Midwest

“Skinny models you can keep those, I like big corn-fed Midwestern hos” – Kid Rock

This has nothing to do with my most recent trip, but it is my second favorite rap lyric and it is relevant since I just returned from two shows in Columbus, Ohio.  (my favorite rap lyric is a Notorious B.I.G. lyric from the contemporary classic “Big Booty Hos” – “Biggie bang bitches from bar-b-ques to bar mitzvahs” … Interesting bar mitzvah, “hey what’s Estelle doing over there with the 300 pound cock-eyed hip hopper?”

Anyway I digress.

I returned today from Columbus, Ohio (the C-Bus as my law school classmate told me it was referred to) from two kick ass shows at the Columbus Funny Bone.  Having been in a long distance relationship involving C-Bus for 3 years I am very familiar with the Easton Shopping Mall (30 screen theater and a rumored target of terrorists, conveniently right before the 2004 Presidential Election – because the terrorists hate movies and jail bait teenagers) where the club is located.

Well two and a half years ago I went to the club and had a very mediocre set.  Perhaps it was because before my set I went to see Norbit as a way to kill time.  Nothing kills funny like that movie.  This year I went to see Michael Mann’s Public Enemies, a very good movie, which perhaps made the difference.  I had a very strong set on my audition and even made a few fans (including the woman I sat next to on my flight to C-Bus, who brought herself and her mother to the show).  The message: J-L’s Comedy – Fun for the Whole Family.

We love J-L's humor. Good clean family fun.
We love J-L's humor. Good clean family fun.

My set went well (in front of a 96% white crowd) and I got good news from the club manager.  Then he offered me a set on the next show – the urban show.  In comedy parlance urban is a club’s tactful way of saying Black and Latino people will find this show on average more to their liking.  Without hesitating I told the manager yes (when a comedy manager asks you if you want to do a set at his club you say yes, says Winston Zeddmore).  Then I thought through my routine and realized most of my jokes should work for most crowds.  However two of the crowds they don’t work on are conservative, low third of the IQ scale whites and Mike Epps fan blacks.  And having just performed for some of the former I was afraid my bad streak might continue with the latter.

When a club owner asks you if you want to do a spot you say YES!
When a club owner asks you if you want to do a spot you say YES!

They began the urban show with a 5 comic tribute to Michael Jackson, with five black guys doing dance moves, etc. to Jackson 5 tunes.  Then there was a montage of earnest MJ clips and I thought, great now I get to follow that.  But the crowd (96% black) gave me an even better response than the white crowd (perhaps inspired by the death of Michael Jackson they were more open to ignore whiter features in favor of whoever would have been considered black for Jim Crow purposes).  I even got away with my Stevie Wonder-is-the-next-to-go joke.  What I learned is as a half white, half black guy you cannot go wrong talking about Asian and Latin women to a crowd full of black women.  And I think some patrons had religious moments during my Obama impression.  I think if comedy doesn’t stat paying I might be able to be the first impressionist-escort.

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