By Took Edalow
If you read this and want to know more about after I posted this and thoughts go to the home page of this blog and read the follow up piece.
“Everyones got an Uncle Bigot” is something my lovely feminist comedian partner John Murdock says in his act. The thing about Uncle Bigot or Senile Republican Grandpa is that they are old as fuck. Their time is done to really make a difference in the world. Most people brush them off as “crazy old asshole”. Because thats what they are. They hear no one elses opinion and refuse to even consider they may be wrong. Its hilarious. No one takes them seriously and if they do they are the people I am talking about today who are significantly less funny than Uncle Bigot.
If you know me, you know I am a comedian, performance artist and an activist. I often look to make a political and/or social points in my stand up and performance art. This past weekend I ventured out of my generally feminist artist circles to go to a comedy mic.
I had an.. um interesting experience. A comic went on stage and did a full five minutes of Cosby jokes that were like “Cosby may be a racist, but hes still a comedy legend”, probably said some funny shit like “No ones trying to go to a Cosby show now, tickets are cheap” and then ending on a line that was something like ” When women get raped its not funny, but when men get raped its funny.” Some comic in the audience was like “I’ve been raped, by a woman” as joke or something and the comedian calls him a “Faggot”. The entire room of mostly male comedians found this to be hilarious, the women did laugh too.
I was pretty disgusted that his whole set was about rape. I was just like why the fuck do male comics feel the need to talk about rape all the time. When I hear a male comic get on stage and say the word rape a bunch of times I tend to have a strong reaction. I have seen a ton of comedy where the subject of the rape is dealt with in a way feel is cheap.
I had my strong reaction and approached the comic and said what was definitely some harsh words. I think it was my pent up frustration at the misogyny and mockery of sexual abuse I see in comedy and everywhere else. I think it is not unreasonable to have an intense reaction to a set that is ultimately about rape. Other comics were pretty pissed at my reaction.
The comic who actually did this set I found to be a reasonable guy who seemed to hear where I was coming from. In a nutshell he told me he was going for “shock value” comedy. I may be going for social and political points in my comedy, but that is not what everyone is going for. The comic and I discussed that for me I react strongly to sets about rape and sometimes it is difficult for me to actually take in what is being said due to my frequent frustration. I did apologize for my harsh words and still do wish I had approached him more calmly, asked more questions, etc. I came to this conclusion and explained it to the other comic who was pissed at my reaction, explained to him my trauma surrounding sexual violence. He seemed to understand and gave me a hug. This Hugging Comic is no Hugging Saint.
What I find absolutely disgusting is that the hugging comic felt so strongly about what I said even after hearing where I came to after calming down the need to write about what happened and lie about the results. He basically proved my point that misogyny and irresponsibility around traumatizing subjects is alive and well in the male dominated field of stand up comedy.
Here is me picking apart his less funny Senile Republican Grandpa impression:
1. Referring to himself as a “sane person” implying I am an insane person for having a strong emotional reaction to a set that patted a serial rapist on the back for his comedic talent and carelessly spoke of man on man rape as funny. And saying men who get raped by women are faggots? Sure its not meant seriously, but its not insane to have a strong reaction to it.
You can say comedy has no effect on the behaviors and opinions of people in our society, but it does. I know men who have been raped and/or physically assaulted by people of all genders and feel they cannot speak out about it because our patriarchal society expects men to be macho and will not allow them to victims of such traumatic acts. Only women are allowed to be sad about rape which is a double edged sword because it implies the same old bullshit that women are weak. We may be allowed to be sad, but we’re still labeled liars way too fucking often. Another set I heard later that night referred to women as liars for faking orgasms. Great punch line. Not.
2. The multiple comments on my appearance definitely made him look intelligent and original.
– The body paint. He can say its not a cheap attack on my appearance, but it is clearly there to make a point that again I looked “crazy” or “insane”. I’m so sorry sir for being a crazy irrational lady… Did I look weird? Did I look funny? Are you surprised a comedian looks ridiculous? Are we trying to all look the same and cool? Yep thats definitely what comedy is about, everyone looking the same and trying to look normal. Oh and by the way I was out performing all day, on the streets, what did you do? Promote a racist piece of shits campaign? You definitely share the same views that colorful people are to be shit on and ignored.
– My armpit hair is fucking awesome and I can braid them and dye them if I want to.
3. “These People”- Who are “these people”? People who question? People who consider feedback and admit when they may have chosen to react poorly? Uncle Bigot never does that! People who have a different opinion than mainstream comedy? People who believe in the power of words and want the world to be a better place? Feminists? Feminism is supposed to be about the equality of all genders and races. Its interesting that my main issue with the set was the men getting raped “joke” so clearly this is not just some female righteous thing. This is about how topics are discussed.
4. Mentioning that he’ll pray for me because my parents are alcoholics? First of all, Christ would love the shit out of me because I stand up for equality and those who are less heard. This coming from the daughter of an over protective jewish mother and ex-southern baptist comedian father who make all their money off of art and inspired the me.. so uh fuck him. And fuck him for trying to be all paternal being like “well that doesn’t help” gesturing to my drink. Blaming my reaction on my first drink of the fucking night like the only way I could ever be upset about rape jokes is if I’m drunk . I think hes just jealous because society shames men who have feelings also and hes just jealous that I am not so emotionally repressed that I need to deal with my repression by lying on facebook. Jesus would pity him. Jesus would be disgusted at Trump for being a greedy fucking racist.
This jew believes that Christ would find the dishonesty in this situation appalling. I took his points about comedy and admitted I may have overreacted. He hugged me and acted compassionately, then chooses to go and frame me as the classic “irrational feminist.”
In conclusion, Kudos to the comic who actually did the Cosby set. He created quite the discussion and was open to discussing his act with me. I want to note he did not weigh in at all on Uncle Bigot Jr’s status, seems like he knows its some bullshit. Makes me think he is one of the reasonable ones. If your goal is to do shock value comedy be open to discussion and he was. He did a great job.
But, as far as the comedians that consistently put down women calling them liars, stupid, dehumanizing us into sexual objects, ESPECIALLY TRANSWOMEN and refusing to acknowledge that we live in a terribly misogynistic insensitive culture here is what I have to say to you:
I find you old fashion. I find you boring. If you want to keep doing the same old bullshit over and over as each misogynistic comic did before you then good for fucking you..
My question is what the fuck ever happened to being original?
Please share this post if you think I make any good points at all. Post it if you want to challenge any of my points. Post it if you want to mock me. Post it if you think I’m an idiot. Go right ahead. I want some discussion.
Also.. shameless self promotion: My partner, myself and many other hilarious comedians and artists do a show called Church of the Blacklite Leopard- a mockery of religious fundamentalism and bigotry.We are a mock service. If you want to see comedy that makes a point come check us out. August 7th 2015 @ the Music Inn 169 W4th Street. Facebook.com/loveyourspots #loveyourspots