I am currently suffering from PCSD. (Politically Correct Stress Disorder)
PC, in the corporate performing world, has reached new heights in the last few years. Maybe it’s a Texas thing; or maybe it’s an “I don’t want to lose my job, so don’t challenge anyone in the audience’s sensibilities” thing. Whatever it is, it seems that the gap between what people will watch and enjoy on TV, and what they feel comfortable enjoying out in public, has widened considerably.
Now, there are many kinds of comedy magicians. Some use humor merely to punctuate and lighten their material, some use silly humor, some use dry humor, and some present a comic character that has a point of view. I consider myself in this last category. I don’t just use jokes and one liners. I craft my comedy, based on my stage character’s personality, and the relationship I want to have with my audience assistants.
My stage persona developed during the 80’ and 90’s, when there was a lot more latitude as to what was “acceptable” in a corporate show. So, when there is a major shift in corporate decorum, it gets my attention. Now, I’ve never done blue material, or any explicitly sexual or political material, or even humor that was anti-men, or women. I did however do adult humor, that contained allusive or oblique remarks. Yes, that lovely thing called Innuendo. And audiences ate it up. The title of this blog is a perfect example of what I mean. (Although I never used it in my act.) It’s clever, suggestive, but not crude or offensive.
I am now sensing that adult audiences are less comfortable with these kinds humorous remarks, so I have started deleting them from my act. My act will not suffer at all, and my audiences and I are still having a blast, but it does give one pause. Maybe all of this hyper-PC stuff is just a phase. Or maybe it’s just the beginning! What is your experience?