Almost a year ago, I watched Rebecca Hurd tell a joke about pooping herself in Harris Teeter as she opened for Colin Jost. I don’t know why, but that poop joke was the exact moment I knew I needed to start doing stand-up.
Of course, I had to keep with my personal brand by procrastinating and putting off the start of this as much as possible. More specifically, I managed almost five months of beating around the bush, or just anxiously hovering near the bush sweatily and thinking, “Oh my God, what if that bush hates me?”
Now I just celebrated my eight month comedy-versary (love you, babe), and that sweaty anxious voice still bothers me, except it’s a little different now. Every time I see another news story about President Donald Trump’s gross incompetence and straight-up evilness, something in me wonders, “How can you laugh at a time like this?”
It’s like if someone told a dick joke at a funeral — it’s funny, but come on, buddy, not now. Part of me is always nervous to try and make light of this dark time in U.S. history.
But then I think: WWCFD*? (*what would Carrie Fisher do?). I’m pretty sure she would resist the heck out of all this. In the face of opposition, you have to learn to weaponize whatever you’ve got. I’ve got comedy. What was once just a thinly veiled coping mechanism for having been ugly in grade school is now something I get up and do in front of people at least once a week.
Comedy is more than just my coping mechanism of choice, though. It’s an opportunity for people to speak their mind and prove a point without going into lecture territory. I can’t even tell you how much news satire programs such as The Colbert Report taught me about the U.S. political climate.
I also can’t even tell you a single thing I learned in honors U.S. history (sorry, Mrs. White). As a tool of entertainment as well as education, funny works.
Which is why I’m putting my funny to work. I will be hosting a benefit for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
The ACLU plans to bring legal action against Trump for his horrific and unconstitutional Muslim ban. Sometimes, laughter is all we have, but it can be enough to get us through. As long as we’re laughing, we’re showing the world that no matter how hard they try, they can’t take our joy away.
To show support for the Muslim community at Elon and all those affected by this travel ban, please come to the Elon Stands Up ACLU Benefit 8 p.m. Feb. 25 in McKinnon. Tickets will be $5 at the door, and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the ACLU. I would say 110 percent, but that’s not how money works.
I sincerely hope to see you there.