give you a blank stare and say “So?” What kind of skill goes into crafting a joke like that? It’s cheap and easy as all the beer I drank trying to keep myself from forming any permanent memories of that night.
My own set didn’t go so great. It was a tough crowd, the MC mentioned it being an unusually silent audience that night. I got some laughs, but I rushed the main joke I had prepared because I was worried about running out of time and it fell flat. I got in a good one about vaginoplasty, but my fart joke went unappreciated. Oh well. I’ll do better next time. I’m still relatively new at this. What’s ironic is I was worried about being too offensive with my swearing and pornographic jokes. I passed on a really good set of abortion jokes. But I was the first one to go on and had no idea what would follow. (By the way, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get a video up, and if I do, not for a while.)
There were a few up there who didn’t go for any offensive jokes, and a few who made me laugh. I stayed through the whole thing, mostly to be fair to the other performers and give each one a chance. But damn, a comedy night shouldn’t be some kind of mental marathon in which they see how long I can go before my eyes roll so far back in my head that they create a wormhole that sends me back in time to keep electricity from being invented so none of these fucks could ever use a microphone.
I’ll save you the effort of commenting on how I’m just a humorless feminist by pointing out that humorless people generally dont perform standup comedy and make careers out of telling funny stories. Being serious right now doesn’t mean I can’t also be funny. I’ll save you the effort of declaring I’m just jealous that they got more laughs than me by telling you that they didn’t get more laughs than me. Really, this has nothing to do with me. The problems would be the same had I performed that night or not. I wanted to laugh, and they didn’t make me laugh, and that’s the most offensive thing in a comedy show.
Part of me wanted to stop doing standup then and there if that was the kind of bullshit I’d have to put up with every time. But the rest of me knows that if I let that chase me away, then that’s all comedy becomes, just this lowest common denominator. Now I’m even more determined to do this over and over. But I’m wary of performing at that venue, and probably will avoid it for a while.
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