Men can openly peruse around in their birthday suits in “Full Monty” for what will probably be hundreds upon hundreds of people in attendance at American River College’s Theater.
Café Noire, on the other hand, has decided to censor its open mic night held every third Thursday of the month, the first being Sept. 22, in front of a couple dozen attendees max. The venue itself is open to any aspiring singers, musicians, poets, improv groups, and stand-up comedians.
At first glance it is a relatively understandable rule. They want to develop and further elicit a carefree environment that feels open and respectful to all parties involved, both performers and audience members alike. Breaking down this rule into what it really means, however, and you’ve got some whiny little “kumbaya, lets all hold hands and make s’mores like we did in Bible Camp” feel.
Wait, I thought this was American River College, but it seems more and more like high school part two in many ways.
Taking a step back, breaking down the rule further, they want their performances to be free of any and all curse words. OK, that’s fine, I can stand to filter my material to make Bill Cosby proud. My song about my infatuation for a certain type of woman wouldn’t fly by any means so there goes half my act, but that’s just the way it goes.
Then they want all performances to be free of anything crude or otherwise offensive; for example’s sake, that means no derogatory, defamatory, or otherwise discriminative jokes that may come off as offensive.
So I repeat, is this American River College, or did the Mormons who wrote “Napoleon Dynamite” just take control?
From Dave Attell to Patton Oswalt, Zach Galiafinakis to Anthony Jeselnik, there isn’t a single stand-up comic that holds their punches. The days of Bill Cosby comedy is dead. Even David Letterman, Daniel Tosh, and the ever-clean Jeff Dunham gets racy or otherwise offensive to one person or another from time to time.
In the era of Comedy Central roasts on celebrities, offensive but popular YouTube, and more racy comedy shows than ever before, the last thing we need to do to aspiring performers is tell them that their work could be better placed in an environment that doesn’t consist of the peers pushing them to perform in the first place.
It’s absolutely egregious to tell someone to duct tape and rework something that their proud of; nevertheless, Sam Williams and the tandem of hosts were more than happy to siphon what they felt was good or bad by way of creating these rules in the first place.
This is also the same campus that will happily show you male genitalia in the name of “art.” Go figure.