This Week’s Best Reasons to Quit Comedy

Every week represents a new wave of opportunities to want to quit comedy for so many people.  “Oh he has an hour special!” or “How the fu*k did she get on Late Night TV?” or “Why does my bank balance have a negative in front of it – does that mean the bank owes me money?”  Twitter is a constant stream of “93 retweets? You have to be kidding me!” and Facebook is an overflow of good comics spending too much time having to (or not having to really) defend themselves and bad comics claiming they are above having to defend themselves.  I saw a “comedian” drop what I will call crude statements about the Cleveland rescue in succession, basically daring someone to say “you are not funny” so he could start yelling from the mountaintops “I am a comedian and I go to places you are afraid of!”  And you just want to say in a calm and rational voice, “No – you are just not funny.  Now you are offensive, but just because some people who are funny are offensive, does not mean it is a causal relationship.  Funny can be offensive, but offensive does not mean funny.”  But instead I just debated unfriending the person for 5 minutes for constantly flooding my Timeline with bad comedy.  But because I am glutton for punishment I did not.  But this inspired me to give you my top reasons why you should quit comedy this week (possible recurring theme)

1) Because a middle aged dude minding his business in Cleveland is funnier off the cuff and is way more charismatic than you are.  There are a lot of unfunny human beings doing comedy and I like to imagine that Charles Ramsey, the hero from Cleveland, was probably a great up and coming comedian who did not test well with millennials or middle aged white people and was turned away from the industry.  The bad news is, with these metrics guiding stand up comedy, comedy may suffer, but the good news is the world may have a lot of very funny and toothless heroes in the coming decades.

Now of course if you want other reasons to be annoyed – the video has 125 dislikes as of this typing – can we not find these people and eliminate them from society?  A lot of people like the death penalty for murder.  Not me.  Those people are outliers who cannot be deterred usually.  Prison is enough to deter the normal person.  I am for the death penalty for things like littering.  Because the average asshole who litters with a garbage can near him or the guy who gives a dislike to a video like this is probably making everyday life worse for more people.

And just like good comedy, don’t skip to the two minute mark like half the assholes on the web encourage you too – see the story and enjoy the buildup to some classic comedy!

2) Because the web is constantly looking for villains to put on cyber trial.  This week there have already been two “controversies” regarding humor throughout my Internet circles.  One is the article today from Slate about the response to Charles Ramsey.  I cannot say I disagree with the general premise of the article, but I also think it ignores the fact that unlike some other situations, Charles Ramsey was actually a poised, confident and funny dude.  I appreciate sensitivity to issues like this, but I also think it is part of the Internet’s 100% rate of finding a villainous angle to things.  I am sure there are pockets of the population enjoying the Ramsey video for the wrong reasons – like if you are more obsessed with him saying ribs and “MacDonald’s”, than his great “Deeead Giveaway” tag line then you, to paraphrase Jeff Foxworthy, might be an asshole.

But the real story occupying many in the comedy world is the recent back and forth between a blogger and comedian Sam Morril.  Here is the blog that started all of it.  Sam wrote a fine response on Facebook and the blogger replied with this.  I think Sam is funny and all of the jokes she cited have made me laugh in person.  The only problem is that it is getting tiring and annoying to keep defending comedy.  If Sam was not good at comedy then I would have a problem with his jokes.  But they are funny and clearly intended as humor so the discussion ends there for me. But in a world where every slight and every incident and every thought has the potential to become viral or widespread this blow up is going to become the norm.  Every person who is offended or unamused or somewhere in between has a bullhorn known as the Internet.  And that would be reason enough to quit comedy this week, if not for number 3.

3) Because Comedians and the Internet always turn these issues into overly thoughtful circle jerks.  At some point between hours 12 and 36 of a “comedy controversy” it becomes an irritating circle jerk of thought and debate.  First comes the rallies to Sam’s defense, then come the attacks on the bloggers, then come the tweets and posts about “debate” and “respect” and “art” and then comes the congratulating each other even if on the opposite sides of this thorny “issue.” I actually saw two comedians have a semi-debate on Twitter and then have the equivalent of a social media hug it out and agree to disagree.  One day, philosophers and school children will ask, “Which came first, the blogger who took comedians too seriously or the comedians who took themselves too seriously and made themselves relevant to bloggers?”

4) Because a manager arranged and cancelled two meetings (one by simply not calling back).  OK this one was just for me, but a reminder that after a decade I still ain’t sh*t!

5) Because Funny or Die stole the Huffington post’s mojo and posted a list of funny women you should be following on Twitter.  The only possible good that might come out of this is if the pro women on Twitter HuffPo folks get into an East Coast-West Coast war with Funny or Die’s female tweet fans and then both go down in a hail of bullets.  See that is a murder joke, not  a rape joke.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic or iTunes. New Every Tuesday!


Proof of Evolution (Or Intelligent Design): Blake Griffin vs.…

Thanks to the constant reminders I have received from comedian/actor/Disney music enthusiast Chris Lamberth (@ChrisLamberth) I have learned that I have officially been replaced in comedy before I had even reached the level of replaceable.  I always believed that I would carve out a unique niche in comedy, at least demographically – a 6’7″ (241 lbs playing, 270 lbs doing comedy), bi-racial comedian seemed like a pretty safe calling card.  Unfortunately, my reign of obscurity was short lived because Blake Griffin (a 6’10”, 250 pound bi-racial dude), the Los Angeles Clippers power forward, has also proven himself quite adept at humor.  And thanks to the NBA lockout he is now working at Funny or Die, probably hanging out with Will Ferrell, workshopping new ideas, perhaps getting himself a role in Step Brothers 2, etc.  Even though Evolution usually takes a long time, much like this Summer’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, I am seeing myself improved upon right before my eyes.

The Evolution of the Multi-Racial Humorist

I was born in 1979, 9 years and 11 months before Blake Griffin so I had a good head start on comedy.  However I started performing stand up shortly after my 24th birthday, whereas Blake Griffin made it on to comedy central shortly after his 22nd birthday.  Fairly impressive since he was also spending time being the NBA’s Rookie of the Year.

We have similar backgrounds.  We both have black fathers and white mothers.  We both played basketball in high school and college (I averaged 15 points a game senior year in a terrible private school league.  He slightly one-upped me by being a McDonald’s High School All-American).  He was Division I’s college player of the year, I was a 9th man on a Division III team.

After reading his NBA draft workout summaries the only thing I think I was his equal to was bench press, but he complemented that with a tremendous vertical leap, each inch of which represented every one of my collegiate points scored.

It was as if God had created me and then said, we can do better.  A lot better.

Before we get into comedy here are the top dunks of our basketball careers.  Both were on people.  Mine was not filmed by NBA TV.  And I only had one in my career.

Now for pure drama I would argue that mine was better.  The dunk took place with about two minutes left in my entire college career.  I had scored about fifty career points and none had come from dunks.  It was sort of like the ending of Rudy, when Rudy gets a sack, except I actually was big and strong and fairly athletic so it was a little more expected from me.  And no one was chanting my name.  But Blake Griffin’s dunk was slightly better.  So much so that I featured it in my dunk workshop spoof video.

Comedy Origins

After college I went to Georgetown Law Center, the #14 law school in the country (turning down Michigan, the #7 school at the time, in sort of a Kobe Bryant-draft style move).  After college Blake Griffin was the #1 pick in the NBA draft.  And during both experiences our professional comedy careers began.  Deeply depressed I began doing comedy in Washington D.C. as an escape from law school and the pressures of a long-distance relationship.  Blake began doing comedy sketches and making late night television appearances to escape from the pressures of having beautiful women in Los Angeles throw themselves at him.

Once again God watched my comedy career struggles and said, “I made him funny, but he is not accomplishing what I thought he would.  I can do better and easier.”  Here are our comedy debuts on television:

I wrote all my own material, but Griffin proved to have some good natural talent.  And he got on Comedy Central within his first year, and without having to grow a beard or tits.  I have yet to be on that station.

Where To Go When You Find Out Evolution Has Passed You By

Blake Griffin has now raised the bar very high for basketball playing-comedians. In fact this whole post may actually be an endorsement for Intelligent Design and not Evolution.  Either way I have been rendered completely irrelevant  (versus fairly irrelevant which was the status in comedy that I had grown comfortable with).  So perhaps I will just wait for Blake Griffin to really blow up as a comedy presence and then present myself as the “Alt Blake Griffin.”  While you ponder that, here are two pictures of us looking cool in our element for one final comparison: