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Fun with Stereotypes

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“Hi, my name is Raymond Lewis and I’m gonna try to offend everybody in this room tonight, okay?” I nervously asked with a crooked grin, pointing to the uninspired audience sitting on the rusty folding chairs. The peeling bar walls were like dying fish, the neon lights like dull coral; in fact, the atmosphere of the whole bar was like a costly oil spill that was killing all the marine life. Well, then. Nothing lights up an oil-covered, dying, beer-sipping, ocean of un-funny people like comedy.

“What’s the difference between a dead redskin in the middle of the road and a dead skunk in the middle of the road? The skunk has skid marks next to it!” I sputtered all at once, tripping over the punch line. I stared out at the audience, and even if I couldn’t see everyone under the dim lighting of Johnny’s Bar, my ears could detect applause. And there was no applause at all, nor laughter; bummer. No matter, though, as I threw another redskin joke at the audience.

I saw two Native Americans, leaving the bar with disapproving head-shaking. Directing the audience’s attention to them, I exclaimed, “Wait!” and caught their cold eyes. “Spirit Bear, we’ve had a pretty bad drought in these areas lately so could you and Running Horse do a rain dance for the community?” No laughter, again. Instead, I got the finger from both of them as the one I dubbed Spirit Bear kicked a sign reading “Amateur Open Mic Night” before leaving.

I stared at my wristwatch through my sweaty glasses. 9:30 PM: time to offend the Jews. “Man, I hate Jews,” I started, trying to make Nazi Germany seem like a nicer place than Johnny’s Bar. Even though nobody in the audience was laughing or clapping, I was having a great time, and that was all that mattered in the comedy business. I closed off with, “How was copper wire invented? Two Jews were fighting over a penny!” I blurted out, prompting three more Jews leave the bar.

I paced the wooden platform of a stage, to and fro, dragging my microphone cord along with me. I already offended Jews, redskins, Mexicans, and Chinese, but now came the “hard part”. My hands trembled and my teeth jittered as I proceeded onto my final set of jokes: black jokes. I had to be careful when offending black people because it seems all the black people in the world know each other as they probably all came on the same slave ship from Africa or whatever and so offend one, you offend them all and you will get hurt. And that’s happened to me before. Trust me, it’s not pretty.

“Nig-” I started, the offensive word rolling off my tongue before an untimely interruption from the audience prevented me from completely offending them.

“Man, ya ain’t funny, don’t ya start wit dat crap, man. Get off de stage, man,” a p***ed-off black dude in a Lakers shirt yelled out.

Following the remark, Johnny’s manager asked me off the stage quite forcefully, but I wasn’t done! I hadn’t offended everyone in the room yet! I grabbed the microphone, sweeping the cord and knocking off the microphone stand while deliberately chanting the “n-word” into the microphone. And that led to two bouncers tossing me out of the bar. And then my offended audience followed.

“Yo man, yo wanna laugh out loud? Y’all wanna see somethang crazy? Imma knock de living racist outta yo smug face!”

And then I passed out. As I lay sprawled across the grimy alley in the nighttime, surrounding by a rowdy black crowd, a dream came to me. My recently deceased walked up to me, Darth Vader-esque, and boomed, “Raymond, I am your father.”

“Yeah, I kinda know that.”

“And your mother was a Slovak Jew.”
“No!”
“And my father was Puerto Rican.”
“Nooo, you lie!”
“And my grandmother was a Colombian Indian!”
“That’s…. impossible!!!”

That night I discovered I talk in my sleep. And I also discovered they took my wallet and my Nikes. And my Blackberry. And my socks. As I woke up, penniless, shoeless, sockless, and cellular phone-less, I saw their sneering faces.

“Man, dis guy’s a hypocrite. His momma is a Jew!”

“No wonder his nose is so damn big!

“Ha, man, dis guy is screwed.”

“Man, check out dese pimpin’ Nikes.”

And for the first time that night, my audience laughed. Looks like the joke was on me, wasn’t it? At least I offended everyone in the room that night….. including myself.





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PJD17 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 31, 2011 at 4:51 pm
interesting story  with a strong message  keep up the good work   could you please check out and comment on my story Manso's Shame  i would really appreciate the feedback
 
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