Stand up Tag

There’s Always a Minefield

Heeeeeeeeere we go.

In a recent New York Post article, Billy Crystal was promoting his latest film co-starring Tiffany Haddish called “Here Today” about a man suffering from dementia. In the article he talks about the film, how he himself was touched by caring with someone with dementia and how heartbreaking it is. He talked about his career and the characters that he played and how he attempted to imbue them all with a sense of redeeming humanity. It’s an albeit short article about a man whose comedy career spans six decades. I would have loved there to be more, but this is the New York Post, where memes are too wordy. But the focus has been about this one quote:

“It’s becoming a minefield and I get it,” the comedian told The Post. “I don’t like it, I understand it … I just keep doing what I’m doing and that’s all you can do right now.

“It’s a totally different world [now] and it doesn’t mean you have to like it,” he added, with a laugh.

Cue the maelstrom. Another woke-online-social-justice-warrior-cancel-culture attempt to take an old white man down. Billy Crystal’s stand-up (And yes, he was a stand-up. Kid’s ask your parents…to ask your parents) was one of the defining works that steered me towards comedy. His comedy was like his acting: energetic, topical, and funny. The man is undeniably talented.

But now he provides another inflammatory talking point that will circulate for weeks before fizzling out like a sparkler on grandpa’s birthday cake. PC culture is killing comedy. A quick google of the words “comedian”, “PC” and “Culture” brings back a haystack of articles, some dating back as far as 1997 (Thank you Bill Maher). “Why can’t we take a joke?” “We’re too sensitive!” “How come I can’t say the n-word?” Sure, we’ve been dealing with PC Culture for a while. Not quite as long as the marginalized communities that were made fun of loooooong before that, mind, but yeah, PC Culture has been here for a bit. So, Crystal’s film junket blurb interview is now overtaken by a quote stating he doesn’t like what he sees in comedy today. He says this while co-starring with a woman who is making great comedy today. So, good. “[Comedy] is becoming a minefield”. He’s not right, but he’s also not wrong. Here’s why.

LOL All the Way to the Bankruptcy

This is what I love about comedians. A comic will tell another comic about the gig they just did that was the worst show. 4The crowd had 18 people in the audience. They were spread out across a 200-seat venue. (Note: This was in the Before Times when you would hate to do shows like this, instead of wanting them to be like this now.) The microphone muted if you took it out of the stand. It screeched if you left it in the stand. The management wouldn’t turn off the Jays game even though they were losing 72-4 in the 6th, because “my customers will get mad and leave if I do”. Someone tried to shoot a rat as it ran across the stage area. So much respect for performers. The comic will go through every detail of this nightmare. Then there’s a pause, and the second comic will ask “Who books that?”

In the same manner that fish enjoy a little bit of water once or twice, comics like stage time. It’s necessary for their craft to advance, to test jokes, to figure out where new jokes suck so you can fix them, so they don’t suck. Comics will do anything for stage time. And the sad part is, people in power know this. Here is an example of this happening:

Amazon are producing a Canadian stand-up comedy show!