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Thursday, January 12, 2012

COMEDIANS AND WHITE FOLKS


Russel Simmons got really rich with a show in the 90s called "Comedy Jam" in which young black comics were given a stage to do their show and an all-black audience watched. Some of them were funny, some of them were lame, but almost all of them had a bit where they'd talk about how black people acted and how white people acted, and aren't white people stupid/lame/boring etc?

It became such a predictable pattern that even black comedians started mocking it. And there are few black comedians that don't do at least one bit where they effect a "white accent" and talk like it for comedic effect. Eddie Murphy used to do that pretty regularly. What's funny is that, as a black comedian I heard once pointed out, all of them can do a normal American voice when they need to (such as at a job), so they know what regular folks sound like in the US, but do this pidgin white dude voice for their comedy.

And Mike Berbiglia has a bit where he questions that:



Cracka' please! But he's right, no white guy in the world talks like that. George Lopez has the same kind of schtick in his act: Hispanics talk and act this way, "other folks" (meaning white people) talk that way. Its funny, because he has the white guys these total preppy douchebags named things like Chaunce, but again: no white guys talk like that.

The thing is, funny as this can be, what would happen if a white guy had an act where he talked about how cool and reasonable white people are then started attacking black people as acting like jackasses, using a pidgeon black voice? Lets say he used a Steppin' Fetchit voice, or Rochester from the Jack Benny Show?
I'm telling you, white people are different from black people. I mean, I go to a movie, I sit and watch and enjoy it, maybe whisper something to my girlfriend, but black people are all like "Sheeeiit, that movie be so funny! Don' go in that room, yo' ass is gonna be killed! Why you do dat?" Yelling at the screen constantly. Or think about cops. A white cop is like dirty harry (Clint Eastwood Impression) "Do you feel lucky punk?" but a black cop? "Damn, blood, why you be breakin de law? You gots de right to remain silent!"
See, its not really funny the other way around either, but this time instead of white folks howling and laughing, they'd be booing and offended, and the guy would be hated, not given a contract. Which really is odd to watch.

Generally speaking, leftist approved identity groups are allowed to mock themselves. Jews can make fun of Jews. Gays can make fun of gays (but don't, typically). Women can make fun of women. If you cross that line, then you're usually vilified (unless its a spouse or family member, then you are allowed to rip them apart). The exception to that rule? White people, especially white guys.

Sure there are comedians who are exceptions. Andrew "Dice" Clay has made a living of ripping on women, but he doesn't have much of a career any more. Sam Kinison used to mock women too, but he's dead and probably would have changed his act or gone into obscurity as well. These two comedians were hated and attacked by the press and the usual suspects. But if you're not white, well white people are fair game.

And as long as you're funny I don't care. Although George Lopez isn't as fun as he used to be, his early stuff was hilarious because when he made a comparison he poked gentle fun at both sides. And that's the trick: its okay to make fun of other people if you make fun of yourself too. And comedy has to be free to talk about anything, because that's what humor is about. Just be even handed about it, please.

I don't mind so much the bigoted sterotypes of white men so many comedians do, because usually they aren't funny and have nothing to do with reality. Its like making a joke about how dumb Mongols are because they open their six pack with a rabbits foot. No they don't, and even if they did, how's that a joke? Its just stark to look at the difference in how society approaches and views the distinction in treatment.

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