How did you decide to turn to different material?
I think it was my fourth Fringe show when I decided to do darker jokes, stuff that wouldn’t make it on television. And I think every day of that run, I watched about 15 or 20 people leave. That was never fun, but I was fine with it because I’m like, I stand behind everything I’m saying now. I will defend that this is funny.
The best standup, for me, is the sort that makes you think. I remember the first time I saw Jim Jefferies do his gun control routine. It’s so funny, but it’s made me think profoundly about it. And I could see it making people in the audience think.
You can get away with some of these things because people believe that you have a moral center.
Yes. I think there’s something about being vulnerable to people — it’s honesty, and I think they see goodness in that.
When I did “Dark,” the feedback was really good. I loved the silences. I loved the challenge of it. How am I going to make people laugh with the death of a 6-year-old disabled girl? How can you pull humor out of that? And the answer is the same way that my family pulled humor out of it. You don’t laugh at the tragedy itself. You acknowledge the tragedy. And while looking around it, you can find things to make fun of, because the most powerful thing in the world is to laugh in the face of death.
You talk in “X” about learning the stats on how common, and underprosecuted, sexual assault and rape are after your friend, who gave you permission to discuss it, disclosed what happened to her. Did you wonder why more men don’t learn about that? What made you want to talk about it?
Because me and the group of friends, we felt so stupid, man. He admitted it the second we confronted him — which blew our minds. Looking back, there were plenty of signs, which we chose to ignore, because we put it down to banter, like, “Hey, he’s just saying things that we all say.”