I performed at a private party. My on-site contact tried to help me make the performance more “personal” by sharing intel on her coworkers.
She said, “See that guy there? He’s been dying his hair. You can make fun of him.”
Oh can I.
I said, “That’s terrible. Why would I do that?” Why would I tease someone about something they’re clearly self-conscious about in front of people they have to work with long after I’m gone?”
To assuage my concerns, she said, “Don't worry. Guys aren’t like us.”
Well, actually, they are. Just because some men have trouble recognizing, acknowledging, processing, managing, and/or sharing their feelings doesn't mean they don’t have any.
She went on to explain that this guy gave her a lot of grief when she started going gray.
Ah. So, apparently, I was her chance to get even.
Ma’am, I am not the instrument of your personal vengeance.
I didn’t say that. I just took it all in and used none of it.
Maybe I'm projecting here, but most people eschew public humiliation and sometimes with it the front row at comedy shows. Others enjoy it. The comedy roast, for example, has a rich tradition. Sorry. I’m not a fan. You can all-the-way miss me with that along with its cousin, The Dozens.
I’ve always been baffled by audience members who come up to comics before the show and say, “It’s my friend’s birthday. Can you make fun of them?” Them? No. You? Yes. But I reign in my urge to be a comedy Keyser Söze; thinking, “Seriously, Fam: Who raised you?”
Look, comedy is different things to different people. It can hurt and humiliate; but it can also uplift and enlighten. Whatever warms your cockles, I suppose. But for me, comedy is a poor cover for being a horrible human being.