I’m just gonna go ahead and say it.
This decade fucking kinda sucked.Continue reading
Imagine if you will, a world parallel to our own, identical in many ways, disparate in others. Long story short, in this mirror universe, Bands I Useta Like was optioned by a major independent film studio, and made into a hit movie. It combined animation and live action, and because the producers had deep pockets, licensing songs for a decent soundtrack wasn’t a problem.
Whether I allowed the film to be produced at all was contingent upon the quality of the music choices. If they balked at a crucial song, or refused to include it, I would walk off the project. Which I did, and they replaced me on-screen with a real actor. Like I said, the movie was a hit.
The 2-disc soundtrack sold out of stores overnight. Even though it came packed in that shitty double jewel-box, which just winds up broken, on the floor of a car.
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