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The time I found out I was a whore

Ostracized

“Listen here whore. You are the only one taking anything seriously. Why don’t you go be a uppity cunt elsewhere. Why don’t you try to be original for once rather then cry like a liberal bitch.” [sic]

Comedy is a field historically dominated by men. As many comedians profess, there is an ever-present, underlying need for attention and approval that often drives them to the stage. Many of these men balance the nuance of a need to please with a talent for humor and create genuine comedy. When less talented comedians attempt this, they often rely on unoriginal material that very frequently involves stereotypes and ignorance.

Recently, there have been well known comedians in the latter category making the news. Daniel Tosh, whose Comedy Central show features his unimaginative commentary on internet videos, earned criticism for joking that a heckler should be gang-raped on the spot for saying rape jokes aren’t funny.

When women are the objects of a “joking” instigation of an act of violence that one in three of them will experience in their lifetime, it’s hard to see why this is a defensible strain in comedy. But it’s feverishly defended. In yet another recent “rape joke” incident, comedians like Patton Oswalt publicly scoffed at criticism and complaints by feminists (of whom many are men) that these jokes not only weren’t funny, but that these comedians should even be questioned at all by those outside of the comedy circle.

If you think this is an issue found only in the dark corners of America’s comedy clubs, I present my recent experience of vitriolic, rabid sexism in comedy.

I am somewhat involved in the local comedy scene in Iowa City. When I say “somewhat involved,” I mean I have friends who perform. I actively promote and support their shows, and I make sure to laugh really loudly at their knee-slappers. I do my best to go toe-to-toe in terms of quality jokes over the interwebs and in person with these comedian friends, and, since we are all attention-hungry at heart, I would say I have a decent sense of humor. I’m no stand-up comedian (YET), but I am happy and eager to engage in the local comedy scene because I see comedy’s inherent value in our society: it fosters a sense of camaraderie, it (if it’s good comedy) humanizes the person on stage, and to hear a truly hilarious joke is one of the few unadulterated happy feelings left in our sick and squalid world.

Some comedians are under the impression that trotting out stereotypes of historically disadvantaged populations is groundbreaking, new material.

It’s not.

They operate under this fallacy, in part, because some of their fellow comedians are reluctant to call them out for it, but more on that in a minute.

It’s no secret that white males are among the least disenfranchised/discriminated against members of society. And comedy does not exist in a vacuum; the comedians most conspicuously guilty of very unfunny bigotry disguised as comedy happen to fall in this category. A white male comedian does not have to apologize for being a white male, and no critic has ever staked that claim. Also, crass humor is not inherently bad. Crude humor is one of the ways comedians humanize themselves, as it lets the audience relate to some of the more embarrassing and darks thoughts we all have. But this is not crass. At an alarming rate, some white male comedians are not only using their platform to perpetuate sexist/racist/homophobic “comedy” but also to viciously attack any critique on it.

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I recently found myself the target of such an attack. A comedy show featuring local comedians was advertised through an events page on Facebook (see event/thread). Enter white male comic–podcast and all–commenting that he wouldn’t go to a “comedy show with women on it and have it be hosted by a lesbian.” Get it? It’s shtick. Making fun of women and lesbians is funny because duh. But if, like me, you started rolling your eyes the first time this “joke” was told, by now you are starting to be fed up.

I replied with a sardonic but not angry hope that I would have a chance to hear this guy’s original and groundbreaking humor on how gay people talk funny and women never know how to drive.

The candor of the comment section quickly devolved. Some of the “shtick” hurled back at me included: “Listen here whore. You are the only one taking anything seriously. Why don’t you go be a uppity cunt elsewhere. Why don’t you try to be original for once rather then cry like a liberal bitch.” [sic] He concluded on several accounts that he was better than me; one of the reasons being that he was not the whore.

cunt

This is not good comedy. This isn’t even comedy. This is yet another example of the dark side of comedy. The notion that it is a boys’ only club; that women can and should be shamed out of the “artistic process” of comedic critique. This is sexism permeating comedy, signifying that it is okay and welcome to call a woman a whore because she told you your joke sucked.

piss

And he and those alike get away with it because fellow comedians fail to see the blatant bullshittery that is the ability to promote outright bigotry and uncalled for hatred of a woman, who was a “whore” who started “running her trap.” This is not an example of a garden variety internet troll, whose provocations are reliably exercised and best ignored because of their obvious attempt at lowest common denominator instigation. This is a violent belief that women who speak up in comedy deserve to be mistreated, and it is encouraged and nurtured when bystander white male comedians discourage any objection.

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Several of the men tried to, misguidedly, explain that simply responding to someone like this is only adding fuel to the fire; I was only “giving him what he wants.”

It’s a phenomenon in comedy that criticism can only give power to the wrongdoer. It is, in effect, telling a woman that pointing out injustice is against her best interests. It takes away her ability to participate as an equal. It assumes that the louder, violent voice is unquestionable, and that women and minority groups are powerless to change behaviors that affect them. When these bystander comedians told me that my silence is best, they signaled to the original offender that his comments were free from consequence. And they signaled to me that, as a woman who is tired of hearing sexism in comedy instead of original, creative humor, I am not welcome in the comedy world. That comedy is exclusive to those who think alike, and there is no room for dissenting voices. This isn’t comedy either.

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Comedy is not assuming zero responsibility over your actions. It is not telling others how to respond. It is not demonstrating the utmost hypocritical behavior in making callous, lazy, ignorant statements and then lashing out aggressively against critics. Comedy is not free from criticism. This is not an echo chamber containing only yourself and a couple other people exactly like you. You won’t need to do any of these things if you want to be a good comedian, or a decent human being for that matter.

Comments



95 thoughts on “The time I found out I was a whore

  1. Reasonable Citizen May 18, 2013 at 8:55 am - Reply

    Well have you ever considered it’s comedy. As an art form who are you to say that it can be censored or limited in anyway. I can’t believe The Little Village would publish your garbage rant. I hope you enjoy your vanilla comedy shows for the rest of your closed minded/naive/boring days.

    • As an art form, comedy is subject to the opinion in the audience. If your audience is applauding your statements for the extent to which they denigrate people who aren’t them, as opposed to, say, the cleverness of your insight or the unexpected absurdity of an observation or character, you’re no longer doing a comedy show, you’re doing an impromptu hate rally. And who the hell gets into comedy out a desire to denigrate people? (Other than the awesome Marc Maron of course).

      • And that’s the problem – this uppity bitch started acting like she spoke for the whole audience, like she’s the only one listening to the comedy, and the artists should cater to her sensibilities instead of their own. She got what she deserved.

  2. Mackenzie Sheehy May 18, 2013 at 8:59 am - Reply

    Thanks so much for this, Chelsea. As a female involved in the local comedy scene, I can attest that there are plenty of wonderful guys involved, but a lot of cowardly ones too. I’m getting so sick of “misogyny racism homophobia lolololol but isn’t offensive material just funny in and of itself look am I funny yet.” We’re not shocked or blown away by your wit – quite the opposite. We’ve heard it all before from you overgrown children. Comedy is about using your wit to ease the suffering in everyday life, not increase it.

    • The fact that you are rolling on the floor laughing about something so unfunny is exactly why comedians can reliably use outdated, mediocre jokes.

  3. Thank you for writing this.

    I had the displeasure of meeting Stevie Mo and the first thing he said to me was anti-Semitic. Not that it’s any consolation, but his idiotic behavior is not confined to women, nor exclusively a public performance, and it is not representative of all the men in Iowa comedy. Unfortunately, it’s not at all rare and those that don’t do that type of material or act outwardly hateful are often silent about it or at least act as if they don’t mind.

    That streak in comedy, and especially Iowa City, is part of the reason I found it so difficult to really want to keep at it. Staying at an open mic until after 2, listening to racist, misogynistic, and often drunken rants being passed off as comedy, is tiring. I got to the point where I could no longer feign amusement and felt that continuing to support this in Iowa City was making me complicit. I did not feel that it was something I would want to be a part of, share a stage with, or ask others to sit through. On many occasions, I was very embarrassed by the “material” that people who came out to support me were subjected to.

    It’s unfortunate that, at least in comedy right now, it seems that objecting to abusively dumb performances has become gendered, but I hope it might help if it’s not just you (Chelsea), or Mackenzie, that are expressing such frustrations. I’m a straight, white male and I think it’s time to call out the lazy and hateful “comedians” for what they are: hacks.

    I’m all for freedom of speech, but just because you can say something, doesn’t make it funny, smart, or healthy. I would never tell someone what not to say on stage, but that doesn’t mean that we have to listen and it certainly doesn’t mean that anyone should have to put up with abusive people just to be part of comedy.

    So much of trying to do comedy in public is social. Helping to maintain a healthy and vibrant “scene” is part of taking it seriously. Perhaps it’s time for people interested in a different kind of comedy to support each other and work on creating our own scene, instead of supporting and being complicit in something that we find hateful, anti-social, and dumb.

  4. Ever consider that these comedians intentionally play the “bad guy” so people have a target for their anger towards these systemic oppressive forces such as racism, sexism etc. Or maybe just to get a rise out of people who are way too uptight– which is also really funny.

    I also have to say that I know Steve personally and he is actually the most open minded and one of the kindest people I know and that in comedy he is playing a character, whether you think it is in poor taste or not.

    • That’s the dumbest comment on here. And comedians are supposed to be funny. He’s not. And not “kind” or “open-minded,” either. He’s a boring douchebag. But you clearly have a crush on him (“like, he’s really nice once you get to know him, you guys!!!!!”), so you’re not rational.

      • I too have known Stevie for years, and I can wholeheartedly second that he is a very nice, very open minded and caring guy. Stevie plays the bad guy in the same sense that Sam Kinison or Andrew Dice Clay played bad guys. He is trying to get a reaction. Maybe he doesn’t always have an on/off switch, or maybe he likes to bring the character to social media, but he is playing a role. Kinison and Clay are highly skilled comedians, not my favorite, but highly skilled. Stevie is an Open Mic comic at best, practicing his skills to get to that level. Will he ever get there, I can’t say, but you cannot hold someone to the same expectation that you would to highly polished professionals.

        I agree that he is not always funny, but he doesn’t have to be. We expect comedy to bring us laughs and it usually does, but sometimes it is supposed to be thought provoking, sometimes it encourages conversation, sometimes it shocks, sometimes its done JUST to get a reaction. Patrice O’Neal used to intentionally try to get the audience to leave, just to see if he could. He wasn’t trying to be funny for the audience, that was what was funny to him. He wasn’t trying to get laughs, he was trying to get a reaction.

        I will also agree that this was not the most clever, brilliant, ground breaking piece in comedy. But just because it isn’t great, or isn’t funny, does that revoke our freedom to say it? If you limit this, what comes next? Can we not make fat jokes, white jokes, straight/gay jokes? And who gets to make those decisions?

        You have the right to be offended, you have the right to criticize, you have the right to call a comic out who offends you. But because you, and maybe a group of people didn’t like what this comic had to say, should that give you the right to have is rights or privileges taken away? He has had clubs refuse to book him based upon this blog alone. You made mention of bullshittery, and that is exactly what I call this. So now, if I’m offended by your blog, and if I make a big enough stink about it, should the Little Village refuse to publish your material? Should I start a campaign and make sure no media service will let you work for them?

        Just as Stevie’s actions and words have consequences, so do yours. You have said a lot of nasty things about Stevie, just has he has said about you. Are you held to different standards because you are a “journalist”? Are you more protected by the 1st amendment than another person? I say you have the right to try be informative, critical, and passionate, as Stevie has the right to try to be funny, crude and passionate.

        Even if, this was the REAL Steven Moeller, which I know it is not, who are you to say he can’t be racist, sexist, or otherwise hateful. While we may not like it, those types of speech are also protected by the first amendment. Just like you have the right to choose not to engage him, pay to see him, or watch him. You’ve taken a series of comments that you were not originally party to, inserted yourself into a situation, took it out of context to blow it out of proportion to get a reaction. Its all very similar to comedy. Maybe the reaction you were looking for wasn’t laughs, but again sometimes comedy isn’t.

  5. Amy, your point about comedians deliberating playing the bad guy for cathartic purposes is certainly worth considering, but the most successful comedians do this using irony and I sense none in your friend’s remarks. It takes a highly skilled comedian to be able to control nuance and also to read his or her audience and be able to sense when it is time to turn the tables on those who embrace the more hateful aspects of the act as “truth.” Checking such ignorance by turning a mirror on it and providing the audience with an “AH!” moment that results in the surprised laughter of recognition is the gift of a true comedic artist. Hateful remarks borne out of stereotypes aren’t funny; they are just noise. And they are ugly noise that can (intentionally or not) perpetuate vicious stereotypes.

  6. Amy- It is so very brave for these kind brave men to attack women so viciously. Stevie and Johnny are damn near Christ-like. I think you might have a point; but the next time these “bad guys” decide to play these parts, they may want to let people in on the joke. Especially the people who are the targets of these “jokes”. Whether or not these guys meant what they said, or were just joking; the pain and anger this causes is real.

  7. You end this article by outlining things that aren’t a part of comedy. That final paragraph undermines anything you say before it. You spend this whole article pleading for the reader to be outraged by some people’s attempt at comedy and finish it off by saying things like “it is not telling others how to respond”. Putting boundaries on stand up comedy is dangerous and this tub of shit may be disgracefully unfunny, but he has every right to get on that stage and try to make someone laugh. The long term effects of what you are saying are far more terrifying than the misguided comedy of some deranged pig.

    On a side note, the best way to combat this is to be a positive example of what comedy means to you without restricting someone else’s version of comedy. I hope this pushes you to get on stage and show us instead of writing about how others should do it. Prove this turd wrong by being the opposite of his stereotypes.

  8. I’ve been a stand-up comedian in Iowa City for a little over a year and a half. I usually don’t comment on these kinds of things because I would rather be working on my own material than defending someone else’s. I have no intention of defending Stevie; I’ve worked with him several times. The last time I worked with him was around six months ago at a bar called MD Greens in Rock Island. Stevie crossed a line and offended several members of the female audience. The bar tender took Stevie to the back room and had a talk with him, as far as I know MD Greens hasn’t had a comedy show since. Usually when you have a comedian like Stevie they aren’t asked to do shows again. I’m not saying that nothing should be done when a comedian like Stevie crosses the line. I’m only trying to add comfort in the knowledge that he will probably be out of a job soon.
    Stevie also hasn’t been to Iowa City since last year’s Iowa City C4 competition, so guess I’m a little hurt to be lumped in with him as an Iowa City Comedian. Josh, Mackenzie I’m sorry that you felt out of place in the Iowa City comedy scene, but what exactly did you expect. Until only a month ago the only place to do comedy was at the Yacht Club open mic. It’s an open mic. There are people there who have never done stand-up before. They don’t know any better. Don’t just abandon the scene try and help them, if you want it to get better. How is it going to get better if you just leave it? You want to see more female friendly jokes get all the people who protested union or went on a slut walk and sit them in the front rows. If the white male comedians are such cowards, what do you think they will say with a room full of women staring at them? Not rape jokes I can guarantee that.
    Maybe I’m being a little naïve but I have seen both of you do stand-up and both of you have made fat jokes. If you are so worried about someone’s feelings’ being hurt let me ask you. What makes it ok to make fun of someone who is obese and not someone who is black, or a woman? This is a street that goes both ways. If you can’t make fun of one person you can’t make fun of anyone.
    Chelsea I think you made some good points in the article. However, I see this more as a problem in the Internet community than for the comedy scene. Yes, Stevie is a comedian from the Quad Cities, yes, this was on a forum for a comedy show, but this type of misogyny is rampant on the internet. The Daniel Tosh thing happened at a comedy club. I happen to think Daniel Tosh is a shittier version of Bob Saget, but what can I do. What happened to you, and I’m sorry for it, happened on Facebook. Most people when being in a room with you would probably have never said those things…Well Stevie probably would have. He would probably still be making racist jokes while he was being lynched by an angry mob. However, over the internet people feel they can get away with it. Again, I believe this was a good article, but I think it was aimed in the wrong direction.

    • Rusty Shackelford May 19, 2013 at 8:55 pm - Reply

      Don’t worry about being lumped in as an Iowa City “Comedian”. Nobody knows who you are, and, more importantly, nobody cares.

  9. So: you’re not a comic. Yet you inserted yourself into this thread where comics had gathered to talk among themselves. And, based on your exclusion from the group, you drew the conclusion that male comedians don’t want women in comedy.

    The fallacy in your argument is that you are not a woman in comedy. You are not a comic. You got the treatment anybody gets when they barge into a circle of initiates and insist that they belong. Clearly, you didn’t belong. But you think you should. Why? Is there some privilege inherent in your makeup that allows you membership to the club without passing the rings of fire? When you’ve done standup, maybe they will be nicer to you. Until then, “Fuck you” is a perfectly reasonable response from a group to an outsider.

    Your other assumption, that by telling you not to provoke Stevie the other commenters in the thread were subverting the process of justice and enabling Stevie’s ascendency and your silence, is equally blind and self-interested. Pretty clearly they were telling you, for your own good, to go away. You picked a fight with a guy whose sole apparent purpose in comedy is to be the ugly schtick guy. And you lost, because you can’t win with someone whose first blood is the nuclear option.

    You made an error in judgment, of the sort I’ve seen you make repeatedly online: you think that your gender, education, and temperament qualify you to be correct. They don’t. They qualify you to have a particular point of view. That’s all. You have allowed your frustration to make you into a crybaby. Your attempt to place artists within the confines of your academic worldview will see its fruition when you finally get the nerve to stand at an open mike and tell the self-reflexive jokes that probably don’t even make you laugh, vetted as they are for triggers and politics and general safety.

  10. Shawn – I know that the vibe at the Yacht Club is pretty… aggressive and I’m all for paying dues, but a lot of stuff I was hearing was outwardly hostile to a large portion of the audience and I was also picking up a lot of this off-stage. I’m not only referring to open mics, this theme has run through most of the shows I’ve experienced in Iowa City, including showcases and others.

    I know it’s important to play to the audience you have, but I think it’s valid also to play to the audience you wish you had and hope you can attract that type of person in the future.

    As far as fat jokes go, I know that I’ve never made a joke in which the punch line is that a person is fat. Even if I had, I would’ve made the joke about me. If a person has to be the butt of a joke, I will be that butt. Anyone that’s known me will know why I wouldn’t make jokes at the expense of fat people.

    • Josh- I guess you and I have had different experiences in the comedy scene, or I’m more indifferent to it. I still maintain that taking yourself out of the scene is not the way to go about fixing it. I think the best advice is the advice you gave Mackenzie. You should start your own show. If you promote the welcoming and accepting environment and it does better than the Yacht club, awesome. I’ll support it. If I can help you out in any way let me know, but just giving up on the scene isn’t the way.
      As far as the jokes go, I was using fat jokes as an example. I’m sure there are plenty of other jokes where you weren’t the punch line. If you can be the butt of all of your jokes, while still coming up with new material every week that makes people laugh, then you sir are a saint and I applaud you. I do however offer this caveat: I have offended people while being the butt of a joke simply because of content material. Even if you are the butt of the joke someone will still find a way to be offended by it.

  11. You should hose some of the sand out of your crusty vagina.
    I hope you can cook since you aren’t funny and your complaining is something no one in their right mind would ever put up with.

  12. Barking Unicorn May 19, 2013 at 3:41 pm - Reply

    Chelsea, you’re a terrible writer: rambling, incoherent, straining for cleverness at the expense of making your point. That doesn’t make good comedy, either. Go scribble for Jezebel.com.

  13. “I make sure to laugh really loudly at their knee-slappers.”

    now why does that just seem incredibly disingenuous? kind of like the rest of your article where you play the victim after taking a jab and having it blow up in your face.

  14. People see a comic to laugh. When you get offended by your personal beliefs and interrupt the comic to get onto your soapbox, you deserve everything the comic throws at you. It’s a disservice to the comic, it’s a disservice to the audience. No one cares, during a comic’s routine, that you are personally offended. I would be pissed if I saw a comic and some bitch stood up during the routine to tell the comic that he should watch his language and be nicer to your gender. If you were that offended the best thing to do is leave.

    And, as for the bit about white males being the least disenfranchised group in the U.S. Let me know when there can be a Whites Only scholarship. Let me know when companies that are white owned gets the same benefits as minority owned businesses. Let me know when there can be a school that can let only whites in. When taking the civil service exam, white males have to score higher than other groups because bonus points are awarded to those who are non-white and female. That’s not equality. That is seeking to keep one group down based upon gender and skin color. That’s racism pure and simple.

  15. Feminist Speech Police, ala’ Carrie Nation. “If you’re like me” (& only immoral, indecent misogynists aren’t) you are getting “fed up”. And now, these tastes and beliefs will become a moral crusade to force everyone to be, “like you”, or at least make offenders more polite and willing to take a severe tongue-lashing lying down. Free Speech and the right to be Offensive??? Oh, no! We now live in the land of professional victims who cannot just exercise their freedom to ignore what the don’t “like” (assuming no one forced the writer to listen to these offensive males). No, it’s time for people “like me” to rise up with our tomahawks and drive the demon-jokers out! These foul violators of hyper-sensitivity have no rights and by mother gaia they must be purged from “decent” society! …such a pathetic, sniveling, passive-aggressive regurgitation of censorship demands from a past we all hoped had disappeared with Ms. Nation and her ilk.

  16. No, you dont get it.
    In case you have not figured it out yet, the idea is to respond in kind, if someone calls you a whore or whatever as in the posts above they are intentionally pushing your buttons, they know, the audience knows, but you apparently do not, or you do but you think its not fair or something and therefore wrong, but its your reaction to such that matters that counts, and quite honestly you failed utterly. They got to you, your instinct was to be offended and get indignant when it should be to fire back, better and wittier. Thats how comedy works. He (or she) who blinks loses.
    And contrary to your assertions, any good comic knows this, they know the ups and downs of the jokes they tell, the angle they dangle.
    The fact that you said this with a straight face “I make sure to laugh really loudly at their knee-slappers” just shows how clearly you do not “get it’ as far as comedy goes. Basically if you think Daniel Tosh is unclever etc and his jokes stale old tripe then no, you do not get it, when he says what he says he is well aware he is not forging new comedic trails, his rape humor would only rile up someone who really has no clue about comedy (rule 1: nothing is sacred). In short, your opinion of what he does says more about you that it does about him.
    In other words, chick or no, quit being such an easy target, “man” up, grow some balls, and throw down. Watch a few comedy roasts or something.
    Its called earning respect. Or you can be a puss about it and whine on a blog somewhere.

  17. Sorry lady, but you don’t get to decide what is funny for everyone else. Make that decision for yourself, then listen, or don’t. It’s really great for you that you don’t like some things and that you like others. Cool! I respect your decision. Personally, I don ‘t think anything is off-limits for comedy. At all. Until free speech laws go away in the US, all is fair game. I’ve been offended plenty in my life. If anything, I’m better for it.

  18. If you don’t find the jokes funny, simply leave. Going on a rant about this (and some of the other comedians you mentioned) is a good way for free publicity for that comedian. In comedy, nothing is sacred, and in the US, you can say anything you want. You go on a rant about how white male comedians throw insults at women, what about the female comedians, and even many TV shows, that portray men as oafs, with low IQ that are better at making a mess of things then actually helping. It goes both ways. I agree with what was said earlier, if you’re at a comedy show, and you stand up to try to tell the comedian that they shouldn’t make those jokes, you earned whatever insults came your way. If you were offended, then you obviously needed it.
    Put simply, a joke is a joke, and not to be taken seriously. A comedians jokes aren’t meant to be serious, and learn to take a joke.

  19. Readers, please don’t think this writer reflects the female populace or the female comedian populace. We are NOT thin-skinned, preachy, know-it-all complainers. The absolute pouty, judgyiness of this “column” is embarrassing.

  20. Ok so let me get this straight – some guy(s) said a bunch of stuff you don’t like – and so naturally you wrote an article on this site to rant and whine about it? Because you didn’t find it funny. And so, nobody should.

    Great web-site – is tripe like your article standard fare here?

    One last question… ok so rape jokes are out, but can we still make fun of retards and ugly chicks? And what about AIDS – is that funny yet? I mean it’s been like decades….

  21. What you’re talking about is selective censorship based entirely on your version of humour and morality. The best of the early feminist comics, many of whom you owe your freedom of speach to, used stereotypes to break down the hatred.

  22. OK so here’s the jist for all of you who don’t want to read all of this:

    Male Comedian (MC): Pft, ladies doing comedy. Girls are icky and stupid.

    Lady comedy fan (LCF) : Seriously! Be more funny.

    MC: C’mon it was a joke. Liberals are so thin skinned…. whore

    LCF: See what we ladies have to deal with? Everytime I voice an opinion I get called names. At least be original.

    Several Male Comedians: How dare You Criticize ME!!! IA CAN”T BELIEVE I CAN”T DO WHAT I WANT TO DO AT ALL TIMES WITH ZERO CONSEQUENCES AT ALL. FREE SPEECH IS FREE FOR A REASON! WHORE WHORE BITCH CUNT. WHY DOES NO ONE UNDER STAND I AM REALLY A SENSITIVE PERSON!!! WHORE!

    LCF: Hey some of that hurt my feelings and my me sad about the state of the world.

  23. You still haven’t explained why you ruined a conversation nobody was even having with you. Or maybe you did and zi missed it. I scrolled through pretty quickly because it was just bullshit after bullshit.

  24. Male Comedian: All of this is just an act though. I do this to burst liberals hot air and provide a target and release the tension. That’s right folks target all that hate.

    Lady Comedy fan: Wel I do hate what you are saying so here’s some hate. Coming at’cha!

    MC: Wait! where’s all this hate coming from?

    AAAnd Scene!

  25. i had to read this just for the heck of it. i knew what it would involve.

    just more proof that “feminists have no sense of humor”

    some things are funny to others while not being funny to you. that’s the way the world is. learn to accept reality.

    last time i checked female comedians do the same schtick.

  26. You’re right. I wish all comedy was like Bill Cosby but not so offensive. Maybe just some knock-knock jokes and maybe a limerick. Not a dirty one though as that would be offensive.

  27. White male comics aren’t the only ones who perpetuate stereotypes. Russell Peters, an Indian whose act is mostly made up of racial material routinely plays large shows, and he’s a drop in the human gene pool.

    You have every right to be a prude, but keep it to yourself would ya? Plenty of us aren’t as easily offended, can’t we have a good time?

    Amy Schumer for one would be quick to confirm you’re an uppity c*&t. And she rocks! A personal hero of mine.

    You will run into douchebags in the world, take ‘em too seriously and you risk becoming one yourself. Now quit whining like a little girl and take it like a man!

  28. Does anybody want to buy a grill? I think people kind of forgot that my grills are still a thing. I’m financially ruined and I need help. Please, please buy my brand of tabletop skillet grills.

  29. “I sure hope nobody harasses these comedians, tries to get them banned from the comedy club, or fired from their jobs! Don’t white knight for me, you silly boys! Tee hee!”

  30. From what I read, this is mostly directed just at you, not all women in general. Please don’t force the rest of us women to join your pseudo-struggle to become a martyr. Maybe they just don’t like you.

  31. I find the discussion of what is and isn’t acceptable material for comedy fascinating. I lean towards the side of “nothing is off limits” in terms of what subjects can be approached, but if the goal of the “joke” is hate rather than comedy then there is a problem. A comedian ACTS like a fool while a bigot IS a fool.

    As for this article, logical fallacies abound.

    The reason to not respond to trolls is because responding lends credence to the idea that when they said has any value or was worth anyone’s energy to respond to. A troll’s goal is to get someone to engage with them intellectually and then to frustrate the intellectual until the intellectual loses composure and rants incoherently. The troll wins the argument by making the intellectual look uptight, sanctimonious and imbalanced.

    Someone who makes a living being a troll, like bigot “comedians” who build their audience by sharing hate with other haters, break out into a bigger audience of 1st amendment fans by claiming to be champions of free speech. Sometimes an intellectual not only responds to the bait but fails to build a valid argument for their counter stance. Now they look like a fool and their foolishness is associated with the point they were trying, but failing, to make.

    Dealing with trolls in all walks of life can be difficult (at least if you are inclined to be law abiding) but start by not lending them acknowledgment, or if a comment is really required publicly dismiss them as a fool without going into detail. Rhetorical arguments in a public space are defeated by rhetoric, not by well thought out, lengthy intellectual arguments.

    Hitler wrote “all effective propaganda must be confined to a few bare essentials and those must be expressed as far as possible in stereotyped formulas. These slogans should be persistently repeated until the very last individual has come to grasp the idea that has been put forward.”

  32. Seriously, guys, I don’t even have money for real food. I tried to cook corned beef hash on the grill this morning but it just burnt it into a disgusting cake of sloppy dog food meat. I’m pleading with you, please buy one of my grills.

  33. Sentimental Old Fool May 19, 2013 at 6:56 pm - Reply

    Remember when Kaufman wrestled women?

    I know it’s a bit blasphemous to compare the two, but it is in a sense similar. Not as well done but similar.

    Stevie was in character here, some have said that such a character needs to be done with more cleverness and irony, I agree- But this is a Facebook comment thread- not Comedy Central. It’s incredibly rough around the edges, he’s not Colbert (nor is he trying to be). He’s like a pro-wrestling villain. Loud, mean, ugly, blunt, etc. This is his character, if it sincerely upsets people that is unfortunate- but that’s not his issue nor does he have to correct himself. However I’m a firm believer that comedy is an art and as such can be interpreted a couple different ways (not as open to interpretation as say- a painting- but you get the idea).

    From another more blunt standpoint- You’re not his target audience.

    Sincerely, A Sentimental Old Fool

  34. Good article, and hopefully as time goes by it will be harder and harder to for people to pass misogyny and racism off as humor. Maybe people should start flash mobbing the shows of people like Stevie Mo and heckling him about his hate-based humor.

    You can fit everything you need to do an hour long set of racist/sexist jokes on a 3×5 card. It’s about as unsophisticated and unimaginative a sense of humor as you can find, and in my experience the people who do it are so ignorant that they don’t realize how ignorant they are, like those people on American Idol who are so bad at singing that they can’t even realize they’re bad and assure the judges that they’re going to win the competition and then belch out the most tone deaf auditions. It’s like that, but with intelligence instead of singing ability.

    I’m not a comedian but I guarantee I could write a racist or sexist joke based set and get the same laughs as a comedian who prides himself on being a practitioner of that style of humor. It’s pathetically easy, but I have no desire to stoop to that level.

      • If someone’s going to perform in public, by definition they’re making it the concern of random people. And unless someone is a hypocrite or a moron, they’ll understand that this means getting criticism from people.

    • Rusty Shackelford May 19, 2013 at 9:00 pm - Reply

      You just don’t like the fact that people laugh at things that offend you. Boo fucking hoo. Grow a set, you little white knighting beta manboob. If you think you could get laughs, get up on stage. Otherwise, shut up and be grateful we still live, for now, in a society that allows for free speech, even if that means some people get offended.

      • You seem to be the one who’s all threatened and whiny here. I’m pointing out that this is a lazy style of humor and you’re busting out your tin foil hat like people are trying to take away your freedom of speech. That’s a pretty pathetic and paranoid response.

        And, like I said, I could easily succeed as a comedian doing race and gender jokes. All you really need to do is refer to stereotypes that everyone is aware of and that support existing power structures. You get laughter from people in the audience who are jerks to their wives and girlfriends and/or who don’t know very much about history and/or who aren’t that smart. You maybe get some laughter from women but it’s nervous laughter. And then you act like you’re doing the same thing as Louis CK or someone who’s legitimately funny.

        What’s the most intelligent race or gender joke you’ve heard from a comedian? Is it really enough for you for someone to simply call a woman a whore? That’s a pretty low bar, and it’s almost as insulting to the intelligence of the people in the audience as it is to the woman being targeted. As a comedian, if that’s REALLY the most intelligent thing you can come up with, it’s pretty sad.

        • Rusty Shackelford May 20, 2013 at 8:57 pm - Reply

          Hahahahahaha. You’re reading waaaaay too much into my post, yet I’M the paranoid and pathetic one? Looks like you got the magical formula figured out, I look forward to seeing you on tour after you become a famous comedian.

  35. I feel really bad for whoever made this article. They think the worst thing is to be blind – no, it’s not. The worst thing is thinking you can see when you are actually blind to what’s going on. May the interwebs have mercy on your soul.

  36. I don’t know who any of you people are, I just hope i don’t run across any of you at a comedy club anytime. There is nothing less funny than somebody telling me what I should or should not find funny.

  37. Your own mother tried to kill you May 19, 2013 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    If you weren’t a humorous cunt you’d have gotten back at them with your material not in a bitchy whiny blog posting.

  38. ad hominem they are their own best joke.

    their only argument is “we can say what we want because comedy is about saying what you want not what people want to hear so you can’t stop us because and that’s why”

  39. So, I genuinely could not follow that article; it was unclear to me what was the original comment that sparked the “controversy” and what each person’s relationship was to one another. Chelsea, your writing is quite bad, sorry. And the Facebook thread is gone, so I have no frame of reference.

    However, from what I can glean, a “comedian” said something sexist, and you called them out on it, and so they then responded with even more vulgarly sexist things. This is not indicative of anything except that comedians know how to deal with hecklers. I’m not saying you’re wrong to speak up, but you’re definitely wrong for trying to read into the replies and say “oooh, look how much sexism exists in comedy.”

    Comedy, probably more than any other art form, is about taboos; it makes us laugh uncomfortably at things we know are wrong. If Tosh says, “rape that girl complaining about a rape joke” and everyone laughs, it doesn’t mean everyone is advocating *actual* rape; it means everyone understands a comedian’s defense against “hecklers” (meaning, anyone who interrupts their show) is to offend the hell out of them to get them to leave. Now, if everyone in the audience suddenly started chanting, “Yeah! Rape that bitch” then that would be truly disgusting and horrifying. I was at a stand-up show where the comedian’s “jokes” on homosexuality went from being chuckle-worthy, to just being tasteless comments to rally the support of the anti-gay people in the audience; I stopped laughing, got up, and left.

    When comics say awful things, it’s just their way of presenting them to the world; what each person makes of that presentation is on them. When a comedian makes a racist/sexist/hateful joke, it usually doesn’t mean that’s how they feel; it means it’s a taboo topic in modern society and this is how they bring attention to it.

    And, as others have said, you’re not even a comedian, so you can’t claim to have any insight on this just because you’re “in the scene” by knowing some comedians. I was going to say “bitch, please.” but I doubt you’d see the humor in that.

  40. Kathleen Kangas May 19, 2013 at 7:45 pm - Reply

    I love female comics and I am an older female myself (lets just say “over 40″). I just don’t think you’re that funny Chelsea. But I appreciate your support of other comics. Bamford and Madigan are great and do not provide fodder for this inane argument to continue. You’re making it just as bad by showing your weak humor.

  41. You so are a whore.
    If you don’t appreciate their comedy, go somewhere else. Or Do the most terrible thing in the world and block them on Facebook.
    …Or cast ridiculous judgement on their jokes. What people find funny is not controlled by you and never will be. I only skimmed this article since the amount of bullshit whining throughout it is so obvious, but you definitely are too insecure to even be at some comedy shows. It’s just so damn blatantly obvious with how you are hoping to receive support by posting something like this… Yep, people love those who cry about their “1st world problems”
    Try posting something meaningful or positive. Maybe people will do more than just skim, or completely skip, what you post

    • Right… But you obviously don’t take that advice seriously because you’re not “going someplace else” when it comes to the article, you’re posting an opinion about it, and casting ridiculous judgment on the piece. What makes it okay for you to respond to the article, but not okay for the author to have written it?

  42. Well its typical US if you ask me, and you don’t I guess ?

    Why don’t you hang around to make sure that noting will happen that don’t offend you ? personal if I was not enjoining I leave and that’s it, the ones who stay do so likely because they have fun.

    You on the other hand have to help them understand they don’t have fun, by staying and now this at best rant on the internet who only show that ones you this 40 you likely the ones making police complaints about low hanging pants ect… have fun in your home made bobble and

  43. Hey Chelsea, congratulations, you made Fark.com!

    http://www.fark.com/comments/7757528

    Thousands of people all over the world now know who you are and are laughing at you.

    For somebody who’s not a comic, that’s damn impressive.

    You go girl!

    If a few comments on a Facebook page were enough to send you off to write this piece of quasi-literate nonsense, there’s enough material in the Fark piece for at least a dozen more just like it!

    I can’t wait to see what you get offended by next. This is fun!

  44. hilarious. some hack wannabe comedians in iowa (of all places) are pissed that someone tells them they suck because their jokes are dumb and they’ve no place attacking women and gays. and then they get pissed and call her a whore. and then there is a looooong comment board on it, with lots of name calling and finger pointing.
    sounds like the internal monologue for your average attendee at your your typical church meeting in the mid west.

    big men should be brave and go do big man comedy in the city, not act like tough guys out in the sticks. either that or face up to who you are and apply to the police force. the world always needs another douche bag on the pay rolls.

    • Rusty Shackelford May 19, 2013 at 9:13 pm - Reply

      Tyler Whiteknight. You see a problem with jokes attacking women and gays, then you make a comment attacking religion. I guess some prejudicial thoughts are okay. What a toolbag you are. Small minded Internet tough guy. News flash – defending chicks on the Internet doesn’t get you laid in real life.

      • News flash: there are plenty of people who think women deserve respect independently of whether or not they’re going to sleep with you. That’s not white knighting, it’s being a decent human being.

  45. Rusty Shackelford May 19, 2013 at 9:10 pm - Reply

    Too funny. A white American woman, the most privileged species in the entire world, gets offended by something on fucking Facebook – conversation into which she inserted (heh) herself, no less. Had the guy groveled and apologized, she’d be writing an article crowing about how she shut down an evil patriarchal sexist. This is pure attention seeking behavior. In either case, it’s not about being offended (most of these womyns’ rights types would not know real oppression if it slapped them in the face, performed a clitorectimy, and made them wear a hijab). It’s about acquiring social status by claiming you are a victim. Make me a sandwich.

  46. This is the real critique for all the white dudes trying to do “shock” comedy at amateur hour.

    Say whatever the hell you want. Really. Do it. But remember these things.

    1) Your material probably isn’t working. A couple uncomfortable chuckles at your predictably oh-so-edgy jokes is pity laugh – not because you are SO BRAVE.

    2) This is a brutal career path for you, even if it’s just your shitty hobby. You are LIGHT YEARS from being able to alienate audiences and piss people off with stale humor ripped off from your boozy bro parties. You just aren’t that good.

    3) For christ sake stop snapping at people for being so offended when YOU GET OFFENDED FOR PEOPLE SIMPLY TELLING YOU YOUR JOKES BLOW.

    • I’m sure all those comedians are reading this blog, and I’m sure they all give a shit what you have to say.

  47. Your own mother tried to kill you May 19, 2013 at 9:18 pm - Reply

    Too bad there aren’t women-only ‘comedy’ clubs replete with a standards board that pre approves everything to ensure it’s appropriately feminist. You should look into that. And then you could write bitchy whiny blog posts about how all the mean girls are mean.

  48. I remember the golden days, when feminism was all about equal rights and equal treatment for women. Now it seems to be about getting offended over everything and crying about it on the Internet.

  49. I went to a comedy club in Indianapolis once and the emcee insulted me as well as told some horribly unfunny racist and homophobic jokes. You know what I did? I wrote his name down… and didn’t go to his shows anymore. I didn’t write angry letters, I didn’t complain to the club manager, I didn’t post a whiny column online. I just stopped paying money to see him. Even if he was opening for a comedian I really liked. You don’t like what a comedian is saying… don’t go see them.

    • And yet you take the time to post dismissive comments on a blog post about comedy that you disagree with… Interesting.

      • If you sincerely think pointing that out was smart or witty in any capacity… I have some news for you. PS, you’re being contrary to a person that is actually giving sound advice! If you don’t like something, just don’t engage in it! Don’t bitch about it publically!

  50. Anonymous Comedy Victim May 19, 2013 at 11:11 pm - Reply

    As someone who’s done stand up in Iowa City for awhile, I personally can attest to the aggressive nature of the comedy scene in Iowa City. The comics in this town are animals. My first night doing stand up, I was raped in the shower afterwards by my fellow comedians while they all yelled ‘Fresh fish on the line! Fresh fish on the line!’ because I was new and didn’t have any menthol cigarettes to give them. They then used me as a drug mule to smuggle amphetamines through my torn and broken rectum to other comedy clubs. That sort of treatment never gets good, but you get used to it. You only really bleed the first time.

    The showers weren’t the only place in the comedy clubs where violence was a norm. One show, a riot broke out and I watched as ten cranked up comics savagely beat a guard to death right in the middle of the show. They just kept asking him questions about his family and let him beg for awhile before caving his face in with a mic stand and stabbing him with sharpened toothbrushes.

    You don’t dare testify against any of the members of the Iowa City comedy scene, or you risk becoming their next victim, or worse, they attack your family or your pet chicken or something. I do not regret my decision to start doing stand up, all I know, is that the Iowa City comedy scene hardens you, and that life on the outside will never be the same again. The scene went and got itself in a big damn hurry.

  51. What more do I have to say to sell these fucking grills?? My kids need braces! And one needs dentures! I told George Foreman VIII that he can’t eat sugar by the handful but that little asshole still does! Now I’m footing the bill for ivory replacements! How am I going to pay for the face tattoo I so desperately want now? Huh? Buy some fucking grills!!!

  52. OMG Chelsea you wrote like a 1000 word rant without using the word “patriarchy” once! We are so proud of you!!

  53. I participated in this comment thread, and I was the one who mentioned that responding to such nonsense was only giving him what he wanted.

    My intention wasn’t to silence Ms. Bacon’s dissent, nor to condone the ridiculous bullshit that started the whole mess. I was merely pointing out what several people seemed to be missing. This was pure shtick. In the real world, a person acting this way is called an asshole. on the internet, he’s called a troll. Either way, the only goal is to ruffle feathers. Getting people upset is exactly what he wants.

    This article is rife with inaccurate “examples” used out of context to support the author’s point of view.

    Under no circumstances was I condoning the original posts, nor was I ever attempting to silence any critique of it. In fact, I even said as much. I was merely pointing out the dangers of engaging in a debate where your opponent is deliberately making light of the entire situation.

    The whole thing turned out to be a lose-lose situation, except for the fact that now he knows that he upset you enough to write an entire article about it.

    Sorry I bothered to point out the obvious to all the people who missed it.

  54. STOP TRYING TO RUIN EVERYTHING FOR EVERYONE ELSE JUST BECAUSE YOU DON”T LIKE IT! Its comedy. If you don’t like what these comics say then don’t go to the shows. Stop crusading around and saying people are not funny because they are not funny to you. I don’t like tofu, so i don’t eat it. I am not out there saying tofu sucks and no one should ever eat it because my opinion is the only one that counts. If you have no sense of humor then stay at home. Nothing is sacred in comedy

    • Okay… But how about if you see an article you don’t like, then you just go to another web page and not leave a comment on it?

  55. After reading this article I can’t help but agree with Hitchens. Female comedians are not very funny. This article didn’t even evoke a chuckle.

  56. imadeittotheend May 20, 2013 at 9:44 pm - Reply

    I made it to the end of this article and comments and what struck me most was that anyone gives a crap about the “Iowa City comedy scene”. If you find yourself caring about being part of a “scene”, stop it. Anyone who is part of a scene is a douche.

    I would have liked my participation in the article to end at reading it, but I came this far and I can’t turn back.

  57. Fuck guys, do I have to spell it out for you? It’s a goddamn low-fat grilling alternative! It’s healthy! I’m not going to beg you, alright? Just fucking buy one! For the last time, I need the income! I only have two lightbulbs left in my whole house! I can’t read in the dark people! Fuck!

  58. Not Geroge Foreman May 21, 2013 at 12:44 am - Reply

    A few weeks ago I bought a George Foreman Grill from http://www.georgeforemancooking.com, and can I just say, “Fucking, WOW!” That little red bastard changed my life. I’ve lost tons of weight because the food is so fucking healthy. My kids love it, and don’t eat so many handfuls of sugar.

    I don’t know George Foreman, and I’ve never met him, but if I did I would say thank you for making such a wonderful product. You should all go out and buy one right now. I’m not going to tell you again because if you don’t act now they won’t fucking last!

    • Oh dear God thank you! I was just about to start begging but this glorious soul saved me the embarrassment! I’m so glad something positive could come from the comments on this article. George III told me that whining about life on random articles online wouldn’t work, but looks like he was wrong! That little fucker ain’t going to see a dime of that $20 I just made! Thank God for this article about urban foraging! I’m gonna go buy some crack!

  59. I won’t say anything else about it, but if I don’t sell any of those fucking grills by the end of the week I’m going to have to resort to cannibalism again. I only have V through XII to eat yet, They’re barely a meal! But I will cook them on my namesake! If you ever feel the need to eat children’s entrails make sure to fry them up on a George Foreman grill!

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