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Just so you know, I am a stand-up comedian. People pay me to stand in front of them and tell jokes.

That doesn't make me smarter than anyone here. It doesn't make me funnier than anyone here. It doesn't mean that I'm better than anyone else here in any way. I would bet that there are a lot of people posting to this board who are more naturally funny than I am, who get a lot of laughs in normal conversation, and who are considered very humorous and clever among their respective circles of friends. And that's cool. There is no reason at all why things shouldn't be that way.

But what being a comedian does mean is that I routinely have to stand up in front of crowds, often numbering hundreds of people, and I have to get them to laugh. And I had better get those laughs, because the paycheck depends on it. There are few things as challenging, and few things as thrilling as that, at least in the life I've lived so far. You learn a lot about people after you've tried it a few hundred times. One of the things you learn more quickly than what makes people laugh is what makes them angry. Audience behavior is a very interesting thing to watch, and anger is one of the easiest emotions to trigger in large groups of people. Sometimes it's scary how easily it can happen.

You want to turn a crowd against you in a heartbeat? Tell an ugly, racist, mean-spirited joke. That crowd will turn on you quicker than you can say badda bing. You want people walking out on your performance? You want people trying to shout you down? You want to be worried that some angry people might be waiting for you by your car in the parking lot after the show? Then try using some of the lines and some of the language you see on this board. You really think this stuff is funny, Bucky? Really? Really?

If you're defending the racist humor that is routinely posted here, let me challenge you. Grab your precious bundle of funnies, and take them to your local open mic. Try them in front of a live crowd, where people can see you sweat. Where they can see your vulnerable your kneecaps are. Where they can see you wetting your pants. See how nicely they react when you tell them how stupid or lazy or cowardly or dangerous they are. See how pleasant that experience is for you. See how well you react to people taking offense directly in front of you, or confronting your racism a few seconds after you leave the stage. And then report back to us how it went. Most of you wouldn't last three minutes in a real live environment, one where you aren't safely protected behind your computer screens, where you can't hear the jeers directly.

I've seen it happen over and over again to open mic losers who thought they were funny with their racist jokes, when in fact they were just ignorant and stupid. Some of them learn quickly how idiotic they really are. But most of them blame the audience for not getting them. That's fine -- stupid is as stupid does. Their reaction is exactly as you see it displayed here.

This board has a readership far larger than any comedy club. You post a racist joke here, you're going to inspire some negative commentary. You'll get smug and blithely tell people to "take a chill pill" or "get a life," defending a sentiment that is ugly, obnoxious, rude, and which ought to be beneath you. But you are behaving in a very unfunny way in a forum that is supposed to be dedicated to humor, and people are going to confront you about it. If you don't like that, too bad. I won't tell you that you don't have the right to behave as you do. But you are poisoning the conversation, and the only thing that is amusing is your ridiculous display of indignation when people react to your ugliness, and tell you how loutish and inappropriate your behavior is.

If you like, you can sit behind your screen and be self-rightous and whine about how you only meant your ugliness as a joke, as if humor is supposed to erase the offense. In that case, let me invite you to whine, because this club, the room represented by this board, is jeering your performance, just as surely as they would in any live show. And if you complain that the objections are ruining the spirit of this board, then let me suggest that if you see this board as a haven for racism, then it deserves to be disrupted. Too bad. Get used to it.

I've got a lot to learn about comedy, and I don't pretend to be an authority on it any more than the rest of you. But you do gain a certain perspective on human behavior in the world of live comedy. It's funny when you think about it, because just as easy as it is to clear a room with racist humor, it's just that easy to get a big laughs by lampooning the ignorant bohunks who don't understand their own boorishness. There is some irony in that, and a whole lot of laughter.

I must be in the best business in the world. There is a whole lot of power in that laughter, the kind that mocks ignorance. It's a sweet thing to watch, really.

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