Real political subversion will be hidden from you by the media. When do you see a current celebrity interacting with rioters, or a mob of angry protesters? Never? There you go.
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Comedy stinks right now because you forced it to stink. You vilified every experience in life that makes a great comedian. You made the safe, sponsored version of laughter the norm. You’re so afraid to really laugh in front of other people, that you turned comedy from an anti-establishment weapon into a cottony security blanket.
Comedy stinks right now because of you. Because you’re afraid of your true feelings.
Let’s take, as an example, one of these pusillanimous women that the media holds up as Queens of Comedy. You know the ones, I don’t have to name them. They’re all over glossy magazine covers at the checkout aisles, making “zany” faces to remind you they’re funny.
Okay I gotta walk this one back a bit. Not for the reasons you think, like I’m afraid Ice Cube is going to beat me up/cut a “diss” track about me. Or the racial epithet, which, by the way, I’m not the one uttering.
No; it’s because an Ice Cube movie brightened up one of the darkest points of my life.
Wanna make sure I never watch your movie or show?
Title it “Dear White People”.
I won’t touch it. I don’t respond well to condescension. I could contract full-blown AIDS, “Dear White People” could have the cure, and I’d die happily, blissfully ignorant, broth bowl in hand, tumbling to the linoleum with a smile.
Any white person who would willfully watch something titled “Dear White People” is fearful of people who aren’t white. Period.
When you listen to a professional newscaster, you are hearing an “all-purpose” American accent, very similar to how black comedians make fun of white guys. It’s a mode of speaking designed to be understood by a wide variety of ages and backgrounds. It’s also totally alien sounding, especially when they lapse into a Spanish voice for words like “Nicaragua”.
In 1990, I relocated from New Jersey to Georgia. Originally, I had a curt New Jersey accent, like Jim Norton. My first year, I roomed with a guy from Rhode Island, and when I went back to Jersey for vacation, my friends couldn’t believe what a horror show my speaking voice had become. I was the caricature of the braying Yankee.
If I could go back in time 20 years, and tell my 24-year-old self that I’d be signing my own comics at Criminal Records in Atlanta’s Little 5 Points, I wouldn’t believe it. Mostly because at 24 I was incredulous about the feasibility of time travel.
I’ve guested at comic conventions before, but this was Criminal Records. They’ve had an almost mythical status since the 1990s, and their old location (it’s now Stratosphere Skateboards, another local business I highly recommend), which I visited often even before I lived here. It had cartoons drawn on the walls by Skip Williamson, Evan Dorkin and Bob Burden, just to name a few. I want to say Patty Leidy was up there too, but I’m going on memory here. Continue reading
If you’re still reminiscing about a high school field trip almost 30 years after your permission slip was signed, it was probably a pretty sweet field trip.
My Sociology class got to go to Rahway State Prison, circa 1989. It was so awesome, I went again the next year, when I wasn’t even in the proper class.
In the late 1990s, the grittiest show on cable television was Oz; HBO’s first one-hour drama. Continue reading