Yeah, so I was in Jackson, Michigan over the weekend–not to be confused with Jackson, Mississippi. At all. Ever. Jackson, Michigan is the birthplace of the Republican Party… and the birthplace of Tony Dungy. Right… Anyway, I was performing at aÂ countryÂ club, which turned out to be a pretty sweet gig. The audience was cool — nice mix of young rich people and old rich people. But they were all rich. Or rich as far as I’m concerned. Haha… I was doing a bit where I talkÂ about looking at my checking account balance online and seeing parentheses around the number and initially thinking, “Oh how cute, they put a smiley face by my account balance!” and then realizing that it meant I was in the negative… And when I hit the punch I gotÂ nothing. Not so much as a chuckle. Until I explained the joke. “See parentheses mean you’re poor. You’ve heard of poor, right?”
Comedy Rule #1: Know your audience.
Here’s something else I’ve been meaningÂ to blog and/or write a bit about, but it makes me so sad I don’t know quite how to tackle it.
About a month or two ago, I performed at a Father-Son banquet at a ritzy private prep school in Maryland. When I got there, I quickly realized that I was the only Black person in the room–not that thatÂ surprised me. I mean I didn’t expect to see a huge number of Black students there, but literally the only other ‘person’ of color there was an autographedÂ photo of Jonathan Ogden, the Tackle for the Baltimore Ravens they were giving away as a raffle prize.
So I just figured… there probably aren’t any Black kids that go to this school. But then I spotted a slide show looping on the wall behind me that had photos of the football and basketball teams… And there were plenty of black kids on the slide show… So I was like I can see you have black students here. Where’s the basketball team? Do they have an away game?
And then I realized…
The Black kids that go there are most likely bused in and on academic scholarships, and apparently… those kids didn’t have dads to bring them to the Father-Son dinner. How bad does that suck?
I have to remind myself every now and then when I’m working to step outside myself and take in the entire picture. I feel like I’m pretty observant, pretty present whenÂ I’m on stage but I’m notÂ always as sharp as I could be. I dunno. I guess that’s the moral of the blog.