So Apparently You Can Be On Trial For Telling Offensive Jokes In Canada

Well this one is pretty shocking to me. I didn’t take it seriously for a second, but apparently this Canadian comedian Mike Ward is on trial for making fun of a disabled guy in his act? Which, to me, is absolutely crazy!

So I think what’s happening is that Jeremy Gabriel is trying to get Ward to stop telling this joke about him, stop doing comedy, and even get him fined for telling the joke. AND Gabriel wants $80,000 from Ward for the damages. Seriously?! Gabriel says that the joke made him contemplate suicide. Ward’s argument is obviously: “Hey, but free speech!” It takes me right back to reading about Lenny Bruce and his struggle against the law in the U.S. for telling (at the time) very scandalous jokes.

I’m just very confused…to me this is such a ridiculous non-issue. Is this a weird P.C. thing? Is Canada really that different from the U.S.? Can you really claim that someone’s joke was so bad that it caused you “emotional pain and suffering? Yeeesh.

Weird, but very interesting. Here’s some more info from a Quebec newspaper if you’re curious.

Oh, and I didn’t even mentioned it yet because it didn’t seem important at all, but from what I understand, this is the essence of the joke that Ward told: 1) Gabriel has a syndrome that disfigured his face 2) he got tons of perhaps unwarranted media attention because he got to sing for the Pope 3) Ward defended Gabriel at first for getting this media attention, but now five years later Gabriel hasn’t died yet, making Ward look bad.

Silly, right?

What’s Up With Dolphins?!

What’s up with dolphins?! Right?!?!? Are we on board with this? You better get on board cuz we’re on the dolphin hating boat and we’re going for a ride.

Why do so many people like dolphins? Huh?!

Especially, like, 6-12 year old girls.

Dolphins dominate the school supplies of 6-12 year old girls! Why?!

I wonder if they tried other animals first. Like, they put a gopher on a folder and it didn’t sell. So they put it on an orange background, but the gopher/orange combination didn’t work. And then they tried a dolphin with pink and for whatever reason it totally worked, even though dolphins are basically the gopher of the sea.

Do you think the school supply people were pissed when the naked mole rat worked out for Kim Possible? They were all like, “We tried that in the 90’s and nobody bought it!”

Do you think dolphins are obsessed with 6-12 year old girls? Like pedophilic dolphins? I DON’T THINK SO. Girls are weird! And friggin’ creepy. You should never like an animal that much.

 

 

 

…don’t even get me started on horses…

Neigh?! NEIGH?!?!

Why are you making that sound? Why must you whinny? YOU ARE NOT A POOH! Are you confused? There is only one animal who can winnie and it is a fictional gender questionable bear named Pooh.

You have hooves. Which are basically the closest to shoes that feet can get. But then you’re like “Oh no, I need special ‘horse shoes,’ which can only be used for 1) my feet or 2) a silly game that cowboys and weird old smelly men play.” You’re not special, horse. You don’t need special shoes.

What’s so great about horses?! Come on little girls, get a grip!

 

 

 

…don’t even get me started on unicorns

“The Fifty Best Comedy Clubs In America” – ClickitTicket

Have you ever been like, “Hey! I like comedy, but I have no idea where comedy happens! Do people do it in nail salons? Or, like a shoebox?” Well, actually it’s neither of those things: it’s comedy clubs. Oh no…but which ones are good?

Well, lucky you: the nice fellows at ClickitTicket shared this list of the best fifty comedy clubs in America with me and I think it’s pretty good! On this list there are a lot of great clubs that I know or have heard great things about: The Creek & the Cave (NYC), Meltdown Comics (L.A.), Acme Comedy Club (Minneapolis), Comedy Works (Denver), The Setup (San Francisco), Upright Citizens Brigade Theater (NYC, L.A.). And there are some lesser known gems, too. So, no matter where you are in this wonderful country, you can go: “Oh wow now I know where to see comedy! Yay!”

A couple other clubs I’ve been to that I really like: Punch Line Comedy Club (San Francisco), Harvey’s Comedy Club (Portland), and you have to go to the Comedy Cellar if you’re in NYC. This list makes me think it would be fun to crowd source a list of the best clubs from different comedians around the country to see what they have to say! Some are just way cooler than others.

Not The Best Open Mic Nights In NYC

Time Out New York magazine came out with this list of all “the best open mic nights in New York City,” and, as many open mic comedians such as myself have noted, the list is not accurate. At all. Maybe it’s a marketing thing, but it’s mostly just a list of the biggest clubs in the city. Which, very obviously to comedians, are often some of the worst open mics in the city. The very first one listed, the Comedy Cellar, doesn’t even have open mics!

If you’re looking for good open mics check out badslava.com or freemicsnyc.com. There are tons of great open mics where a bunch of better comics come to try out their stuff…and it’s usually the basement of some bar in Brooklyn, not all the best clubs in Manhattan. Maybe I’ll make a list of my favorite mics one day!

A couple of comics who host great mics made this video calling out Time Out NY for what they’ve done. Funny stuff.

“What You Need To Know About Riffing” – Steve Roye

I found this article when I was looking up the definition of “riffing” for a project and I think it’s pretty funny. Although some of it is true, it basically says “riffing is a surefire formula for disaster and don’t try it, but some professionals are good at it though.” Hmm…how do you think professionals got good at riffing?

You think they just one day woke up and did it well? Doesn’t make any sense – riffing is the same as any other skill in comedy. You just have to get up there and try stuff. Sometimes it doesn’t work. So you try something different. It doesn’t mean “you should never riff unless you’re a professional.”

I did some further research on Steve Roy and I found this hilarious article he wrote about how his “Killer Stand-Up Comedy System” is NOT a scam. If you have to write a post about how your “system” definitely is not a scam (so don’t worry) I feel like that’s pretty…telling.

If you want a good, free online course for comedy check out John Roy’s free online comedy class. Steve Roye even sounds like a ripoff on John Roy! Look I know nothing about the guy so maybe he is legit, but regardless I find this stuff fun.

A TedEd Video About How To Write Comedy

So this video starts out saying,

“Did you ever notice how many jokes start with “Did you ever notice?” And what’s the deal with “What’s the deal?” There’s a lot of funny to be found simply by noticing the ordinary, everyday things you don’t ordinarily notice every day.”

And I was like “Whoa! How did they know that this joke I’m working on right now starts out with ‘what’s the deal with dolphins?’ What are the chances?! This person must know a thing or two about comedy.”

Other things I noticed about this video:

  • it shares a lot of advice about asking questions, being specific, archetypes, surprise, mind mapping, observation vs. imagination, character, story, rule of 3, punch lines, and k words, but I feel like it leaves out the most important thing: get on stage
  • the bunny helps me follow along

The video is written and narrated by Cheri Steinkellner, an Emmy-award-winning comedy writer.

Mike Lawrence Comedy Advice

Here’s a fantastic, pretty brief list of advice from New York City comedian Mike Lawrence on starting out in New York.

I’ve seen Mike Lawrence performing all over New York. He still comes to open mics once in a while to try out new stuff even though he’s a working comic who writes for Inside Amy Schumer, which I think is cool. He takes it seriously.

Here’s a great Modern Comedian video about him, too.

 

Chris Gethard On Why He Stayed In NYC Instead Of Heading To L.A.

This is a fantastic piece in a series of articles that are being written about NYC and L.A. comedy this week in Vulture.

I know nothing about the comedy scene in L.A. (okay not nothing), but my sister does live there and I’ve visited several other times, too. And from what Gethard says about the two locations…well, I can’t help but agree with him. New York is awesome! I don’t like L.A. right now. Does that mean I’ll stay in NY forever like him? I donno. But I can certainly hop on board with the NY lovin’.

One thing I definitely don’t get about L.A. is that even though you abbreviate NYC like this: NYC, you abbreviate L.A. like this: L.A.. That doesn’t make any sense! Look how clunky those two periods look next to one another! I’m not even sure I did that right…either way, it’s confusing! Come on, L.A.! Efficiency! Take those gosh darn periods out of there. No one will confuse you with Louisiana. I don’t know why you’re insecure about that; you’re much more popular than LA.

Anyways, Chris Gethard is awesome. The way I remember how to spell his last name is that it spells “get hard.” There can’t be a cooler person than that! You can see more of him on The Chris Gethard Show on Fusion.

BTDubs, the picture of Gethard I used was taken at The Creek and the Cave, which I go to pretty much every day.

Jim Norton Quote On Comedy & Art

I found this quote from Norton a little while ago and I think it’s definitely an interesting thought. On one hand I agree, but on the other hand I don’t want to be whiny and all, “COMEDY IS AN ART TAKE IT SERIOUSLY!!!” Because you can’t take it too seriously. It’s comedy!

“Why is comedy the only form of the arts where people think they have to agree with or approve the content? You don’t walk through a museum with a towel and throw it over paintings you don’t like.”

This quote is from Jim Norton’s special American Degenerate. Jim Norton is great because he’s one of the main voices on this subject. He’s also one of the only more political comics who I find really funny.