Dan Majestic writes from New York: Thinking about becoming a mainstream comedian and getting paid loads for doing funny stuff? Well, you’ll need to follow certain rules if you are hoping to hit the big time.
The most important thing in modern comedy is to be left-wing. And when I say ‘left-wing’, I mean really left, preferably loony left. Don’t even think about parking your butt in centre ground or, God forbid, moving slightly to the right. You’ll never get anywhere with that sort of attitude. Mainstream comedy, so that you know, is 100 per cent progressive now. No place in it for diversity of political views. It’s a one-way street with no right turnings on it and all the signs placed on the left. Stick to the left and the loony left side of the road and you will achieve fame and fortune, even if you’re not funny. Just look at the stars of Saturday Night Live and Have I Got News For You and you will get the picture.
And then there’s political correctness, a must for any comedian who wants to achieve success. Yes, straying away from PC can finish off your comedy act in its earliest stages. Like from your first gig. It is important that you understand what political correctness stands for, though, so that you don’t make mistakes and laugh at things that are sacred to the PC brigade that watches closely what is going on on the comedy circuit.
Blasphemy in all its glorious shapes and sizes is very PC. Yep, you would be amazed how many famous comedians have risen to stardom solely on the strength of taking a shot at religion. There are no boundaries in this case. You can go over the top and still get rave reviews and the adoration of the hard core fans of comedy, as most of them like nothing better than to hear some blasphemy wrapped up as humour.
And then there are the jokes about the right-wing. Yes, it is now very politically correct to attack anything that is perceived as right-wing or even right of centre or even centre for that matter. Just stay away from saying anything that could be construed as critical of the left. That a no-no.
Swearing is very politically correct in comedy these days. Don’t pay any attention to some people calling indiscriminate use of the F-word and the C-word ‘controversial’. The audiences love it, the critics love it and it saves you the trouble of coming up with funny jokes as all that swearing works wonders on the fans of progressive, politically correct comedy. Just as talking in silly voices and pulling silly faces works wonders for comedians these days as well.
Toilet humour? Very PC and very reliable. No mines on that field, I can tell you that. Observation humour is great as well, as it is irrelevant and keeps you on the PC field with no problems. It’s not very funny, yes, but modern comedy is not about being funny, it’s about being politically correct and sticking to the left religiously, if you pardon the contradiction in terms here.
Also on the PC desirable list are multiculturalism, diversity, racism awareness, feminism, dislike of marriage and family life and light-hearted praise for drink and drugs. These are all subjects that can save your act even if you don’t manage to squeeze a single laugh out of your audience. Not to mention that you as a comedian should hint at having had a drink or drug problem in the past and also throw in sex addiction, if you want to be seen as really cool and modern.
Having a go at big business and bankers is another no-no for mainstream progressive comedians as getting sponsorship deals and advertising contracts these days is an important part of a successful comedy career. So don’t blow your chances of getting paid a fortune for advertising some insurance company, bank or a tampon.
With all these things in mind you should achieve success on the comedy circuit relatively easily. Even if you are to humour what syphilis is to a loving relationship.