Suicide, abortion, rape, murder, drug addiction. These are called “trigger” words, because some people hear them, and instantly feel pain. These “trigger” words are very controversial when it comes to comedy, because some people hear them, and automatically come to the conclusion that you are making fun of suicide, or AIDs. When that really is not the case.
Point in case, one time I was at an open mic, and I said this joke “This girl asked me if I knew what Bulimia Nervosa was and I said to her yeah, it doesn’t work”. The comic that came onto the stage after me was really offended and used her whole set to yack about her problems with bulimia. It struck a cord, and aggravated me. She wasn’t listening. You see I do not think bulimia is funny..but I can find the humor in something dark.
Today, I was testing out a new joke, “My mother is so invasive every time she sees a woman with a baby she asks her if she’s breastfeeding it because she breastfed all three of her kids, and only one of them turned out to be a heroin addict”. Now when I delivered the joke, I delivered it as my mother with a thick Brooklyn accent, and it got laughs. I was not making fun of heroin addicts, my mother is actually the idiot in the joke, when the audience laughed it was at her, not the fact that my brother is a heroin addict.I am delving more into talking about drug addiction, because it is comforting. I like showing people humor is often born in the dark.
I think as an artist, it is important for me to help people get through difficult times in their lives. Life really isn’t a bunch of roses, and tea parties. Life makes people experience horrible things, and I think we need to find the funny in it. It makes something dark just a wee bit lighter. I think talking about these trigger words shows people that there are other people going through some of the same shit. How many people have lost someone they love? Death is heartbreaking, and a fucking tragedy, but we all have to face it. Why not talk about it? Why not find the light, the humor, the funny, the thing that can unite us all together?
When I was five years old, my nana died. I was so crushed. I loved her. I remember walking into the front door of her home, and seeing her sit on the steps, she was wearing a black and white sweater, and she told me she was going to go to the hospital, at that moment, I knew she was going to die. Like I knew she wasn’t coming back. I felt it, in the pit of my tiny stomach. A few days later she was gone. At her funeral, my cousin, and my father disappeared for a little while, and came back with sandwiches because they were hungry, and that is one of the things my sister always brought up when her funeral was mentioned. Why? Because it was funny. We are all sad and they were worried about their stomachs. Welcome to an Italian family.