xmlns:og="http://ogp.me/ns#" xmlns:fb="http://www.facebook.com/2008/fbml

Archive for April, 2011

Why Offensive is Funny To Me; My Next Book and CD

Frequently I am asked, ”When will you be coming out with a new book or CD?” I love that question because it’s also a compliment. I don’t know when either of these will be out but, I am happy to say that currently I am working on both a new book and a new CD simultaneously.

The book is a straight forward project. Put enough jokes together. Find a publisher. It’s not quite finished because before putting polish on the manuscript, I want to dedicate some serious writing time to thinking up some purposely sick stuff. But I have plenty of material in the archive and even without trying for vile I am always adding more. I think I will call my next book More From The Vile File.

My next CD is going to be much more complicated. I want it to be a collection of the very best jokes from The Vile File and More From The Vile File. Sort of an audio book. I will probably call it From the Vile Files. But I can’t just read these jokes alone in a studio. I have to share them with an audience and capture their reaction. That means these vile jokes are going to have to get laughs. That means I have to first work them out on stage.

Working them out on stage will not be easy. Problem is not all my Vile File jokes go over well with your typical comedy club crowd. Let’s face it. Not everybody is amused by, “My girlfriend claims the best sex we ever had was the time I wore a ski mask and came in through the bedroom window pretending to be a burglar. I have no idea what she is talking about.”

To record a funny and entertaining CD consisting of all over-the-top offensive material probably means it will have to be done at a “special live taping.” One in which the audience consists entirely of comedy-jaded people who share my sick sense of humor. I think I will invite all my comic friends (and groupies) in town; bribe them with free pizza and beer.

Special audience? Jokes too sick for the stage? This begs the question: If these sick one-liners do not (typically) make people laugh, can you call them jokes? I think so. That was premise of my original book. I explained why I thought that jokes too sick for the stage could be funny to read (at least to some). Below is how I made my case.

From the Introduction to The Vile File: Jokes Too Sick for the Stage (a Trailer House Press Publication. Copyright 1999 by Dwight York)

I am in the business of making people laugh. Offending the audience does not accomplish that objective. It is therefore never my intention to write anything that will not get a positive response. However, during the creative process I occasionally come up with some off-color stuff. This book is a collection of the sickest of these.

Most good jokes are tiny stories with surprise endings and adverse consequence. They contain two parts. The set-up and the punch-line. The set-up takes your mind down a path of predictable outcome. The punch-line changes the outcome to something unexpected, while at the same time detrimental. In other words, a little trick was played on your mind, revealing that someone got hurt.

For those who cringe at the idea of comedy requiring an element of tragedy, consider this: America’s Funniest Home Videos is considered by most to be an in-offensive family-orientated comedy, yet the most common source of laughter on that show is somebody falls down (which, by the way, hurts). So before anyone gets on their high horse and condemns my book, remember this: The little stories contained herein are fictional. Nobody got hurt in the making. It is just a collection of words.

Of course the whole purpose of this little book is to be offensive. And to be honest, to someone like myself, who is constantly exposed to nice comedy, offensive humor can be most amusing. The imagining of an audience’s shock and subsequent reaction, the utter absolute inappropriateness, and a severe consequence all can make for one damn funny joke. There is a childlike mischievous delight in thinking “ooh, that is so wrong to laugh at — I can’t believe I thought or heard or said it” that strikes hard at the funny bone.

Surely the argument can be made that by making light of some serious immoral act you are in fact condoning it. And I suppose there will be some sadistic, perverse bastard who reads this and thinks that a particular joke is funny because he’s “been there, done that” or thinks “now there is one damn fine idea.” It is also true that a sicko could buy a hammer and bludgeon someone to death, but that is not going to stop the tool company from making them. There is also this point to consider: Humor can sometimes be the best way to bring a taboo subject out of the closet, helping society deal with it. But I don’t intend to claim any moral high ground. My motivation in writing this is as simple as monetary gain.

Having said all that it is time for the warning: Do not try any of these at home.

So enjoy my little stories with an open mind and if they bother and or upset you in any great way, stop reading them, throw the book away, AND BY ALL MEANS, don’t buy the sequel.

_________________________________________

You can buy my book The Vile File and my CD Quickies (Stand Up! Records) from Amazon.com

If You Think Snow in April is Bad, Try Living Out of a Tent at Sturgis

After two weeks on the road (GA KY WV OH) I am back home again (WI) in my little shack in the woods. I woke up yesterday morning to a few inches of snow on the ground. April 20th is late for a snowstorm – even in this part of the country – but fine by me. I hadn’t planned to go anywhere anyway. Of course my friends and neighbors didn’t feel the same way. They had to venture out in the shit.

Although I didn’t complain about the weather yesterday, I can relate to those who did. As a starving artist/comic, I’ve had to deal with my share of inclement weather. I was homeless for awhile. I didn’t want anyone to know so I slept in front of a Ticket Master. That is a joke (one of my better ones) but seriously – on many occasions – I’ve been stuck out in the cold. 

Below is one of my “braving the elements” stories. It’s another excerpt from my mini-memoir about my 2009 adventure at the Legendary Buffalo Chip Campground for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Mother Nature was a bitch that year. She is famous for that in the Black Hills.

From The Big Risk  (picked up somewhere in the middle) copyright 2009 by Dwight York 

A war began that morning that I would wage for the remainder of my stay. It would pit me against the elements and would be fought most every day. That day’s battle was against the wind and my tent became the first casualty. Though I’d been warned of the rapidly changing weather the Black Hills is famous for, it never occurred to me that on a sunny day, without a storm cloud in the sky, the wind could kick-up with such force that it could lay waste to my tent and to my comfort creating efforts of the previous few days. It can and it did.

Because my four person tent was nearly as old as my comedy career, I’d brought along back-up. This tent was designed to withstand the most extreme weather, but I didn’t relish the idea of having to live out of it. It was made for backpacking and provided just enough space for one person to lie down. That made things like sitting up and changing clothes frustratingly problematic. Plus it ended all hope of ever “entertaining” an overnight guest. But there was no time to lament my loss; I had shows to prepare for…

…………… [break] ……………………..

The next several days were spent slogging it out. And not just on stage. I slogged it out with the wind which kept my tent in the hot sun and kept me looking disheveled. I slogged it out with the daily thunderstorms that turned the road in front of my campsite into a mixture of mud and clay (the locals call gumbo) which sticks to the bottom of your shoes like hardened cement and is all but impossible to scrape from your clothes. I slogged it out against the heat and humidity and the inside of my tent grew mold. I slogged it out across the rain soaked fields in search of adventure and new friends and lost ten pounds. And I slogged it out in my head to keep my attitude from going to complete and absolute hell.

…………… [break] ……………………..

The following day was another that summer that will never be forgotten. One of the most severe hail storms in Black Hill’s history struck the campground. I was walking out in the open just before it hit. Although there were storm clouds in the distance, the sky didn’t look particularly foreboding and so initially, I had no idea what was sailing past me when hail started skipping across the ground (the wind blowing the icy pellets out in front of the storm). First a piece of something hit me in the back. Then another something flew past my ear. My assumption was that somebody was throwing shit at me because they’d seen one of my shows. Then all hell fell from above. I ran for shelter under the roof of the Sam Kinison Stage and watched first in fascination, then in alarm, as hail – some as big as softballs – poured from the sky.

______________________________________________________________

I will be returning this August to Sturgis for the big rally. I am hoping for nice weather.

The Big (painful) Move

I used to have a web site and a blog site. I decided I only wanted one site; the new blog site. So DwightYork.com is now what DwightYorkBlog.com was and DwightYorkBlog.com redirects you to my blog’s new home: DwightYork.com. 

There seems to be some trouble in making that move. All of my blog post “facebook likes” are gone. Apparently they fell off the moving truck. So in case you are wondering if anybody has ever visted this WordPress.org site or liked a particular post or…. The answer is yes. In fact, tens and tens of people have liked my posts. Thank you if you have and if you did, sorry your name has vanished. Seeing those names appear was my favorite part of posting. If you happen to see any of my old “likes” on the side of the road, pick them up. They were very much appreciated and were very hard to come by.

If you want to go to my old website scroll down to “links” on the right side and click on my “DwightYork.com: The official website.” There you can find her. Hi definition headshots, resume, blue background and all.

Thanks for stopping by. And Thanks to Webmaster Scott, for trying to figure all of this shit out.

Snatching (a bit of) Victory from Defeat

I hate losing at anything. Only thing I hate worse than losing a comedy contest is losing an audience. I lost the audience for the Laughing Skull Comedy Festival at the Laughing Skull Lounge last Thursday night from the start. I don’t know why that sold-out-crowd of seventy (it’s a tiny room) didn’t laugh at some of my very best jokes. Maybe they didn’t like the way I looked? Maybe they were stupid. Probably I just wasn’t their cup-of-tea.

Although my set was probably not going as horribly as it seemed, it surely wasn’t going the way I wanted. In the end, I placed well enough (4th) to advance to the wild-card semi-final round, but I did it in an ugly way. About two minutes in, one of my very best jokes got NOTHING but crickets. It’s a bit I do about dating a very unattractive woman. It always works. I’ve told it a million times. It’s on my CD Quickies. “I don’t want to say this woman was ugly but I got kicked out of the zoo once for buying her a hot dog.” NOTHING! That’s when I dropped my prepared set-list.

A comic is supposed to have fun on stage. I was not and decided to let the crowd know it. Some might say I snapped. Everybody would say I showed true emotion. I didn’t exactly call the audience stupid but the joke I told next implied that. It was one I knew everyone would get and – for better or worse – would get a reaction. So I unleashed one of my most sophomoric-shocking nasty jokes. Then I said something to the effect, “There.  How about that one? Did you get that fucker?” Then I went back to my next prepared joke as if nothing happened. I don’t know if the audience thought that my dirty joke or my subsequent snap was funny (though the back of the room was howling) but I do know this. None of  my jokes after that got nothing but crickets.

Although I felt fortunate to advance to the semi-final wild-card round, my luck didn’t hold.  I had to go up first for that show. First sucks for any contestant; it’s even worse for me because of my odd character and unique style of delivery. The ”room” for that show was very small also. I did fairly well. I didn’t have to yell at the audience but I didn’t place. The top three comics advanced to the late show finals back at the Laughing Skull Lounge. I followed them over to the bar that housed the club to hang out.

After the festival-finals show, one of the judges (who also judged Thursday night) introduced himself. It was a great pleasure to meet this guy. He has a very cool job in Hollywood. He liked my set. He said that I had the most original voice of any comic in the festival. He loved the way I snapped – in character – and then continued with “nothing but jokes.” He said he’d never seen anything like it. And he got it.  

More and more I’ve had to come to accept that not everybody is going to get me. More and more that is becoming OK with me just as long as the right people do. Knowing one of the right people got me at the Laughing Skull Festival took some of the sting out of losing. Maybe someday I look back on these events and think it was lucky I snapped. 

You can read a re-cap of the festival, including who judged and who won, at Punchline Magazine.

Lady Luck

Laughing Skull Lounge; Atlanta: The quarter finals for The Laughing Skull Comedy Festival continue tonight. I will be performing in the late show; 10:30 PM. Each show pits twelve comics against each other; two comics advance to the semi-finals. There is a lot of great talent at this year’s festival. To give myself a chance to advance, I will need to have more than a great set tonight. I will also need a bit of luck.  

I have entered many comedy contests over the years and it has been my experience that certain variables in which the comic has no control has a great deal to do with what determines the outcome (I call that luck). You don’t want to go up too early. You don’t want to go up too late. You don’t want to follow somebody who kills. You don’t want to follow someone who digs a hole. The most important variable is what style of comedy the people judging you favor. Comedy is subjective, after all. Probably it should never be judged. I have mixed feeling about these competitions, but I do know this. Comedy contests are never fair, but they sure are great to win.

Some people do not believe in luck. Some people believe you make your own luck. I don’t know what I believe but I do know this. If I am able to advance to the semi-finals I will consider myself lucky.

I’m writing a novel that explores this “what about luck” theme. It’s about a bitter aging homeless comic who’s about ready to snap. Some might think that this character is based on me. I say that this is a work of fiction. That any resemblance to any persons, living or dead….

What Luck. All rights reserved; copyright 2011 by Dwight York

Every comic believes he has what it takes to be a star. Just as every comic believes that he is but one lucky break away from striking it big. Probably most comics believe that their lucky break is waiting right around the corner. Daryl Carroll certainly believed that had what it took. And he certainly believed that he needed a break. But he doubted that luck would have anything to do with it. For Daryl had come to believe that if there really was such a thing as “Lady Luck” she was working the corner because she was a whore.

Wish me luck tonight. I will let you know how it goes.

Tour Dates
The Green Room