Monday, February 9, 2015

Politically Correct Comedy

Last night my comedy cohort had a show. We all go there an hour early to watch the cohort behind us perform. Ah, there's nothing like shoddy little Sunday night improv sets. It was a goofy time. There are good scenes, there are far more mediocre scenes, and there are rare stupid stupid stupid scenes that are honestly more enjoyable than a fully-perfected Pulitzer stage play.

So this scene was happening on stage with an American man and a thick-accented German woman. She was explaining how her parents are "retarded now" (audience went "eee" like one might do upon opening a moldy tub of Cool Whip). Then she went on to explain, "They just hang around and need entertainment." Oh. Okay. She's playing a character whose English is a little off and confused retired with retarded. Okay. Unbelievable because German people are language-learning robots, but okay. We all let out sighs of relief...until two other people on this gal's team show up PORTRAYING RETARDED PARENTS. The missed the subtext. "No," I audibly whispered. But it was too late. Two improvisers were impersonating senior citizen retarded Germans. Lord save us all.

So, it was our turn. Our teach corralled us backstage. Several people were horrified by the audacity of the previous team. Others got it was a big misunderstanding. We were clumped in the greenroom. I said, "Let's make a pact right here, right now, as a group, to never impersonate retarded people onstage." We all put our hands in the middle of the circle." But Wolf shook his head. "I can't make that promise," he said. "You never know."Then Pinker recoiled in agreement, "I mean, what if the scene calls for it?" Another guy: "Honestly, I think I'd play a really good retarded character if the scene called for it." The scene will never necessitate mocking the mentally handicapped! I shouted. "Okay, hands in." Pinker sighed. Then quickly he yelped, "Always play retarded people on three! One, two, th--" and luckily our coach came back in the room and started a warm-up exercise.

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