What does it take to piss off the powers that be nowadays in the ways that Richard Pryor, Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl, George Carlin, Joan Rivers did in their day? Who is brave and bold today in that way in the world world of stand-up? Is it pushing the envelope to simply berate white women, even if it’s funny? Does that make a smart comic brave? Does crudely and in detail talking about sex as a woman comic make you someone that courageously walks the edge today? Is it as risky as some of the stuff Pryor and Paul Mooney or even Eddie Murphy or Chris Rock or Bill Hicks were doing as they were breaking through? The best stand-up is always counter-culture. It always spanks the elites and those that have their hands on the wheel and in the till. It’s telling us things we’re not supposed to hear, didn’t want to hear, through humor.
PLAYING TO TRAINED SEALS
Some of the most successful and respected and so called ‘edgy’ comics today are not brave in the slightest. At least not in the last five to ten years they haven’t been. They’ve been fake-brave and we’ve accepted it. They by and large have been pretending to be willing to push the buttons, to be telling the truth, giving the crowd exactly what they know they want to hear. Yes, they’re talented as hell, but with the wind at their backs, they’re playing the same game state sponsored media has been playing in the same time period. By the way, those comics have the right to have those opinions, and their audiences have of course the right to laugh at those jokes. In their heart though these stand-ups know they’re taking a softer way home. Maybe for that reason, offstage the condemnation for a Bill Maher biting into the slightest tip of a red-pill is routinely off the charts. As was the smugness you would hear in the Comedy Store and Improv green rooms when Ricky Gervais hosted the Golden Globes and shat down on all their celeb friends for coming up to awards shows and giving lectures instead of just ‘thanking their agents and fucking off’.
Even Chris Rock, maybe the greatest stand-up of the last twenty years started to censor himself. This is the guy that stunned the world with the genius comedy special ‘Bring the Pain’. The rawness of the groundbreaking piece ‘Nigga vs. Black People’ was breathtaking. He wasn’t supposed to be talking like that and it wasn’t supposed to be that funny. He was going directly against the tide. It had been years since anyone had done that. All of his bits from that era were of that ilk. ‘What did he say? Holy shit! That’s true! That’s funny as hell.’
His piece about ‘How not to get your ass kicked by the cops’ was hysterical. But even more important, it was spot on, so it was memory hole’d in modern times. It wasn’t the kind of comedy that made the modern audiences laugh.
You could say, ‘yeah great, this guy loved two Chris Rock bits that made black people look bad’ but that’s missing my point. I loved most of his stuff. In fact all of his stuff. I’m bringing up two of his bits that he spoke hard truth to the world and that’s why it was funny until we got to a point that the world didn’t want to hear certain kind of hard truths, and no version of them were going to be funny. His later stuff, for a long time, Tangerine, for example, which I didn’t laugh that much at, only made fun of white people, his wife, kids, police, and things that it was okay to laugh at.
There wasn’t the usual ‘Rock’-naughty or problematic bits in terms of it being ‘not okay’ for Chris to mess with it but he did anyway. There wasn’t any kind of truth that scolded and shocked you while you laughed your ass off. In my opinion the whole special was one long version of letting you know Chris Rock loved black people, loved Obama, loved MSNBC and all that everyone there represented, and he wasn’t cool with white people, was having trouble raising his kids, and staying true to his wife. There wasn’t anything in it that was magical in the sense of that he took on anyone in power. Told us anything that we weren’t supposed to know which was his brand.
He knew it as well. Trust me. He knew it. He picked a side in the culture war which his right to do, but when he did it, he wasn’t anywhere near as funny as he once was. Before then he didn’t have a side. He was bigger than the war.
Meanwhile, the stand-up who was getting the dick-sucking Chris was used to getting, was Dave Chappelle. Dave Chappelle loved Obama, liked some of the folks over there at MSNBC, but he also would take a dump on all of their desks if he found something funny about anything he heard them say he found fake. Jussie Smollett. Michael Jackson. Transgender women. Trump. Trump haters. Jews. Hillary. Vaccines. He didn’t care what your positions were. He wanted you to hear his. Especially if he had a good joke about it. The joke he did about the censor at Comedy Central making him cut a problematic word from a sketch was a perfect example.
‘David, you can’t say the word, ‘Faggot’ in a sketch. You just can’t do it. I’m sorry.’
‘Yeah, well, how come I can say the word, ‘Nigger’, but not the word, ‘Faggot’?’
‘Oh David, you know the answer. You, are not, a ‘Faggot.’
‘But, Carol. I am, not, a ‘Nigger’, either,’
Chappelle, didn’t care to be told what the rules were. He wasn’t going to play by any of them anyway. He didn’t trust anyone and he knew the audience didn’t either so he understood he was better off just using his own sense of right and wrong as true north.
Rock’s last special ‘Selective Outrage’ was a return to greatness because he was willing to get into trouble again. Willing to tell you what he thought was what. Speak his mind on whatever subject he wanted to talk about, he didn’t care what the folks in the DNC sponsored media controlled crowd that were mad at Bill Maher or Ricky Gervais this week or this month were thinking. He was going to make himself happy and he got back to being funny. He took on everybody from Jay-Z and Lululemon to single horny women to black guys without jobs to, of course, the raw truth about Will Smith. The bottom line about the special though, and if you watch it, it’s so obvious, Chris isn’t coming from any place, group, faction, race, tribe, or party, other than that of a comedian. He just wants to be funny, real, raw, and kick some ass. He loves what he does and he wants to follow his buddies, his idols, and his dreams. He doesn’t care about anything other than the laughs, they light up his eyes wide each time they come at him, like trucks passing him on the highway at night.
He loves to make you laugh, everything else comes second. That’s the secret sauce. That’s why I love the guys work.
Is one of the funniest people on the planet. She was a star right out of the gate. She’s also been in a lot of trouble with her fellow liberals (and conservatives) because she’s spoken her mind and said what she wanted to say, a lot. Many years ago though, she got in trouble for a joke she told that angered some Asian people, one columnist in particular, and she stood up for herself in a way stand-ups rarely get to do anymore. She stood her ground and I’ve never, ever forgotten it. If you watch it, you realize why she’s a cut above everyone else. She’s not only funny as hell, but she knows exactly why she’s saying what she’s saying, and what the point she wants to make is. It’s so wonderful how she holds her ground here.
Today, people don’t care what a stand-ups point is. They don’t care what comedy is ‘trying to do’, what question it’s asking. They’re actually taken aback that comics think they have the right to make a point. Even stand-ups don’t stick up for themselves this boldly anymore. They either say nothing, or they apologize.
This clip is so worth watching. It says so much, not just about Sarah Silverman, but about what needs protecting. About what’s so brilliant about the best of the form.
Jim Breuer, is someone many of you only know from his SNL days or the few movies he did, or his GOAT BOY character. What maybe you don’t know is that he’s become an amazing stand-up with a huge following who fills theatres all over the country and many parts of the world. He has a hugely popular podcast and a well watched Youtube channel that he puts many of his own self produced specials up onto. Plus he’s hilarious as hell.
One problem. He’s a conservative. Stand-up wise he has scurvy. If he was a pirate they’d throw him over the side of the boat. Doesn’t matter how funny he is. How much money he makes. How much truth he tells. The one problem is there’s a lot of the audience that doesn’t know the rules so they come anyway, and he’s making them laugh their asses off.
SOMEBODY HAD TO SAY IT .
The saddest thing to me, as I’ve said here before, is when other comics don’t stick up for their fellow comics right to make jokes about anything they feel the need to make jokes about.
When they don’t keep in mind what George Carlin once said;
‘”Apparently the good Reverend forgot there were two buttons on that radio. An on button, and an off button.’
Jim had a special that he made himself called ‘Somebody had to say it.’ It was in the height of the push to have anyone that didn’t take the vaccine fired. Have them ostracised, or shunned. Something we now know was probably a mistake. Something we now know ‘the science’ kinda got wrong, which as far as I’m concerned is part of life, part of the process. It’s okay. They were wrong. But, that means, the others were right. Jim Breuer was on the side that was maybe right. At the very least, he was on the side that was at the very least justified to be making jokes about it all.
Some people were acting like fools. Like lemmings, like pearl clutching bitches, and Jim was doing comedy on it. He had the right to. It was good stuff. I loved it. I wrote a piece on it. This was Feb. 7, 2022. It’s here in the archives.
A lot of my friends got pissed at me over it. I think Twitter throttled me. I thought I was safe. I’ve been a registered Democrat my whole life. Donated to the right causes. Walk the walked. Thought I could write about whatever I wanted to. Thought I was inoculated. I was wrong.
A very famous comedian I was working with at the time, a big shot, someone everyone sees as a really brave, edgy stand-up, called me when it came out on this site. He said I needed to call him right back. He had just landed back from Europe at a private airport. Seemed important.
This was one of my good friends. I called him back right away. He and his wife had just come from staying at some castle in France. He was in a shitty mood because his wife thought the castle sucked. The one just down the road was nicer. Bigger.
Anyway, the reason he needed to talk to me so urgently was he read the Jim Breuer piece I wrote here on the site and this edgy, brilliant, free thinking, ‘ranter’, went off on me. The conversation was so strange, I made notes about it right after, as I sometimes do, because I didn’t want to forget it.
‘Hey, do you have any idea what an idiot this Jim Breuer motherfucker is? Do you have any idea?’
‘No, but I’d put money down that you’re about to tell me.’
‘He’s a fucking moron. He’s out of his mind. First of all, he’s religious and shit, and second of all, he’s an anti-vaxxer and he made his wife who has cancer not take the vaccine, okay? So why the fuck would you glamourize this guy? ‘
This went on and on, with him telling me what a low life Breuer, who it turns out the guy on the phone who just stepped out of the private plane and had the torqued wife who stayed in the smaller castle to deal with, didn’t really even know the former ‘Goat Boy’, or hadn’t seen him in years, and more important, hadn’t seen the special I wrote about.
‘Fuck no, I didn’t see it. I’m not gonna watch some anti-science thing. Mis-information like that is just gonna get more people killed and the people that don’t get the vax are gonna prolong this damn thing and then screw it all up for everyone else.’
‘Well if everyone else has the vaccine, then it isn’t a problem because they won’t be able to get it. Right?’
‘No, you don’t know that, and either way they’ll clog up the system and the hospitals again and make new variants and just make this thing go on and on.’
‘How do you know that?’
‘I know it, okay. Don’t make me have this conversation.’
‘Well, I mean where did you hear this all?’
‘I didn’t it ‘hear’ it.’
‘Okay, ‘see’ it,’
“I didn’t see it, I don’t watch any of those shows. I don’t bother. I just know it.’
‘Well, where did you read it?’
‘I didn’t read it anywhere. I didn’t have to. I trust the science, Mike. I listen. Ninety eight percent of the scientists all say the same thing. I don’t need assholes like this guy making a bunch of stupid jokes and having a bunch of simpletons believing it and getting more people killed.’
‘Okay, you didn’t hear anything or read anything but you’re sure you’re right about all of this?’
‘Yes! Yes. I’m sure I’m sure I’m right. Fuck you. I trust the science.’
‘Okay, well, I find the guy funny. I think he’s funny, and he’s asking questions and making it all look funny that we’re all so confused about the whole thing. All so divided and so confused, and see the whole thing from so many angles. Isn’t that the benchmark for stand-up? If it’s funny? If it’s real, and if it makes you think?’
‘Fuck you. I got to go. My wife’s a cunt.’
Dave Smith is way too smart to be a comedian. He’s a libertarian, which means you can’t ever be that funny because you’re too busy thinking too hard. Yet somehow or another Dave is really funny. He’s brave as well. He’s part of the Legion Skanks which if you weren’t aware of anything about them, you’d be sure they were either a heavy metal band or some road-show version of a whore house. It’s a damn funny podcast that he’s partners with Luis J. Gomez and Big Jay Oakerson, two men that also don’t want to spend a lot of time hearing the rules.
Together they own something called Gasdigital.com and several other podcasts and one of the wildest comedy festivals in the world called ‘Skankfest’ that is set in Vegas and New York, and several other spots that gets way out of hand. Skankfest features the whole retinue of stand-ups new wave, from Shane Gillis, Andrew Schultz, Brian Holtzman, Sam Tripoli , Sara Weinshenk, Joe List, Sarah Tollemache, Dave Attell, and a wild-ass group of stand-ups that make Joe Rogan and his buddies look like the nice boys down the street from the Salvation Army that do yard work free for the older neighbors on the weekend.
Dave has his own podcast called Part Of The Problem where he talks about the world and the ways it’s gone wrong, and he’s often very, very funny as he’s being insightful. He’s recently had on my buddy Bobby Kennedy, and I think he’s gotten him in a way that very few people have except maybe Jimmy Dore, which is hard to do, (*Jimmy was way ahead of the curve as usual on RFK JR.)
Dave as I said is a really bright guy and if you listen to him take on issues like the Ukraine and racism and global warming you think, ‘damn, this guy is going to step on his dick here’, but he doesn’t. He’s well-informed, and has a strong ability not only to interview but to explain.
As a comic he’s a voice that needs to be heard from, yet he’s someone I can’t really even tell if getting a laugh is that important to him, which is a little scary. Not a lot. Just a little. When I listen to his pals Big Jay and Luis I can feel the deep need for another wave of laughter, but Dave doesn’t seem to be jonesing for it most of the time. He seems more like he’s concerned with making a point. Bringing it home. That’s not always a good thing by the way. To me it’s what made Mort Sahl kind of just a guy that you always talked about how great he was, but never had a bit at your fingertips to rattle off to explain why he was the master you were describing. I could be wrong. Here’s a bit of Dave’s I do happen to like a lot.
IS ANY COMIC REALLY GETTING CANCELLED?
I don’t know. Not really. Not Chappelle, that’s for sure. He did a string of specials with a bunch of Trans jokes which should get you taken to the woodshed these days. He even threw some seriously crazy Jew jokes in there and everyone was so messed up over the Trans jokes they didn’t even mention the Jew jokes. That’s how brilliant Chappelle is, Also, when the Trans crowd stormed the Netflix conference rooms and parking lots, Dave got another four special deal, and they got a letter from the boss telling them ‘this may not be the place for you to be working.’ Yeah, I get it, he’s Dave Chappelle, but they were all dressed up pretty smart at those rally’s. They had on their Sunday best. It wasn’t easy to go against them. Kudos to Netflix.
The truth is, other than Michael Richards, who as best as I can figure lost his shit onstage at the Laugh Factory, no stand-up I can name has been cancelled for anything they said onstage or on a special or album. In they’re act. They’ve been muted. Scolded. The Jim Breuer’s, Ari Shaffir’s gotten in trouble for some jokes but he wasn’t canceled.
The fact is it’s hard to flat out cancel a comic today for their work when they have so many outlets and ways to do and distribute their stuff. It doesn’t make them less reluctant to be bold and brave though. It takes a rare breed to go against the headwinds in the times we’re in. To try to do comedy that pokes fun of the lack of trust we have in the government and the media and a culture that’s so dominant, a society demands that you color between the lines. Demands that you behave.
With that said. It’s still very tough to push back against the rules.
THE BIG LIE
Let’s be honest. No one trusts much of anything about authority anymore. It’s the number one reason that stand-up is so strong right now. That stand-up podcasts like Joe Rogan’s, Tim Dillon’s, and Jimmy Dore’s, are so popular. They’re telling the truth about not believing they’re hearing the truth. About wanting to dish out what the truth is. They’re asking questions. Bringing guests on that might have answers to things that aren’t making sense. Audiences want to hear these answers, and it’s pissing off a lot of people in power.
It used to be the Democrats and the mainstream culture in general railed against ‘Big military’, ‘Big Pharma’, Big Tech’, now they rail against the ‘Big Lie’. Everything’s a ‘Big Lie’ from both sides of the political spectrum actually. Anything they don’t want you talking about is a ‘Big Lie,’
‘Shut up! You’re lying. Shut up. I’m telling.’
My little brothers used to pull the same shit on me when we were kids.
When Joe Rogan had an expert like Dr. Robert Malone on his podcast to explain to him why we should or shouldn’t get vaccinated, or if Ivermectin was a realistic form of treatment for early cases of Covid it shouldn’t have lit the world on fire. It shouldn’t have made old fart’s like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell expose themselves as not only kind of worthless to Spotify, but stooges for a regime and a society that had lost it’s way. Everyone wanted to tear Joe’s head off because he looked into it and found out some shit that didn’t make sense. They plastered him with ‘Horse der-wormer crap-crazy’ stories that in their hearts they new had to be bullshit. They just piled it on. It didn’t matter. They were saving lives.
They have no real proof or solid evidence other than the morons on TV that were being paid to rattle off the term BIG LIE by BIG PHARMA, but damn they better shut down Joe Rogan, who at best knows about as much about it as they did only because he had asked a hell of a lot more questions.
Guess what though, they couldn’t shut him down. In the end the truth came out. The vaccine worked, yeah, kinda. So does Ivermectin. It worked on me after I got Covid, after I got the vaccine which was at first going to make it that I wasn’t going to get Covid. The vaccine also fucked a lot of people up. Badly. What was true was that people who didn’t take the vaccine didn’t hurt anyone else. They didn’t jam up hospitals and they weren’t the people from the Walking Dead. They didn’t spread anything to anyone. They weren’t ignoramuses. They had questions. We were told something completely different. Way different. That’s a big one to get wrong.
There were also good doctors, good scientists, good writers that had done a hell of a lot research. We had the right to hear it and Joe Rogan, Jimmy Dore, Tim Dillon, Dave Smith, Jim Breuer and everyone else had every right to ask questions and make jokes about it, yet something went goofy in our society and suddenly we were all supposed to not color outside of the lines no matter what they sensed, smelled, thought, heard, or had a hunch was off about Covid, Elections, Lockdowns, the Ukraine, Transgenders, Hunter Biden’s Russian bought computer, teaching Kindergarteners how to give head, George Floyd’s Sainthood, Clarence Thomas’s defamation campaign, that special needs kid who wandered into Wisconsin with the shotguns, or anything about any stripper anywhere that wasn’t banging Trump.
For most comedians, none of the above have been jokeable subjects since 2015.
Most of them agreed. Stayed clear of the list. Some not because they were in fear. They really agreed. To them, all of the above subjects were either dis-information that could get people killed, conspiracy theories that could cause people to go crazy and chew off their fingers, or worse, warmongering-queer bashing, that was going to trigger a race war that they wanted no part of. The bottom line, they were better people than the pack of low life stand-ups that told jokes about this list of things and didn’t trust the government or the mainstream news.
And by news, I of course mean SNL, Stephen Colbert, and the Daily show. That really was all there was left that any of us could trust anymore.
When RFK Jr’s book on Fauci came out, more than one of my friends asked me what had happened to him. They knew we had been friends for over thirty years. I would say;
‘What do you mean, what happened to him?’
‘You know what I mean? He was into cleaning rivers and bringing fish back to life or some shit, and then he just flipped out. He wrote that crazy book.’
Did you read the crazy book?
‘No. Hell no!’
‘Read it. It’s interesting.’
‘You read it?’
I did, yes, it’s really good, and well researched. I learned a lot. You should read it,’
I always got back a basic version of the same answer;
‘I can’t read that. No way.’
‘I don’t want to know about it. Even if it’s true. He’s a loon.’
‘No, no, I’ll get it for you. I’ll get you a signed copy. I’ll get him to sign you a copy.’
‘You better fucking not!!’
Let me tell you something. I try not to go into politics on this blog. In my comedy. I leave it to guys smarter than me, but what I’m trying to say here today is that we’re divided and messed up in this country because of a lot things, and in my opinion the two most profound things that are truly killing us, taking us way away from what it is that makes us great, is one, we don’t believe anything anyone in any authority says, and two, we don’t feel free to question or speak freely on a public level about anything we want to have an opinion on anymore.
The fish stinks from the head on that stuff, so I blame Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden for this all happening. It all happened on their watch. The one thing I can tell you is that Bobby Kennedy is the best chance we have to heal that break in the American psyche. I know him well enough, long enough to know he’s not going to put a government together that’s going to lie to the people, or tell the people they can’t voice their opinions on anything. Make jokes about anything. I’m not saying he’s all that funny, I’m just saying he appreciates humor and the need for it. He did marry a funny ass lady, a lot of his good friends are comics, and he does like to laugh.
Most important he likes the truth. He’s only in this to get to it. To get to the truth and let it out, on so many levels. To heal this country. It’s a big job. We need to get someone in there who gets us back to a place where we even have a little trust in them again. I’m hoping it’s Bobby Kennedy.
Go here to find out more, and sign up to volunteer and donate. Maybe give a kidney. RFK Jr needs one of your kidneys for America. Quit fooling around. Give a damn kidney for Free Speech!! Or just donate a little dough, or volunteer. Keep your damn kidney.
Is an amazing comic. He’s a liberal. Has he been ‘red-pilled? I don’t think so. I think at best he’s in the world of the Bill Maher’s that have seen the light on a lot of these subjects and as I’ve said, because he has his own distribution, other than Youtube being the censors they are and that kind of thing (Well, he can now claim any election he wants is fake. Go for it, Jim!) he hasn’t seemed to care anyway, and has been way ahead on a lot of political hot button issues, ready and willing to take live fire. I have tremendous respect for him.
He has a daily show on YouTube.
He’s truly one of the hardest working men in show business. His political comedy show is populated with all kinds of regulars like fellow comics Kurt Metzger and his wife Stef Zamorano and guests doctors and scientist and clips. His show gets compared to Jon Stewart a lot. I can see why. I’m sorry, God bless Jon Stewart, but Jimmy Dore is a lot braver and bolder and funnier than John Stewart, and he’s not gonna be getting the Will Rogers award. He won’t even get the Will Arnett. He may get the Will Forte one day.
Here’s a clip from his new special COVID LIES ARE FUNNY which is one of my new favorite specials. Jimmy has it behind a paywall which is one way of doing it. It’s $10 well spent in my opinion. (You can get it for a kidney by the way.) This a clip he’s put out, but it doesn’t do the whole special justice. In the vein of this diatribe I’ve just gone on. (Probably way too long, I know. Sorry.) this special is the perfect thing to watch and wash down. It’s the answer. So funny and so head into the wind. Get it and watch it.
Jimmy Dore’s website to buy the special.
Also, here’s a good interview with Jimmy and RFKjr.
Okay, that’s it. Thanks for reading! If you’re in LA this weekend, tomorrow night I’m at The Improv on a great show. Check it out.
Also on JULY 1st at the ICE HOUSE IN PASADENA, SAT NIGHT with Mr. Jimmy Dore. See him live with me at the Ice House!
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