November 2021

Random Rants: I Got a Woke to Tell Ya

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Salomon Maya

I would like to begin by apologizing to our readers for my absence. Some of you clamored for my return and I thank all three of you. I do have a ton to say obviously, and approximately three of you (two of which are my parents) want to read it.

I am a recovering failed stand-up comic. What does that mean? Well, I tried for two years in Los Angeles to make my living as someone who tried to make people laugh. I failed. But that’s okay. I learned invaluable lessons like never drink copious amounts of Jägermeister before a set. Drunk comics are NOT funny.

You know what is funny. Dave Chappelle. Recently Dave has entangled himself in quite the controversy of things you can and cannot say on stage while attempting to make people laugh. So let me take out that dusty ‘ol soapbox of mine and state my opinion.

Comedy should have no rules.

Dave Chappelle is a brilliant comic. His brand of humor is shocking, topical, and controversial. What Dave Chappelle’s comedy isn’t, is hate-filled or transphobic. Again, let me state the obvious. This is my personal opinion. By stating this opinion, it does not mean I am also hate-filled or transphobic either.

I accept a community’s right to basic civil rights. I also accept that I can laugh at said community with a well-crafted joke at their behalf. For the love of God, I’m both Jewish and Mexican…we’ve been making fun of ourselves since God made us out of maize-flavored matzo meal.

The beauty of comedy is that it takes a receptor for it to be considered comedy. A comic can stand in the middle of the forest and say a joke, but if there isn’t anyone around, is it funny?

Dave Chappelle can stand on stage and do a set on whatever he wants. It’s you, as the receptor, to decide whether you want to hear it or not. You even have the right to get angry, upset, even offended. It’s the beauty of art! Feeling something isn’t wrong, it’s what we, as artists, are trying to accomplish. But where I draw the line is when you (again as the audience) decide that what you heard is so offensive that I (another member of the audience) should never hear from that artist again.

The beauty of comedy is that there is no one sole judge, jury, and executioner. If you didn’t like the special, don’t watch it. Dave has the right to say jokes. You have the right to not like them. I have a right to laugh at them. It’s that simple. And that’s no woke — err — joke.

In the end, follow the sage words of a comedian taken from us way too soon. One of my favorites, Mitch Hedberg who once said:

“I’m against picketing, but I don’t know how to show it.”

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