Monday, September 27, 2010

On Tolerance And Standup Comedy


As I was watching this video, I felt pretty happy to read about how a Muslim man wants to uplift the image of his own religion not merely for the sake of people who do not share in his faith, but to actually for his own brothers in his faith. I like that he’s doing it without proselytizing or preaching, but simply by demonstrating heroism that knows no racial or religious boundaries.

It’s so easy to get mired in stereotyping people just because of what they believe in, and I was very glad to see someone who knew that it was not the right image to project to the world and to themselves at large. Any religion need not be inherently violent, passages in their holy books be damned. And it’s not like Christianity, what with the Crusades, the Inquisition, and a host of other atrocities, is completely blood-free, either, so you see, religions are all in the same boat here.

As a pluralist, I’ve found it difficult to explain to fundamentalists why I am so accepting of other points of view, and why I am tolerant of these things, even if they appear to run contrary to my own belief system. That my tolerance extends all the way to issues of race and sexuality can bewilder a lot of rather close-minded people in my life as well.

But see, it’s not about being a morally superior person, but about opening up my world to more people based on who they are and what they do, not who they pray to and what they do in the bedroom.

It’s easy to be intolerant of others, because most people fail to ever really put themselves in the shoes of the Other. Ultimately, though, this point of view has saved me a lot of headaches – although it does stress me out every now and then, particularly when you read the comments in the video I linked to right there.

Here’s a man who’s trying to uplift the Muslim image, and commenters have nothing better to do than to insist that Muslims are vile, evil people. Way to go, guys! Way to demonstrate how “forgiving” and how “understanding” your “God” is.

Sometimes, I find myself holding much more in common with atheists than self-righteous, iniquitous men of “faith”. And mayhap that is just as well: I would rather be considered a blank slate than one riddled with intolerance and narrow-mindedness.

.:Go For The Gold!:.

Joined the Cartel yet again last Friday in Votre bar for their second fundraiser for the Hong Kong Comedy Festival, where GB, Raffy, Eri, and Noel will be going in order to represent our country in a comedy competition for the ages.

It was quite an unusual experience to see none other than Tim Tayag open the show, so I knew that going in, I had a tough act to follow, as I was second in the lineup. Nonetheless, I carried myself well that night, and did amuse people with my patented performance of the Shanghai Shackles. From there on, the who’s who of the Comedy Cartel hit the stage, and it was, overall, a great show.

After the show, it was crazy, because with the disdain some comics had for the tougher-than-usual audience, we just holed up in our corner of the bar and had our own jam session whilst the musician outside had his with the other patrons. It was pretty funny, because half the time, the song playing inside, unbeknownst to us, was also the song playing outside.

.:Bringing It All Together:.

Comedy and tolerance are two topics that tend to not play well with each other. More often than not, we have encountered comedians who have crossed the lines of decency and sensibilities: comedians who are woefully unaware that even an open-minded audience has its limits, and what may sound funny to other people is a grave insult to the very audience they are performing for.

In cases like these, I have learned to more and more err on the side of caution, but I cannot speak for others, as I am certainly following my own sensibilities and my own body of experience as a performer. If I feel for one minute that I might get into trouble for what I’m about to do, at the risk of taking away the teeth from my performance, I’d rather do it. My job is to entertain: not to proselytize, much less to aggravate. Perhaps it’s because I have confidence that to a large extent, I can entertain, but ultimately, a non-performance of that function, while terrible, would be immensely less problematic than doing the exact opposite of entertaining someone – offending them. I’d rather stay at zero balance than at the negative, but that’s just me.

Oh, don’t mind me. I just felt compelled to bring together two completely unrelated topics, like I’m wont to do.

1 comment:

skysenshi said...

LOL! I have the same problem with dealing with both fundamentalists and atheists. It's kind of frustrating at times.