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Mark Twain quote.

If the audience is the final censor,
Is any formal censorship really necessary?

This web page was inspired by a rather good Christian comedienne
posting in a LinkedIn discussion group October 20, 2013,
who made an odd comment:
"It is important not to embarrass or offend as a corporate comedian."

My reply:
Restricting subject matter to your narrow view denies any historical perspective:

Will Rogers photo as a young man.
Will Rogers

Lest you forget, it is well-documented that bankers loved to book Will Rogers
(November 4, 1879–August 15, 1935)
to roast them during after dinner speeches,
even during The Great Depression
(1929 to mid-1940s),
and greatly enjoyed his witty attacks at their expense.

I'm sure your heart is nearly in the right place.

:-)

But I suggest that you instead:
•increase your Laughs Per Minute
Faux new paper alerting reader that change is coming!
•and use more Topical Material which can be just as electrifying as blue material.
I expound on Topical monologues as part of comedy acts during this 6 minute video clip.

Keep the faith!

8-)


As we bantered back and forth, I followed up with:

If the audience is the final censor, is censorship really necessary?

I like your warning that beginning comedians make the mistake
that simply removing the f-words does not by itself make your act clean.
HBO may actually insist that you add more f-words!

;-)

Dane Cook on stage.
Comedian Dane Cook (born March 18, 1972), in a scene from his HBO show “Tourgasm.”
Louis CK promo for Shameless on HBO.
Louis C. K. (born September 12, 1967) following on HBO in the Dane Cook mode:
Nice-young-man-who-swears-a-lot

What does "clean" stand-up comedy actually mean?

Does it have anything to do with being a Christian comedian, as you seem to suggest?
This indicates that you only see this as a religious issue.
IMHO:
That misses the mark by a country mile.

My approach has always been a bit more inclusive.

Here is part of The Producer's "Audition Requirements" letter which I sent out to newly hired comics,
back-in-the-day when I was still booking comedy shows in northern California:
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Letter:

Quality of material —

We are actively interested in replacing comics on our roster who use blue material that bores audience members over forty and offends some over sixty.
You can't tell whether or not you're funny to all the community if most of the audience is under 25.

What is "blue material"?
Simply put, gratuitous swear words and any graphic genitalia;
i.e., summer camp humor:
Kids jumping up-and-down while holding hands in summer camp.
• The kids in the audience yell and applaud.
•Those who are put off by the blue material remain silent.

But you can hear their comments as they exit the comedy club
after the show is over,
•what they really think.

Timothy Leary life after youth sign behind him.Lenny Bruce prison shot.
Timothy Leary (October 22, 1920 – May 31, 1996) & Lenny Bruce (October 13, 1925 – August 3, 1966)
were both household name comedians who only used blue language to make social commentary points.

Leary once observed rhetorically to me right after he killed at The Inn of The Beginning in Cotati, California,
"How many of those Harvard professors could hold an audience for an hour of this kinda stand-up comedy?!?"

Ray Krutt (died April 16, 1996), the very funny MC for 23 years at all San Francisco Police Department functions:
"I was in the station house when they brought in Lenny Bruce.
I liked Lenny.
Compared to today's comics, Lenny Bruce was a clean-cut kid."


If you have questions about particular bits of yours,
•feel free to call us to check it out.

We are also strongly prejudiced in favor of comics employing:
•social commentary and
•bits dealing with relationships.
To us, this is an art form as much as it is a business.
The complete Producer's "Audition Requirements" letter

End of Letter.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

History:
More on the History of Censorship
from ancient Greece to the present day:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship

Questions?
Get in touch:
415-877-4424
jim@Stand-UpComedyWorkshop.com

Snail mail:
Jim Richardson
Comedy Coach & Co-Writer
Organized Comedy
PO Box 992
Mill Valley, California 94942-0992
USA


Page last updated: Friday, December 27, 2013, 8:56 am PST and Saturday, June 4, 2014, 10:40 am PST.
Copyright © 1997-2014
Calendar | Video: tips | Endorsements: tips | Coaching & Co-Writing | Coaching order form | About Us
Lessons 1-35: Descriptions | Register: Lessons 1-4 | Register: Lessons 5-8 | FAQ | Contact Us

Sub Headings: even more tips!
Studying Comics | Comedy Roots | Comeback? | Defense | Character mask | Robin | Censorship
Writer's block | Camcorder Coaching | Memorizing | Remembering | Stage Movement: setting a bit
Business | Business Cards | Your Web Site | Open Mics | Evil "Bringer Shows" | Audition | MC tips
Promo Packet | Contact media | Interviews | How to get BIG-$ Gig$ | Agents vs. Managers
Newsletter | Goodies | Auditioning: TV & Movie parts | Site Map: more tips
Improvisation: Thinking on Your Feet | Jonthan Winters | Hecklers