Heather has been pretty sick so we went to see a doctor last week. She told the doctor she had a sore throat, bad cough and a fever.” The doctor examined Heather and told her it was a bad chest cold. Heather said that a lot of people in her office have it too. The doctor froze instantly and said, “Wait a minute, this could be worse than I thought. It might be a staff infection.”
Everybody is a comedian although I have to admit that the doctor was pretty funny. It was mostly her timing and delivery. It caught us completely off guard which is one of the basics of comedy. I tell funny people all the time that they should try stand up comedy. The answer is almost always the same. “I could never do that.”
That’s simply not true. Funny people should be on stage. Legitimate excuses would be, “I don’t have the time to devote to learning how and performing. I most always tell them that I can help them get started, but no one follows through. Its really a shame because there are far too many people who are not funny at all but think they are.
They get away with it here, although never in the Wiseguys chain of clubs; the premier comedy clubs in the state. Why? Because so many times the jokes they write only get laughs because of the profanity used as part of the punch line. Or the material is full of vulgar topics.
When they can’t get stage time at Wiseguys they claim they’re being censored. Stupid. These folks fail to understand show business. There are a handful of famous comedians who use profanity in a way that is funny. The late Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Joan Rivers and Robin Williams are examples.
There are others who just use the profanity just because they want to. Bob Saget, Carlos Mencia and other famous comics didn’t become famous by using profanity or vulgar material. You can’t get anywhere in the business starting out working dirty. It just doesn’t happen. The clubs are looking for fresh faces and original clean material.
Most of the well known comedians who work “blue”, (the term in our business for working dirty) started doing so after they had achieved a level of fame. Most of the people who follow them don’t seem to care what the comedian adds to their bits to make it blue. That’s why so many people who go see the guy from “Full House” and the host of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” are shocked when they see him do stand up.
Dave Coulee, also from “Full House” works clean. No one walks out of his shows because they are offended. I saw an interview last week with Garth Brooks. The reporter asked him if he still gets nervous before going on stage. Brooks said that he’s always nervous prior to his show.
Really? Garth Brooks gets nervous? The reporter asked him why he gets nervous. Garth said it was because people may not like his songs or his performance and walk out. He was being sincere. My friend Keith Stubbs got to interview Brooks on his radio show last year. Instead of showing up with an enterage like so many others, Garth pulled in with his pickup by himself and introduced himself to Keith.
This guy is down to earth. Grounded. Doesn’t feel superior to anyone. Its so refreshing to hear stories like that. The result? Even though Brooks took a very long break to be there for his children and was rarely heard from, he sold out all four nights at a huge venue here.
I choose to work clean. Everyone makes their choice but we have to live with the consequences of those choices. I want to be able to work a biker bar one night and a church or corporate gig the next night. I’ve done it many times. Offensive comedians don’t get the gigs that require HR friendly shows. The material selection must always fit the audience, not the other way around.
If you’ve heard people tell you how funny you are and you should be a comedian, you should try it. None of us really thought we could achieve success in this wacky business but we did. But only because we tried. If you’re even thinking about it, get a copy of my book, “You’re Funny! You Should Be a Comedian!” It’s available on Amazon.com. Click here to check it out.
See you tomorrow.
Facebook: Jerry Mabbott