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Monday, January 02, 2012

Whose Joke is That?

Some jokes are what we call a standard, it belongs to no one. You are safe to use standards, all good comics have a shit load of standards loaded up in their arsenal. Jokes like, “Little Johnny said to the teacher…”,  and “Black man, White man Chinese man…”,  and “This lady says to her husband…”, and “Yo Momma so ugly…” and "Two guys walk in a bar…” and.. you get the picture. 

These jokes are open to be re-wrote, re-iterpreted and regurgitated as your heart feels. Comedy is subjective and nothing is really original it's all coming from the same source...the universe, God etc...

Some stuff, though, you can tell is unique to the individual, thus they are understandably angered when someone else tells that joke. These are jokes and stories that relate to a personal experience, life crises and unique perspective/observation. But then again, aren’t we all human, don’t we all have these experiences? Yes we are and yes we do. But in the comedy business, as in the fashion industry, the person who makes a style popular by using it first or most is the proprietor of that one. 

The rap/hip hop/rock/pop/country/reggae world has the same fundamental (not really sure about country and reggae, I think one style fits all there). But any way, if a group or artist is known for using a certain rhythmic style, anybody else comes along doing it is considered a “biter”, “thief” or “stealer" of that person’s style.

The way it works in the comedy world; when somebody is known for telling a certain joke all the time, it becomes "their joke" ...until they die...then you can use it, but not safely, you’d best modify it to fit you and perhaps current times. How many folks do you think are using Moms Mabley, Redd Foxx, Milton Beryl jokes, bits, routines and more?

One of the biggest challenges in my comedy career was for me to understand who I am, and not gauge my talent, act, performance etc by what others are doing. To understand there's a variety of styles, audiences and personalities...just like food. That's when I became the best chef for my dish of deliciousness...served hot, prompt and seasoned just right!

 I am open to helping with what gifts I have been freely given because one day I won’t be here and I can’t take it with me…be sure to do the same. And when I’m gone, yes, you can have all of my material, because I’m going to that great comedy writing room in the sky where all jokes come from and I’ll be sending down fresh material to a waiting world.

With that being said, get out there and be funny...and remember to have FUN!

Stevie Mack

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