This happened months ago: I'm at a "booked" show that's really more of a good mic since almost everyone in the room is a comic. It's fun. Then one of the guys in the room gets onstage and starts listing off the names of all the female comedians in the room he's masturbated to.
It's supposed to be funny. But instead feels creepy. Very creepy. The air leaves the room.
Wish I could say that kinda thing is a rarity but it ain't. A normal scene at a shitty show/mic: It's in the dark basement of a bar. The ratio is way more guys than girls. Some dude gets up who is either bitter, creepy, or just doesn't get it and he starts spitting out misogynistic shit. Bitch this, cunt that. Unfunny jokes about rape, hos, cock, etc. And then people don't laugh and he gets mad at them for "being a shitty audience." Later on, same guy feels the need to point out that "girls aren't funny."
Now I realize I'm no perfect angel here, either. I talk about girls negatively at times. But I talk about everyone negatively at times. And I try to at least maintain a sense of self-awareness that it's very easy to come off like a prick when you go down that path. I think a good test to keep in mind: Would you tell that same joke if your sister/mom/girlfriend was in the crowd?
A thing I've heard before: The smartest people in this country almost never run for President. What sane person would put themselves through that process? I wonder if there's a parallel here. Maybe a lot of girls who are smart enough to be good at standup are also smart enough to not want to marinate in the cesspool environment that's part of the standup scene and instead decide to go into improv — or forget about performing comedy entirely.
Sandpaper Suit is NYC standup comic Matt Ruby's (now defunct) comedy blog. Keep in touch: Sign up for Matt's weekly Rubesletter. Email email@example.com.
Marinating in the cesspool
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When you say, "Marinating in the cesspool," I picture a Jacuzzi filled with bubbling hot dog water.
Just add that theory to the list of why more women don't do comedy. Who knows? I think most smart, talented people don't try stand-up comedy because they're chicken. Those who try it don't stick with it because they don't have the guts.
It's a lose-lose situation. If I were a woman in that crowd, I'd be grossed out if he fantasized about me. But I'd maybe be offended if he didn't.
If this doesn't get you layed...
What about when a comic goes onstage and says, "How long does it take a nigger to take a shit? 9 months!" Then does an act out off a person taking a crap and a baby crying? I think that's uncomfortable for black people.
Or when a comic does a joke about gays and uses the F word every few second, or about asians, and on and on and on.
The comedy scene is only 100% comfortable all the time for one type of comic, and that's usually the type of comic who says this type of bullshit.
Josh, I've heard awful race jokes too. Def painful. But I'd say the ratio of awful sexist jokes to awful racist jokes I've witnessed is about 5:1.
But I agree with you on the Asian thing. Prob heard more offensive Asian jokes than almost any other group. For some reason they're often considered fair game by people who'd never go after another group.
Yeah, I agree with your odds, Matt-- women are the subject of ire and ridicule in comedy shows a LOT more than any other group. So many times, a joke is punctuated with "fat bitch" or "whore" and it's immaterial to the actual joke content. It's infuriating.
Firstly, shoot me if I start doing improv. No offense to the improv-ers out there but ...
Secondly, I was always told that I shouldn't shit on men on stage, that I shouldn't become "one of THOSE female comics." Is it safe to say those same rules aren't applicable to men?
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