Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Tuesdays With...Whatever

I have a new post up a M.J. Rose's Buzz, Balls & Hype. Check it out. And then check out Brett Battles's post about the Killer Year House Rules (doesn't have the same ring as "The Cider House Rules").

Got a lot of feedback on Sunday's post about John Mayer's stand up routine, mostly from his fans telling me John can do whatever he wants because he's famous. Now that's tremendous logic. I don't care if he's the greatest musician in the world, he just wasn't funny on Friday. He was awkward and rambling and borderline offensive. When it comes to comedy, I'm a hell of a lot more jealous of guys like George Carlin and Chris Rock. I'm not saying Mayer's a racist, or a mysogenist. But I'm sure as hell not jealous of him either. Hell, he didn't even use any words that weren't used by other (funnier) comedians earlier in the night. But it's all about context, about content, and how you use it.

The other comedians who made racially or sexually charged jokes did it in context that made sense, that incited laughter either because they were so far off the wall, or because there was a hint of truth to them. There's always a second layer beneath the shock value. Mayer didn't have that. I don't know if he meant to simply shock, or if he just didn't have the timing or experience, but what other comedians made funny he simply made awkward. I'm not begruding any musical "talent" he has, but as a comedian he should stick to birthday parties before trying out the Cellar again.

Also note that twice he had to pull out the dreaded crib sheet to remember what jokes came next. Always the sign of a true professional.

And if I can quote a person who commented on the actual post:

I was at the same show and honestly had the same reaction that Jason had. I thought he was god-awful. I was sitting right in front and only really laughed because it was awkward being that close while someone was pretty much bombing. There were a couple of laughs in there, but most jokes either didn't have much of a point or were tough to relate to as a non-celebrity. For example, the "Don't you hate it when you go out to a really expensive and exclusive sushi restaurant and one of your friends tells you about another, more expensive, more exclusive sushi restaurant" bit. Yeah, who hasn't been there? That said, even though it wasn't very good and was awkward at the moment, I thought it was a cool thing to see. Its certainly been a great story to tell friends. It certainly didn't take anything away from my night out at the club.

Mayer had guts to get up on stage at 12:30 a.m. on a Friday night in front of a rowdy New York crowd, I'll give him that. And he certainly didn't ruin the night--the other comedians were too good for that. But I still think he should stick to the Wonderland stuff.


Blogger Bernita said...

How dare you say the emperor has no clothes...

10:39 AM  
Blogger JT Ellison said...

Just read your post at MJ Rose's blog. I wish we could tattoo this on our foreheads -- being negative about yourself and your work will lead to negative responses from agents and publsihers. Keep preachin' it brother. They will listen!

5:23 PM  
Blogger Tracy Kaufman said...

I agree with your take on John Mayer, as it reminds me of a roommate I had when I first moved to New York. She was a stand-up comedian in her spare time and would go to open-mic nights on a regular basis. She'd sometimes try out her material on me and I'd have to pretend it was funny when really it was rotten. Because the ONLY thing she'd do was ethnic jokes. And the fact is, you've got to be really, seriously, completely tried-and-true funny to make a successful ethnic joke. You have to be Chris Rock or every bit as good, basically. Otherwise it's just a cheap shot. My old roommate's jokes always came down to "Latin women wear tight pants and have a lot of kids!" And that is an old, tired joke. And coming from someone who wasn't all that experienced or funny, she just sounded like a jerk and nothing more.

10:02 AM  
Blogger Buffy said...

Read the article on BB&H. Thanks for the tips.

4:52 AM  

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