Almost Everyone’s A Comedian

I was on a show at Bar None in Union Square in NYC on Friday and it was a typically frustrating ten minutes.  There were a few comics sitting and laughing in a supportive fashion and a couple of people deciding whether to stay and watch the clearly irritated madman in XXL-Tall flannel on stage.  The only audience that stayed throughout the show was a table of three people, 1 girl, two guys and they did not shut up.  Every comedian knows that sometimes you ambush a group of people with comedy and it is not their fault if they do not want to partake in the activity if they are out to socialize.  However, these three had selected a back room of a bar, which was in use because of the comedy show, not in spite of it.  But if you think their talking or heckling irritated me most you would be wrong.  It was the fact that they were objectively not funny.  But they did not know it.  They kept saying either incredibly hacky things or incredibly dumb things and then laughing because we now live in an era where humor is completely in the eye of the beholder.  And the beholder is stupid.

Something I have noticed is that Twitter and Facebook may have devalued humor more than they have even devalued personal relationships.  Sure we can connect with more people, but the content of our art is being devalued.  Everyone can make or steal jokes and as long as one of their equally or lesser minded “friends” or “followers” thinks it is funny they will receive validation in the form of a “like” or re-tweet.

An extension of this is the fans who more and more seem to come up to me after show with a back-handed compliment.  I distinctly remember one guy coming up to me in Indianapolis after a good set and saying: “Man you were funny.  You know I got a buddy I work with – I think you should meet him – I think you’d get a kick out of him! He is funny as fu*k!”  Is there any job where you are allowed to go up to someone and tell them a good job by saying someone else you know, with no experience at that job, is someone that that person might want to meet so they could show that person a thing or two?  Maybe his friend is funny, but it just goes to further the idea that comedy is becoming a thing that everyone thinks they can do.  Just consider this my weekly reminder that stand up comedy is dying as an art form.   You may laugh at us now def poetry slammers, but one day when cable launches channel 19,644 “Def Poets Central” and every other asshole with some oddly-cadenced speech wants to kick a rhyme to you at a party you will feel my pain.

And since I mentioned joke theft I should point out that the hack that has a man crush on me “Bob Hellener” has, despite his insults to my humor and career, stolen tweets of mine and posted them as his own.  So in addition to being a joke, without any respect from anyone in the comedy world, as well as a liar and a delusional guy who has not updated his “material” since 2002, he is also a joke thief, which is actually unforgivable.  I thought his cowardice was most despicable – hiding behind fake names, but he is a disgrace to comedy. I can accept weakly formulated insults, but when you steal my material, even a fu*king tweet, in the words of Don Corleone, “This I do not forgive.”  So I guess I can be thankful for Bob.  At least I know someone out there is still not actually a comedian.