What's funny to one person can be offensive to another but I often find someone that is offended by something that is meant to be funny to be an insufferable human being…until I thought about it a little deeper.
On Saturday night I was performing at Bonkerz Comedy Club inside the Hofbrauhaus. It was a last minute booking and I am always in the pursuit of stage time so I took the gig as the feature. The show was sold out and I did what I think is a pretty solid set -- laughs all the way through and even some applause breaks. As I left the stage I overheard a patron talking to the emcee, Josh Morrow, about my set. He was offended by a story I tell about the time I spent in the Philippines as a Mormon missionary. The story is based on true events and has some slight exaggerations at times. In the story I talk about how I gave up on being a good missionary and went to strip clubs and hooked up with girls. The man thought the story was disgusting as it involved prostitutes. He said my set was a "disgrace to comedy".
I actually have video of me telling this story that night which you can watch if you’d like.
Upon hearing this I actually chased after the man hoping to have a face-to-face conversation with him. I like to understand why people are offended. I think it's fascinating what people get upset about. My intentions weren't purely to understand his problem with my comedy. I also wanted to give him shit but I couldn't find him, which is probably a good thing.
A day later I've calmed down and I really don't care what this man thinks about my story. I enjoy telling the story for very personal reasons. That was a very dark time in my life. I boil it down to a short story that works well on stage but I skip over how low I was before I was disobedient to the mission/Mormon rules. I was a strict missionary for a while and it didn’t make me happy. I was contemplating suicide. I didn’t believe what I was teaching and I didn’t know how to get out of the situation. Those years in the Philippines molded me into the person I am today. Turning that story of darkness into something that now makes people laugh every time I tell it is a testament to the hard work I’ve put in as a comedian and a person. That story is a pivotal moment in my life and I’m proud of what I have done since stepping away from the Mormon Church. It also sets up the second half of my act which I didn’t do that night because I was only doing a fifteen minute set, but if you want to see how it flows with the rest of my material I’ll be headlining Bonkerz at The Hofbrauhaus January 1 and 2. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for tickets with subject “Disgrace to Comedy” and I’ll hook you up with free tickets.
I do appreciate that he didn't make a scene. He didn't get loud and ruin the show or make a major complaint to management. He said what he said and he went on his way. He disagreed with something and removed himself from the situation. He isn't looking for attention on social media or asking that the club ban me. He has his idea of what comedy is and I have mine. They are different and they are both valid because they are OPINIONS.
We live in a world where people's opinions mean more to them than facts or even human decency. Social Justice Warriors and special interest groups that want people to lose their jobs over jokes or free speech are the insufferable ones. A man who leaves a comedy club without making a scene or making it about him because he has integrity is just that, a man. It wasn’t for him, but he did notice other people enjoying the show so he left. He made a brief complaint to the emcee but didn’t demand any restitution. He didn’t enjoy something so he left. I respect that. I'm glad I didn't see that guy last night and say something to him I'd regret. It's over and it's done with. I'll leave it behind, as I'm sure he's done the same. If I do ever run into him again I would hope that I could make him laugh. I like making people laugh. It’s why I do what I do even if they don’t like everything I do or say. Lots of people don’t find me funny and lots of people do. I have no problem with the former as long as they aren’t trying to ruin my livelihood. After all, they are just jokes.