Most people who read this site don’t know about the Montreal Comedy Festival. You know why? Because you have better things to do, like check out rush boobs, talk about rush boobs, comment on rush boobs, and decide which set of rush boobs best complements the aloe tissue paper you’ve chosen. There’s only so much time in a day. So let me explain: The Montreal Comedy Festival is the stand-up’s equivalent to an industry convention. Comics from all over the country are invited to perform. Studio people, managers, agents, and bookers are invited to judge and find the next personalities to push. It’s a big deal for young comics (Full disclosure: I auditioned for “New Faces” and wasn’t invited) and a huge party for older ones. Per tradition, there is a small part of this weekend every year dedicated to comedian Andy Kindler roasting the industry. Maybe you’ve heard of him, maybe you haven’t, but the big talk coming out of Montreal right now (“big talk” being a relative statement) is that Andy Kindler took a shit all over Adam Carolla; calling him a “Nazi” and a “bigot.” He wasn’t telling jokes, he was starting a rally. And the crowd cheered. I know you have some aloe-with-a-hint-of-lavender tissue paper to get back to, so let me explain why this matters.
Andy Kindler is a voice from the people who rule comedy. These are people who wanted to achieve success by following the longest route towards it; they tend to be contrarians and over-thinkers. These are not the popular jocks from high school; these are the geeks and outcasts. These are the Tri Lambs. And that’s all fine, at least until they start sharpening their pitchforks and lighting their torches.
Adam Carolla is very much a representative of this [Total Frat Move], and other “Dude Sites.” He talks mostly about breasts and porn, his politics are leaning right, and speaks openly in racial stereotype shorthand (i.e. Asians can’t drive and most of the Mexicans in L.A. are illegal). These are, of course, jokes. But they’re also kind of not. Basically, he talks how everyone talks behind closed doors. So to hear that Carolla got lambasted at the biggest comedy festival of the year to a room full of comedy industry applause should be a little disturbing for the TFM fan looking for more TFM-like content out in the world.
I touched on this a little while back with my article about misogyny, but this internet niche culture we live in has created a vigilantism that determines what’s okay to say and what’s not. With people throwing around photos of themselves on vacation as well as their political and religious opinions, it only makes sense they’d level moral judgements with the same casual air. Everyone lives in their own niche, but the world’s angry nerds are no longer relegated to the high school A.V. room to play D&D – they’ve found each other at the forefront of the comedy industry, among other places. And though the TFM comment board is its own niche (an awesome one that freely uses the word “cunt”), we don’t decide that Portlandia will be on TV for the rest of our lives and that every female character will be “a-dork-able,” the A.V. club does.
Adam Carolla, like many of us here, probably never swirlied a kid, or took anyone’s lunch money, or stuffed anyone in a locker (all hilarious, by the way). But he is majorly successful for speaking from a perspective that loves boobs, pranks, pledges, and calling a guy gay for going to brunch with his girlfriend instead of watching college football. OUR PERSPECTIVE. The problem? Andy Kindler doesn’t agree. So Kindler can stand in a room full of people who think exactly like he does and bully “up.” He can claim that someone is a bigot and “Hitler” from his perch of being “open minded,” but it’s really close-minded to not see 400k people laughing at the food stamps joke. And, yes, he represents the minority, but get enough people to shout in the same direction, and the loud minority sounds an awful lot like the majority.
Carolla responded by basically saying that he doesn’t need the industry and he has a “pirate ship” with his legion of podcast listeners and fans that come out to his shows. I agree, and as a fan of his, I’m right there on his ship. But as a consumer? I’m scared (in a hot way). Carolla has one of the most downloaded podcasts in the world, and his right-of-center male listeners are being cast away on a pirate ship. The TFM community (and ones like it) are a large and undervalued clientele, and this speech, as well as the reaction to it, only served to show how little we’re cared about.
So what’s the future of entertainment? I agree that a “Dude” can and should be the punchline. I disagree that a “Dude’s” preferences for USA chants, boobs, farts, Macgyver-like masturbation, and smart commentary on suburban elitist topics should be demeaned. Does every show and movie need to feature a fat, bearded guy wearing skinny jeans and a fully buttoned polo shirt complaining about middle school to a flat chested Zooey Deschanel-type before heading to his all saxophone band where he and his best buds crack jokes about ALF? The future is coming. Say goodbye to the “Dude” and all the things you find funny. Somebody find me some aloe-lavender tissues and some rush boobs. I’m upset.