Tag Archives: laughter

“Hello, I’m a Stand-Up Comedian.” “And I’m PC.”

After the events of this past week [and given the temporary resolution] now is as good a time as any to have a little bit of fun. With so many of us actively fighting for both our rights and the rights of those who cannot speak for themselves a momentary reprieve is needed, a way of recovering in between bouts. It may even be a good idea to turn to comedy, to try laughter in the face of the shockingly grim edicts being rained down by a particular governmental administration.

For a broad number of reasons 2017 appears to be the only year where the current POTUS could ever have been inaugurated. It’s not just our contemporary political landscape that has become so dauntingly complex, however, the same can be said of the comedic sphere as well.

Back in 2015 comedian Jerry Seinfeld was a guest on the ESPN podcast The Herd with Colin Cowherd where he responded to the host commenting about other notable stand-up comedians opting to steer clear of performing on college campuses.

“I don’t play colleges, but I hear a lot of people tell me, ‘Don’t go near colleges. They’re so PC.’

He elaborated on that a bit, saying-

[College students] just want to use these words: ‘That’s racist;’ ‘That’s sexist;’ ‘That’s prejudiced.’ They don’t know even know what they’re talkin’ about.”

-before agreeing with Cowherd that these people are “hurting comedy.”

My favourite thing about this is the

My favourite thing about this is the “PRESENTED BY PROGRESSIVE” right at the bottom.

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The 3 Best Pieces of Advice I’ve Received in 3 Years of Marriage

I started writing for the blog a little before I got married. Around the time of my anniversary each year, I’ve written a post about my married experience. For my first anniversary I shared “4 Things I Didn’t Expect” (about marriage) and last year I gave you “4 Reasons Why Marriage is Worth the Risk (Even in the Age of Ashley Madison)“. This year I was thinking about what sort of married life wisdom I could share with you, and the only thing that came to mind was advice that older and wiser people had told me. So, as my third wedding anniversary approaches (next month) I’ve decided to share the three best pieces of advice I’ve received during my marriage.

1. Go to Bed Angry (Sometimes)

I’ve always been a fighter when it comes to my relationships. I think that discussing an issue can allow you to unearth the deeper problem and talking things out can keep you from feeling resentment. By the time I got married I had also heard and/or read one piece of marriage advice over and over again: don’t go to bed angry.

I’m glad someone told me to cast that advice aside.

Instead, they suggested that sometimes we really should go to bed angry. Because sometimes, even the best of us want to strangle our partner for a reason that will seem pretty silly the next day. Often, by postponing that impulse to vent your irritation, you can avoid making an argument out of something that doesn’t really matter.

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Socially Conscious Comedy Part II: Key and Peele on Being Black in America

Seeing how I love to pretend that binge-watching comedy sketches counts as research, I decided to follow up on last week’s post about Amy Schumer with a post about Key and Peele.

I find a lot of Schumer’s work funny because I can relate to it. It’s not quite the same with Key and Peele, since I am neither black, nor male, nor American.

Although sometimes their characters aren’t male either.

Even though I have little in common with Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key, I do find their work hilarious. They do a variety of flawless impressions and have a much wider range than Schumer, who generally sticks to one (albeit very funny) schtick.

Like Schumer, they also take on some very serious social issues in their comedy. Since they are both half-black, Key and Peele often touch on the way racism affects the lives of black or biracial individuals. Below, I’ve included three racial inequalities that Key and Peele do a great job revealing via their sketches.

1) Racial Profiling and Police Violence

As a Canadian, the prevalence of police violence towards black Americans blows my mind.  Don’t get me wrong, Canada certainly has our own problems when it comes to police violence. That said, our more recent incidents of violence are due to taser-overuse, rather than unnecessary use of a firearm. It’s uncomfortable to watch cases of police violence when they are discussed on American news, since the focus tends to be on whether or not the victim of police violence “deserved it.” Black victims, even twelve-year-olds with pellet guns, are framed as threatening, in order to excuse why a cop discharged their firearm.

Key and Peele often subvert this “threatening black man” trope in their sketches. In “Flash Mob” and “White Zombies” Key and Peele play non-threatening black men who are mistaken as dangerous by the white people (or white zombies) around them.

Similarly, “Solution to Racial Profiling” mocks the racial double-standard that fames black youth in hoodies as “thugs” while their white peers are described as “misunderstood”.

One of their more serious sketches, “Negrotown,” addresses police violence directly, by imagining a world where police violence and racial profiling no longer existed.

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Socially Conscious Comedy Part I: 3 Important Feminist Issues That Amy Schumer Humorously Highlights

I realize Amy Schumer isn’t for everyone. She’s pretty crude, and some of her sketches shift suddenly from funny to uncomfortable.

She also hasn’t done the greatest job approaching intersectionalism through her humour. While she humbly apologized for racially inappropriate jokes that she made in the past, she recently missed the mark again with race jokes in her movie, Trainwreck. That said, I think Schumer offers some fantastic socially conscious comedy. She’s created a niche as a funny feminism, and has drawn attention to some really important women’s issues through her jokes. Below, I’ve outlined a few of the difficult issues that Schumer addresses on her show.

1) Rape

Rape is never funny. However, the way Western society often responds to rape is an absolute joke. Schumer has perfected the socially conscious ‘rape joke’, not by downplaying the seriousness of the violent crime, but by mocking the ridiculous social circumstances that allow rape to go unpunished.

In “A Very Realistic Video Game”, Schumer draws attention to the way female military officers rarely see justice after being assaulted by a fellow officer.

Similarly, her sketch titled “Football Town Nights” looks at the way athletes’ celebrity status has led entire towns to defend young rapists as though they were victims rather than perpetrators .

2) Internalized Misogyny

There are a lot of ways women police ourselves. We try not to be too cocky, or too naggy, or too loud and obnoxious, or too vain. We are taught to police these behaviours because they will make us less likeable, less dateable, or an embarrassment for our significant others.

Sketches like, “I’m Sorry” or “Compliments” draw attention to the pressure women feel to act coy, even in situations where their male counterpart would be encouraged to be confident.

Meanwhile, “I Have a Boyfriend” and “Hello Mi’Lady” highlight the way women can be manipulated into accepting unwanted advances, since ignoring or rejecting them is considered “bitchy” or “cruel”.

3) Unrealistic Beauty Standards

Schumer regularly takes on unrealistic beauty standards, especially those that target female celebrities.

Her parodic music video, “You don’t need make-up,” mocks (most) men’s misconception of what ‘natural beauty’ actually looks like.

Meanwhile, “Schumerenka vs. Everett” highlights the way women are expected to sustain a certain type of look, even in the athletic world. This is a problem recently highlighted by a racist/sexist New York Times article that framed Serena Williams as masculine, and even animalistic for her physical strength

With her recent rise to celebrity status, Schumer has also experienced her fair share of body shaming. At her first audition, for example, she was told to “either lose weight or gain a bunch of weight” in order to secure a role as either “the fat friend or the romantic lead.” She has also been targeted by Twitter trolls for being “too fat”. Recently, she dedicated an entire episode to these trolls, by having men on her show debate if she was actually hot enough to be on TV.

Rape, misogyny and beauty standards aren’t just ‘lady problems’, they are societal problems. These issues matter, and I’m glad Amy Schumer is drawing attention to them via her show. I’m also glad Schumer approaches these issues with a sense of humour. Humour has a powerful way of helping us self-examine ourselves, and think more deeply about problems we might have dismissed if they hadn’t made us laugh.

Reflections On One Year of Marriage: 4 Things I Didn’t Expect

Next week will be my one year anniversary with John. Next week we will also be heading out on our belated honeymoon. Since I’ve made a bit of a habit of updating you on these personal aspects of my life, I thought I’d also go ahead talk about a few things I’ve learned in my new phase of life. 

1) Guys Actually Care About Stuff Other Than Sex

I’ve mentioned in the past that I grew up in the purity movement. I realize you may have read some horror stories about how the purity mentality makes women afraid of sex. I can certainly see how this can and has sometimes been the case, but let me assure you, for me, it was the polar opposite.

I built up sex in my head, a lot. I had all these plans and ideas for when I was FINALLY having sex, and some of them were… a little off base.

First of all I thought that all guys ever wanted, ever, was sex. You can blame it on the purity movement, or you can blame it on media, or you can blame it on my overactive imagination, but somewhere alone the line I decided that guys just wanted sex ALL THE TIME.

So imagine my shock when John and I got to the point in our relationship where he could say things like “well, I’m actually in the middle of writing a paper right now” or “just let me finish this chapter.” Sometimes he even wanted to just cuddle (gasp)!

What was this? This was not what happened in the movies! What was he doing? Being a person? With interests besides sex? What was the world coming to?

Don’t get me wrong, sex is still the awesomeness I always imagined it would be, but it was eye-opening for me to realize how I had internalized such a common gender stereotype without even realizing it.  Continue reading