LESSON LEARNED [stand up comedy BLOGRMAGE: DAY 14]

I really appreciate all the love people have given me over my debut! Thanks to everyone of the kind words and support.

At work today, some of my coworkers listened to the stand up and told me that they really enjoyed it--so much that they want to present it to the entire student body (I work at a high school).

While feeling pretty good about myself, I talked to my sister and found out that she was disappointed in me for being racist. At one point in the joke, I say that I'm not black because I'm not good at basketball and hate fried chicken. After this, I also make a reference to Sri Lankans liking curry. My sister, with great intentions, was looking out for me and trying to prevent any heat.

This got me paranoid about being racist. So I talked to my co workers (most are African-American), and asked if anybody was offended by the stand up. The overall consensus stood that it's not offensive in comedy, and it's cool because I was making fun of myself as much as other cultures. They also said I shouldn't be paranoid and the material was extremely clean and appropriate. Whew.

My family grew up with tons of diversity. At one of our famous Jeeva parties, it wouldn't be odd for 15 different nations to be represented. Growing up in this manner, got all of us to be very comfortable with matters of race. Stereotypes and all racial nonsense seemed so ridiculous to us because we were so American. None of us were hardly the things we were said to be, but embraced so much of our culture at the same time. Joking about each others stereotypes was funny because of this. That being said, I'm very comfortable joking about race matters from a perspective that not a lot of people have been given. I'm not racist.

It's a great lesson to be learned. I don't want to be a dirty comic or get easy laughs from risky subjects just for the sake of ease. On the other hand, I want to freely discuss the issues that I observe.

My sister is challenging me to be a comic that jokes about reality and makes people think. I'd love to make people think, though I'm having a hard enough time making people laugh. Baby steps, baby steps.

Not a racist,

Pradeepan