Bill is an actor, writer & comic in Los Angeles. Read more...

The Blog

Sewth Effreekah, Paaht 2: While You Were Out Raping

For the record, I didn’t cheat. Over a hundred people wrote me with their suggestions, and not one of them picked both jokes. Although some came close. For all you poor-guessing losers out there, don’t feel so bad. Only the Mighty Kreskin could have won that contest.

The key to figuring out which jokes piqued the wrath of the venue promoters in Johannesburg lies in a glitch in the matrix of South African culture. It manifests itself, sadly, in the cuntrosity of the people. And by that, I mean the white people.

South Africa is a puritanical country with a long history of institutionalized disenfranchisement that many of the white people there arrogantly defend with a Gestapo-esque blind sense of nationalism. Kind of like America… 70 years ago. Except Americans spent the better part of the 20th century struggling through the WEB Dubois’ “Color Line” so that at least the fair-minded crackers among us can admit, “Oops.” We can at least discuss the possibility of reparations (as long as black people agree to stop Martin Lawrence from making another Big Momma’s House). In fact, we have come so far that we–a country comprised mostly of honkeys!–might elect a black president this year! Granted, South Africa beat us to the punch here. They already have a black president, but that’s only to the severe chagrin and/or embarrassment of every white South African I met. Whenever I mentioned the opinions and politics of the incumbent president, it was uniformly met with an eye roll and a nervous laugh.

As a result, racial humor seems to work differently in these two bizarrely analogous yet distinct societies. In America, most racially insensitive/potentially incendiary jokes work on two deeply psychological levels:

1. Deindividuation. There needs to be a large group of people to buffer the possible personal nature of racial jokes. In other words, smaller crowds become a much trickier forum for anything edgy, particularly regarding race, sex, and religion. If the joke is thrown into a ribald crowd of people who feel anonymous, they will laugh from their gut without feeling singled out.

2. White Guilt Delay. Even in large crowds, ‘white guilt’ is a hugely important factor in the reception of jokes about race. White people will look around at whatever race is the subject of the joke to see their reaction before they will allow themselves to laugh. Once they see that, they might laugh, approximately 5 seconds after the joke has landed. Mike Vecchione calls it the ’5 second white guilt delay.’

Mind you, this works only with a GOOD joke… or somewhat good joke. When you combine a shitty, bomb of a joke with racially challenging material, you have Michael Richards. The problem with Michael Richards is not that he said the forbidden word, it’s that he is (was, rather) the shittiest comic on the Laugh Factory stage.

Addendum to South Afreeka, paht 1

Nobody is really getting this one right.

I will add a ‘clue’ to make it a little more fair. I mean, who wants the house to win?

The clue is: White South Africans are inherently, intrinsically, and unequivocally racist. Whites are (for the most part) the only people in Jo-burg with disposable income. You need to have income to see a comedy show. That’s like a syllogism or something… Hehe, I said gism.

And for those coming over from the message board, ONE of those fifteen jokes I wrote down on a notepad but have never had the balls to say.

Remember — Two of those jokes were cited by the ladies when they kicked me off stage. One of them i didn’t have the cojones to attempt. And the others, surprisingly, were met with a fair amount of yuk-yuks (that is how South Africans laugh, in ‘yuk-yuk’ form).

The winner gets free admission and drinks for ANY show in which I’m performing . I might even spring for top shelf liquor if you win and can make it out to one of my shows with Jamie Kennedy at the DOWNTOWN COMEDY CLUB IN LOS ANGELES ON MARCH 14TH AND MARCH 15TH!

Sewth Effreekah, Paaht 1

“We’ve had quite enough of YOU!”

The words came booming over the God mike, conspicuously ordering me off stage in front of over a thousand similarly confused audience members.

Where the fuck was that coming from? Some bitch, somewhere tantalizingly close, was being conveniently obscured by night sky, spotlights, and the vast network of speakers arrayed across the courtyard of the Montecristo Casino in Johannesburg, South Africa.

I whipped my head around like a Greaser at a knife fight, to no avail. There were neither Jets nor Sharks behind me to shank or save my ass. On the fringe of conscious behavior, I jammed the microphone into the stand and did the Project Runway/just-pooped-my-undershorts shuffle of shame off-stage. To say that my current international tour was starting out inauspiciously is an understatement.

It was my first international set since the Camp Liberty gig in Baghdad and, once again, I had managed to create some controversy. At least in Iraq, the USO let me finish offending them before they summoned me over the next day with an index finger and an, ‘Um… not so much.’

As I tentatively walked — with my back to the audience — up the 30 foot length of jutting catwalk offstage in the lingering pin-drop silence, I did a 4 bloopbloop TiVo rewind of my half-hour set to track down the precise moment I crossed the line. I imagined there must have been some unseen maelstrom in the recesses of the courtyard that precipitated my ouster. For the life of me, though, I couldn’t hone in on the joke, or jokes, that caused it. I reached the end of what felt like the never-ending corridor in Poltergeist, and the speakers suddenly crackled to life again: “Sorry about that! Now, are you ready to get the show moving along with your headliner?!!!”

I stood backstage in my best pissed off white boy stance — arm akimbo, necked jutted forward, mouth agape, eyes overtly bugged. “What the fuck was that?” I asked, first to myself and then to the sundry embarrassed unknowns hovering backstage. I looked around for an answer, but people avoided me like I was the kid in the cafeteria who dipped his fries in mayonnaise. “What happened?” I pleaded to everyone, to God, and to no one in particular. I mean, I have had incidents before where I made bad judgment calls. For instance, once during Jay Davis’ very popular “Life of the Party” show in Los Angeles, I did a joke about fisting a kindergarten teacher. In front of his church group. Oops. But I was utterly bewilderbeested as to why the South Africans were offended.

What Am I Doing These Days?

Hello loyal readers, I wanted to take a couple minutes to thank all twenty-four of you for your loyal support and to drop some knowledge on your blog-reading asses.

First, I am working on a two or three part story about my semi-successful, semi-disastrous, fully awesome trip to South Africa doing stand-up, that should be done in a week or so. Part 1 will be about the first leg on Johannesburg, where, for the first time in my professional career, I got kicked off stage and almost put a fat bitch in a cross-over toe hold. The new blog also involves a competition, so keep posted…

Second, I am starring in a new Off Broadway play about lesbians in the 1950s. When I heard I got an audition to do a play with a bunch of half-naked lesbians, I thought one thing: have they been reading my diary? Plus, Lily Tomlin just signed on as a producer, and apparently she’s been working 9 to 5 on it. Nothing on that? Really?

The play is called “Beebo Brinker Chronicles“. Previews begin tonight and Opening Night is March 5. The part most of you will be interested in is that I HAVE COMP TICKETS FOR ALL SHOWS FROM TODAY THROUGH SUNDAY, FEB 24.. If you want to see me do my play thing (there is a rumor that I show cockage in it, by the way), email me at bill@billdawes.com and I will hook you up with the freebies.

Third, I will be doing a killer set at the Laugh Factory in NYC on March 1st at 10pm. It’s being filmed by a legit TV film crew so I will look extra hawt and be extra funny. Also, if you sit in the front you, I will literally dry hump your face. And, if you complain about it, I will have a big black guy in a suit throw you out.

I’m setting up the first 6 Rudius readers ONLY with comp tickets to the show if they email me. It will be sold out so HURRY up with requests! Half-price tickets (only 10 American dollars) are also available at the door if you mention you’re with the group “superjabs” at the box office. It’s going to be a great show, so if you’re in NYC on March 1st you should definitely look into coming by.

There will be drinking afterwards and all that jazz with Ted ‘JABS’ LeClaire (www.myspace.com/superjabs) if you are into debauchery. I probably won’t be going out afterwards because I will be in my apartment alone telling myself I’m better than you.

Lastly, thanks again for reading and look for the story of my banishment from the city of Johannesburg very soon!!!