This is the disclaimer that appears at the top of Law & Order episodes, essentially to say “we are recreating a real crime a real person committed and profiting from it, but because we’re saying we didn’t, you can’t sue us.” Ummm, you can’t have it both ways, L&O (or maybe you can since you were on the air for 20 years). Either it’s ripped from the headlines or it’s fictional. It can’t be both.
But I digress… I’m posting this today because I wish there was something like this for comedy that could indemnify me against the hurt feelings and aggressions of the people in my life who make it into my act. Just last nite I was at a neighbor’s house and during our conversation I came up with a HILARIOUS bit about someone I know. It was 100% true and the punchline came to me like magic. It was like I was born to tell this joke. And usually this type of stuff doesn’t bother me because I’m not malicious in my act, but this person is a huge fan of my comedy and comes to a lot of shows, and I’m a huge fan of this person as well and I know that he would be bothered by what I said, regardless of how funny it is.
What’s the solution here? I think the bit will tie in perfectly to a chunk in my set that I’ve been trying to expand. But I would also like to preserve my relationship with the subject. I think what I’ll do is work the bit while I’m on the road to decide if it’s as funny as I think it is, and if it is (which it is) I may just have to keep it and explain later.
Damn you conscience!