Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Orange County Racist? Nooooooooo

So last night I had a set in Orange County and it was one of the most interesting nights in comedy I've had in a while. Because it was my first time performing at this particular venue, I stayed the entire show. I sat through twenty comics. Twenty. That's A LOT of comics to sit through.

Nevertheless, it was oddly fascinating. Aside from a couple of women and a couple of Hispanics, all the comics were straight, white males--my friend Guy notwithstanding. How do I know they were either straight and/or in the closet? Because every comic had a gay joke (or two) to prove it. Jokes like, "I'm anally celibate. And by that I don't mean I'm anal retentive about celibacy, I mean I'm anally celibate." Get it? He doesn't have anal sex?! Here's another. "I write poetry. Just because someone writes poetry doesn't mean their gay. Now, if you write poetry with a c**k in your mouth, you're gay." Tee hee! By the way, I followed that guy on stage. My opening line was, "I write poetry with a c*** in my mouth and I'm not gay." In the comedy biz, that's called "pandering to the audience." I got a huge laugh. Cheers, in fact. For the record, though, the statement wasn't true. I don't write poetry.

But I digress.

I was mostly fascinated by the racism. Obviously, as a comic, I hear a lot of racist humor. When I need a good fix of it, I can head to the Comedy Store and get some. In LA, though, the racism is usually in the form of a pointed joke. I might not personally think it's funny, but I can at least see where others might. Or I can at least see what the comic's attempting to do.

Last night was different. I heard jokes that were both corny AND racist at the same time. Like if you took out the racist element, it would be the kind of joke where you'd roll your eyes and think to yourself, "This guy should keep his day job." But when you throw the racist element in, the joke takes on a whole other dimension. I can't tell you how many times my jaw dropped last night. Guy and I would look at each other like, "Did he just say what I think he said?" It was awesome.

I'm kicking myself that I didn't record the other comics. Here's my favorite joke of the entire evening. The guy was in his late forties, early fifties. He wore ill-fitted jeans (a common theme throughout the night), an Angels t-shirt and sneakers. Here it is:
I was telling my buddy that my wife is a big complainer. She never runs out of things to complain about. He goes, "A real nagger, huh?" No. She's a short white woman, about this tall.

Here's the kicker: This guy is a SCHOOL PRINCIPAL in Orange County.

I heard "dirty Mexican" bandied about. The context, "I could by oranges from a dirty Mexican." That part was a riff, with no actual joke attached to it. Someone talked about being really disoriented, as if on drugs or something, and the only thing he could compare it to were Asian drivers. There was also a punch line delivered with the obligatory Asian accent, "Why you no..."

The trip was eye-opening. To be fair, there were some girls at the next table who seemed shocked at some of the stuff that was said.

Hopefully no one from the show will stumble on this page. Also, many of the comics were really nice. A lot of them came up to me to say they liked my set. One of them invited me to do his room, which I plan to do if he emails me.

And I'll be doing the show again next month. Hopefully I'll remember to tape some stuff (for my own personal use, of course). I should point out, however, that there were some people who made me laugh last night.

Okay, all for now.


brad said...

That's by far the best nagger joke I've ever heard.

VagabondLoafer said...

How does one know when a joke is not a joke, but instead racist or homophobic?
Is it like porno? – “I know it when I see it.” Does it depend on the comic? The audience? Is there a fine line?
I’ve heard the “nagger” joke before. A longtime friend was fond of that one. Without the n-word wordplay there would be no joke at all. I don’t think he ever “got it.” Eventually he became my ex-friend. How sad.
I’ve heard of lots of race-based jokes before. Some funny, some stupid, some I considered racist. Usually, if I know one who tells such a joke is “enlightened” I know the joke is not meant to be offensive. I usually consider the source.

Aaron said...

nagger, please..

ChozSun said...

You know, the "nagger" joke is corny as fuck. I cannot stop rolling my eyes. -plop- -plop-. Oh no, they rolled right out of my head due to the sheer corniest of that joke. Thank gawd I am a good typist.

You know what has always been a non-joke to me: Black people and watermelon. Ever since I was a little kid growing up in the South, not a day will go by when a white kid would recite some joke with the words "watermelon" and "insert any idiotic word used for Black people". I thought to myself, how can any black person love watermelon more than me. It is fucking 110 degrees in the summer. Who doesn't like watermelon in this god forsaken heat. How is that joke funny. I don't get it.

Guy said...

a) swisher was ON FIRE at that show,

b) a joke is too racist or homophobic when the funny is obscured by the creepy. lots of people make gay jokes that don't creep me out. i guess it's the difference between noticing something actually interesting or compelling about a group and just mocking a group for being different. in the OC, one comic told a joke that referenced 'black hermaprodite' something something deviate sex, and swish said something like 'apparently it's now deviate to be black'. and that was the issue, that to the comic, it appeared, it was humorously CRAZY that people are black. personally, i'm annoyed when people think being gay is just HILLARIOUS and kind of unthinkable.

i'm totally drunk right now.

Butternut said...

Poetry comeback. Classic.

You were in Orange Country, the whitest land in all of Southern California*. Sadly, you gotta expect it. I can tell it really bothered you since you actually had spelling mistakes in your blog, which is very unlike you. I chalk mine up to fatigue. Or beer.

A good friend of mine had a father who was a real racist. My friend knows better but will still tell the occasional racist joke. I feel bad for the guy because you can tell that it's really just a reaction to hearing it over and over again as a kid and not what he really believes. Still, he could just shut up. Another friend of mine tells the same kind of jokes occasionally. He's Jewish, so go figure. I remember one of our friend's, black, was at his Bar Mitzvah. It's like they don't put two and two together.

What I hate is ths stand-up comic whos bit is to make fun of the audience for 15 minutes. Oh yeah that's original. "So what do you do? Dentist? [insert stupid comment]" Rinse and repeat. One night 3 of the maybe 7-8 comics we saw said I looked like Jesus (had long hair then). Got old reaaaaaally fast.

Jesus was a dark skinned Jew. Good night, you've been a great audience!

*Simi Valley is probably whiter, but it's not a whole county.

ChozSun said...

"Jesus was a dark skinned Jew. Good night, you've been a great audience!"

Quoted for the truth. Now that is my new sig.

GL44 said...

Only a few comics can pull off jokes dealing with race and sexual preferences.

northside777 said...

Hey Laura,
I noticed your previous post with the line about Rove in it and I was wondering if you heard anything concerning John Kerry giving the name of a CIA covert agent’s name away on the floor of the Senate during the John Bolton hearings. I found a little odd that nobody in the news media seemed to care the Kerry broke the law since they made such a uproar with the whole Rove situation. I guess maybe it just has to do with Kerry being so irrelevant today and not some liberal bias in the news.

Antonio Gramsci said...

"Liberal bias" in the news.

Man, that's far better than any of the jokes Laura posted.

btw, I like jokes where the person makes fun of himself/herself. Like, "I'm a gay jew coon. Har har!" Now THAT'S comedy.

OsakaJack said...

The Master (Robin Williams) did it best:

"I'm a lesbian trapped in a man's body."

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