audience are people too

i’ve been going to stand-up comedy gigs a bit more lately. mostly because bonnie ‘fabulous’ davies is really active in the perth stand-up scene and has been generous in inviting me to gigs.

last night i went to chuckles gong comedy, which is quite the hilarious audience-participatory deal. 
the comedy is only as good as its judges and last night i had the fortune of at least seeing the first half with some ruthless judges (i’ve now made it a mini-mission to be a judge next month, ahem).
anyway, in a post-gig discussion about comedy, i found myself up on my soap box about sexism and misogyny in comedy. i know, how unusual.
this came about, not just because i’m a sweary, ranty feminist. 
some of the jokes last night were appalling. so many men using degrading portrayals women as a vehicle to talk about their dicks! i mean, seriously. there are only so many times i can hear about a dick on stage – not even performance art is that bad. 
classics like:
if women were ruled by their vaginas, they’d be freaked out by children’s heads;
ladies, if a guy opens the door, just suck their cock and save time;
when guys get caught checking out chicks…. (serious? never even been done before? wow)
and lots of whinging about being single (no shit, douchey mcdouche)
of course, because the audience was at least half full of blokes (friends with the mostly-male comedians), they get a few laughs. which is why they keep telling the damn things.
although ‘know your audience’ is excellent counsel for stand-up comedy, going for lowest common denominator is like shooting fish in a barrell. 
heard the one about ‘just because you can masturbate on a public bus doesn’t mean you should’?
just because you can be a sexist jerk and get some laughs doesn’t mean you should. 
to be able to make a room full of people laugh at dick and fart jokes is not actually that hard. 
it takes skill, true wit and real intelligence to be able to hold court and make a stack of people all laugh at what is common humour.
c’mon, just be fucking hilarious.
(and this is where i get sanctimonious.. )
i also don’t think a comedian’s role is just to get a few giggles and a bit of an ego stroke. 
most comedians are observant, interested in what makes people tick and on some level believe that a humourous way to look at life is an opportunity to sometimes say something serious. 
i think they can raise the standards of what people find humourous (and by definition, then, not funny at all). they can make the kind of difference on an audience’s perceptions than art can only dream of. 
i just wish they’d take that role and put it to good use.
and to women going to comedy nights, i reckon we should start heckling a little more. sick of hearing jokes about just sucking a guy’s cock when he opens a door for you ‘cos that’s what he really wants? BORING!! GET OFF!
thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx

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