Don’t Blame The Joker, baby…

pimp…blame the game.

Comedians take a lot of heat. We take risks constantly and perform in all sorts of environments- hostile and friendly.

But what we risk more than anything is often being honest. Which can translate to “being edgy.” But I’m not talking about edgy in the overplayed “let me cuss a lot and offend everyone here possible” way. I’m talking about in the way that we say something that people really want to laugh at because it rings so true to them, but they don’t want to laugh out of fear of hurting someone’s feelings.

Let me start with saying I’m not a fan of any comedy that hurts feelings. I am, to a fault, a comedy person who likes to bring people along and not hurt feelings. I say  “to a fault” because it sometimes means I won’t be the most memorable comic of the night. I won’t be the person who pissed you off or who shocked you. I’m learning how to make my style of stand up comedy really sharp so I can be that… but it’s a process. And I refuse to become something I’m not just for the sake of being “memorable.”

But I digress. What I was saying was that sometimes, people say things that ring true to them that bring out some issue or problem that they can’t address directly. And oftentimes, they cloak it in a joke.

Now, I could get into a deep philosophical discussion about comedy as a means to an end and as a constant and necessary way of human expression. I would start there and delve further into the nature of political comedy and why comedians, no matter what their intention or actual political leanings, tend to get viewed as more liberal. I could even delve further from there into my own journey with comedy- with my roots and interest in politics and how and why it changed throughout the years.

But I ain’t got time for any of that right now. So I’ll get to the point.

And my point is this: If you don’t like the type of humor somebody spouts, don’t support stuff they do. But don’t demonize them into something or someone they’re not. They’re a person with an opinion. And odds are, they’re testing to see if material will even work and people will be receptive to them. And as long as they’re getting audiences to listen to their opinion, they’re going to keep saying and exploring it further. If they don’t have an audience, they would eventually stop saying it. But as long as they can find support, they’re going to continue saying whatever they want.

And they’re allowed to. A comedians job is to find their voice and to connect with audiences. It’s also part of the description to be an exaggeration of who you really are and what you really believe. The exaggeration is where comedy comes in. It’s the difference between the seasoned pro who spends his set yelling while making the audience scream with laughter and the terrifying amateur who scares everybody in the room and comes across as a crazy person. They’re job is to hone in that persona and that exaggeration. Their job is to sell a style. And your responsibility is to support it or ignore it. They’ll become louder or eventually shut up depending on what you decide.

But it’s not your job to get mad at them for saying things. It’s not your job- or anyone’s- to demand apologies for having opinions. All people have opinions. Just because comedians cultivate an audience to listen to them doesn’t mean they have any more or less responsibility to agree with you. They only have a responsibility to their own voice and to their art. If you don’t like what they say, stop listening. But don’t demand us to stop having opinions.

It’s especially difficult for comedians in a world where everything can be taken out of context and twisted. Context for comedy is everything. And if you take time to pause and think about what was said, why it was said, and how it was said… you’ll be able to have a more honest understanding of the situation.

I think sometimes when something controversial is said or brought up that hits a nerve in society, we should examine why we are bothered by that nerve rather than get upset that we have nerves. It’s an opportunity to define who we are and what we are, not an opportunity to shame someone for expressing themselves.

So don’t hate the playa’s baby. In face, don’t hate anyone or anything at all. Hate is harmful. Love is power. Love them playas and know why they playin’ the game so you, too, can love dat game doe.

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Steve Hofstetter is Hilarious

MetaPhysicalComedyHofstetter copyI was lucky enough to interview Steve Hofstetter for my podcast Metaphysical Comedy which I co-host and co-produce with Jose Sarduy.

Steve has a new comedy show on Fox called Laughs.

And he has an interesting perspective on what lies beyond. Check it out in his podcast and show notes.

If you get a chance, be sure to listen and subscribe to the podcast.

Happy Birthday, TMI!

I’ve been doing shows with a group called TMI Hollywood for almost two years now. Since they started in August of 2012.tmi

Sunday, they celebrate these two years of incredible humor, hard work, and lots of ridiculous sillies.

For two years, they’ve booked a guest host and put up a completely new show every single week based on the celebrity gossip and Hollywood happenings in the past week. It takes an incredible amount of hard work and dedication to run this well-oiled (usually) machine.

I lucked out when I went to that audition and lucked out to snag a spot in that cast. I’ve been even luckier to have stuck with it for the past two years and continue to be a part of the ever-growing and extremely talented community.

If you’re around LA on Sunday, August 10, come check out the show at the Second City Hollywood.

If you’re not, they always stream them live online at the website (and then upload the full show video to YouTube the next day).

And there’s always awesome pictures on their Facebook page and great tweets on their Twitter.

I’m grateful to know them and to get to work and play with them constantly.

Happy birthday, my obnoxious comedy lovers. Here’s to many more!

From Idea to Reality

metaphys 1This week, the first Metaphysical Comedy podcast was published. And I’m really friggin excited.

I’m excited because not only is a fun and interesting show that I think will make a lot of people laugh and be entertained. But I’m also excited because it marks another of those fun journeys from concept to reality that the creative process allows.

I wanted to do an interview-style podcast where, basically, people just told me ghost stories. But then I realized that probably wouldn’t sustain itself and I still wanted to interview people who maybe hadn’t simply had ghost interactions- but just on what they believed. I got an idea for the name, Metaphysical Comedy, wrote it on a post-it note and stuck it to the cork board above my desk where lots of idea reside. Many ideas make it into some form of reality while others sit there in idea purgatory for months and years never seeing the light of day.

But this idea kept nagging.

Then I met Jose. And he and I got along splendidly. And we talked about metaphysical things. And we disagreed on them but in a delightful and entertaining way. And I finally saw how this show would pan out.

He was as enthusiastic and added some great elements and ideas you can see at our website (metaphysicalcomedyshow.com)and has been an awesome partner. We’ve been interviewing people for a couple months whenever our schedules allow. It’s been a delight to talk to friends in a different way and to learn about my own mind while learning about theirs. We finally chose a launch date (this past Monday) and now it’s a thing that’s in the universe. And will continue to be in the universe as we release each episode.

All from an idea written on a post-it note.

Keep pens and paper around to write down your ideas. It’s exhilarating to see an idea become a reality.

Also subscribe to Metaphysical Comedy and share it with your friends 🙂