Sunday, June 24, 2007

Categorizing comedians...

...Grow a backbone...

I'm not a fan of categorizing comedians. Like she's a "black female" comedian. Or he's a "gay" comedian.
It's smacks of Brown v. Board of Education. Separate is inherently unequal.

So the minute someone approaches me and says, "Hey, you should do our Women's Comedy show," already I'm thinking, "You're comedy show probably sucks."

You're basically saying, "I don't stack up with those guys, so I need to create my own playroom where no one will hurt me." And it's the whole 5th grade "Boys have cooties" theory. Am I right? Do I have any takers?

So you're no longer playing with the big boys. You can't hold your own. If you feel you need your own separate category, you're probably not that great a comedian. The way I see it, you're a comedian who happens to be gay. Or I'm a comedian who happens to be female. That's it. No special category. No special show. The uniting factor is that you're a comedian, first--adjective later.

How many times do you hear, "Man, I want to see/hear some good Latino comedy tonight? Any good Latino comics on tonight?" NO! But you do hear, "Man, I'm up for some good comedy! Any good comedians on tonight?" No qualifiers. No modifiers. Just comedy.

This is the same mentality that the parents of kids on little league teams have---where EVERYONE goes home with an award. No! NO! Little Billy isn't good at baseball. And he needs to know that, he doesn't have to be good at everything in order to exist in this world. Grow a backbone and move on!

I like to think of myself as the Tori Amos of comedy. For those who aren't familiar with Tori Amos and her bout with Lilith Fair--she refused to join the tour because she thought it was limiting.

"I'm not into the all-male, all-female thing," says Amos with growing agitation. "Where's Dionysus? Where's Hades? You can't cut out the testosterone. And we need some pansy-ass people, too, like little camp Hermes. Even though I'm sure some of those women have more testosterone then Hermes," she adds with a slightly unsisterly roll of the eyes. Quote from June 1998 Rolling Stone Article: Her Secret Garden.

"I don't think women and music are going to take the next step if it's got to be a constant comparison," she said. "It's hard to be individuals when you're grouped together all the time, and it bugs me that there's so much comparison going on."
Quote from a 1998 Iowa State Daily article: Cornflake Girl Tori Amos Overcomes The Odds.

I COMPLETELY and whole-heartily agree. More power to her.

And to all comedians... Do your thing, and don't limit your surroundings. Conquer all mediums and platforms. Take them all on, so that no one can say she's the best female comedian, she's the best black comedian. She's the best comedian-->period.

* I only use the spelling comedienne because I think it looks cute on paper. In all honesty, I think it's sort of feminist and stupid. (I personally think any "ism" or "ist" is stupid.) You're placing yourself into a category and in essence into an 'extreme' when you say, I'm an "ist." To me, it's everything in moderation. Except for recreational drugs--- I think ultimately drugs desensitize you from the world.

** Really life should be like Star Trek: The Next Generation, where we didn't really acknowledge sexual orientation, or gender, or whatever other modifier. They were all on a mission, and it didn't matter what they looked like (I mean c'mon look at Wharf-- (And I have to bone to pick with them because he was a black actor-- that's for another rant) They were only divided by what they did--what their position was on the ship, not what they looked like. I know... I know... weak analogy, but it clarifies my point.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As a black comedian I'd like to be able to go into any room and make em laugh whether the crowd is all black, white, gay, mixed etc.

I could be on the line up for one of those 'urban themed' comedy nights once in a while but I dont want to get pidgeonholed in one specific category.