There is Nothing Wrong With Wanting People to Be Generally Polite.
The owner of the Laugh Factory — in addition to mentioning the standing ovation — defended Tosh by saying, “If you don’t want to get insulted don’t go to comedy clubs.”
How is it that you can’t fucking cough at the Philharmonic — and you certainly don’t call out “Your solo sucked!”, nor do the musicians make fun of your lack of knowledge about Bizet — but our society has evolved some bizarre form of entertainment wherein you, the audience, are expected to be willing to be personally insulted in front of a room of people? Wasn’t that the WORST PART of adolescence? Call me crazy, but I don’t like to be insulted even once when I am trying to have a good time, such as by paying money for entertainment!
As a comic and as an audience member, I just want no part of an entire room full of rudeness. I only entertain polite people. (Seriously: my shows do VERY WELL for audiences of schoolteachers and librarians.) I was raised to believe that it is noble — and in fact mandatory, unless you fear physical danger — to speak up if someone tells a racist joke. As a consumer, I cannot fathom the attraction of waiting to be insulted, or watching others be insulted.
Oh, and then if you don’t laugh, or – god forbid – try to get up to go to the bathroom, the comic yells in front of everyone, “If you can take a dick, you can take a joke, lady! And I KNOW you can take a dick, amIrite?”
Can we talk about that for a minute? “If you can take a dick, you can take a joke.” First off, it sort of implies that all sex for women (or straight women and gay men, or something) is an exercise in enduring suffering. Great advertising, guys! It’s also just a non-sequitur.
I suppose you can make the argument that tolerating meanness is an important life skill, but not so much that we should encourage meanness so people have the opportunity to build up their tolerance to it. (“I only beat my kid so he’ll be prepared in case anyone beats him!”)
In the NYTimes, comedian Bill Burr lashed out an “alt-comedy,” complaining that it “distilled all of the horror out of attempting to be a comedian … No heckling, no drunks, no obnoxious behavior, no aggressiveness.” He went on to decry the existence of a warm, safe, nurturing “comedy womb.”
Well, yes. Yes! While some people thrive on constant combativeness, some do not! No one says, “This painting would be so much better if the painter had to paint it while people shouted at him,” or “This ballet dancer is crap if she can’t force people who don’t like ballet to like The Nutcracker.”
Here is me talking about female power in the warm, safe comedy womb of the Women in Comedy Festival. It’s cool if you don’t think I’m funny or interesting, but I assure you, yelling wouldn’t make it any better.