Denver comics come clean on "clean comedy"
Whenever an event promotes itself as "clean comedy," there are typically two reactions from comedy fans: They're either thrilled to have a funny night out that they can take their kids to (or, if you're a moralist, an event you can get through without crossing your arms in a that's-not-funny protest), or reflexively assume that nothing really funny could ever come from such a designation -- even though they're probably fans of Seinfeld and Bill Cosby.
Comedy Works South will be kicking off its Clean Comedy Contest this Wednesday -- with some pretty respectable local talent on the bill -- so we thought we'd check in with some of the most established standup comics on the scene, getting their reaction to the request: "Can you please keep it clean?"
Personally, I dislike clean comedy when it's mandated by a show promoter, because that's just censorship. Part of the fun of doing comedy is saying what you want to say, in the way you want to say it. Generally, if you are booked to do a "clean" show you should be paid extra, since it is a special request -- but that's not really the case anymore. More and more shows expect comics to perform clean for the same pay as a "regular" show. Which is horseshit.
If you naturally write clean material, than go for it, if that's your voice. When I tell jokes, I don't want to dance around being my most authentic self. And my most authentic self curses and talks about dicks.
I don't like rules in comedy. I think it should be as organic as possible. If that's clean, great. If it's not, that's also great. But the idea to exclusively write clean, or exclusively write dirty, seems to be a calculated choice to appeal to a specific group of people, or attain a specific goal.
While that's understandable from a business perspective, it doesn't seem honest to me.
I am not that dirty of a person, and that is reflected in my act. I just try to be honest to my voice and what's funny to me, and if that involves sliding a "shit" in there or talking about a body part, then so be it, I am gonna do it. My general rule is to have material my grandmas would laugh at -- and lucky for me, my grandmas had killer senses of humor.
Clean or dirty, it is really whatever floats your boat as an artist. As long as you are trying to be original and are taking chances, I say more power to you.
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