Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo® – 09/09/2019
There was once an age of “insult comics,” like Fat Jack Leonard and Don Rickles. Some people thought of Joan Rivers like this, but she was also hysterically self-disparaging. Rodney Dangerfield never got much respect.
The Mormon Church didn’t sue the producers of “Book of Mormon” and simply ignored it, because they are confident in their beliefs. I suggest that if it were called “The Book of Muslim” and was somehow produced, there would have been ugly implications. Almost all of the humor I use on stage in self-depricating. When other people mock me (which comes when you’re on top) I simply accept it as flattery. It’s never threatening because I know who I am (and am not).
When we’re threatened by satire or even ridicule, we demonstrate an insecurity, a thin skin, and a certain lack of confidence. Years ago, when the New Orleans Saints football team was awful, their fans called them the “Ain’ts” and wore paper bags over their heads so that they couldn’t be identified in the stadium as Saints fans! But they came to the games and now have a terrific team.
No matter how serious you are about your beliefs, if you’re unable to laugh at your own foibles then you’re not passionate, you’re a zealot. And zealotry is one of the reasons we’re creating an “us or them” culture.
Don’t pity the martyrs, they love the work. — George Ade