Monday, February 08, 2016

Watch What You Say


There is a war raging in the stand-up comedy community. I'm watching all these stand-up comics debating clean vs dirty. There is a small but mighty group of stand-up comedians that have become very vocal lately saying that going clean is not only the best way to do comedy; but if you don't, you are taking the easy way out. That any comedian that writes and performs dirty material is … well … not as good a comedian as they are.

I wonder how many of these stand-up comics smoke. Hasn't it been proven that smoking can kill you? Yet they do so anyway. What do they say when someone tells them they shouldn't smoke. They say “It's my life, I know what the risks are. Stay out of my business”. Yet these same individuals will look down their nose at me because I choose to work “blue”.

I use the term “blue” because because “dirty” is not really an accurate term. “Dirty” is used in an effort to make what I do different from what it is. “Dirty” gives a person the impression that I'm on stage swearing like a drunk sailor on leave talking in graphic detail about the lurid sexual things I've done or want to do.

That's what people think when they hear the word “dirty” they think objectionable.

Do I swear on stage, yes. Do I talk about graphic sexual things, no. I don't even talk about sex. If you are asking yourself if I could work clean, sure. I choose not to and for a very specific reason, I don't want to. That should be good enough for you and anyone else that may ever ask me that question.

Do I work without the swear words? Sometimes … but it's still blue because of the things I'm talking about. I'm not doing my material in front of kids or in front of a church congregation. Most of the time I'm doing my material in front of a group of people that are in a nightclub that serves alcohol. That's where I WANT to be, that's MY crowd. They enjoy what I do, I enjoy performing for them. Why does anyone feel the need to say what I'm doing is wrong?

It's this “shaming” of comedians that choose to not work clean that irritates me the most. We know what we're up against. We know that we can't work in ANY room. We also know that we probably won't ever be on TV. Yet we still do what we do. Why? Because it's what we feel we HAVE to do. Just like you “clean” comics.

Yet you tell us we're taking the easy way out, that “anyone” can write a dirty joke but it takes someone with “talent” to write a clean one because that takes a greater degree of skill. I saw a comedian post this gem recently; “If you can't write 7 clean minutes, odds are you can't write comedy”.

Really? I have news for all of you stand-up comics that seem to feel it's OK to spout this line of trash out. I hope that in the future the tide doesn't turn against you. Maybe then you'll understand how intolerant you appear to those of us that have decided to do what we feel the artistic need to do. If the roles were to be reversed I doubt that you would hear comics that chose to work “dirty” telling the comics that work clean what they were doing is wrong.

I respect comics that work “clean” do. Why is it they can't do the same? And don't tell me that you do while you're also telling me that by working whatever you consider “dirty” to be. You're contradicting yourself ...

Note: If you'd like to hear my verbal tirade about this listen to this episode of my Podcast The Spew

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