Features Nov 25, 2015 at 4:00 am

You Don't, You Asshole, How Dare You


I'll take "The Rapists" for $200, Alex.

How could something like this ever have happened?
I found 63 cents in a friend's sofa yesterday, in my spare time!! Check it out at #lookforsparechangeinsofas.com
Whiny baby man complains about "political correctness." Zzzzz
: )
Washington has nothing NOTHING on Oregon. We do have a lousy Port Director, whatisis name, Bill Wyatt, another lousy Bill. Just soppose a "cartel" between Washington, Wyoming, Dakota States is being conducted with a lead operator Bill Bryant.
Dangerous wasteful rail routes were determined by 'which port gets the most money, NOT which port simplifies terminal operations best/safest. Bryant decisions were least effective by choice, not incidentally the most dangerous, aside from global warming.

Oregon stopped the worst RR crossing proposal among many, the BNSF Columbia. Full load tank cars CANNOT cross the Columbia safely. UPRR lines also apparently absent in these decisions thus another slam on Oregon by the recent loss of value-added container shipping. Oregon is not a member of this cartel between the mentioned states, plus canada.
will become governor
Port director Bill Wyatt is also a member of this supposed cartel of greedy mismanagement crews between states. Another Bill that deserves only a minor role in government business.

This is why Oregonians don't take shit from Warshingtonians.
Question: Why is there a S to P but no P to S?
Answer: Not many Portlanders want to bike Seattle.
That's a joke, I guess. yuck it up, ha ha and all that.
funny stuff, ha ha,
Bertha Wormtunnel WILL KILL Seattle, ha ha.
so funny... ha ha ...
Bryant is in on it. Blame your next Governor,
ha ha.. hardy har...
You know it's bad form to punch down, but you also know that maybe jokes by straight white dudes about straight white dudes are getting tired. This may limit your comedic routines, but we have in this world a great surplus of straight white male comics so maybe that's ok?
I'm a straight white male too, i get that the world is getting tired of hearing our perspective, and that's a crappy feeling.
OK so i totally get why you're a little annoyed; you're not a murderer, you just wanted to go and make people laugh. But think of it like this; is the best time to do all your best "black people" material when you're in a room full of black people? Probs not. Same with the queer stuff.
The issue here is that you're obviously embarrassed and a little butthurt that these people didn't think your material was as funny as you do, so now you've written this piece to try and get someone to say "oh poor you, you're right and they were wrong and they're just over-sensitive PC femenazi bitches" so you'll feel better. Problem is, you're holding on to your ego instead of trying to understand the other point of view.
First you need to read "Death of the Author" by Roland Barthes. What you intended doesn't matter; once those words are out of your mouth they belong to the audience and they mean whatever the audience thinks they mean.
Then, please just take a minute and think "Will i ever actually understand what it's like to be a queer woman?" I mean really. If the answer is no (which it is) try to accept the fact that the reason you don't know about "safe spaces" and "trigger words" is because you haven't had to deal with people beating and raping and killing people like you because of the exact thing you were making jokes about, for your entire life. You haven't gone to a place trusting it's one of only a few places where you won't be attacked, and then had that trust broken.
In the end, as a straight man you're an outsider, and that means you can't decide what's hurtful and what isn't because you have no way of knowing.
You know what probably would have gone down well? Jokes about straight white men. It makes you sound sympathetic and it's something you actually know about.
(And if even now you're thinking "oh look, another PC femenazi bitch telling me my business" then you're probably a moron and there's no helping you).
Don't like Nazi-esque PC speech codes? Don't vote for liberals of any kind. It only gets worse with any power they accumulate.
Really? Whiny little bitch if you ask me...special snowflake got the hook too early so it must be the crowd....perhaps it is simply a matter of sticking to your 'success demographic' outside the NW....we'll try to get by without your deep thoughts, Jack Handy
Tl;dr try using fewer I, I think, I feel, I..., I..., I..., next time.
Isn't there a Portland paper Mr funny could have written to, instead of one in another city?
@12: What a long, sincere letter. You are obviously a comedy expert!
More on PC Asshattery and comedy over at McSweeney's.

@2 - Yeah, that was the first thing that crossed my mind too. And many of the comments here bear that out. The Stranger is virtually unrecognizable from a couple years ago.

I mean, come one, how funny is it that this guy has a comedy story about lesbians having no sense of humor?! That's classic comedy.

I don't get why people keep posting that "the crowd" didn't like him despite this sentence from the article:

"Now, I'd been given an early light on previous occasions—when a set doesn't go well, they want you off, understandably—but on this particular night, the audience was really digging it."

This suggests that the crowd *did* like him, just not the host.
@18 nails it.

...as they know all too well that they're in the shit together

Exactly. Life, particularly the minutiae of crowded city life—just stop and think about the gnarly shit you see on a daily basis—can be a little brutal at times. We're all in it together, and we can all laugh at it together.

Nothing wrong with people trying to create their own "safe" spaces, some people really need that, but don't pretend that's an environment that supports art from the outside world.
"Nothing wrong with people trying to create their own "safe" spaces, some people really need that, but don't pretend that's an environment that supports art from the outside world."

Well said.
This is why we either need to reclaim the pejorative use of "SJW" from racists et al. or come up with a better word for people with no sense of humor and no capacity to assume good faith.

And here's an edgy joke:
Q. How do you get a Jew to shut up?
A. Tie his hands behind his back.
I know this happened in Portland, but the whole "you offended somebody (or maybe everybody), but we're not going to tell you, because that might help you make an informed decision about how to avoid doing it again" thing seems fairly Seattle-y.
The host should not have control of the light. Let the audience control the comic. I was at a queer comic night where we got a queer national comic to realize he was bombing and double back on his jokes. It's easy to manipulate them with barely a boo.

This comic, however, sounds like a whiny bitch.
If the preacher makes a point, then pounds on the pulpit and turns to the choir and shouts "can I get an Amen!?" and gets silence (and the hook) instead, he's in the wrong church....

Yeah, maybe the crowd was on board, and the proprietors were quick on the trigger, but we'll never really know, so this smacks of "poor me" a year later. I like the comments above about looking in the mirror when crafting comedy.
How can anyone have a real opinion if we don't know what the offending jokes were?
Wait, what is the big outrage here? What caused this man to say "totalizing ideology" is killing his craft? He got a light. He got asked to leave a stage a little early because the owners and operators of that stage didn't like his craft. Boo Hoo. This is totalizing ideology ruining art? I don't think so.

Two other totally crazy pieces of this article:
(1) Amazingly, he then compares the situation to the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Insane.
(2) No one in their right mind, with any sense of empathy and humility, walks into a room full of queer women and thinks, "I should probably make jokes all about queer women right now."

Any person with humility would take this as an opportunity to learn -- to say, "I don't totally agree with how they responded, but what did I do that added to the situation? What might I do differently? What can I learn, and how can I behave with more sense next time?" But for this guy, it's all "those crazy queer ladies and their ISIS ideology!"
Q: How many social justice warriors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: The misogynistic term "screw" implies sexual violence and a predator/prey dynamic between - ooops, I mean among - genders.
Tell it again using "install" in place of "screw".

Somewhat related: the clockwise rotation of the bulb itself is problematic, revealing a biased toward right handedness, while subconsciously reinforcing the political idea that the "right is right (correct)" in the context of concrete, mechanical functions. This mechanical analogy can be easily used as another form of colonialist, patriarchal propaganda against Marxist/Feminist dialectics.
I don't know whether the joke that got you kicked off the stage was funny, or offensive, or both, because you conveniently failed to share the material. Which could be because comics don't want to spoil their material by over-exposing it, but, given the circumstances, it seems more likely it was because you now realize it's not even funny.

I can say confidently, though, that this article is not funny.
Came to the comments section for white dude arguments; was not disappointed. Would comment again, 3 stars -HaMMerTime1985
@ 28 and @31

Exactly-- the author spends over 14 paragraphs ranting about this, but in all that time never gets around to what's the only thing that could actually let readers decide whether or not he's genuinely being persecuted or is just being a dick. What, like he just forgot to include the most relevant detail? Yeah, that makes me sense this whole thing is some serious bullshit.
I saw David Heti perform once. He did this amazing joke about how he only fucks Sudanese women because they don't have that pesky clit to worry about. HA! Boy how we did laugh at the misery of a society of women subjugated at the end of a knife.

David Heti is not funny and is a thoroughly unpleasant creep. He's like a Neil Hamburger who isn't in on his own joke.
You know who the real thin-skinned whiners are? Fucking comics these days.

Used to be a comic bombed they sucked it up and worked on better material. Now they all run to their blogs and twitter to blame the audience. So unfaaaaaaaaaiiiir!

And don't get me started on college professors who are afraid to stand up to a few riled up undergrads and their parents. Used to be they knew how to stand their ground and say "there's the door, sweetheart." Now they run to their blogs and twitter to whine and moan somebody's mom was mean to them on the phone. Wimps.

Need to throw a pity party with all the Republican presidential candidates who whimper that the questions are too hard and the heat is turned up too high. I guess there once was a time when your comics and professors and candidates were all war veterans. They knew what real hardship looked like. And they didn't try to out-victim anybody who played the victim card on them.
Any unknown comic who feels the need to comment on the state of the industry should be forced to post their best showcase set.

I think it's safe to say Matt Groening could tell a highly profitable joke in Portland.
I found his PDX set online. The joke was about fucking little boys. Offensive or not, the set wasn't very funny.
So whatchu do in bioethics at a children's hospital?
For all the times I've repeated the "How many lesbians does it take to screw in a lightbulb" joke, I would like to offer an apology. To all you light bulbs* out there: I didn't mean to hurt your feelings.

*And to all the environmentalists: I did mean CFL and LED bulbs. Not those nasty, illegal incandescents.

Oh no they didn't like my shitty jokes! I better fume about it for a year and imply that everyone doesn't like my stuff is a childish prude whom I am so much better at comedy than! Y'know, aggrieved cis dude *is* a pretty funny shtick, you're right.
@31 FTW, pretty much exactly what I was thinking.
This whole plodding "article," sounds like a typical whiny I Anon, that went on about 12 paragraphs too long.
Wow. Nope.
Nobody wants you here. Never come back.
We want to be a space that is safe from ever
hearing your comedy.
This guy seems SOOOOO wonderful: http://www.amazon.com/The-Nigger-Word-Ex…
Seriously tho. What's up with the childrens hospital bioethics? Do you get to decide which kids die? Sounds like a neat gig.
No, seriously, go take a listen to the person you
gave an outlet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLAoowHq…
dear Stranger editors,

Jesus, you guys have really strayed from the path of relevancy. I can't wait until your free weekly is just 40 pages of karaoke listings.

Derek Sheen
@28, 31, 33: The whole point was that nobody told him what was offensive, just that somewhere in his entire routine something rubbed someone the wrong way.
Seriously, you only sound whiny, David, not funny.
Portland is the most uptight town on the planet. Why bother?
I hate to sound like a broken record, especially since that's not a widespread problem anymore, but forreal, what's up with the children's bioethics? Some of us want real answers.
This is TRASH. He still doesn't know or care what about his material was offensive, thinks it's totally awesome for him to walk into a room full of queer women and presume to make jokes about them that he declares them too self righteous to be able to laugh at, AND THEN says jokes about people who are not like you are bad and offensive. WHAT IS THIS PERSON'S BRAIN DOING? Then he says it would have been insulting TO THE AUDIENCE for him to have parsed through his material and left out possibly offensive things. HOW DARE HE KEEP FROM THE WORLD THE BREADTH OF HIS TALENT? And then his hypothesis is basically SOMETHING ABOUT THE WEATHER IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST makes us CLOSED MINDED. What a fucking idiot. I can't.
This guy isn't funny or clever. I'd feel kinda bad for him, but he's a whiny, arrogant crybaby, so fuck him. Why the fuck did he get a byline, Stranger?
@51: Portland also has the most baller comedy scene in the country, one the best comedy festivals, an alt weekly that supports it's growth and some the best audiences I've ever performed for. If you can't kill there, it's because you're terrible at comedy and probably a dolt.
@53: You're fat
Again, they let this dude write an article:
"How do you tell a joke in Portland, Oregon?"

You hold the hand of everyone in the audience after washing with organic fair-trade hand sanitizer, tell them there are no monsters among the skeletons in their walk-in closets, get them artisian water if they ask for it, and tuck them into their 44,000,000 thread count Snuggies afterwards.
59: That's mildly understating my weight problem.
Why doesn't everyone at the Stranger just come out and admit that they hate standup comedy? I've never seen one good word about the sport in here. You have an amazing comedy scene in the Northwest, but you have to import some rando's complaints about one bad night to rile everyone up and get them arguing about "the rules" of comedy, as if funny is something static and unchanging and one size fits all. You're great about covering some things, but you suck at covering standup.

Also, Derek Sheen is adorable.
61: You literally summed up this guy's editorial in 14 perfect words.

I'm sick of comics complaining about their material being censored. It's not the responsibility of the ignorant, drunk, uptight audience to rise to your obviously higher plane (correct "plane"?) of consciousness. It's your responsibility to write and deliver your material in a way that makes it palatable, relatable, and (oh gods, don't say it) funny? Being the white guy that refuses to cow tow to the oppressive feminists and militant ethno-sensitives doesn't give you carte blanche.

I know exactly what happened: you saw a few more than usual mullets and flannels in the audience, which is the standard Portland uniform, no matter what your gender or sexual orientation is, and you decided it was time to pull out your 20-minute chunck on the fire risk of scissoring after yoga class. There was ONE drunk, butch, lady truck driver loving every second of it; while the rest of the audience wished you and Erma would both shut up. You didn't realize you were winning one battle and losing the war, and we're shocked when you got the early light, which you're apparently used to (I love how you've got so much respect for the light; just not for the audience).

Stop blaming the audience for your failure. It's a cop-out to believe you're "too edgy for the masses" or smarter than everyone else. I hate them more than you, and I AM smarter than everyone else. I'm also super edgy (check out my shit at mikecummingscomedy.com), but I learned early that if I was every going to feel legitimately fulfilled onstage, I had to find a way to reach down with an open hand, and lovingly pull those idiots up to my level, instead of cramming my "fleshlight" jokes down their throats until they puked. And guess what; a lot of them still hate me.

Even if I'm wrong (I'm not), the person running the show doesn't owe you anything. They have to keep that room running, and keep fat, pale Portland asses in those seats every week. Who's the Sensitive Sally here? You're the guy whining about hurt feelings "they didn't even tell me which of my racist, misogynist, homophobic jokes was the one-too-many". If you don't know which joke was over the line, they all were. How about a little self-awareness, buddy?

I'm getting bored with this now. So I'll get to the point. You are not as good as you think you are. You depend on shock for your laughs. That will only last a few minutes, until the idiots realize every punchline is lazy misdirection into a sexual pun. If you keep doing comedy, and actually try to get better at it, you'll hopefully grow out of this phase. Then, in ten years (long after you finally quit for good), you'll look back on this article and realize it's the funniest piece of material you ever wrote.
@49, I submit to you that a comic who can't tell when he's lost the audience is in the wrong line of work.
I too am concerned about killing comedy with the sensitivity of a few being afforded extra special, sometimes ridiculous over the top shelterings. However, and this is always possible, you weren't as funny as you fucking thought you were.
ITT: Tons of people who didn't read / understand what he wrote. Dude said that the crowd was laughing and into it, from his perspective. It doesn't seem to be a matter of, "well, if the crowd didn't laugh you should get some new material and shut the fuck up, whiner." It seemed more like an issue of the people who were running the show deciding that he'd crossed some line and lighting him regardless of how the audience was responding. That seems to be his beef.
@Mattberkley71: You know it's bad form to punch down

Punching is a very poor metaphor for comedy.

I'm a straight white male too, i get that the world is getting tired of hearing our perspective

White men don't all share the same perspective.

@Agrippa: you weren't as funny as you fucking thought you were.

Criticizing comedy for not being funny is one thing, criticizing comedy for using a "trigger word" is another.
Disappointing article. Stranger, come on. Do we really need yet another white dude complaining about trigger warnings and safe space, and letting it take up press space? Also, all the tokenizing shit of "I know gay people who think jokes about gay people are funny" is lazy.
Also, this whole "I don't know what rules I could have broken" attitude is bullshit. The article definitely has that pretense, like any humor is just not okay. Humor is great. Comedy is great. Comedy is necessary. But the joke he got the green light for was about "fucking little boys", and in addition to being gross, it just wasn't very funny. I listened to the recording -- the room wasn't exploding with laughter. A few people laughed, but not like at other jokes.

And this joke isn't necessarily a "Lady Problem" like Lindy West had to deal with, but a lot of the same shit stands here re comedy and space... http://jezebel.com/if-comedy-has-no-lady…
I was in NYC in business earlier this year, and one night after my plans fell through I went to see Dave Attell do a late show at a small club. There was a disappointing crowd of maybe 30 people in the audience, and I remember thinking "Damn, this is going to suck."

I don't think he told a single prewritten joke - instead he just riffed with the audience. He made fun of an interracial couple (black guy with white girl), and a group of Asians. He made fun of me for being there alone, and he also made fun of Seattle. He made fun of a group of Indians. He then discovered they happened to be sitting next to a group of Pakistanis, and he conjured up at least 20 minutes of material out of that.

I doubt any of it would be all that funny to watch on YouTube, and it definitely involved plenty of trigger words. But the feeling in the room was electric. No one and nothing was safe. People were literally laughing themselves to tears. Some woman had this cackle that just made me laugh even harder. It was a visceral experience, not unlike being in the mosh pit (also not safe) at punk show in a small club.
P.S. This social justice campaign against comedy is the equivalent of Andrea Dworkin's misguided feminist campaign against porn.
I was about 80% of the way through the article when I realized this asshole wasn't going to tell us what the allegedly offensive material was. Jerk.
I was there, he wasn't funny. The room is one of the best in Portland and even brand new comedians do well there. That room is heaven. You have to be a real dummy to bomb there. And the host is one of the nicest people on the planet, that's why she gave him stagetime to begin with. Calling her fat isn't true and it makes you look like a mongoloid, Bribe_Dish.
I happened to perform in Seattle two days after that show, and David Heti went before me. He told a joke about not having to worrry about being good at fucking women with genital mutilation, and burned the light for 10 min, to the complete silence of the audience.
It was one of the most dis-heartening things i've seen done in the name of comedy.
It's ok though, cuz I went up after him and OMG SURPRISE, when i told funny jokes the audience laughed.
Also, Derek Sheen is a treasure.
And being fat is awesome.
I was also at the show. I will reiterate that he bombed. Everything Andie said is correct. I've honestly never seen a set go over that poorly there.
Agree with everything 76 said! Fuck yes!
Maybe, though, kinda, not use "mongoloid"
in helping defer a conversation about
shaming. That's like being for gun control,
but vowing to shoot everyone who's
against it.
@57: Dear Christ that was disheartening... but the four drunk white guys cackling at every slight made at non-white men was even more disgusting.
Jesus Christ, author of this story, I hope your jokes are funnier and shorter than this long winded article that I didn't care to finish.
#76 LOL that's painful.
one of the better articles in the stranger i've seen. i'm particularly all the salty SJWs in the comments section. Endless hilarity! Good job David, stand up to this safe space bullshit that's been going around. Trigger the fuck out of them.

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