Comedian David Deeble says that he’s never performed for an audience he didn’t like. That is, until he tried his hand at a college showcase.
Writing for Ricochet.com, Deeble explains that college shows used to be very enjoyable, but the rise of showcases, where different performers come together to deliver short individual performances over the course of a show, has made comedy more difficult. Showcases “load up on a year’s worth of comedians, magicians, rock bands, and a disproportionate number of ‘spoken word’ artists,” for “some old-fashioned awareness raisin’.”
Deeble’s issue with showcases is that they become more about advocacy than anything else. “It’s always advocacy with these people: advocacy for mass literacy, for free education, against U.S. policy in Central America — it consumes them,” he writes. “And if it can fit on a t-shirt, all the better.”
Deeble describes these showcases as featuring one performer after another finding “a way to shoehorn time into their seven-minute spot to virtue signal, share their tale of woe, highlight the plight of pregnant men and what have you.”
For Deeble, because the time when assuming good intentions on the part of other people is over, and it’s killing the college comedy scene:
There’s just too much material you can’t do on campus. I tell audiences how I remember when you had to wait until they were born to determine their gender: “Nowadays, of course, you have to wait until they’re eighteen.” At colleges? Maybe a quickly-stifled laugh followed by widespread embarrassed gasps.
We’re at a point now where if you still have a sense of humor you’re considered part of the problem. So no, I have no interest in returning to the college circuit – and just as assuredly I won’t be missed. It’s not that today’s college students have no sense of humor. It’s that no one wants to be the first one to laugh.
He extends his sympathies to students, writing: “Their parents are going bankrupt pouring money into an outrageously expensive an increasingly useless college degree while their adult children spend what should be the greatest part of their lives in a stifling ideological environment which pervades North Korea-like into comedy as it does into everything else.”