'You gotta make them laugh'

By PHILIP EIL  |  July 24, 2013

I’m not going to tell you what the joke was, but it definitely was not making fun of her son. It was making fun of her. I make fun of her and I will continue to make fun of her. And the important thing is that the audience laughs their ass off at the joke that guy was talking about. And that’s the community standard I care about.

I have a community when I do standup comedy . . . [and] people should not even be commenting on this because they are not part of that community. They weren’t at that show and they’re not part of my community. So you don’t get to vote.

This is why I defended Paula Deen, even though I obviously don’t agree with racist comments. I defended Rush Limbaugh, not because I agree with what he said. [But] because when people in this country are constantly trying to make people go away because of something they said they didn’t like, it’s never the people who are their fans.

Rush Limbaugh has a community. I’m not part of it. So I don’t get to vote on what Rush Limbaugh says or whether he can stay or go. That’s for his community to decide. If my audience turned against me, that’d be one thing and I would stop doing what I was doing.

IT SEEMS LIKE ONE OF THE STARTING POINTS FOR OUR CURRENT YOUTUBE, EVERYTHING-IS-FILMABLE ERA CAME DURING A STAND-UP PERFORMANCE: WHEN MICHAEL RICHARDS (KRAMER FROMSEINFELD) HAD HIS WHATEVER-YOU-WANT-TO-CALL-IT MOMENT AT THE LAUGH FACTORY IN L.A. AND THE VIDEO WENT VIRAL. I think that’s a bad example, even though I don’t think anything in a comedy club should be made public. Because that’s why you go to a comedy club: to talk to a small audience. But that was really a meltdown . . . a breakdown. There was nothing funny about it. He just went off.

I think a better example would be [how] Daniel Tosh and Dane Cook were both at the Laugh Factory recently and they said things [that were questioned publicly] that were the exact kinds of things you would say in a comedy club. And I don’t know what the reaction of the audience was but that’s what stand-up comedy is. It should be the last bastion of freedom. This shouldn’t be a bunch of scolds pointing their fingers and tweeting from their phones about what somebody said. You weren’t at the show, and, even if you were, that’s what the club is there for: to find where the boundaries are. How do we know where the edge is unless we step over it sometimes?

I’m very tired of the thought police trying to tell us all what we can say and what we can’t say. It’s not going to work with me. I’m inoculated. I’ve been doing this for over 20 years. I’ve been in trouble way more than this on way more occasions. And I know Sarah Palin is always trying to stir some shit up with me and what’s happened is, she has to realize, that dog just doesn’t hunt. People don’t give a fuck anymore.

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