Stereotypes are wrong.
The basic definition of a stereotype is something you think about a group. The group could be anything. A classroom of students that are “bad.” A religion that is “radical.” A culture that is “superior.” A country that is “snobbish.”
The problem with stereotypes is that everyone is an individual.
And each of you are unique just like everybody else.
In comedy, stereotypes play a role. I don’t deny that.
Comedy is not real life. Although real life can be comedy.
Comedy depends on a slant, an angle that most people don’t see. When the comedian calls attention to it, audiences laugh because it often has a valid point. Which offends some.
But this is not about comedy. This is about stereotypes.
I watched a video about the 2017 Ventriloquist ConVENTion. It was shot for a major network. That show is known for taking shots at their subjects. They were vetted, payed a fee to the museum and were allowed to film at the conVENTion.
I have nothing to do with that. And I usually have no problem with crews that come in as long as they respect the attendees. The conVENTion is there for you, not them.
The host had a biased slant toward ventriloquists. He played it straight. Unfortunately some people played right into his hands.
The video will likely be praised by those in it. Heck, they even flashed me on the screen a couple of times. But I personally found the show to be distasteful.
Ventriloquists were stereotyped:
- as people who play with dolls.
- lonely people who used a puppet to break out of their shell.
- as people who are scorned by classmates and society in general.
Sorry pal, not this ventriloquist. I’m an entertainer. A puppet is simply my tool. I didn’t get beat up in school. I wasn’t lonely. True, I am an introvert. But the puppet didn’t help me break out of a shell.
Again – a puppet is a tool. I am an entertainer.
During the conVENTion, the crew came into the closed showroom as we were trying to tech Jeff Dunham’s lecture. This is behind the scenes stuff. Not for public consumption. We were dealing with faulty technology. It was frustrating and we were running behind schedule.
And this film crew thought they should have the right to stick a camera in Jeff’s face. He wasn’t happy and asked Annie Roberts, the media representative, to ask them to stop shooting. They left. And naturally they were unhappy they could not video Jeff.
Had they come in during the lecture, recording a short clip would have created no issues. Because they were so eager to get Jeff on camera, they took advantage at an in-appropriate time and messed up. They could not video Jeff at all.
Now lets get back to the video.
The final show included the excitement about Jeff’s lecture. The host then showed clips of Achmed the Dead Terrorist, Sweet Daddy Dee and Jose Jalapeno on a Stick. The voice over commented how the host felt Jeff’s comedy was racist and demeaning to other cultures.
They then showed the clips of them being asked to leave the showroom. And they also commented about the fact Jeff turned down their requests for an interview.
Later, the show’s host got a chance to get onstage for a general open mic. He found out exactly how hard comedy is. He even resorted to a racial joke about his own culture. It received an uncomfortable laugh.
After his “performance” the host said he found the ventriloquists he met friendly. He respected those that got onstage to entertain.
But he backhanded it by saying that racial material was the only thing we did that got laughs.
On his way out at the end, he even called Jeff an “A**hole”.
Wrong! Jeff is a great guy. The host was being a major jerk around him.
I’m sorry buddy. You had a preconceived idea of what a ventriloquist was. Some of the people played along because they wanted to be on television.
And you clearly do not understand comedy. Thanks so much for taking advantage of a situation to try and make one of the most accepting and friendly communities in the world appear racist.
Just because someone has a camera is no reason for anyone to hop in front of it.
Ventriloquists get stereotyped all the time. From weird people playing with dolls to multiple personalities who have lost touch with the real world. Heck, some even think we believe our puppets are alive.
It is a reason some people look down on the art.
Please don’t let yourself fall into this trap.
Respect yourself and the art.
Don’t give someone the chance to make us all look bad.