“Does anybody want to host the show?”
The question made the crowd at the Liacouras Center last Friday rather nervous. It was 7:30 pm and the near capacity crowd awaited this installment of Russell Simmons Def Comedy Jam. And there wasn’t a comic in sight.
“I’m not trying to get anybody in trouble, but someone with the last name Torre is the reason the show ain’t starting right now,” said an unidentified man on stage.
It wasn’t until Power 99’s Dee Lee took the stage around 8:00 pm that the crowd was put at ease. A few minutes later the show’s host, Joe Torre came out on stage. After a few jokes (and a few insults directed at latecomers) nobody seemed to care that the show began over a half-hour late.
The first (and funniest) comic of the night was A.J. Johnson, who started off with an almost tyrannical rant about “post-Thanksgiving shit.” By shit I mean feces, what it’s like going to the bathroom the day after Thanksgiving. He let us all know the differences between the sexes when it comes to wiping (their asses). Apparently, men save a lot of toilet paper, “When a man wipes his ass, he gets some toilet paper. Wipes, folds it, wipes, folds it, wipes, and then takes a look at it.” However, in his experience, women do not follow this practice. They dismiss the folding, and simply use more toilet paper.
In all seriousness, this was the highlight of the evening.
After A.J. Johnson came Tony Woods. He proved that in the 21st century, you can still get away with making fun of homosexuals: “Everybody was afraid of the Big Bad Wolf. But he put on the Grandma’s clothes… the third little pig lost two brothers to a faggot!” He went on like this for almost 30 minutes.
Like I said, the shit jokes were the highlight of the evening.
Then, of course, there was the completely unoriginal Melanie Camarcho. She tackled the important subjects of oral sex and penis size.
With the passing of each comic, I hoped and prayed for something better. The only saving grace was the show’s host, Joe Torre. He helped ease the pain of an otherwise un-funny night.
I had hoped for satirical insight, but overall, the performers didn’t do justice to the rich history of African-American comedy. The fact is that without the cursing, and without discussing their sexual habits, these comics would not have had routines. I think that somewhere Richard Pryor is crying and Redd Foxx is rolling over in his grave.