As fall from grace go, Louis CK’s has been one of the most spectacular. To anyone in the comedy community, the stories about Louis CK’s predilections for masturbating in front of fellow women comedians was well known. The accusations and admission from Louis, has come at what feels like a turning point for women who have previously put up with varying degrees of harassment in male dominated entertainment industries. OTL has not personally been the victim of sexual harassment (probably as OTL is middle aged) however OTL has certainly been patronised, insulted and intimidated by both male and female acts in comedy but not sure that’s so different to anyone in any job.
What does make comedy unique is the “workplace”. How many workplaces are workers openly allowed to drink alcohol? Travel to work (comedy car share) is routine comedians bitching about their job, co-workers, employers and audience. The line between jokes and reality become very blurred. It’s not a very “normal” work environment.
OTL is also hardly surprised that the damaged people that do stand up and make people laugh also can have problems with treating others well and with respect.
OTL also would like women in comedy to be empowered enough to handle creeps on and off stage cause lets face all these revelations aren’t suddenly going to stop all the dysfunctional insecure creeps in the world. .
“Audiences used to complain that I was highly offensive, so I started washing and using deodorant” Jeannie Jones
Ok, its not the greatest line ever but kinda makes the point that people get offended by all sorts of things and in this day and age it seems to be getting worse.
A member of OTL family used to say “Offence is taken not given”, how OTL laughed when he took offence at someone in France offering him money thinking he was a tramp, forcing him utter the lines “Je ne suis pas un vagrant”.
There are lots of things in life to get offended about, injustice, mass shootings, racism, misogyny, poverty but jokes? swearing? really?
We deal with the difficulties of the world using humour, it is a mainstay in maintaining our sanity.
So does OTL get offended by comedy /jokes? Yes, but not because of the topic because the comedian’s material is so badly constructed and unfunny. Tough topics are best left to the best pro comedians, advice to newer comedians avoid, avoid, avoid. Once you have mastered the art of comedy then knock yourself out, tackle the controversial topics.
As the parent of a pre teen daughter the OTL household obviously encourages humour (where else is OTL’s material gonna come from!) indeed one of OTL’s proudest moments was writing a comedy show for the preteen for which she won 3rd in the school talent show. Given OTL’s lack of success in comedy competitions, it was a major victory.
Comedy is strongly linked to empowerment and intelligence, everyone should want their daughters to grow up being funny.
OTL doesn’t remember much about school but does remember being in chemistry class and getting told off for not washing up the equipment properly. The teacher said “Don’t you do the dishes in your house?” Not wishing to tell the truth which was it was done by the dishwasher, OTL said “No sir, we just throw the fish and chip wrappers in the bin”. OTL doesn’t remember if that earned a detention but OTL does remember internally doing a high five at a witty, sarcastic response.
Below is a great article about comedy and parenting girls.
OTL was talking to one of their regular OTL punters yesterday about the shows they’d see at Edinburgh Fringe. This person had noticed how many of the 24 comedy shows they’d seen that had a serious message. They felt at times preached to instead of primarily entertained. If they wanted to be preached at they would have gone to church!
Perhaps it is driven by what comedians think will interest reviewers and those who put together award lists. Award winning comedy, it seems these days can’t just be about shows with the funniest jokes and that make the most people laugh. They have to be innovative (perhaps gimmicky) and have a strong message. Don’t get OTL wrong, we love a show that takes us through a rollercoaster of emotion but thought provoking is one thing but being preached at with the occasional joke is another.
First of all a comedy show has be funny otherwise it should it listed in the spoken word section not in the stand up comedy section!
It is of course it is possible to make people laugh and give a strong political and social message.
What do you think? Please leave a comment below. That’s OTL Sunday sermon finished 😉