Craig Shoemaker

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Spring Fake

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I just finished working in Denver, a place where I really seem to connect with the audience. Only bummer was, it was tough to pull large numbers, since apparently a lot of people were away on spring break, where wet tee shirts and shots of Jager take precedence over a night of laughs, although I certainly have had a few chuckles when I watch a drunk spring breaker take a face plant on the boardwalk.

To me, there is not much organic fun going on at the springtime destinations. Yes, there is a lot of “woo!!” yelling, but it seems like this is to signify you are having a great time, while in actuality you are insecure and unsure about what to do next.

“Spring Fake,” I like to call it…
I’ve got some comedy peers who are drawing large crowds, no matter what time of year it is. I’m always interested in hearing how a comic builds an audience because my pay is based on the amount of meat I put in the seats. A stand up can be knee-slapping funny, but unless it translates into ticket sales, the only place the jokes will be told is at the dinner table. Even with the “amateur” nights, the clubs will only book you if you bring your entire condo floor to the venue.

I spoke to a very successful comedian the other day, Jeff Garcia, who is not only funny, but also packs the house. I called him to suggest a venue he should explore. He asked if the area had his core audience. I knew what he meant, but didn’t want to offend. I asked, “Is the right term ‘Latinos’?” He said, “No…Beaners.”

Well, as we all know, for me to refer an ethnic group with slang or derogatory term is not going to go over so well coming from a guy of Caucasian persuasion. It’s okay for your own kind to self hate, but don’t cast the heckle net into foreign seas.

 What I’m trying to throw out here is that Jeff and his fellow Los Locos comedians have a built-in audience by the virtue of the fact that they have automatic community support. There is mucho grande adulation and subsequent attendance for comics whose names end with a “Z,” coming from a huge and growing group of Hispanic citizens. George LopeZ filmed a live HBO Special from the Alamodome filled with 50,000 screaming fans, which was on the same night I was trying to pull a couple hundred to a strip mall comedy club. He had more on his after show backstage list than I had total in the audience.
Are Garcia and Lopez any funnier than I am? Well, what makes us laugh is very subjective, so there’s no true answer to that. What I have observed however, is that certain comics have a following that is specific to their ethnic background, and that their fans are dedicated and loyal.

There is another standup I know of Canadian/East Indian descent who draws Koreans, Filipinos, Guamese, and just about any and all Asian areas of the world or place beginning with “Indi” or “Indo.”

He speaks perfect English with no discernible accent and he’s never lived in Bangladesh, but I guess he’s as close a voice as they can get for the little guy (no ethnic slur intended here), and his fans come out in throngs. The comic will shout out “where are my Pakistanis?” Then a little pocket of people, who look like they spent the day in front of a computer screen at a call center, shout out with glee: “Right here!” This group does not look like they’ll be fighting for a UFC title anytime soon, but the geeks are representin’ at this comic’s shows. As they passed by me in the hallway, they had this confident look as if to say, “This is MY house, bitch!”

Now I fully understand that white dudes are still the vast majority in the United States. I know ole Lou Dobbs and Sheriff Arpaio have a wood chips in their colostomy bags over illegal aliens taking over, but the USA is still mostly the same race as when we stole it from the Injuns. It’s just white man paranoia.

Whenever you hear about an illegal alien problem, trust me, it ain’t an inept Montana border patrol they’re speaking about. Since most of the citizens of the north look like the dudes in charge in this country, there is no wall being discussed about keeping more Canucks from coming in, or laws to stop the British from coming here without the proper papers. If so, I sure wish someone would peruse Simon Cowell’s documents more carefully and boot his ass back to England. Just because he acts pompous and arrogant and looks like a metro sexual Fox News employee doesn’t mean he has more right to be here than a shy and humble farm worker from Honduras, who just wants to feed his starving family.

Even though Whitey is scared that the rise by the formerly oppressed will lead to the demise of the Cracker, their fears are not based in reality. This is still the Land of the Bland.

The issue I have is how white people sit around and rest on their laurels and righteous indignation and outrage, while minorities are rising up and being heard as never before. While the white flight to move further out in the suburbs takes place, minorities are empowering themselves with SELF esteem, and not buying what the establishment has told them they are for generations.

The former heads of everything do not try to get better, but sit back and shout back at their AM radio shows, instead of actually getting up and owning who they are, or figuring out ways to embrace their fellow humans. I sure wish empathy and compassion would replace the common system of division.

The problem is that the “majority” focuses on what they deem to be the problem in others, instead of learning a new and ever changing paradigm that would help them.
Our country is afraid of what they don’t know, and very few bother to find out.

What I’m asking is to come out from the family entertainment room and be heard! I realize you have a personal movie theatre you built where you feel safe and comfy, but I guarantee you will turn into a moderately rich version of the slackers you detest if you don’t stop storing more programs for your DVR and scheduling time to watch them. There are others outside of your bunker to share some fun with.

Don’t let Chris Matthews or Bill O’Reilly think and speak for you – allow your authenticity to be revealed!

I am speaking to those white people who have given in to the ideas that we are in a crisis, and the only way out is to blame others and point fingers, all while minorities are seizing the opportunities to grow and thrive. Why do you think there is such a thing as out sourcing? Because others are willing to accept less money rather than accept a fate of destitution. As so many stay tuned to their flat screens to view more messages of how we are doomed, minorities are moving forward with their lives and not being blocked and locked by societal “norms.”

Which brings me back to the comedy shows and the lack of support shown by the Caucasian crowd; some change needs to take place and I’m not talking about a protest or some law on the books to prevent minority hiring.

No, I am proposing that the folks who have always felt entitled in this country take power by being positive. To have dominion over our own insides will lead to a profound turnaround for all in land of the free. We need to free up our souls from the self imposed tyranny that thinks no one else should have a good time or share in the pursuit of happiness. Together we can get well by laughing more. Spread the health!

I am asking one and all to indeed pursue what the Statue of Liberty states – happiness.

What happier place on earth is there than a comedy club? And don’t tell me Disneyland either. I was just there and Walt cut down all the trees in 1959, meaning you are in 50 minute lines roasting your ass off to board a three minute ride while trying to convince your kid the whole time that what you’re boarding is fun and safe.

I’m saying that a comedy show is 2 hours of laughter, which is the best medicine and it’s a lot less money than an amusement park. A 20 dollar co-pay to lift your spirits. Glee is right there in front of us, and I don’t mean by watching 30 year old actors playing high schoolers and belting show tunes.

A down economy spawns from a down energy. If we shift the mood, then the entire world shifts with it. There are no books called “Think Negatively and Grow Rich” or “Bitchy Dad, Poor Dad.” No, contrarily every single self help book or education as to how to make lots of money begins and ends with our personal mind set and how we need to focus on what gives us joy.

So, rise up all you sour puss Saltines! Stop watching more cadavers being carved on “CSI Omaha” and support your local comedy club. On a personal note, please come and see me before I need to change my name to Martinez or Craig “Zapato.” I look forward to the day where I can say: “Where are all my WASPs? Come on, show me some white Anglo Saxons!”

 

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