Why Are Our Conversations About Comedy So Awful?

Racism, homophobia, can really sell tickets. On the other end, racism, homophobia can also be very clever, funny, and well crafted.

So this weekend I watched the latest Saturday Night Live - which featured some of the funniest comedians to ever appear on the show - Justin Timberlake, Adam Sandberg, Steve Martin, etc. Even with that level of talent, some of the skits killed and some fell woefully short.

Where am I going with this? I realized that good comedy is really hard to get right, and that you need to be fearless and willing to have jokes bomb or even be seen as offensive in order to eventually create comedy gold. That's not me giving a get out-of-jail free card to the worst offenders btw. I'm just trying to have some empathy for the performers. As a writer, I'll say that I pump out plenty of turds before I hit something good. But in my medium, I have the luxury of getting to do redrafts. Comedians are flying without a parachute most of the time.

One last thing I'd say about Michael Richards. Before the kid I used to go to my share of concerts, plays and comedy shows. I cannot remember any time when I saw hecklers at a musical or play, even an incredibly bad one. I rarely remember that many hecklers at concerts. But there always seemed to be at least on a## clown at every comedy show I ever went to. Being able to smack them down comes with the territory, and while Richards probably went to far, I can understand why he needed to come out firing a bazooka.

So many problems with hecklers are from the venue. Some of the biggest ones are:
Too many comps-freebies, or 2 drink minimum free tickets
-sister to this are radio, tv, web promotions giving free tickets
Serving booze for too long, without early last call.
-2 set night, 2 hours between sets. The people who came early to the show to get good seats are getting their load on
Bad security.

I was with a heckler when I went to Marc Maron last October. I put half the blame on the Magic Bag. We got in about an hour after the previous show, and it was almost 2 hours before the warm up guy got on. My wife (fiancee then) had brought a friend who lived nearby. And she was buying a lot of drinks (thanks Honey for making me the DD). She had 2 more drinks while the warm up was on, 2 more during Maron's set.

Worst part, my wife's friend was not the only heckler. Some other girl was arguing with Maron on stage because she felt some of his jokes were sexist.

My wife's friend shut up after my wife and I told her to, thankfully. The other lady was shut up after Maron called her a loudmouth C---.

Both women should have been thrown out.

Prederick wrote:

(* - As a sidenote, I saw the recent YouTube video Richards did with Seinfield, and I'd like to see him... if not welcomed, allowed to be a performer again. I think he's paid his penance, and moreover, it seems like the person who has beaten him up the most over that thing is himself.)

For several years it has only been Michael keeping himself from being a performer again. He is coming back in Kirstie Alley's show (whatever it'll be named), if it makes its way out of pilot status.

A good comedian should be prepared to squelch a heckler. I like what Michael Richards had to say to Jerry Seinfeld about that. He was on stage for himself, so the guy heckling him got to him. He should've been on stage for the audience. With that said, yeah... if it goes too far the venue should be putting some boots on asses so the show can continue.