At elementary school during recess, there were always two types of funny guys on the play ground. There was the witty and funny one that everyone loved and the bully. Sometimes the funny guy would get picked on by the bullies, but he always knew what to say and alleviate the situation. When a bully made fun of someone, he always found a way to crack a joke about himself or something funny and make peace. Whereas the other one, that one made fun of your name, or made fun of your ethnicity, he may have been larger or smaller than you but he always got laughs at one person’s expense and he or she was the bully and their way of control of the world was through sheer terror and emotional derision of others. This person may have had deep seated wounds and they would ignore them by creating unnecessary wounds in others that were never there to begin with and usually with things that that person had no control over such as their physical appearance, their ethnicity or their socio-economic level. Tonight at the Comedy Palace in Clairmont there were both.
I’ve been to Comedy Palace a couple times. My first time I saw a fight between a giant fat guy and a small Mexican kid. The fat guy was attacking the little guy because the little guy had tried to rape his wife and had been under restraining order. It was a funny situation and I had never seen anything since. I still like coming out to the Comedy Palace to see my buddy Feraz Ozel put on events and bring talent to San Diego. It’s great because it he’s a Pakistani-Afghani and he brings out Jews, Blacks, Latinos, Asians to do comedy on one stage. All that matters is that you’re funny. It’s like UN if UN actually worked.
So today, I got a bunch of friends together for what I thought would be a good and peaceful comedy show.
It started off well: after great laughs by the hosts Bijan and Feraz, Feraz introduced three comics. First up was Robert Weems from Atlanta. He had a great set about how few blacks there are in San Diego and the few that are here, are extremely poor and he made some great jokes about how age changes sex for men and women.
The comedy set was finished off by the headliner Erik Myers who had to stop every once in a while to let the audience breathe. He was so good in creating laughs out of his life and his observations with his physical but rapid tempo humor, that we never pitied his sad moments but laughed with him and bar napkins collected our tears of joy. I would highly recommend him to anyone.
Before Myers was a Gay, British, Persian Jew by the name of Matthew Noriel and his style was fast paced, well prepared and always kept you on your toes. His comedy similar to that of many comics but his observations about the funny in the gay and Persian scene were never offensive and very interesting and always funny.
In between Noriel and Weems however, was that one kid who is funny so long as he is not making fun of you because he is making fun of someone else. Faraz introduced Josh Nasar by explaining that Nasar was filming his set for Comedy Central and so he asked people to refrain from talking and heckling. It all seemed fine and as Josh Nasar came on stage, he immediately gave off the vibe of trying and lack of preparation. You could see the pressure was on him and although the jokes may have been funny at some point, tonight they were falling flat.
He got some forced laughs by repeating over and over how horny he was, and then some jokes began to land and he started to climb up and peak our interest as he opened up a joke with how much he likes the black ladies; he had the crowd hooked, and then he fell.
He fell hard and there was no way to save himself and he knew it. How did he fall? He said that black women’s tits smell like EBT cards and vagina like Henessey. The misogynistic, classist and racist comment had an immediate effect on everyone. I could see all the way from the back that the black woman at the front was hurt, shocked and angry at the same time. The place fell silent. Nasar tried the Kramer from Seinfeld trick and project, he flipped off the crowd and yelled “Oh you’re judging me now!! You’re judging me now!” Then he said something else mildly racist and mildly amusing and then taunted us by saying “see, you’re the racists, you laughed at that.” When in actuality, the entire room was uncomfortable and tried to laugh, in disbelief of what just happened.
As Nasar’s set went on, it became clear that it was not a badly worded joke, but it was all his jokes. One misogynistic joke after another. He was nervous. He would turn around and talk to the brick wall behind him, then turn towards the crowd and talk awkwardly without the mic, then with the mic. He would stop and start. Everyone felt terrible and we tried to laugh at his cheap gimmicks of yelling loud and hitting himself on the head with the microphone: basically copies of copies of copies of copies of past comedians.
You wanted to say something but you couldn’t. For me it was hard, I’m friends with Feraz and I felt bad but what do you say to a bully? At this point I realize that all the other kids on the play ground don’t laugh with the bully because they agree, but because they are now afraid to be the ones bullied next.
But there was a girl at our table. She is a recent Philly transplant and say what you say about Philly, but they do not put up with bullshit. As one joke putting down women after another came out, she could not hold it in any longer and she said it: “You’re the worst!”
Everyone heard it but decided to pretend as if they didn’t and Nasar tried to move on with another terrible joke. So she said it again: “You’re the worst ever!”
That got his attention. The king was naked. So what did the king do? He attacked. Nasar called her a cunt, he said she must have been :raped and abused as a child”. As if that is the reason why she did not like his humor. That if she had never been raped or abused, she would be perfectly fine with his jokes. This was full on Kramer, this was Michael Richard happening right in front of us.
Nasar did not care if something had indeed happened to her as a child, he wanted to wound and he did. And did the place stand up for her like they did during Michael Richards’s rant in New York? No. They cheered him on, like a school yard full of kids making fun of the poor and taunted little kid, letting the bully be a bully.
Then something happened, the king volunteered us the source of his misogyny. He broke down and told us of his break up. He told us how his fiance cheated on him. He told us that to show her his undying devotion, he did something enormously stupid and tattooed her name on his calf while she cheated on him and broke off engagement. He was the idiot and he was going to take out his anger and frustration on all women. The king was naked.
Well Josh Nasar, I haven’t been raped or abused as a child and I found your jokes tactless, misogynistic, racist, and not at all funny. And if I had been raped or abused as a child, I would have found you even less funny and even more offensive.
I’m sorry I didn’t find a way to make Nasar apologize, I’m sad that the crowd sat there and watched him say horrible things and laugh along and do nothing to stop him. I appreciate Bijan coming up to my friend and whispering in her ear: “You’re not a cunt, I’m sorry.”
Nasar, I hope you let go of your demons, and do the right thing and apologize to our friend, apologize to women, apologize to black people and stop being a bully. You’ll be a lot more funny.