Aug
21
2006

One joke comedians

I’ve watched every season of Last Comic Standing, and in the process inferred one of the things that bugs me about many comedians, and quickly put them in the “Not Funny” pile. Some comedians entire act is about a stereotype of themselves. Let’s look at some comedians from the show.

Group One
Dat Phan (season 1 winner): Awful. Never once told a joke that wasn’t about being Asian. Couldn’t even come up with new material, every night it was the same material from the week before about being Asian. I get it, you’re Asian. On this season’s finale show, he performed. He had better poise, delivery, and presence, but it was still the same joke over and over. I can only conclude that he had pictures of Jay Mohr.
John Heffrin (season 2 winner): Varied act. I didn’t much care for him, but I recognize why someone could find him funny.
Josh Blue (season 3 winner): One joke pony. However, his act is pretty good because at least his one joke is a joke no one else can do. Not a lot of palsy comedians out there. Nevertheless, it got old fast for me. I can’t imagine watching a half-hour of him.
The New York Jew or Italian lady who’s getting older: There’s one every season, I can never even remember their name.
The big black lady: Ditto. If I follow the gist of your act, you state in many ways that you have been known to overeat on occasion, as well as behave in a manner that many white people would construe as over-assertive, often accompanied by various gestures. I see.

Group Two (for contrast):
Ralphie May: Started off just doing fat jokes, but quickly morphed into a great all around comedian. Nothing wrong with a few fat jokes, just don’t make it your whole act. See Kevin James or Louie Anderson.
Dave Mordal (my favorite of all seasons): Can’t even peg this guy — some variety of Minnesota redneck?
Alonzo Bodden (sp?): Great. Again, he has black jokes, but that’s not the whole act.
Ty Barnett (sp?): Ditto. That guy is just plain funny.

In five years the second group will have a lot more success. Josh Blue will be remembered because of the originality of his schtick, but otherwise Group One will have faded into obscurity.

Jerry Seinfeld doesn’t just do Jewish jokes. George Carlin doesn’t just do hippie or language jokes. Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor and Chris Rock talked a lot about life being black, but didn’t just do black jokes. Bill Cosby never really did black jokes. You can make jokes about yourself and your life and how you see the world without having to pick out an obvious stereotype about yourself and make the same joke about it over and over.

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