Source: The New Democrat
I didn’t get much from Hannibal Buress here as far as advice for comedians, other than that inspiring comedians should just do it. Write down what they think and try to get a job performing or becoming a comic writer. Which would be like telling and inspiring basketball player that if they want to make it to the NBA, they should just play and try to become the best basketball player that they can become. Which is sort of like telling people to cross the street with their eyes open and look to see whether any vehicles are coming first. And also adding that if vehicles are coming, don’t cross yet, but if no one is coming or the next vehicle is like 20 feet from you, then it’s OK to across. No offense, but I could get better advice from my nephew or nieces.
So as someone who writes political satire on my blog and writes about politics a lot of the lighter side of it which today where it seems like something stupid and funny about our government and politicians happens everyday, there’s no shortage of material. Similar to Niagara Falls where there’s never any shortage of water, I’m going to give you my own advice for comedians especially political satirists and people who want to do comedy and satire about politics and government for a living.
The first thing I would say is don’t worry about offending people short of saying something that is truly bigoted. Not what oversensitive over caffeinated Millennials thinks is bigoted because what the hell they know about anything that’s not celebrity culture and new technology anyway that they don’t see on their I-phone. But as long as you’re not comparing people of any race or ethnicity with animals, to use as an example or using racial or ethnic slurs and your humor is just critical whether it’s about religion, culture, lifestyle, or anything else don’t worry about being offensive.
Comedy almost by by definition is offensive and meant to offend unless it’s self-deprecating because you’re pointing out the flaws about people, places, things, situations. So if you’re writing a humorous, but critical and even truthful piece about someone or something, people, or doing a comedy routine and you do it well, of course you’re going to offend someone or some people. But so what because you’re just doing your job which is to make fun of the lighter side of life and the flaws of people and places in society.
I mean what’s the worst thing that will happen to you if you’re doing a good job as a comedian or humorous and pick up a following and making a good living at it, but some people find you offensive and even bigoted, you won’t be able to perform in front of over caffeinated, oversensitive college students and people just out of college? If they’re your target audience to begin with, you’re not going to have much of a following and will spend most of your time just offending over caffeinated, oversensitive young adults.
My other piece of advice would be especially if you want to do comedy about politics and government is to be nonpartisan and just go where the material takes you instead of just concentrating on the flaws of one party or another. Or a political faction in one party or the other. This idea that one party has all the Saints and enlightenment and the other party has a monopoly on stupidity and corruption, makes as much sense as crossing a busy street blindfolded.
We all have our own politics and positions on policy issues but when it comes to comedy we shouldn’t pretend that those things don’t exist, but be honest enough to be able to see the humor and lighter side, the pure stupidity in both parties including our own or whatever political party that we happen to be a member of. Take the George Carlin approach to political satire and go where the material and comedy takes you wherever it takes you.
Comedy should be offensive! What’s funny about the Philadelphia Eagles winning the Super Bowl or someone getting a great job or landing a big raise or promotion? Comedy rarely if ever is about the positives in life and almost always is about negativity in life. Like a politician who doesn’t do his homework and just wings it before going to meetings, or claims to no more about national security and foreign policy than all the generals, even though he has no military or foreign policy experience, or even governmental experience before getting elected to his first political office. Comedy should be about what’s wrong with life and people and using to help people help themselves instead of trying to be mean. Or that’s comedy at it’s best at least.