Don’t get me wrong, I love a good joke. My family members tease me and say that “Jebeh has no shame.” I’m a beautiful, black, confident woman. But, some things are entertaining and others are just offensive.
Last summer, my friend and I went for a much-deserved ladies night. We ended up at a local comedy club we’d both frequented before. We knew the unwritten rule: do not sit in the front row or you’ll be part of the comedian’s set. We chose to sit at the table furthest back.
It didn’t save us. Some random guy dressed in a grey hoodie, who was inebriated (so I thought) sat at our table (uninvited) and said to us, “Oh man I can’t do this, I feel like sh**.” That random guy then headed to the stage. Surprise! The drunk hoodie guy was the headlining comic. I looked at my friend and we agreed, it wasn’t going to end well.
He was not funny. He grasped at straws and got only nervous laughter in response. Then, Mr. Hoodie-Comedian went on a racist rant: “I wonder what it would be like to be a slave master?” “You could get anything you wanted and wouldn’t have to pay them.” The crowd went wild. Just like that, he was the next King of Comedy.
Just like that, he was the next King of Comedy.
My friend and I felt like we were at a Klan rally. Mr. Hoodie-Comedian then pointed at me across the audience and said, “There’s one black lady in here and she’s in love with me. She would be my slave any day.” The crowd roared with laughter. After his set, he gave me a hug and said, “I’m so sorry.” I pushed him off and left in disgust.
I was so angry at the white man who decided to offend me for a few laughs. More disheartening was the crowd’s response. I know comedy is not for the faint of heart, but that kind of comedy was not worth our time or anyone’s time for that matter.
At moments like that I try to reflect on my life and the people in it. I remind myself of what I have accomplished, of the family I have built and the friends that have my back. If I compare those things to where that comedian was in his life, the anger just melts away. My laugh is the one that is heard. Next ladies night, we’ll hit up a movie instead.