The Quick Guide for Comedians on St Patrick’s Day

Well, today is St. Patrick’s Day so it is the one day a year where I stop getting “You’re half black???” from people and get “Didn’t know you were half-Irish!”  But not only do I have the heritage to lecture all of you, but I also live in Turtle Bay, an area of Manhattan with a median age of 23, the most common ethnicity is Bro and there is a bar for every 6 residents, so I have actual field studies over the last 6 years to call upon.  And lastly I am a comedian, which means nothing really, but at least I know a few jokes that are overused.  So here is how comedians should act today (and some of these can apply to civilians as well):

1) Do Not Tell This Joke – I was guilty of this early in my career (first two years so I say this from a “don’t make the same mistakes that I did” perspective.  But let’s retire this joke (I knew when I did it and it got laughs, but a few shows later I heard a terrible comedian do roughly the same joke that I realized it was easy and lazy):

How crazy that we drink on St Patrick’s Day!  We don’t do that on other holidays. We don’t tip 5% on MLK’s birthday!  We don’t rape Native Americans on Thanksgiving!  We don’t fu*k donkeys and sever people’s heads on Cinqo de Mayo! (granted I updated these from what I actually said when I was doing this joke in 2005, but let’s just not do it.

2) Stay away from firefighters and cops.  This is generally good advice, but I have never been out for SPD and not seen these groups have either inter and/or intra squad fights.  This is for men (given the demographics of the FDNY and comedians this is like a day when heroes get amnesty to pop off on condescending, nerdy Jewish dudes in this city so watch your mouth).  For women who are into FDNY don’t let me stop you – this is like Fleet Week for angry, fit Irish guys (who might be even angrier this year due to all sorts of “diversity” efforts). Just don’t be mad when his wife knocks on the car window while you are blowing him in the middle of his description of his cross fit workout.  And if you are married to a cop – he is not working 16 hours of overtime tonight.

3) Get a Shamrock Shake – They are delicious and at under $3 well within a comedian’s budget of $7 on food per day.  Unless you are a comedian (or civilian) constantly posting about a great new diet you are on that is changing your life, in which case you should go talk a bunch of sh*t to some drunk firefighters.

4) Listen to this podcast episode – Comedian John Moses sat down with me last year to chat about St Patrick’s Day (my aversion to its American representation outside of the parades) and it became, in part, an excellent discussion of drunken escapades and bar fights he had been in.  You can only hear it HERE

5) Get Ready to Hear the Dropkick Murphys and House of Pain.  A lot. 

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on PodomaticiTunes and NOW on STITCHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe on one or more platforms today – all for free!


Kenan Thompson: the Internet Outrage Machine’s Straw Man Villain…

Kenan Thompson, long running member of the Saturday Night Live cast recently gave the desperate, hungry beast known as Manufactured Internet Outrage (MIO, not to be confused with the drink additive that Tracy Morgan pitches) a morsel to feast on.  Saturday Night Live is particularly white and has always seemed to have a lack of women of color.  In a TV Guide article, Thompson said, regarding the casting issues (please hide the children and be careful reading the following sentence): “Like in auditions, they just never find ones (women of color) that are ready.”

Oh. My. God.

Obviously there could be many reasons for Saturday Night Live‘s  lack of diversity, especially in the women of color category. Perhaps they represent a small sample size of people available to audition (coming from the Stand Up, Sketch and Improv ranks it would not be surprising), perhaps Lorne Michaels is hugely racist or perhaps the small sample of women of color who may audition did not do as well.  There are many reasons both benign and pernicious that could justify the whiteness of the SNL cast over the years, but the response to Kenan Thompson’s quote is simply a desperate and angry overreaching of people craving a villain for the day. What exactly did Thompson say – that IN AUDITIONS, there never seem to be women of color ready for the spotlight?  So he is speaking of the auditions he seems to have observed.  He did not say black women are no good at sketch comedy or comedy.  He was very specific and not very harsh or definitive in his condemnation of sketch performing women of color.  But did that stop the Internet from finding outrage? Of course not.

“Kenan Thompson blames black women for lack of black women on SNL” – Jezebel

“Kenan Thompson Blames SNL‘s Diversity Issue on Lack of Talented Black Comediennes””- TV Guide

“Kenan Thompson Blames “SNL’s” Lack Of Black Female Cast Members On Black Women” – The Urban Daily

“Stephen from Django Unchained Calls Black Female Sketch Performers Worthless Trashy Hoes” – Huffington Post

OK that last one is fake, but this is just the latest example of web traffic driving the presentation of content, instead of the actual content itself. What Kenan Thompson said was not controversial or mean or sexist or racist.  It was a half-hearted explanation based on his personal observations.  This just represents this year’s “Girls” controversy or Eddie Brill situation where a group feeling slighted generally parses and latches on to something someone said to create a straw man upon which to place their anger.  Why not direct the anger at Lorne Michaels?  Because his show has been on for four decades and he is not going anywhere or doing anything he doesn’t want to at this point.  So let’s get mad at today’s straw man monster Kenan Thompson. ZUT ALORS!  And just remember the flood of women (under five I think) that have appeared to do stand-up on Letterman since Eddie Brill stopped booking it? I would look for a similar deluge on next year’s SNL.  Because sometimes there are bad people doing bad things, but other times there aren’t but someone still has to get blamed anyway.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic, iTunes and NOW on STICHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe on one or more platforms today – all for free!