Last night, I watched a local comedian do a set that offended me personally in a way that I haven’t felt in a long time (and it wasn’t Gavin McInnes!). From the moment he got onstage, it was bad news. Wearing “Asian eyebrows” and a traditional cheongsam dress (maybe it was a changshan, not like it matters), he proceeded to play a character whose entire bit revolved around racist jokes against Asians made in a “Chinglish” accent (fuck Team America, by the way). After the character had run its course, he ripped off his outfit and went into… rape jokes. It was an incredibly effective way to alienate at least half the audience, if not more.
Here’s the thing, I’m not going to run his name through the mud. From the way he tried to pat my shoulder after his set was over, the shoulder of the Asian guy sitting mere feet away from him (I brushed it off as I had no desire to talk or even look him in the face at the time), to the look of contrition on his face as he was sitting by himself after the show was over, it seemed like he knew what he was doing during his set and that it went worse than he expected (the crowd was not having it although there was no heckling or anything). He knew he screwed up. But if not, I know his friends will tell him that he did (I know his friends better than I know the comedian and I’m a firm believer that we listen to our friends the most but maybe I’m just optimistic that way).
However, I still have a few words to say to him in case he ever comes across this post:
You didn’t deserve the civility that I put up even though I was furious inside but I gave it to you anyway.
You didn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt that I gave to you throughout your set that I thought that maybe the whole thing would turn out to be a commentary on comedy and free speech, or on white privilege, or on the gender politics behind sexual assault. And so forth. But it wasn’t (at least to me, and if it was, please don’t ever attempt this kind of “satire” again; also, not to mention that some people think that racist/rape jokes should never be made, but that’s an argument for another time). And I gave that benefit of the doubt to you anyway. I was mistaken.
It was humiliating.
I sometimes ask myself why I give comedy and comedians such a hard time (at least on this blog). It was nights like the last that reaffirm my beliefs.
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