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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2002 1:33 pm 
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Ian Cognito thinks there are some things that you can't joke about, and I think he can hardly be accused of holding back on his own beliefs.

I did a gig on September 12th to an audience of six or seven people. Two of the audience members were tourists from the US who had been stranded in London because of their flights being grounded. This was established at the very start of the evening. Two acts went on and did WTC jokes. Not only was this misjudged and insensitive, it was just plain ignorant. I'm certain there are themes ripe for comedy to be found in this - again Mr Cognito does some marvellous stuff about the way western society arrogantly prides itself on being superior (note: the joke is about our own attitudes and prejudices, themes, not specifics) - but you won't hear him making any jokes about the slaughter of several thousand innocent people.

By the above reckoning, am I within my right to make jokes about the holocaust if I first run them by a friend of mine who once met an Auschwitz survivor? Or quips about ethnic cleansing in Bosnia ...

If you have a point to make, then make it. If you have something to say, say it. However, don't hide behind flimsy rhetoric about how you checked it with a friend linked with it. What's the old adage - "I'm not racist, some of my best friends are black, but ..." (No, I'm not saying anyone's a racist, I'm highlighting a point).

I also agree with Alex. From a promotors and following acts point of view, someone who kills the evening with ill-conceived, arrogant and short-sighted material is itself plain ignorant. I'm pleased some people have found an intelligent and witty angle on this subject, but for eveyone one of them that has, I'm sure there are half a dozen who haven't.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2002 1:49 pm 
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The problem with 11/9 was that a lot of people confused material about the pointlessness of bombing Afghanistan with material about the WTC attacks. I never mentioned the WTC attacks although I did have some stuff about the bombing campaign. It would go well on occasions, but on other times people would ocme up to me afterwards and say 'you shouldn't make jokes about september 11' and I'd say 'who said september 11, I was talking about the bombing of afghanistan', or similar and at the end of the day it got to be a hassle losing a proportion of the audience because they couldn't understand what I was trying to talk about, so I just did a load of shit old gags about not having a girlfriend instead. Laziness on my part and I've sold out to the fuckwits in the audience, but ultimately if they're not laughing at the 11/9 material, but they are at the crappy old oneliners then....

I don't know.

I understand what Toby is saying. I stand by the bombing material I did, but ultimately I couldn't be arsed to be misconstrued.

Oh and the fact that there were a bunch of people doing sick jokes about the WTC meant I automatically got tarred with the same brush as soon as the words 'The War on Terrorism' came out of my mouth.

And the latest estimates are between 2,500 and 3,000. They reckon 99% of the people in the towers who were BELOW the impact's got out safely, which compared to early estimates shows just how effective the emergency services were. For more information, check out the archive at www.unknownnews.net.

Still no sleep.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2002 1:56 pm 
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Quote:
Quote: from sigh on 12:33 pm on Feb. 14, 2002
Ian Cognito thinks there are some things .....

...don't hide behind flimsy rhetoric about how you checked it with....


But if you checked it with Ian Cognito?

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2002 2:00 pm 
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Mark Thomas is cool.

He will say whatever he wants but will debate it with people afterwards if they challenge him.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2002 2:12 pm 
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I never "check" my material with anyone to see if
they're offended - but I do check it to see if
I get a different angle from them.

I quite like it when someone complains about a gag.

Good for them that they've decided to say their say -
particularly if they've paid. But it doesn't mean
I'm going to drop it. I think JustinM put his finger on it
...in the end it's up to you to make the decision.

For example, I've been booed and cheered for George Best
drinking gag I used to do - doesn't mean I shouldn't do it.
I stopped that one for practical reasons : I'm a coward.

However, I feel this is more about taste and I'm quite
capable of saying tasteless things without even
thinking they're tasteless most of the time anyway
so I think I should shut up.

Just to say that though in theory it's possible
to think though all your gags beforehand to see if
they're too offensive .....in practice this never
works for me - so I'll stick to the tried and tested formula
of putting my foot in it and feeling a complete twat.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2002 2:14 pm 
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I saw Cogs do stuff about 11/9 on the day itself, and more power to his elbow. I dont think there can possibly be a hard and fast rule about whats going to far, sometimes even just the tone of voice used can make a huge difference.

Rich.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2002 2:18 pm 
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I've seen Mike's routine and found it piss-funny and not at all offensive. It takes the piss out of students more than anything, and I seriously don't think anyone's going to get all sensitive and go headlong into a self-righteous, girly strop about that.

You can hear the audio clip at http://www.xsmalarkey.co.uk

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2002 2:41 pm 
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I agree with James, in that there is a difference between The War On Terrorism and the WTC Attack - and I also agree that ultimately it should be the audience who decides whether its worth pursuing. If it's not funny consistently, it becomes a lecture (or preaching to the converted), and after all, it is a comedy night, not a meeting of the Debating Society. (Is that dumbing down? I'm not sure)

And hee hee, yes Steve, if Cogs says it's okay, then that's fine. I'm gagging on my own hypocrisy.

I think the trick is to guage the audience. If you see they aren't going with it, skip it. Don't plough headlong through it until the atmosphere has completely dissipated. This applies to ALL material, not just controversial stuff. Anyway, I seem to be disappearing up my own arse. I'll shut up now.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2002 3:03 pm 
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Quote:
Quote: from Anthony Miller on 10:43 am on Feb. 14, 2002
I was on at Commedicas one time and I was really getting
somewhere when this bird and 7 other students invaded
the gig to collect for charity.

Wasn't that a fun night out, Jon?


it was a truly bizarre thing to happen. the promoter was there at the beginning and then had to leave before the show started. the stand-in promoter - who was the mc - then had to leave before the show ended. which left dave dynamite to do his slot, say goodbye and then pack everything up!

and the invading students ... jesus christ ... i seem to remember she actually came in on one of your punches as well:
a: blah blah blah *laugh*
s: and speaking of WHATEVER IT WAS, i'm sure you'd all like to donate to charity by putting your money in this bucket.
cue anthony walking off-stage and resolutely refusing to go back on. when eventually coaxed back on by the audience, he did a weird little song-poem about a slug or a spider or something, and walked off again.

genius!

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2002 3:41 pm 
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Maybe the point I was trying to make has not come accross, as this is a notoriously difficult medium to debate in.
Of course you should feel able to do material about the biggest single act of terrorism our generation has seen. I was part of the topical show that took place on the 12/09 at The Store, and believe me, just about the entire show reated to it in some form.
What I was saying is that it is wrong to feel the need to justify material by saying that you knew someone who was affected, therefore the material was fine.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2002 4:09 pm 
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Quote:
Quote: from Plissken on 11:41 am on Feb. 14, 2002
Quote:
Quote: from Alex on 11:13 am on Feb. 14, 2002
Quote:
Quote: from Plissken on 10:08 am on Feb. 14, 2002
Theres plenty of acts that have approached this subject (and other souch touchy subjects over history) with care and tact, and produced good, relative and well thought out, humourous material - and other that come out with crass and offensive rubbish. I wonder which catagory your material would fall into?


Ask Lee (threesecondmemory) at XS Malarkey, he's seen it. I'll even dump it to MP3 and let you listen to it and judge for yourself if you want.

But for your information, it was written with care and tact and I was damned careful to make sure that it wasn't crass and offensive rubbish. It wasn't about the WTC, but about the stupid reactions to it from all sides, US, Britain, Afghan. In terms of joking about the WTC, it was a magnitude less sick that that Tourist of Death thing that went around.

My point originally was, someone is going to take offense no matter what I do and if someone is going to take offense just because I bring the subject up, then frankly I don't care about that, because that type of person will find offense even where there is none.

Mike


I'm not sure where I stand on this one. We had a gig on the 11th and we have a limeric/joke competition each week, and a friend of mine of mine wrote a really funny limeric about it. I had a look at it and said it was bit too close to the event to be making jokes about (seeing as it was on the day it happened) so he didn't hand it in. Anyway, lo and behold 90% of the submissions were 9 11 based and everyone was pissing themselves laughing. I felt a bit uneasy after seeing some of the most horrendous images ever on TV that day, but I'm not gonna get all moral about it.

In support of Mike, what he did, I didn't find offensive and it was very funny,but I can only, obviously, speak for myself.

You've just got to make your own decision and be prepared to back it up with your views.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2002 4:11 pm 
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I agree ( and couldn't be bothered to form my own opinion for fear of misunderstanding)

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2002 4:24 pm 
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I think as a comedian if you are asking yourself, is it offensive? You must surely have an idea that it is, or it could be construed as such. Maybe that should temper your decision. I have seen some very funny material linked to Sept 11th; Justin M's cat routine, Gavin Websters'dyslexic fundamentalist, Caimh's suicide bomber. All mentioned were linked to what happened but more to the issues surrounding it. I was also present at a gig in Coventry which Toby compered directly after the tragedy. He was awesome that night, everyone was sat tentively around waiting for something to be said. Toby mentioned it, the audience laughed in relief and the gig moved on.
Personally I tend to shy away from such stuff to my own detriment, although as I gain experience I feel more able to attempt it and will try more risque stuff.
Some new acts think cos its happened they have to address it and plough on regardless, blaming the audience for being offended. Victoria Wood once said,"If it's funny, it's not offensive."
However there is such a thing as being too PC, as a teacher I am well pissed off with singing "Baa baa green sheep"

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2002 4:28 pm 
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Quote:
Quote: from Rich on 1:14 pm on Feb. 14, 2002
I saw Cogs do stuff about 11/9 on the day itself, and more power to his elbow. I dont think there can possibly be a hard and fast rule about whats going to far, sometimes even just the tone of voice used can make a huge difference.

Rich.


I agree there can be no hard and fast rule. I also think anecdotally you can't prove funny or not. It's a "you gotta be there" type thing. I'm also in favor of pushing things too far.

But it's amazing to see you people could perform on "the day itself" -- or even the day after. In New York the sky was raining ash for days, I had to walk miles for a newspaper and I needed my passport to get back home when ventured above the locked down zone. All comedy was stopped for two weeks and then people began to crawl tentatively back. I don't care how funny you are, no one, absolutely no one could have been funny on that day here or the next or the next. No one wanted to attempt it because no one had any desire.

Of course when the pundits on TV bleated, "Will anything ever be funny again?" we knew that was crap, but honestly, in the days after the attack nothing was funny and all of us who did comedy felt rather useless in light of what had happened. I was a semi-finalist in a Television station's comedy competition that had to be pushed back in light of 9/11 and even though two weeks had passed, no one was quite sure what would be funny. You could still smell the WTC burning away and if you didn't at least know someone who had lost someone you were the exception.

Even now running a comedy show, it's amazing to see what is and isn't funny about the attacks, the war on terrorism, etc.. Basically funny is funny and not funny is not funny -- as it always has been. But each joke in that arena is like pulling off a triple axel. You've got to be that much better to land a laugh.

In December ago I did at show by Ground Zero at a restaurant that was only for rescue workers. It was filled mainly with Police, but also EMS and sanitation workers. It was scary doing a show where about 80 percent of the audience had guns on them. We were scared out of our wits, furiously dropping and adding jokes to our set. But when we wouldn't softball them and had the guts to dip into dangerous stuff, they ate it up more than liberal so-called "intelligent" audiences.

####, I wrote too much.
Cheers y'all!
Susie

(Edited by WriteWoman at 10:50 am on Feb. 14, 2002)


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2002 5:26 pm 
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Quite a lot of muslims died in Lagos recently
but they don't have any disposable income and
don't come to London.

So I've started on my sick set...

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