I recently came across this quote by Chinua Achebe:
One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.
And it really spoke to me. I’ve been struggling a lot lately with the direction I want to take my act in — not because I’m uncomfortable with my material or persona, but because my father has a huge problem with it.
I said the word “bitch” on Comedy Central. I think it’s the second bit in the clip below:
|Erin Jackson – Marrying Into Comedy|
After the show aired my father reamed me for cussing on TV. I told him that you can say “bitch” on the networks. But he wasn’t trying to hear me.
I see comedy nite in and nite out — all kinds of comics with varying styles. And I know that by comedy club/booker standards, I am not a dirty act. I say “bitch” in my act. I occasionally say “shit”. And when I’m referring to this particular incident (which is only of late) I use the “mother” of all cuss words. But only because I’m repeating something I overheard someone else say. And I believe there’s a bigger point to it.
I grew up in a pretty religious household. Nothing fanatical. But my dad was superintendent of the Sunday School and a deacon at our church. So yeah I was at church every Sunday, but my folks weren’t strict and I was always a good girl. But I haven’t gone to church on even a semi-regular basis since I left home to come to DC for college. I honestly felt awful about it in the beginning — I remember the first Sunday I didn’t go to church I felt like there was this big gaping whole in my world. But that feeling began to fade the more and more I slept in. Of course I still believe in God. And with all the blessings I’ve received just these last 6 months in both my professional and personal life, I KNOW I need to be back in church. I joined one about a year ago and I even have a new bit about my trip to church this summer. But I’m out of the habit. And now after a late show on Saturday, its way hard for me to get up and go.
All that to say that while I believe in and thank my parents and extended family for the Christian principles upon which I was raised, I am my own person. And I don’t think it makes me a bad person if I say “bitch” on stage. But my dad is worried that all his friends and former colleagues who see me will be offended by what I say and it’ll reflect poorly upon him.
Exhale. Continue reading →