Back when I was working long and hard on writing my stand-up comedy material, i was taking up a piece of advice written by one respected comedienne.
Essentially, she said, "just set aside x amount of time every day to write."
If you have nothing to write about, you can start writing about that and sooner or later, even if you write no actual jokes, you will come up with SUBJECTS that are funny.
There was some truth to it...the problem is, some things I find funny, others find unfunny, offensive, or imbecilic.
Okay, so pretty much everything that is funny is considered offensive by someone and we have entered a world where people are always on the lookout for things to be offended by.
Maybe that is for the best. Maybe the world will be kinder and gentler if we remove anything that might possibly offend someone...
But I do not think so. Instead I think it deprives the world of humor and starts building a backlash, a bit of resentment.
This is not to say mindless attacks on a person/race/physical attribute or whatever should be open season.
At the same time, there should be some room for referencing things. People have become overly sensitive to so many things it is unreal.
What makes it even more bizarre is that irreverence is considered the epitome of hipness. The person who is rude, obnoxious, and offensive to the majority is just fine.
It has even become a tired, over-used joke that pops up on television, in movies, in print...
Example, the Seinfeld episode where the dude who played Hal on Malcolm in the Middle was a dentist who converted to Judaism.
Seinfeld is complaining that he converted to Judaism for the jokes at which point he is asked, "And this offends you as a Jew?"
Seinfeld, whatever else he may be, is a man with a nice comic touch, and he responds, "No, I am offended as a comedian."
But the underlying point is there...it is considered to tell "Jewish jokes" if and only if you are a Jew...you can tell black jokes if and only if you are black...you can tell tortellini jokes if and only if you are Italian.
Nobody but me can tell spork jokes. That is just the way it is. Deal with it.
The thing is, it should not be acceptable to tell an unacceptable joke if you belong to the group. Either things are acceptable or they are not.
But in a world full of hypocrisy, offended people, and moving targets of social acceptability and accountability, there are certain people who seem to think they decide what is and is not acceptable for all of us.
I really have no way of concluding this, but I will say this;
I was asked that most dangerous of questions the other day: "Does this dress make me look fat?"
Many jokes came to mind, but that is a question that is tough to deal with, so finally, I said the only thing that came to mind.
"Tough question, and I really cannot answer. Just so weird to see you wearing a dress, Chester."
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