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I doubt this will come as a shocker to most of you…but…there are a lot of people that don’t care for my brand of comedy. I’m not talking about corporate club owners or old school comedians, I mean audience members. Over the years, I’ve had people walk out of my shows and even threaten me. I mean it’s only have about 3 or 4 times which isn’t all that bad.
The really cool part about this though is that as many people that hate what I do, there’s probably 3 people that like what I do. And with the state of things it’s gotten so far that more liberal audiences get upset with than conservative ones. Since early 2016, I’ve had more and more conservatives come to my shows and talk to me about how they agree with me, mostly. They also say they’ve never heard this sort of stuff before. That’s pretty cool in my opinion!
But this has also led to more and more liberal audience members that have gotten upset with my material. So that’s what this story is about; one of the attacks I’ve received from the left. And yes, there are many of them. Now, I am leaving this lady’s name out of this, because I think her privacy to some degree is important.
So this was after a show in Asheville, NC earlier this year. It was a bit of late show and we had a good little crowd in an intimate venue. Some of the folks that came out had come because they knew me, others because they heard me on the State of Things on NPR and others had been there for a little while and wandered in when they heard a voice amplified through a microphone. My guess is this lady was the latter, but I’m not actually sure.
Since I was on the Anti-Imperialism Nationwide Comedy Takeover tour with another comedian at the time, I wasn’t doing my full hour of comedy. It was only about 30-35 minutes of a show that’s about an hour and 15 minutes right now. So not everything I want to address to create a holistic show is going to be addressed in the set. After the show and some conversations I found this comment left on the event page of Couchsurfing.
So I’d like think I’m a little more hopeful than Chris Hedges. Hedges is great and covers a lot important topics and information, but he’s bleak! Now to the bigger criticism of my current show. Apparently the real fact of my now wife proposing to me has become a concern about female oppression. I have to wonder about what exactly makes this an issue of female oppression? Am I missing something?
This basically happened because in 2017, when my wife and I were dating were talking about proposals and we basically put a wager to see who was going to propose first. She won, obviously. And if anyone’s met my wife, they know nothing I say or do can oppress that woman because she will fight back…hard! Nobody makes my wife do anything she doesn’t want to. When dudes try to hit on my wife at the bar, I just sit back and watch them make a fool of themselves because she’ll tell you off and they’ll have to go drink their Bud Light Lime alone.
The line in the show is about the telling her conservative family about the unorthodoxy from their traditional values and how they, as this comment put it, “grinned and beared it”. It has nothing to do with keeping women down or the pay gap or the ideals of feminism. Those are separate issues in my mind. This is just mere fact in my life. A fact that much like a lot of things in my life, doesn’t fit into a traditionalist box.
Now to this next point of contention about the definition of women. To me this is not my call really. I have my limited definition and others have theirs. I add to theirs as much they add to mine. I’m guessing she’s referring to Transgendered folks by stating “non-prostate” havers. Now it is true that I don’t address Transgender issues in this current hour but here’s a few videos where I have talked about the issue.
She also claims the show as anti-Imperialist in a “male-socialist” kind of way. I didn’t think socialism had a gender associated with it. If political structures do have genders, then what gender would Capitalism have, because it’s fuckin’ over everyone! Socialism is about people taking care of people. It’s about advancing the lives the whole, so I think some of these constructs we have put importance on doesn’t mean much. Male, female, cis, non-binary, you get treated the same in a Socialist world. It’s based on merit and giving everyone an equal opportunity to succeed.
Saying “Male-Socialist” would mean that it would be a form of gendered authoritarianism. We’d have a Theocracy which would warp the teachings of Jesus Christ even further. And lets say both myself and my tourmate addressed female issues I’m sure the comments would be relegated to “Look at these men thinking they know what it’s like to be females!”
I feel like this lady would have a problem with Pinnochio because he wanted to be a real boy and not a non-binary, bipedal, flesh person.
So this second one digs deeper into uncontextualized criticisms. But it’s a comment on the internet in 2018, and context has been murdered. Before everyone freaks out, the story where the word ‘negro’ is discussed about my grandmother from India using the word without knowing the history about of the word. Here’s a video where I talk about it.
Now I will say that after a conversation with a friend, I found out that people cringe when I use the word ‘bitch’. It is a harsh word when it’s used in a context to describe women. I feel like words with too many consonants in a row have this problem. I have since changed the word in that joke, so it’s not so harsh and it has the same effect and proves the same point. I was wrong about that one.
To the point of these “white women privileges” and dressing conservatively to ignore street harassment and needing a male escort, I think this lady is confusing India with parts of Middle East. It’s also oddly specific that she pegs me as someone from Northern India, which isn’t true. I also never make a claim to be from a specific region of India in my act. And not that it should matter anyway.
Ok, so there’s probably still parts of India that incredibly conservative. There’s parts of America that are the same. There’s parts of the Middle East that are same. You get the idea. There are parts of every country that stuck in their ways and don’t want progress or access to information. To claim that the issues of street harassment or women needing escorts is based on region alone, it’s pretty insulting and ignorant that your own country practices these issues too. This sort of generalization takes away the diversity of the culture and history of any country.
PLUS attacking an ally of the issue based on almost nothing is neither progressive nor productive.
At the end of the show, I usually will talk to people, get a drink and keep the conversation going, and I remember seeing this lady sitting at the bar with another full glass of beer. She was alone at that time. After we cleaned up, the bar was empty and we headed home. So I have to wonder if someone at the bar was harassing her during or after the show, because she somewhat claims that there was harassment from the venue.
The night I saw this I was taken back by these comments and talked to my friends and my wife about it. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing something about that act. Was I saying something that was getting the signals crossed? Mostly it was a no, which was good to hear. If were a yes, I’d have to figure out how to communicate jokes and points better.
This was at about 2am. I decided not to respond, and if I was bugged up about it in the morning I’d think about addressing. I took screen caps of it to send to my wife and went to bed. The next day they were gone. I’m guessing she put it up after a few drinks in the heat of the moment. But, it’s out there and it’s been on mind for a while.
To me gender isn’t important. I don’t care what gender you are, it doesn’t mean you make generalized actions or what have you. I think what matters is what you do as a human being. People put a lot of importance on their genders and act based on how important they think their gender is. That importance on gender leads to the mistreatment of those that don’t belong to their gender. The level of importance we place on it has caused us to be even further divided.
It’s not to say gender has zero importance. I know it is connected with our identities and sexualities and all that jazz. I just choose not to base my judgements on people based on gender.
A point of view that’s missed about my stuff particularly is that fact that I’m writing a show based on a thesis statement. And I only have a specific amount of time to cover these topics. So I’m not going to get the breadth of everything in an hour of Stand Up Comedy. I think this lady had her own insecurities about how women in the society are treated and probably how she has been treated as well. And it’s no better than black people, immigrants, the LGBTQ community, poor people and so on. It’s not a competition but the point of my show is that we’re in this shit together so we should help each other out.
If she would’ve come talked to me about her grievances after the show I’m sure this would be different story for both of us. And perhaps I should’ve made an extra effort to thank her at the bar for coming. Regardless, I hope she’s heading the direction of finding more peace in her life with people that treat her well.
Also I do address how the Natives were super great to women in their society in the clip below.